Updated Apr 29th, 2020 – Written by Craig Clarke
Starting on a ketogenic diet? Let’s calculate how much you should eat. We use the information you put in to create an accurate keto nutrition profile for you.
If you're sedentary, we suggest between 0.6g and 0.8g protein.
If you're active, we suggest between 0.8g and 1.0g protein.
If you lift weights, we suggest between 1.0g and 1.2g protein.
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While inputting your information, you may find that some of the sections and terms are confusing. If this is the case for you, simply click the lower case “i” logo located near the title of each section of our keto calculator. After you click the lower case “i” logo, you will be directed to a brief explanation that should answer your questions.
If you are still unsure of how to use the keto calculator or if you think you aren’t getting the right keto macro numbers, read through the other Q&As and comments below, you will probably find the answer there.
If you still don’t find the answer, please submit a comment with the question and we will address it as soon as possible.
Most people aim for a specific goal on a ketogenic diet. We aim to make sure the results of the calculator are accurate and can be used by anyone.
Our keto calculator uses the Mifflin-St.Jeor Formula which was the most accurate (versus the Katch-McCardle Formula or the Harris-Benedict Formula) in a few studies. In this formula, the gender, height, weight, and age are needed to calculate the number of calories to consume.
Our keto calculator uses body fat percentage to calculate your lean body mass. Using this number, we’re able to calculate how much protein you need to sufficiently lose weight without losing excess muscle. Eating too little or too much protein on a ketogenic diet (or any diet) can lead to dangerous or unwanted results.
DEXA scans are proven to be the most accurate measurement of body fat. They’re commonly available at gyms and some doctor offices when requested. If you don’t have access to this, you can always go the old-fashioned route and use a good quality caliper. The last resort is using a guide to visually estimate – this can sometimes be a little bit inaccurate, so try to over estimate your body fat percentage.
This will give us an idea of how much the minimum amount of calories your body will burn in a day. Our keto calculator uses this to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). We use this number, along with your body fat percentage, to estimate how many calories you’ll need for your goals.
The BMR is simply a number of calories we burn while our bodies are at rest and from eating and digesting food. Together they form what’s known as TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure. This is the keto calculator’s estimate for your total calories burned per day. If you use a heart rate monitor or third party software to monitor your calories, you can use the custom input in the activity level section for an even more accurate macro profile.
A deficit or surplus just relates to the number of calories you want to intake. A surplus means you are eating more than your body needs. A deficit means you are eating less than your body needs.
Typically if you are losing weight, you want to have a deficit in calories. 10-20% is standard for people. 20-30% ranges are considered high deficits and are typically difficult to do (you will be fighting hunger). You can go up to a 30% deficit, but going past that can lead to metabolic damage in the long run (study).
Typically if you want to gain muscle, you want to have a surplus in calories. You need extra calories if you want to put on lean mass. Typically, 5-10% is suggested, but going over 10% can lead to excess weight gain.
There are numerous benefits that are scientifically proven on the ketogenic diet. On keto, it’s a general rule of thumb to stay under 30g net carbs a day. We recommend for weight loss to stay at or below 20g net carbs a day.
The end goal of a ketogenic diet is to be in a metabolic state known as ketosis. We do this through starvation of carbohydrates.
Protein intake is imperative when it comes to keto. Too much and you can lower your ketone levels, too little and you can lose excess muscle. You want to be in the sweet spot.
If you’re sedentary, we recommend having between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound of lean body mass. If you’re active, we recommend having between 0.8g and 1.0g protein per pound of lean body mass. If you want to gain muscle, we recommend having between 1.0g and 1.2g protein per pound of lean body mass. You should not need to consume more protein than that, according to these studies.
It can seem complicated, but it’s honestly not! It’s just a ratio of protein. If you are 100 lbs. of muscle and want to gain muscle (1.0g protein), you eat 100g protein.
If you’re still confused, don’t worry – the keto calculator automatically sets your protein based on your activity level.
Generally speaking, many people are concerned that the keto calculator results in too many calories to eat. It’s very common for the average person to lose weight on a 1600 calorie a day keto diet. If you’re not 100% sure or confused about anything, you can also read more about macronutrients on a keto diet >
You should try to eat according to the macros given and try to spread your meals out during the day. Don’t worry about getting exact numbers to the tee. You can afford a small fluctuation in your macros, but as long as you are close to your ranges, it will balance itself out.
If you’re just getting started and still want to learn more about keto, consider reading our extensive guide to keto >
After hearing about the keto diet and how it helps you burn fat, you may be wondering why we even have a keto calculator. According to many low carb diet proponents, all that really matters when it comes to losing fat is cutting the carbs — Isn’t this true?
High-quality research studies have been published on this specific topic, and the data clearly shows that – regardless if you are on a high carb or low carb diet — you will lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit and gain weight if you are in a calorie surplus. For a closer look at the research and why calories matter, check out this article.
Due to the irrefutable importance of calorie consumption for weight loss and weight gain, a keto macro calculator is one of the most valuable tools that you can use to increase your chances of diet success.
Simply by eating keto foods and cutting out the carbs, most people will eat fewer calories than usual and start losing weight consistently. However, following the diet in this way can increase your likelihood of hitting a weight loss plateau and not knowing what to do next.
One of the most efficient and effective ways to diet is by using a macronutrient calculator, like the ruled.me keto calculator, as a guide for how much you should eat. It will provide you with estimates for the fat, protein, carbs, and calories you should consume each day to get the results you want.
To help you stay on track to meeting your macro needs, we recommend using a calorie tracking app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. If you’d like to learn how to use these apps for the keto diet, read through our carb (and calorie) tracking guide.
By using our keto calculator, you will find out how much of each macronutrient (i.e., fat, protein, and carbs) you need to eat so that you can:
After you entered all of your data and calculated your macros, you will get results that look something like this:
Let’s start with the calories. Simply put, a calorie is a basic unit of energy that helps us understand how much energy we can potentially get from the food we eat. Calorie intake is one of the most critical variables to be aware of when you are trying to change your body composition.
If you eat fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight (which is also known as a calorie deficit) then you will lose weight. Conversely, eating more calories than you need to maintain your weight (which is also known as a calorie surplus) will cause you to gain weight.
Notice that I am saying “weight” loss and “weight” gain rather than “fat” loss and gain. By manipulating your calorie consumption, you will predictably change the numbers on the scale, but whether or not those numbers reflect a strong bias toward fat loss depends on the other numbers from your keto macro calculator results.
Fat, muscle, and water can all be lost and gained during the course of your diet. The proportion of weight you lose as fat, muscle, and water depends heavily upon the macronutrient content of your diet (i.e., how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you eat). If you’d like to learn more about the macronutrients, check out our guide to macros.
Depending on the info that you enter into our keto calculator, you will get different ratios of fat, protein, and carbs. In general, carbs should remain low because they will prevent you from entering into ketosis and getting all of the benefits of the keto diet. By limiting carb consumption to this degree, many people will lose a considerable amount of water weight as well.
Protein is essential for maintaining and gaining muscle mass. Eating less protein than recommended by our keto calculator will typically cause you to lose more muscle mass while eating the right amount of protein will help you maintain or gain muscle mass (as long as you are doing some form of resistance training as well).
While you are restricting carbs, your fat intake will be used as a lever to increase and decrease calorie consumption so that you can gain, maintain, or lose weight. If you are eating the right protein along with the right amount of calories and fat, then the percentage of the weight you lose from fat will increase.
To find out how many calories of each macronutrient you should eat, make sure you convert the macro numbers that you get from our keto calculator to calories first. Here are the conversions for each macronutrient to make it easier for you:
You may notice that the percentage of grams of protein you have to eat is much higher and fat is a lot lower than the percentages that are typically recommended for keto. This can happen for two reasons:
The only problem that high protein intake can cause, however, is lower levels of ketone production. If this is the case for you and you want to maintain a higher level of ketosis, then try decreasing your protein intake to the lower end of the recommended range or restricting carbs a bit more.
In general, as long as you are restricting carbs enough and eating the right amount of protein for your body composition goals and activity levels, you should be able to get all of the benefits of the keto diet — even if your macro percentages don’t fit precisely into the recommended keto percentages.
Total carbs is not a precise indicator of the carb content of a food. When you see “total carbs” on a food label, the number beside it represents the cumulative total of grams of dietary fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohol that are in that food item or beverage. Net carb content, on the other hand, relates to the carb content of the food that is digested at four calories per gram and impacts your ketones levels.
By giving you your suggested carb consumption in net carbs, we are providing you with the most direct way of knowing how many carbs you need to eat to enter ketosis. Any dietary fiber or sugar alcohol that is added on top of that will usually have a little to no direct effect on your ketone levels and body composition.
For example, if we told you to eat 50 total carbs rather than 20-30 grams of net carbs, you could be eating anywhere between 0 and 50 grams of net carbs. At 0 grams of net carbs, most people will get into ketosis within the first week and experience deeper levels of ketosis as the weeks progress. On the other hand, while eating 50 grams of net carbs per day, many people will struggle to get into ketosis and sustain higher ketone levels.
By following a strict net carb limit, you will know exactly what you need to eat to get into ketosis reliably and what variable you should change if you want to stimulate more ketone production.
(Note: If you live in Europe, Australia, or Oceania, the carb content on the label reflects the net carbs in a serving of that food, so you will not have to subtract fiber from that number because it already has been done.)
Our keto calculator will only tell you your suggested carb, fat, and protein intake. The general recommendation for fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. The simplest way to meet your daily fiber needs are by eating more low carb vegetables, having some keto bread with your meals, or taking fiber supplements.
If you find that your fiber needs are difficult to meet with your current net carb limit, then simply eat enough fiber so that you have regular bowel movements one or more times a day.
Once you get an estimate for your keto macros with our keto calculator, we recommend checking out our keto guide, keto recipes, keto food list, and carb tracking guide.
Click on this link to check out our keto recipe catalog (with new keto recipes added every week). This will give you a good idea of what you can eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert while you are keto dieting. I also suggest checking out our keto food list so you have a better idea of what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Once you know what you will be eating on keto, you will probably be wondering how much of you should eat for each meal. Since meal size depends on the individual and his/her goals, we recommend using a calorie tracking app and our carb tracking guide to help you figure out the macronutrient content of your meals. As you track your macros, you will be able to figure out what adjusts you need to make to your diet to reach your goals.
The simplest way to meet your macros is by cutting out non-keto foods and eating keto-friendly foods. Here’s a brief food list for you to start with:
Do Not Eat
To see more specific advice on how to meet your macros on keto, click here for a comprehensive keto food list. Or, if you want a different idea of how to get to these macro calculations, you can also see our 30 Day Keto Diet Plan for ideas.
If you are looking for more specific suggestions on how to meet your protein and/or fat needs on keto, we will explore that in greater detail in the next two questions.
The easiest way to meet your protein needs is by making sure you are consuming a good protein source at each meal. Here is a list of some of the most common protein sources you can add to your keto meals:
Most keto dieters will be able to meet their protein needs with 2-3 keto meals that contain one or more of these protein sources. If keto recipes aren’t enough to help you meet your protein needs, all you need to do is add one of the high protein foods from the list above.
Here are a couple of examples:
To add as much protein as possible with minimal calories and fat:
To add extra protein and fat to your meal:
For more high protein and/or high fat keto meal ideas, check out our keto recipes. Dishes that feature seafood or meat will typically have the highest protein content.
When you are first starting the keto diet, eating so much fat may seem like a daunting task.
How are you supposed to consume all of that fat and enjoy it at the same time? By knowing what keto-friendly options are available to you.
Here are some high-fat keto foods that you can eat to meet your fat needs:
To meet your macros most efficiently, try combining high protein with high-fat foods or have foods that are both high in protein and fat at every meal. For example, having a fatty fish or fatty cut of meat with high-protein cheese (and low carb vegetables) is a simple and easy way to have a keto-friendly meal that will help you meet your protein and fat needs. On the other hand, if you just want to increase your fat intake, then find ways to add oil, animal fats, butter, fat bombs, and/or high-fat cheeses to your meals or snacks.
Here are some specific examples for you:
To add more fat and protein to your meals:
To add as much fat as possible to your diet:
For more high fat and/or high protein keto meal and snack ideas, check out our keto recipes.
The simplest way to make sure you are limiting carbs enough is by using an app like Cronometer that calculates net carbs for you. In our guide to carb tracking on keto, we teach you how to configure Cronometer (and MyFitnessPal) for keto diet success.
You can also track net carbs by calculating them yourself and adding them up throughout the day. If you need help finding the net carbs in the foods you are eating, read through this quick post.