It might seem like the keto diet is all about restricting carbohydrates, but if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that fat and protein also matter.
Learning how to track macros on keto can make a big difference in how successful your keto diet is and how easy it is to maintain. Paying attention to all three macronutrients helps you reach ketosis faster, maintain satiety, and keep yourself healthy.
We’ll show you the steps in this article, but first, let’s cover the basics of macronutrients.
What Are Macros?
Macronutrients or “macros” are nutrients that your body requires in large amounts. The three types of macros are carbohydrates, fat, and protein, and each macro provides a specific number of calories:
Carbs: 4 calories per gram
Fat: 9 calories per gram
Protein: 4 calories per gram
It is rare for foods to contain just one type of macro. Most foods usually combine two or more macros—for example, meat has both fat and protein while a large egg has fat, protein, and less than 1 gram of carbs.
Aside from providing energy, macros affect our health in unique ways. So whether your goal losing weight, building muscle, or improving hormonal health, knowing the roles of each macro is a must.
Here’s an overview of each macronutrient:
Carbohydrates or carbs are made up of starches and sugars which serve as a quick source of fuel. Although this macro has only 4 calories per gram, too many carbs raise the glucose levels in your blood. Moreover, an excessive carb intake may contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. 
Many people associate dietary fats with an unhealthy diet. Common misconceptions include the ideas that fat causes weight gain and heart disease, and that fat-free and low-fat options are better for you.
This is probably because fat has the most calories. Also recall Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study linking saturated fat with heart disease, which led people to eat higher amounts of carbs and sugar.
Our bodies need fat for a lot of reasons. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and seafood, for instance, boost blood flow in your brain and promote learning and memory.  Saturated fats from butter, eggs, and meat raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein) which is the good cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. 
As the “king” of all macros, protein is the building block of your body. You need it for repairing and maintaining muscle, creating hormones, and increasing the function of your immune cells, among other things. 
The good news is that protein is found in a wide variety of foods. If you love meat, you’ll be pleased to know that meat is an excellent source of protein since it provides all essential amino acids! For those who stick to plant-based foods, protein can be found in tofu, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
How to Track Macros on Keto
The idea of keeping track of macros every single day might sound crazy.
But remember that you cannot improve what you don’t measure. Macro tracking is an essential part of learning how your diet is impacting your goals—is it working or are adjustments needed? And most importantly, are you in ketosis?
Get started tracking your macros with these tips.
Determine your daily calories and divide them into macros
The number of calories your body needs will depend on a number of factors. This includes your goal (lose weight, maintain weight, gain weight, build muscle), age, weight, and activity level. Use this free calorie calculator to determine your calories right away.
Now that you’ve got your result, work on your keto macro breakdown. Note that the ideal ketogenic macros are 65-80% fat, 20-30% protein, and 0-10% carbs. (Yes, carbs can be zero if you decide to follow a keto carnivore diet.)
Next, multiply your total calories by each macronutrient percentage then divide the answer by the number of calories per carbs, fat, and protein. The final result is your required grams per macro per day.
For example, let’s say you’re a female on a 1,300-calorie diet for weight loss and you picked a keto macro ratio of 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbs. To get your actual macros, your calculation would be:
1,300 x 0.65 = 845 / 9 = 94 grams of fat per day
1,300 x 0.30 = 390 / 4 = 98 grams of protein per day
1,300 x 0.05 = 65 / 4 = 16 grams of carbs per day
Bonus Tip: Use our free Ketogenic calculator to save time! All you need to do is enter your basic information and goal, and we’ll send the results to your inbox.
Record your food in a macro tracking app
You can, of course, keep a basic journal where you take notes of your daily food intake and macros. But macro apps are time-saving and most of them even come with extra features like free recipes and sync with fitness trackers. Check out our article on the best carb-tracking apps for keto dieters.
To make tracking more accurate, weigh your foods prior to cooking and logging them in the app. This is time-consuming in the beginning, but soon enough it’ll help you eyeball your portion sizes—and down the road, you won’t even need the app anymore.
Set yourself up for success by keeping it simple
It helps to get familiar with keto-friendly food items. That way, it won’t be difficult to navigate the grocery store anymore. As a quick hack, keep in mind that animal-based foods (e.g. eggs, meat, seafood) have very few to no carbs at all, which makes them ideal for achieving ketosis.
Advanced meal prepping ensures that you’re able to meet your macros every day or most days of the week. To save more time (and money!), opt for recipes that use few ingredients, like this delicious breakfast omelet recipe.
Even better, log your keto meals the day before so you won’t have any excuse to miss them.
Make Macro Adjustments Along the Way
Eventually, your keto macros will need some tweaking so you can keep seeing the progress you’re aiming for. Adjustments are usually needed if you’ve stopped seeing weight loss, known as a weight loss plateau, or you decide to become more active (e.g. marathon training, weight lifting, etc.).
In these cases, recalculate your macros using our free keto calculator. The important thing is to stay consistent with your keto diet and strive for progress, not perfection!
Tiffany is a health writer and registered nurse who believes in low-carb nutrition, exercise, and living simply. She has carefully followed the ketogenic diet (mostly clean keto) since 2019, which helped her lose 44 pounds, heal PCOS, and gain more energy. She hopes to educate and inspire others through her content here at Ketogenic.com and on her personal blog Ketogenic Buddies.
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