Macronutrient Calculator

Use this calculator to easily calculate your macro mix: carbohydrates, fats and proteins intake per day depending on your goal: maintaining weight, gaining or losing weight. Adjust depending on your chosen diet's macro recommendations.

years
ft
in
Share calculator:

Put it on your site!
get code

* where the calculator states "calories" it is actually "kCal", or kilocalories. Common usage, however, shortened "kilocalories" to "calories" so we are adhering to that convention.

How to use the macro calculator?

This macro calculator estimates your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and then splits the different types of macronutrients according to your chosen dietary regime. You can check our list of macronutrients in common diets below for reference.

To calculate your calorie needs, you need to enter your age, gender, height, weight and activity level which includes exercise and other physical activity. Finally, select your chosen diet from the drop down. The macronutrient calculator will display the amount (in ounces or grams) and caloric equivalence of the carbs, proteins and fats (lipids) you need to eat per day.

What is a macronutrient (macro)?

A macronutrient (macro) is one of three main sources of daily energy supply: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All of them are essential in maintaining a healthy life and good exercise condition, but different diets and different occasions call for different balance between them and our macro calculator is here to help you estimate how much of each you need to consume to follow your diet plan. Here is brief information on each of the main macronutrients:

proteins carbs fats

Carbohydrates

This is a building block of all living cells in the human body and most of them are provided from plants - fruits and vegetables. A major subset are the monosaccharides, which come from fructose and glucose and are used directly by cells for energy. When not used, they are stored as glycogen in the muscle fibers and the liver, or converted to fats for longer-term storage. They also play a role in the synthesis of non-essential amino acids.

Disaccharides are another type of simple sugar and all of them contain glucose as a principal component. The three macros of this type of nutritional value are sucrose (glucose + fructose), which occurs in beet sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, bee honey and maple syrup. Lactose is found naturally in milk and therefore often called "milk sugar". Maltose is found in beer, cereals and germinating seeds.

Finally there are polysaccharides which include starch and fiber. Starch is found mostly in bread, cereal, spaghetti and pastries, as well as beans, peas, potatoes. Fiber is found in plant leaves, stems, roots and seeds. The recommended daily fiber intake is 38 g for men and 25 g for women up to age 50, and 30 g for men and 21 g for women older than 50. You should take this into account when calculating your macro diet, and if it is low on carbs, make sure a lot of them include fiber.

Including enough carbs in your macro mix is important as they are an important energy source, they preserve tissue proteins during prolonged exercise and repeated bouts of intense training. Carbohydrates also serve as a metabolic primer, facilitating fat burn, particularly in the liver. Carbohydrates are also key for the proper functioning of your nervous system. Make sure that you take this into account when using this macronutrient calculator.

Proteins

A typical adult human body contains 10-12 kg (22 - 26.5 lb) of proteins located mostly within skeletal muscles. Protein forms from amino acid building-block linkages with peptide bonds joining amino acids in chains, forming many diverse forms and chemical combinations. Due to this variety, a typical body contains approximately 50,000 different protein-containing compounds.

There are two major types of amino acids: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are indispensable as they must be ingested through eating food. There are 8 such types of acids. The other 12 are non-essential amino acids which means that they can be synthesized from the body itself, given the necessary compounds exist. Please, note that this doesn't mean that non-essential amino acids are not important. There is no difference in the same amino acid, if it is derived from an animal or vegetable source.

Dietary sources of complete proteins include eggs, milk, meat, fish, and poultry, with eggs providing the optimal mixture of essential amino acids. Unlike carbs and fats, proteins are not "stored" in the body, instead they are tissue building blocks, including plasma membranes and internal cellular material. Proteins are key for maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

Still, simply eating a lot of protein will not result in muscle gains, so don't just go for the diet with the highest protein percentage when using the macro calculator. Excessive protein will simply be transformed or discarded and consuming too much proteins can be harmful as it strains your liver and kidneys. The generally recommended daily protein intake is 0.9 grams per kg of body weight for adolescents and 0.8 grams per kg of body weight for adults. You can use our protein requirement calculator to do the math for you.

Fats (Lipids)

Technically, fats are only a subcategory of lipids, which consist of oils, fats and waxes. Oils are liquid at room temperature whereas fats remain solid. Most dietary lipids are triacyglycerols.

Fats are subdivided into saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are plentiful in beef, lamb, pork, chicken, egg yolk. They are also present in cream, milk, butter and different cheeses. Some plant-based products also include fats, like coconut oil, palm oil, margarine. Unsaturated fats are encountered in canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, almonds, pecans, and avocados. Polysaturated fatty acids are found in safflower, sunflower, soybean, and corn oil.

Lipids (fats) are transported in the blood by lipoproteins, also known as cholesterol. Low-density lipoproteins are known as "bad cholesterol" due to its affinity for cells located in the arterial wall. You can affect your "bad cholesterol" levels through regular exercise, controlling your visceral fat accumulation and diet composition. High-density lipoprotein, so-called "good cholesterol" acts in the reverse manner as it removes cholesterol from the arterial wall and transports it to the liver, from where it is excreted.

It is recommended to avoid trans-fatty acids, as it is unwanted fat that is derived from the hydrogenation of unsaturated corn, soybean, and sunflower oil. These should be avoided and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as regulators in other countries, take measures against the presence of trans-fatty acids in different foods.

Fats are an essential nutrient, so when using our macronutrient calculator, make sure to include sufficient amounts of them, as they serve as an energy reserve, as a transport medium for some vitamins, and as a hunger suppressor. Fats are what protects your vital organs and provide thermal insulation. Most health professionals recommend that fats constitute at most 30% of your diet, of which no less than 70% should be unsaturated fat.

Macronutrients in common diets

Our macro calculator has predefined macro balance for six common diets: high & low carb, moderate, Zone, Keto and DASH. Selecting them will automatically use the values specified in the table below:

Macronutrients in common diets
DietCarbohydratesProteinsFats
High Carb 60% 25% 15%
DASH Diet 55% 27% 18%
Moderate Diet 50% 25% 25%
Zone Diet 40% 30% 30%
Low Carb 25% 40% 30%
Keto Diet 10% 15% 75%

Naturally, all of the above sum to 100%. You can always specify a custom balance following a different diet plan, but don't forget to consult your physician if making significant dietary decisions.

Optimal macronutrients balance

The balanced approach is for 50% of your calories to come from carbohydrates, 25% from lipids (fats) and 25% from proteins. However, each person is different, has different health condition and goals, so your diet should be decided on after taking all factors into consideration. This calculator is a good start, though.

If you follow the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macro) approach, then you can surely use this tool as a free IIFYM calculator.

Weight loss by controlling macronutrient intake

A lot of dietary advice focuses solely on calorie counting, while others insist that what we eat is more important than how much we eat. The truth is in the middle: eating tons of food in healthy nutrient balance will not help with weight loss, while eating just the right number of calories but in the form of a bad macro mix can result in health issues and might also hinder weight loss.

Making sure you are eating a healthy dose of each type of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) is something our macro calculator helps you with, but it also provides you with a calorie count and food mass estimation in ounces or grams, depending on your metric system preference. This way you can take the best of both approaches and achieve a healthy diet. As always, before significant changes to your diet, be it for weight loss, fat loss, or muscle gain, consult a nutritionist or physician.

References

[1] Katch V.L., McArdle W.D., Katch F.I (2011) "Essentials of Exercise Physiology", fourth edition

Cite this calculator & page

If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Macronutrient Calculator", [online] Available at: https://www.gigacalculator.com/calculators/macro-calculator.php URL [Accessed Date: 21 Nov, 2018].