Keto Macros: How to Best Adjust Them to Fit Your Goals

If you’re new to keto or are still planning to do the keto diet, you might find the macros a bit confusing, making it harder for you to stay on track with your diet. In this comprehensive article, we will guide you in learning your macros, how to calculate them, and how to adjust them based on your type of keto diet.

Key Takeaways:

  • Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the main macros in the keto diet.
  • Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that does not increase sugar levels, but sugar alcohol does.
  • Different variations of the keto diet have different macro ratios to cater to different health goals.
  • Maintaining your carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams is crucial to maintain ketosis.
  • If you’re a beginner, you can start with the 60/30/10 macro ratio and build your way up. Women are also encouraged to slowly cut carbs and add fat to their diet to avoid hormonal changes.

Table of Contents:

What Are Keto Macros?

Keto macros, short for macronutrients,1 are the fundamental components of our diet, and they play a pivotal role in the ketogenic diet’s effectiveness. There are three major macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates2
    • The primary energy source for the body. On the keto diet, the goal is to reduce carb intake to induce ketosis significantly.
    • Provide 4 calories per gram.
    • Comprises 5-10% of the calorie source in a keto diet, which means an intake of 20-50 grams of net carbs.
  • Protein3
    • Essential for muscle repair, immune function, and various metabolic processes. They also contribute to satiety,4 which is crucial for managing appetite on the keto diet.
    • Provide 4 calories per gram.
    • Comprises 20-30% of the calorie source in a keto diet, which is based on one’s weight,  generally 0.6 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • Fat5
    • Fats are the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet, serving as the primary energy source when carbs are restricted. They are also integral for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
    • Provide 9 calories per gram.
    • Comprises 70-75% of daily calories from fat. An average 2000-calorie diet translates to approximately 155-165 grams of fat per day.
  • Fiber6
    • Although important for proper digestion, fiber is not often counted in the keto macros as it does not affect the body’s sugar levels. It’s important to note that fiber is a form of carbohydrate included in the total carbs.
    • Provide 2 calories per gram.

You must learn to calculate the necessary grams of each macronutrient for your daily intake. Here’s an easy-to-follow formula as a guide:

Let’s assume you are on a 2000-calorie diet with the following macro ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 10% of total calories
  • Proteins: 20% of total calories
  • Fats: 70% of total calories


  • Carbohydrates: (0.10×2000) / 4 = 50 grams
  • Proteins: (0.20×2000) / 4 = 100 grams
  • Fats: =(0.70×2000) / 9 = 155 grams

What Should My Macros Be on Keto?

how to calculate your keto macros

Standard Ketogenic Diet

The Standard Ketogenic Diet is the most widely practiced keto diet. It typically consists of the following macro ratios:

  • Carbohydrates: 5-10% of total daily caloric intake, equivalent to 20-50 grams of net carbs daily.
  • Proteins: 15-25% of total daily caloric intake, ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • Fats: 70-75% of total daily caloric intake, providing the bulk of energy.

Targeted Keto Diet

The Targeted Keto Diet is designed for individuals with higher energy demands, particularly those with intense physical activities.7 It involves consuming additional carbs around workouts to support performance. The macro ratios are as follows:

  • Carbohydrates: 10-15% of total daily caloric intake, usually consumed within 30 minutes of exercise.
  • Proteins: 20% of total daily caloric intake.
  • Fats: 65-70% of total daily caloric intake.

Cyclical Keto Diet

The Cyclical Keto Diet involves cycling between periods of strict keto and higher-carb intake to replenish glycogen stores. Athletes or bodybuilders often adopt this. The macro ratios during the keto phase resemble SKD:

  • Carbohydrates: 5% of daily caloric intake during the keto phase, increased to 50-60% during carb-loading.
  • Proteins: 15-25% of daily caloric intake during the keto phase, reduced to 15% during carb-loading.
  • Fats: 70-75% of daily caloric intake during the keto phase, reduced to 30% during carb-loading.

High-Protein Keto Diet

For those focused on preserving or building muscle mass8 while on keto, a higher protein intake may be adopted:

  • Carbohydrates: 5% of total daily caloric intake.
  • Proteins: Elevated to up to 35% of total daily caloric intake.
  • Fats: Slightly reduced to 60% to give room for the increased protein intake.

Low-Carb Diet

A low-carb diet is not exclusively a keto diet due to the more restrictive rule of keto on carb intake. The macro ratios may vary, but a standard guideline includes:

  • Carbohydrates: 15-30% of total daily caloric intake.
  • Proteins: 15-30% of total daily caloric intake.
  • Fats: 40-70% of total daily caloric intake.

Which Macros Are Most Important on the Keto Diet?

Monitoring your carbohydrate intake is the most important thing on the keto diet. The rule is to maintain ketosis,9 which means your body will use fat as the energy source.

Since our body prioritizes carbs as the energy source when present, you may risk your state of ketosis by taking in too many carbs.

However, all three macros—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—are crucial in the keto diet, but their importance differs in achieving and maintaining ketosis. You may need to increase your protein intake to build more muscle mass.

Moreover, restoring glycogen stores is also necessary for athletes and bodybuilders, which means they should store up carbs through the cyclical keto diet.

Should I Count Net Carbs or Total Carbs?

Counting total carbs is always safer. Counting net carbs,10 subtracting fiber from total carbs, is a common practice on keto. Fiber doesn’t significantly impact blood sugar levels, so others don’t include it in the calculation.

However, it’s also important to note that different keto-friendly foods may be low in net carbs but may contain sugar alcohols,11 which are not included in the net carbs calculation.

Sugar alcohol may cause elevation in your blood sugar levels, which may alter your state of ketosis.

How Many Carbs Can I Eat and Stay in Ketosis?

Individual carb tolerance varies, but a general guideline is to consume 20-50 grams of carbs12 per day for most people to initiate and maintain ketosis. It’s important to note that this estimation is subject to adjustments based on your daily calorie requirements.

Also, some individuals might tolerate higher levels, while others need to stay on the lower end of the spectrum. To be sure, regular monitoring13 of ketone levels is recommended.

Here’s a quick overview of how much carbohydrates you should have depending on your calorie requirement:

Daily Required Caloric IntakeRecommended Carbohydrate Intake
2,40060 grams
2,20055 grams
2,00050 grams
1,80045 grams
1,60040 grams
1,40035 grams
1,20030 grams
1,00025 grams
800 (Calorie Restricted Keto)20 grams

How Much Flexibility Is There With Keto Macros?

The keto diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you should adjust your macros depending on personal goals.

Carb Macros

Generally, you should keep the carbs below 10% to maintain ketosis, but some may find more or less carbs beneficial without jeopardizing the ketosis state.

You can adjust carb macros based on your level of physical activity. Athletes or those engaging in high-intensity workouts may benefit from slightly higher carb intake, especially around exercise sessions, as in cyclical keto and targeted keto diets.

Protein Macros

Maintaining adequate protein intake is one of the foundations of the keto diet. You can adjust protein macros based on your fitness goals. If muscle preservation or building is a priority, slightly increase protein intake.

Athletes in strength training may benefit from the higher end of the protein range, as in high-protein keto and keto carnivore diets.

Fat Macros

Increasing fat intake will not affect your state of ketosis, but you may find it difficult to lose weight if you go overboard on the daily recommendations.

You can lower your fat intake if you wish to follow a high-protein keto or carnivore keto diet. People on their carb-loading could also reduce their fat intake.

How To Adjust Your Keto Macros

It’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments when starting your keto journey. Experts suggest that a 60/30/10 macro ratio is an excellent way to start keto, building it up once you’re comfortable.

This ratio will allow you to be in a state of ketosis, reaping weight loss and other health benefits.

Women should start slowly by reducing carbs and adding more fat weekly to prevent hormonal changes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is 100 grams of protein too much on keto?

100 grams of protein is enough for someone with a 2,000 daily caloric requirement for keto. For those who have less or more, adjustments should be made.

What are the macros for 1500 calories on the keto diet?

A person with a 1,500 daily caloric requirement should take 116.7 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and 37.5 grams of total carbohydrates based on the 70/20/10 keto macro ratio.

How much protein should I eat on a 1200-calorie keto diet?

A person on a 1200 daily calorie intake should take 60 grams of protein following the 70/20/10 keto macro ratio.


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Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

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