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Weight Loss » Weight Management » Macro Calculator: How Much Of Each Nutrient Does Your Body Need?

Macro Calculator: How Much Of Each Nutrient Does Your Body Need?

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About The Macro Calculator

Counting calories has been a trend for a while now. While reducing your calorie intake is essential for weight loss, no less important is the balance of macronutrients in your daily menu. This aspect is often unduly forgotten among those trying to get rid of some extra pounds. Follow this article to find out all the necessary information regarding your daily macronutrient intake, and calculate your personal numbers taking into account your weight, height, age, and level of physical activity with the perfect macro calculator.

What are macronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances we need for a number of bodily functions such as growth and metabolism. We need macronutrients in large quantities, hence “macro” which means large.

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There are three macronutrients:

Not all macronutrients supply energy to your body in the same way. Here’s a caloric breakdown for each type of nutrient:

  • Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

The only other substance that provides calories is alcohol (7 calories per gram) however alcohol is not classified as a macronutrient because we do not need it for survival.

You need a healthy amount of proteins, carbs, and fats for successful and steady weight loss, or weight gain. How can we calculate this?

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The Macro Calculator

Talking about the macro calculator, you’ll need to calculate your TDEE. TDEE refers to Total Daily Energy Expenditure. To calculate TDEE, you first need to know your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) which is the energy used by your body to perform basic functions while you’re not physically active.

The basic formula for REE looks like this:

For males:

10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE

For females:

10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = REE

Insofar as most people don’t spend all day on their sofa, you need to figure out your movement expenditure.

Sedentary

The level of activity of a regular person, just what you spend while speaking, walking up and down, and going to your job and back (TDEE = REE X 1.2)

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Light activity

Any activity that burns an additional 200-400 calories for females; 250-500 calories for males more than your sedentary amount (TDEE = REE x 1.375).

Examples of light activities include: doing housework, 1 hour of dancing, 30 minutes of stair climbing, 20 minutes of swimming, 15 minutes of doing squats.

Moderate activity

Any activity burning an additional 400-650 calories for females; 500-800 calories for males more than your sedentary amount (TDEE = REE x 1.55).

Examples of moderate activities include: 1 hour of walking (fast pace, 4-5 mph), 1 hour of jogging, 1 hour of aerobics (high impact), 1 hour of cycling.

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Very Active

Any activity that burns more than about 650 calories for females; more than 800 calories for males in addition to your sedentary amount (TDEE = REE x 1.725).

Examples of such activities include: 45 minutes of high-impact step aerobics, 1 hour of circuit training, 1 hour of swimming fast, 1 hour of doing jumping rope, 1 hour of running up stairs

So, the number you get using this equation will be your necessary amount of calories.

If you wish to lose weight, you need 20% fewer calories on average, if you wish to gain weight, you need 20% more calories on average.

That is, if your TDEE is, say, 3000 calories, you’ll need:

3000 – (3000 x 0.2) calories for steady weight loss. If you wish to gain weight, you’ll need 3000 + (3000 x 0.2) calories for weight gain.

So you’ve figured out how many calories you need for your weight loss goals. Now you’ll need to measure the exact amount for fats, proteins, and carbs with this macro calculator.

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Proteins

Proteins are the essential macronutrients that are found literally everywhere in your body, including muscle, bones, skin, and nails. Body, tissue and cells cannot function without proteins. Proteins repair and make new cells, protect the body from viruses and bacteria, and ensure active growth of the organism (7, 11).

The proteins you consume are constantly being broken down and replaced. The protein in the foods we eat is digested into amino acids that are later used to replace proteins in our bodies.

The following foods contain protein:

  • meats, poultry, and fish
  • legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds
  • milk and milk products
  • grains, some vegetables, and some fruits
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Proteins are made up of amino acids. Human body cannot make some amino acids and must consume them through food. These are essential amino acids. In your diet, protein sources are labeled according to how many essential amino acids they provide:

A complete protein source is one that provides all of the essential amino acids. Animal-based foods; for example, meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are complete protein sources. That does not mean all animal-based proteins are healthy though, as regular consumption of red meat is connected to higher risks of cancer and stroke (9).

An incomplete protein source is one that is low in one or more of the essential amino acids. Complementary proteins are two or more incomplete protein sources that together provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. Most of the plant-based proteins are incomplete, except for soy, quinoa, seitan, and buckwheat, which are considered complete. If you do not consume very many complete protein sources, not to worry. As long as you vary your incomplete proteins, you should get enough of all the essential amino acids.

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To count the exact number of proteins, you need to multiply your weight on one of the following coefficients:

The average sedentary person needs 0.8 g of protein per kg body weight, while athletes need 1.2-2 g of protein per kg body weight depending on factors like type of sport and training regimen. You can also take your total calorie needs and make calories from protein 10-35% of that to make sure you are in the right range. If your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, you’ll shoot for the higher end of that range.

For instance, if your weight is 90 kg and you’re moderate with fitness, your daily take-in of proteins would be:

90 x 0.8 = 72 grams. Insofar as 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, you can easily get this converted into calories:

72 x 4 = 288 calories.

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How to Calculate Macros for Weight Gain/ Building Muscle
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Fats

Fat is a major source of energy and aids your body in absorbing vitamins. It’s important for proper growth, development and keeping you healthy. Fat provides taste to foods and the feeling of satiety. Dietary fat also plays a major role in your cholesterol levels.

Fat has numerous health benefits, including:

Providing a cushion to help protect our vital organs – without fat our organs would be more prone to damage. Furthermore, fat acts as an insulator, helping our body to maintain the correct body temperature.

Enabling our bodies to process vitamins A, D, E and K, which are all fat soluble and vital to good health.

Like amino acids in protein, fats provide essential fatty acids (EFA’s). These EFA’s are indispensable to good health and likely to help the heart and immune system (8). The human body cannot make its own (synthesize) these EFA’s and therefore has to get them from fats.

Some fatty acids, like omega 3, provide other health benefits (6) such as complimenting the cognitive processes of the brain.

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The two main types of fat are saturated and unsaturated.

Unsaturated fats are generally considered better for human health than saturated fats (4). Saturated fats are more likely to stick to the sides of arteries and allow other saturated fat molecules to build up, which can gradually clog the arteries leading to higher blood pressure and making it more difficult for the heart to pump oxygen rich blood around the body.

Generally (although not exclusively) saturated fats come from animal sources (meat, dairy, eggs etc.), while unsaturated fats come from vegetable sources (sunflower and olive oil), and oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel) (3).

There are multiple opinions on the number of fats you need, but the estimate is about 20-35% of your overall TDEE.

That is, if your TDEE is 3000 calories, the formula is:

3000 x 0.25 = 750 calories.

Insofar as there are 9 calories in every gram of fat, you need to divide 750/9 to get the final result – 83 grams of fats.

How to Calculate Macros for Fat Loss (Weight Loss)
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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the primary energy source for the human body. Once ingested, all carbohydrates from foods are eventually turned into glucose, which is transported through the bloodstream and delivered to cells to use for energy production. When glucose is not needed immediately, it is stored in the body in two forms: as glycogen in the liver, and in skeletal muscles (12). Your glycogen stores provide you with energy during physical activity and are replenished when you eat a meal rich in carbs. When people eat too much in carbohydrates, glycogen reserves may become saturated. When this happens, human body converts excess energy from carbohydrates to fat for long-term energy storage leading to weight gain. Conversely, if you have insufficient carbohydrate intake or stores, the body will consume protein for fuel, which also means that you’ll lose muscle — which is absolutely not healthy.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates should comprise 45 to 65% of total calories and a limit on added sugars to no more than 10% of total calories for a healthy diet (2). Too little dietary carbohydrate may cause bad breath, constipation and, in severe cases, kidney failure, kidney stones, and gout due to significant protein and fat intake. Too much dietary carbohydrate can lead to malnutrition due to decreased protein and fat intake.

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Scientists commonly distinguish «good», and «bad» carbohydrates:

«Bad» carbs refer to foods that are composed mainly of simple carbohydrates. These foods include sugary drinks and refined carbohydrates (with added sugars) such as white bread, cakes, and cookies. Simple carbohydrates are digested more quickly and raise blood glucose levels faster, which causes blood glucose level raises, called «blood sugar roller coaster» by some nutritionists. Sugar spikes trigger an acute insulin response that acts to lower excess blood glucose quickly, turning it into stored fat and causing the “sugar crash.” Sugar crashes can also lead to fatigue and mood swings. Besides, they cause you to become hungry sooner, which can lead to overeating and weight gain (1).

“Good” carbs refer to foods containing more complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and oatmeal. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and raise blood glucose levels more slowly and gradually (5, 10). They are also better for weight loss purposes. Complex-carb foods also usually contain fiber, which is helpful for digestive health and weight loss as well.

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To calculate your carbs, you simply need to subtract the number of calories from fats and proteins from your TDDE. That is, in case of 3000 calories, you’ll need to subtract 660 calories for proteins, and 750 calories for fats calculated above:

3000 – 660 – 750 = 1590 calories This is the number of carbs you need to consume. To get it with grams, divide 1590 by 4:

1590/4 = 398 grams.

And that’s it! With this macro calculator you can get the exact numbers of proteins, carbs, and fats suitable for your age, height, weight, gender, physical activity and weight loss goals.

Macro Calculator

Conclusion

To sum up, the best macro calculator for weight loss provides you with essential numbers crucial to achieving your weight loss goals. What’s more, it helps you get the numbers as precise as possible, accounting for all the major characteristics of your body. Remember though, that the percentages above are not absolute, for instance, Keto diet followers would certainly disagree with the percentage of carbs in the calculations above, so it is not a keto macro calculator.

Still, even if you’re sticking to this plan, you can use the formulas of the best macro calculator to get all the principal numbers required for healthy and steady weight loss. Remember to combine your nutritious dietary plan with the workout sessions to tone up your body while blasting away excess pounds. Burning fat, not muscles or losing water is the key to weight loss. Keep your fluid intake high at the times of intensive training, and try High Intensity Interval Training to get it even more effective. Drink a refreshing glass of lemon water every morning to amplify your results. Check this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home challenge!

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Carbohydrate Intake and Overweight and Obesity among Healthy Adults (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (n.d., health.gov)
  3. Facts about fat (n.d., nhs.uk)
  4. Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease (2015, cochranelibrary.com)
  5. Review of Human Studies Investigating the Post-Prandial Blood-Glucose Lowering Ability of Oat and Barley Food Products (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Omega‐3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. Optimizing Protein Intake in Adults: Interpretation and Application of the Recommended Dietary Allowance Compared with the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Their Potential Therapeutic Role in Cardiovascular System Disorders—A Review (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. Substituting healthy plant proteins for red meat lowers risk for heart disease (2019, hsph.harvard.edu)
  10. Systematic Review: The Effects of Fibre in the Management of Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  12. The Role of Skeletal Muscle Glycogen Breakdown for Regulation of Insulin Sensitivity by Exercise (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Calculate your ideal body weight

Gender
Invalid height
Invalid weight

Your result

  • Ideal body weight

    73 kg
  • Current body weight

    119% (1.2x)
100 KG 100 KG
Male Female
100 KG 100 KG
Male Female
Male Female

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Alex Porter

Alex Porter

Alex is a professional writer who takes pride in helping people achieve their health goals and motivates others to start taking care of their bodies through exercise and proper nutrition. Being a part of the BetterMe Team, he is extremely inspired by our mission to promote a healthy lifestyle, which includes not only physical, but also mental well-being. Alex emphasizes the importance of safe yet efficient workouts and healthy diets. His main goal is to make more people realize how essential these aspects are, and how drastically they can improve their lives.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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