How to Track Macros on Keto
Keto Beginners Series

How to Track Macros on Keto

New to Keto? Trying it out, but still learning the ropes? If you haven’t already, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the concept of tracking macros. Tracking macros—short for macronutrients—means tracking your carb, protein, and fat intake for each and every bite of food. 

At first, tracking macros may seem like a pain. It’s extra work to log your meals, even if you have a well-designed app that makes this as easy as possible.   

Ugh. Another thing to do every day. 

But it’s worth it. Once you dial in your macros (especially your carbs), you’ll get your low-carb diet humming on all cylinders. 

The truth is, the benefits of Keto—fat loss, better energy, reduced cravings, and focus—are 100% dependent on hitting your macros! We’ve had users complain that they’d been on Keto for 9 months, and it just isn’t working for them. But then - lo and behold - after they began strictly tracking macros for 30 days, they came back and reported life-changing results. 

How’s that for motivation?

Today you’ll learn all about tracking macros. We’ll cover what they are, why they matter, and practical tips you can implement right away. Enjoy! 

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are nutrients required in large, or “macro”, amounts in your diet. Nutrients required in smaller amounts, like vitamins and minerals, are called micronutrients. 

Macronutrients come in three main forms: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three macros provide the raw materials to produce energy, build muscle, heal wounds, and much more. Technically, alcohol is also a macronutrient, but it’s not essential, and not something you need to track on a macro-based diet.

Another feature of macronutrients? They contain calories. (Calories approximate the amount of energy released when a food is digested.) Here are the calorie counts in each macronutrient: 

  • Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
  • Protein: 4 calories per gram
  • Fat: 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol: 7 calories per gram (in case you were wondering!)  

Despite what you may have heard, calories matter on a macro-based diet. For instance, if you eat too many calories (even healthy fat calories) on a Ketogenic diet designed for weight loss, you probably won’t lose weight. (Fortunately, most people find that overeating isn’t a problem on Keto, likely due to reductions in hunger hormones like ghrelin.)[*]

So yes, calories matter. But the type of calorie matters too. In other words, a fat calorie doesn’t affect your body in the same way as a carbohydrate calorie. And protein has its own special functions too. 

With that in mind, let’s run through these macros:

#1: Carbohydrates 

Carbs are how plants store energy. (Think grains, fruits, and roots). So plants store carbs...then animals eat them. 

When we digest carbs, they end up in our blood as blood sugar. This blood sugar can either be used immediately for energy, or stuffed away as glycogen (stored sugar) or fat. Your ability to process carbs depends on the hormone insulin, which we’ll cover soon.[*]

#2: Protein

Protein is found in both plant and animal sources, and it’s an absolute dietary necessity. Getting enough protein helps you maintain muscle, produce neurotransmitters, and synthesize a wide variety of hormones.[*

If you don’t get enough protein, your body breaks down your muscle mass to meet those needs. Yikes. That doesn’t happen when you restrict carbs or fat.  

#3: Fat

Fat gets a lot of flak, but assuming we’re talking about healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, butter, and animal fat—this is mostly undeserved. Fat helps you produce and store energy, absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D and K, and build cell membranes.[*]

On a Keto diet or during a fast, fat becomes your primary energy source. In other words, eating fat helps you access body fat.[*] Let’s dig into why. 

Why Macros Matter On Keto

The #1 rule of low-carb dieting is to mind your macros. On the Keto diet, minding your macros means eating 60-70% of your calories from fat, 20-30% from protein, and 5-10% from carbs.[*

This isn’t just for funzies. Keeping your macros in these ratios signals your body to enter the fat-burning state known as ketosis. 

Keeping carbs low is the crucial piece. That’s because keeping carbs low keeps blood sugar low—which means that less insulin (your blood sugar boss) is released into circulation.[*

With insulin absent, a neon sign lights up inside your liver cells: CARBS ARE SCARCE! TIME TO START BURNING FAT AND MAKING KETONES.

That’s how ketosis happens. And when you stay in ketosis over a period of weeks, the benefits of fat loss, stable energy, appetite management, and mental clarity often follow. 

What About Net Carbs?

You just learned why you need to cut carbs on Keto. Not all carbs, however, are on the chopping block. 

Fiber and sugar alcohols, for instance, have very little blood sugar (or glycemic) impact.[*][*] Because of this, they won’t meaningfully affect your Keto macros. 

So instead of total carbs, consider tracking net carbs on Keto. When you track net carbs, you’ll be much less restricted in what you can eat.   

The equation for net carbs looks like: 

Net carbs = Total carbs - fiber - sugar alcohols

Avocados, for example, have about 12 grams of total carbs, but 9 of those are from fiber. Only 3 net carbs, phew!

Any macro tracker worth its salt will have net carb functionality, although many include this feature with their premium membership only. Net carb tracking is free with Carb Manager, and you can learn how it works here

Customizing Your Macros

No diet is one-size-fits-all. You’re a unique individual, and you have unique needs. Let’s use Keto as an example.  

Let’s say you’re doing Keto for weight loss. In this case, you might want to cut carbs below 5%, lower than a person maintaining weight.  

Alternatively, if you’re extremely active (CrossFit, say), you might want to bump up the carbs and protein a bit. Protein in particular is essential for repair and recovery after exercise. 

So, how do you calculate your macros? You use technology to calibrate your diet to your specific needs. 

Carb Manager, for instance, features a macros calculator that allows you to customize macros based on diet (like Keto), activity levels, weight loss targets, and more. If you’re on a Keto diet, the key to success is to hang near the recommended macros, then make adjustments based on your goals and lifestyle. The macros calculator makes this easy.     


Keto isn’t the only diet in which you track macros. IIFYM, or “if it fits your macros”, is another approach that’s catching on for weight loss. 

The IIFYM diet is higher in protein and carbs than Keto, and bases your macro and calorie targets on your resting metabolic rate, activity levels, and weight goals. If you’re interested, calculate your IIFYM macros here, then use a macro tracker like Carb Manager to meet them. 

Tips for Tracking Macros On Keto

Now for the fun part: Actually tracking your Keto macros! (The highlight of your day, I know). Here’s some actionable advice to get you started.

#1: Write things down

You’ll want to use an app to track your macros (that’s tip #3!), but still: Don’t neglect the ancient power of pen and paper. 

When you write something down, you’re more likely to make it happen. In one study, people who pre-planned exercise were 2-3 times more likely to follow through than those who didn’t.[*]

Practically speaking, this could mean:

  • Using a journal to plan your meals and macros each morning
  • Logging your meals in the app, and comparing your actual results to your plan

Give it a try. 

#2: Track Ketone levels

Ketones are tiny molecules produced when your liver burns fat.[*] Once released into circulation, they fuel your brain and body with clean, efficient energy. 

Ketones can be measured in both blood and urine. If Ketone levels are elevated, it’s a good sign your low-carb macros strategy is working.  

To test Ketone levels accurately and affordably at home, consider picking up a Keto-Mojo meter. As a bonus, Carb Manager will likely be rolling out an integration in the near future. 

#3: Use a macro tracker

When you embark on your Keto journey, don’t do it alone. Hire a digital health coach to guide your steps. 

If that sounds expensive, don’t worry: It’s not. We’re talking about an app here! 

A macro tracker makes your Keto diet MUCH easier. You tell it what you ate, it queries a massive food database, and out pops your macro ratios. Then you adjust accordingly.  

But a quality app should offer more than just macro tracking. The Carb Manager app, for instance, gives you meal plans, Keto advice, community support, a video tutorial course, and over thousands of low-carb recipes. 

With all that support, why spend big bucks on a health coach? You have everything you need, right there in your pocket. 

Comments 30

  • MirthfulAvocado346849

    MirthfulAvocado346849 a month ago

    Thank you great info

    • IncredibleRadish140257

      IncredibleRadish140257 5 months ago

      Looking for information on how important is it to hit the full amount of macros suggested. Like if I end up with needing 50 grams of fat towards the end of the day but I met the protein and carbs but not fat. What do I do?

      • MarvellousRadish591652

        MarvellousRadish591652 5 months ago

        I'm looking forward to seeing the reply from this as it's my question as well. I was told to get as close as possible (within 7-10g from goal at least) to those fat and protein goals, so I bought MCT coconut oil and measured 4 oz of meat to bag up in the freezer for meal prep. This was great to keep me near those goals!!!

    • Pisces57

      Pisces57 8 months ago

      Thank you good to know seems like a good app just getting started on my health weight loss journey day2

      • Cognos89Carol

        Cognos89Carol 9 months ago

        Explained macros still trying to use the app effectively but better than no app at all! Articles are informative

        • AmazingKetone468171

          AmazingKetone468171 10 months ago

          Hello! Where can I see what I can eat after significant activity that’s synced on the app? I’m doing the Keto challenge on this app and I want to make sure I’m tracking things correctly to get more points! Thanks!

          • zdkelleyc01b

            zdkelleyc01b a year ago

            How can I change my daily net carbs from 20 to 20 grams?

            • KB

              KB a year ago

              Go to SETTINGS (the wheel in the top left corner of the screen). Under GOAL SETTINGS, choose MACROS CALCULATOR. In Step 1, you'll see (and be able to adjust) the daily calories that came from your Getting Started Wizard responses. Scroll down to Step 2, MY MACRO GOALS — you should see a box showing macros and a drop down box “arrow”; click it and slide down to CUSTOM. You’ll see sliders there to adjust. At the bottom of the screen, choose APPLY.

          • allyouneedislove2022

            allyouneedislove2022 a year ago

            This should be a great learning curve.... As a Keto newbie, Im approaching this one step at a time... Excited about my journey!

            • Pisces57

              Pisces57 8 months ago

              Me too😊

          • IncredibleAvocado906343

            IncredibleAvocado906343 a year ago

            New to this. Seems a little confusing to me!

            • Spring

              Spring a year ago

              How to find a keto health coach for over 60

              • Pisces57

                Pisces57 8 months ago

                Yes please I just turned 65

            • SplendidArugula991249

              SplendidArugula991249 a year ago

              Thank you. Very informative article. I find so many answers by reading your articles.

              • Fit'N'Fab

                Fit'N'Fab a year ago

                Once we get adapted to following the macros perfectly, would it be okay to keep the carbs and protein percentage same but cut down on the fat just a bit? I do sometimes find consuming that amount of fat makes me feel too full and heavy. Would really appreciate if anyone here could help me with this. Thanks in advance 🙂

                • SplendidArugula991249

                  SplendidArugula991249 a year ago

         go here to get all the information you could ever need. It helped me.

              • SpectacularCauliflower696307

                SpectacularCauliflower696307 a year ago

                Is it ok if im a kittle short on my macros (fat and proteien) I find if i try and add something, my calories are way over 🤔

                • Prayingkoala798

                  Prayingkoala798 2 years ago

                  So has anyone gotten an answer to their questions from the app creators? Or are we answering each other ? I am a non premium member and have lost 5 pounds in not quite 2 weeks on Leto… i never can get the complete amount of fat daily and sometimes I need to supplement the protein w collagen peptides… I am very full and I usually go a bit over on carbs and I tested my urine for ketones yesterday and I am there! Yay me! My husband is attempting the carnivore diet and refuses to use this app(no idea why) but isn’t as far on the ketone scale as I am . Has anyone had similar experiences?

                  • Prayingkoala798

                    Prayingkoala798 2 years ago

                    Can any sugars be consumed on Keto? Doesn't alcohol (like wine ) have sugars and carbs?

                    • Betsy A.

                      Betsy A. 2 years ago

                      What does .6 on a keto meter mean?

                      • FortuitousAvocado126732

                        FortuitousAvocado126732 2 years ago

                        How does one balance drinking alcohol into getting into Keto? I’ve been trying for a week & test strips come back negative. What do I increase/decrease with fat/protein/calories/carbs to counterbalance the alcohol? Just being real….

                        • RogueKale

                          RogueKale a year ago

                          Low carb wine is available. The one I saw I think was name Boca. I personally did not try it but my husband did and said that it was ok.


                 a year ago

                          I wonder about a glass wine.

                        • OutstandingKetone874344

                          OutstandingKetone874344 a year ago

                          I drink gin and tonics. gin has 0 carbs, then I drink sweeps diet tonic, also 0 carbs. toss in some fresh mint and its great! You can always drink Truly. Not my favorite, but its ok. Its more of a girly sweet drink

                      • ExcellentMacadamia414727

                        ExcellentMacadamia414727 2 years ago

                        I was told by my physician to eat 1800 calories per day and less than 100 carbs and to use the Carb Manager (for weight loss) Nothing was mentioned about the other macronutrients. What is recommended for the % of protein and fats?

                        • PropitiousKetone304485

                          PropitiousKetone304485 2 years ago

                          That’s 100 calories, not 100 carbs.

                        • PropitiousKetone304485

                          PropitiousKetone304485 2 years ago

                          5% carbs, 20% protein, 75% fat

                      • Gaysie

                        Gaysie 2 years ago

                        I selected 7 day keto plan, clicked set macros to fit profile.meals are way over the suggested amount listed per meal Like under Breakfast lunch or dinner what’s up?


                 a year ago

                          Same question. Why aren't the designer of Crab Manager answering our questions?

                        • WinThin

                          WinThin 2 years ago

                          I'm having the same problem. Did you get an answer?