Understanding macros and calories count

(Luciano Fiandesio ) #1

Hello guys, first post in this forum. Very happy be part of the forum, it looks like there is a lot of knowledge around here :slight_smile:

So, I started looking at a keto diet, and I have been reading quite extensively here and in other places (reddit, other web sites). But I still have some questions…hopefully I will get a clearer idea.
To start, I’m not looking at losing lots of weight, 5 kilos tops. For me, it’s more a life-style choice rather than a quick shortcut.

So, I have a couple of question about overall calories and macros.

  1. when doing a keto diet, I still need to look at overall calories, right? I mean, if I eat 3000 calories (of which 80% fat) and my TDEE is 1800 calories , I will still gain weight.
  2. reaching a 80/15/5 or even 75/20/5 macro seems really hard to me. How can I get that much fat. Beef or chicken or eggs have lots of proteins. Am I supposed to sneak on butter? Also, that kind of fat percentage, increase greatly the overall calories of the food I eat, sending the daily calories off the roof.


(8 year Ketogenic Veteran) #2

No. Doesnt work like that. Thankfully.

Again. Nope. You don’t need to eat if you’re not hungry. The important thing is to keep carbohydrates low, eat a moderate amount of protein to maintain muscle mass and get most of your energy from eating fat (to satiety.)

It really is that simple.

(8 year Ketogenic Veteran) #3

Here’s something else you might enjoy.

(Luciano Fiandesio ) #4

Hi Brenda, thanks for replying.

No. Doesnt work like that. Thankfully.

Can you please elaborate? How can’t 3000 calories (70%-80% fat) not make the overall weight to go up - assuming a maintenance calories intake of 1800?

(8 year Ketogenic Veteran) #5

for some people it can, for many people it doesn’t.

Elaborate? observations of self and personal friends for the last 4 years. Scientific peer reviewed studies? I don’t have a library at my fingertips except this forum, mostly.
my main focus is reducing insulin and reversing diabetes, not weight loss.

C i c o is a myth. Calories in calories out is a failed model. And there are many studies out, peer-reviewed even, to prove this.

(Erin Macfarland ) #6

Calories are pretty much imaginary. Weight gain is hormonal. Some people gain weight on 1200 calories a day. The body will adjust to energy restriction. Likewise when there is surplus energy in the context of a metabolically healthy person (particularly in someone eating low carb and high fat) “excess” energy will be processed appropriately by the body, either through generating heat or excreted. Many people eat large quantities of food on keto and lose weight. If the same amount of “energy” was ingested on a mixed diet it would probably lead to weight gain. The lower insulin on keto is not shuttling excess “energy” into fat stores like it does when carbohydrates are present in a meal.

(Consensus is Politics) #7

Give a listen to the 2 Keto Dudes podcasts. Start with episode one. You might find yourself binging too. It’s a healthy binge.

I believe it was on one of their podcasts that they used an example of someone eating 5,000 calories a day for a while. They ended up gaining a pound or two. If I remember correctly he was trying to prove he would gain weight, massive amounts, but ended up deciding the science on this was right. The bodies metabolism changes depending on hormones. In this case insulin is THE deciding factor in weight gain or loss. It was a real brain number for me to wrap my head around. After reading dr Fungs book, The Obesity Code, wow… a lot of things make sense now.

(Luciano Fiandesio ) #8

I didn’t mean scientific studies, just some more background - including your personal experience.
Anyway, my original question comes from the fact that when I use one of the many Keto calculators for macros (like: ruled.me or ankerl), the results for weight loss always includes a daily calories intake:

Based on your inputs, we suggest you eat: 1490 calories. From those, 130g fats, 5g net carbs, and 74g protein

Therefore, I figured that I also need to take into account the overall calories intake.

(Luciano Fiandesio ) #9

I completely understand the impact of insulin spike and fat “creation”.
I believe the best way to figure out what works and what doesn’t is to test on myself.

I hate tracking food, but I can try it for a while and see what are the effect of eating 2.5K calories (70%-80% fat) versus 1.5K calories. I still need to track food at the beginning anyway, to get an idea of how much fat and proteins are in the food I eat.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


You can try tracking for awhile to get a feel for how the macros stack up for your average meals and way of eating. Once you are in the groove and feeling the effects of being fat adapted you will really know how you should be eating. It’s interesting (at least it was to me) then to stop tracking and see if you can maintain by just eating how you know you should while also following your hunger signals and listening to what your body is telling you. It’s the first time I’ve ever had true freedom from tracking and been able to maintain. Some days you will be hungrier…Eat more…Some days you won’t be very hungry. Don’t eat. Your body will let you know as long as you are eating low carb, moderate protein and fat to satiety.

(Luciano Fiandesio ) #11

Yes, this sounds like a sensible approach.

As I said, I don’t enjoy tracking, and I have been successful in the past with a low-carb diet (non keto), without tracking once. But keto, does introduce this concept of macros, which seem quite important (mostly for proteins, it is easy to avoid carbs), and I figure that I need to track in order to calibrate the macros - at least at the beginning.

(Consensus is Politics) #12

And especially protein. I see some back and forth between ketogenic and bodybuilder types (not all, but a good number of them) arguing over whether or not protein is turned into sugar at some point, and causing spikes in insulin.

By my own experience, when I eat too much protein, (I think it was about 30 grams over what I should have at, which was 70) I get a large BG spike. For me that’s not good, being T2DM, it can knock me out of Ketosis.


I just watched a video from KetoConnect the other day about how he ate 4,000 calories a day (Keto compliant) as an experiment and gained 7.2 lbs.

His starting weight was 193.4
His ending weight was 200.6

7.2 x 3500 (Calories in a pound) = 25,200
25,200 ÷ 21 days = 1,200. So he would have needed 1,200 extra calories a day to gain this weight.

At 4,000 calories, even a generous daily caloric BMR of 2000 would put him way over the 1200 calories.

So I think, from his experience, he grossly overate, and gained what he described as quite a bit, but not based on CICO. Based on CICO he should have gained more like 12-15 lbs (almost double).

In the movie fathead, someone else does this as well. He calculated the opposite, how much weight he should have lost, and lost more restricting carbs that based on CICO calculations.

So, weight gain and loss definitely have more factors than just calories.

So I think, if you’re skinnier it’s easier to overeat because you don’t have the excess fat to burn (meaning your body needs fat in your diet to fuel it, and if you’re not careful, you might overeat it) and your daily calorie requirements are lower (meaning a transgression of overeating fat might hit you sooner).

I think, based on what I have learned so far, you might be better tracking ratios since unlike someone like myself, you don’t have tons of body fat to compensate for on the fat ratio. So for instance, my consumption ratios might be 5/50/50, but would look very different if you calculated the fat I was getting from my body too.

Anyway, enough ramblings. Watch the video if you want to see how he controlled for things. I didn’t watch the whole thing, just the beginning.

As someone on here says all the time, keto is self discovery. Everyone has their opinion about what you should do, but I think in trying it you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

(Justin Jordan) #14

Well, his BMR would be around 1950. But that’s what he’d burn if he was in a coma. A moderately active person his size would be expected to burn 2700 or so, which puts Matt right in line there. He continued to workout and such while doing.

Having said THAT, I don’t think he actually gain seven pounds of tissue. That challenge ended two weeks ago, and he was back to 194 as of a couple days ago. Which would be really fast to drop the weight. So I suspect some fairly large portion of that was, well, just food in his guts.


I agree.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #16

There have been documented cases of people eating what would appear to be excessive amounts of calories, and either not gaining weight, or actually losing. Gary Taubes, in one of his books, cites a study in which one of the participants, eating fat to satiety, consumed either 3000 or 3500 calories (I forget) and still lost weight at the same rate as the other participants. There is also a blogger in Britain, a keto activist, who at 5000 calories a day for quite some time and still lost weight. He uses that experience to convince people not to be afraid of fat. The key is to keep insulin secretion low enough that the body will not store those calories, but will either burn or waste them instead.

BTW, because I myself occasionally forget, I’d like to remind the OP that macros are calculated as a percentage of total daily caloric intake, and that fat contains approximately 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrate contain around 4. This makes the percentages a little less intimidating in terms of actual quantity. But as others have noted in this thread, if you keep carbohydrate under 20 g a day and protein moderate, eating fat to satiety will allow you to dispense with calorie-counting.

(Dan Dan) #17

Clearly the calculator your using is flawed and assumes caloric restriction.

Keto is about being ‘Fat Adapted’ using ‘Fat as fuel’ rather than ‘Carbs’ ergo the ‘Low Carb High Fat’. Calories only matter if its the wrong kind.

Examples of wrong calories:

  1. Restricting Calories (‘Low Calorie’) - Keto is not ‘Calorie Restricted’. Eat until you are ‘Satiated’

  2. Restricting Fat - Keto uses ‘Fat as Fuel’. ‘High Dietary Fat’ is necessary to become ‘Fat Adapted’.

  3. High Carbs - Keto is ‘Low Net Carb’. 'High Dietary Carbs will delay or prevent ‘Fat adaptation’.

  4. Lean Protein - Keto is ‘Moderate Protein’. Lean meat is high in Protein and low in fat. ‘Fatty Meat is Moderate in Protein and Moderate to High in Fat’ and preferable.

Keep it Simple :smile:

“May the Force (fat adaption) be with you”

IF/EF Keto WOE is Self-Discovery :wink:

Good luck and much success in your journey in IF/EF Keto WOE :grin: