Lifestyle

What are Macros and How Do I Calculate Them?

You can track your Macros here http://myfitnesspal.com

For a more in-depth explanation of what Macros are and how to calculate them, please see below

MACROS

Macros is the short name for macronutrients which are namely the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are present in the foods we eat . They provide the calories we need for energy, to fuel our body. Each of the macros has specific functions in the human body.

It is interesting to note that, though carbohydrate is the primary source of energy for a normal functioning human body, it is the only macronutrient that is not essential for survival. The building blocks of fats and proteins are fatty acids and amino acids. Many of these are ‘essential’ for our survival. But there are no essential carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates in a Keto Diet

The Keto diet is a low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet which depends primarily on the fat reserves for energy. For a keto diet to be successful, it is very important that the carb intake is kept at the lowest possible level.

Carbs are made up of sugars, starches and fibers. Fiber is considered as a carb, but they cannot be digested and hence will not result in calories and has no negative impact on the blood sugar levels. Total carbs minus Fiber gives the ‘net carbs’ and the count of net carbs is what really matters on a Keto diet.

To minimize the carb intake, the foods that are low in carbohydrates need to be identified. It is also advisable to completely avoid high carb foods such as grains. To identify low carb and high carb food is the biggest learning curve on a Keto diet. Some of the very common high carbohydrate foods in our daily meals include rice, fruit, added sugar, bread, pasta, honey, aerated drinks & fruit juice.

Tips to stay in ketosis:

  • Have a check on the food labels that are consumed.
  • Buy a Keto Meal Plan from a reliable source.
  • Google search and download one or two low-carb food list
  • Decide on what amount of carbs to be consumed each day
  • Plan the food according to the limit of allowable carb percentage.

Proteins in a Keto Diet

Protein is a macronutrient that is considered as the building blocks of the human body. Proteins are made up of units called amino acids which play a vital role in growth, tissue repair, immune functions and preserving lean body mass. Though most of the amino acids can be synthesized in the body, 9 cannot be made by the body and have to be obtained from the food we eat. These 9 are called the essential amino acids.

Some common types of protein are red meat, fish, poultry & pork, cheese, dairy, and eggs.

Fats in a Keto Diet

Fats are the most important aspect of a Keto Diet and probably the most underrated nutrient in our diet.  Fat provides energy, absorbs certain nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K and maintains your core body temperature. Triglycerides, cholesterol and other essential fatty acids store energy and protect our vital organs. Also, dietary fats help us feel full and avoid food cravings!

Dietary fat is divided into two: glycerol and fatty acids. The two types of fatty acids that our body cannot make on it’s own are linoleic acid and linolenic acid.  These have to be obtained from the diet and are known as the essential fatty acids.

Dietary fat has the powerful ability to satisfy the hunger better than any other macronutrient.  This is the only reason why low-fat diets hyped by the physician community becomes extremely hard to follow. Examples of fats are oils, butter, avocado, heavy cream, animal fat, nuts and seeds.

How to Calculate Macros on a Keto Diet

Before calculating macros:

  1. Identify your goals – to get healthier on a keto diet to lose weight or to gain muscles.
  2. To calculate the macros for a Keto diet note down the following:
  • Body height
  • Body weight
  • Age
  • Physical activity level
  1. Find out the recommended amount of carbs, fats or proteins based on your goal.
  2. You have to calculate the macronutrient profile of the common foods you consume
  3. Depending upon all the above factors, you have to prepare a meal plan and to reach your goal – you will have to stick to it.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Total Energy  Expenditure (TEE):

BMR is the calorie count that a body requires just to exist without accounting for the daily activities and other workout expenditures. TEE is the sum of BMR, the energy required for daily activities and the energy used when working out. By calculating the BMR and TEE values, it is easy to find out the number of calories a body require for one day.

The Mifflin St. Jeor equation below helps in estimating the calorie needs.

Men
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5

Women
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161.

After calculating the above figure, multiply this number by the activity factor below to calculate TEE.

For a person with little to no exercise, daily calories needed = BMR * 1.2. For one with light exercises (1-3 days per week), daily calorie needed = BMR*1.375. For moderate exercise (3-5 days per week) it is BMR * 1.55. For heavy exercises (6-7 days per week)

Calorie requirement is BMR * 1.725.

Find out the calorie requirements based on your current body status and your end goal. The rule of thumb for weight gain is to add 500 calories to the above result, for weight loss subtract 500 from the above and to remain same, leave the number as it is.

The next step is to find out the amount of calorie intake from each macronutrient to stay on ketosis efficiently. On a Keto diet, the standard advice is 70% calories from fat, 25% from proteins and 5% from carbohydrates.

How Many Grams of Each Macronutrient is Needed

Calculate your own requirements based on the following examples: 

Fats: If the total calorie requirement of a body is 2000 calories according to the goal and physical conditions, then multiply it with 0.7, which gives the number 1400. Divide it by 9 (per gram of fat yields 9 calories) and it gives  ~155g of fat.

Proteins:  Multiply the TEE by 25% ( 0.25), which gives 500. Divide that by 4 as each gram of protein yields 4 calories. This gives ~125g protein.

Carbohydrates: Multiply 2000 calories by .05, which gives you 100 calories and divide that by 4 since there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates. This gives you 25g carbs.

So to sum up, for a person whose TEE is 2000 calories, they need to have 155g of fat intake, 125g of protein and 25g of carb intake.

References:

https://healthyeater.com/how-to-calculate-your-macros

https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

https://legionathletics.com/calculate-macros-5-simple-steps/

https://metro.co.uk/2017/08/10/an-idiots-guide-to-counting-macros-what-are-they-and-how-to-use-them-effectively-6842716/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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