Over the years, you’ve no doubt heard different percentages for how much protein, carbs, and fat to eat to lose weight, but what are the right percentages and how do you figure them out?
I’ve got the step-by-step scoop.
Set your “daily target calorie intake amount” since all your calculations will depend on it.
FitWatch has a really great Total Daily Calorie Needs calculator to help you get that going.
Calculate how much of each MACRONUTRIENT you want to consume.
Protein: This macronutrient helps you build, repair, and maintain your muscle mass. Not only that, but it also helps rev your metabolism AND it’s known as the most satiating macro, keeping you feeling full for hours after eating it. Shoot for 10% to 35% of your calories from protein.
Tip: People who work out more generally need more protein to help with recovery.
Fat: Your body needs fat to be healthy. Among other things, fat helps your body convert and use several vitamins and minerals. Experts recommend getting between 20% and 35% of your daily calories from fat.
Carbohydrates: The remaining percentage should come from carbs. Major health organizations recommend you get between 45% and 65% of your total calories a day.
Fiber: This is another number you will want to keep in mind. It’s recommended you get between 25 to 30 grams of fiber from food sources each day.
EXAMPLE: Let’s say you calculated you need 2,000 calories a day, and you work out 4-5 days a week and have a goal of losing fat/maintaining muscle – so you decide to eat 30% from protein, 25% from fat, and 45% from carbs.
30% x 2000 = 600 calories from protein
25% x 2000 = 500 calories from fat
45% x 2000 = 900 calories from carbohydrates
But wait….sorry, but there’s more here. You definitely can stick with looking at just your calorie targets, but most macro-based programs actually take it a step farther and break those calorie targets into grams for each macronutrient.
Breaking it down into grams helps you be more precise. Hang with me here because there’s another step of math involved …
- 4 calories of protein = 1 gram
- 4 calories of carbohydrates = 1 gram
- 9 calories of fats = 1 gram
So, in order to figure your gram totals, you simply divide the calories by the appropriate macro number.
From our example above,
600 protein calories ÷ 4 = 150 grams of protein a day
500 fat calories ÷ 9 = 55 grams of fat a day
900 carb calories ÷ 4 = 225 grams of carbs a day
Those are your macros.
The awesome thing is that once you calculate your macros, that job is done, y’all.
I prefer sticking with a macro breakdown for at least a month or so to see how it works, and then changing it up a little if results stall or you feel hungry/tired/etc.
Right now you might be wondering what this all actually means and how to put it into action once you know your numbers.
I’ve got you covered: read DIY Meal Planning Macro Style.