Macro Calculator for Diabetes, Insulin Resistance & Weight Loss

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Step-by-Step Guide to Macro Calculation

  1. Enter your current body weight;
  2. Enter your present body fat percentage (based on the pictures below or bioimpedance scale);
  3. Select your goal;
  4. Select your target deficit or surplus;
  5. Use the slider to adjust your net carbs (default = 50 g/day);
  6. Use the protein slider to dial up your protein target (default = 1.8 g/kg LBM).

Once you have calculated your target macros, you enter them in Cronometer. To do so:

  • Go to more -> profile + targets,
  • Scroll down to Macronutrient Targets,
  • Select Custom Energy Target and enter your calorie target to the right, 
  • In the Macronutrient Targets section, make sure you have Fixed Macros and grams selected and
  • Enter your protein target.
  • If your blood glucose typically rises by more than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L, enter the net carb value in Cronometer and leave the fat blank (i.e. ‘none’ as shown above).
  • If your post-meal glucose values are typically within the normal range (i.e. a rise of less than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L) we suggest leaving both the net carb and fat fields blank.

Now, all you need to do is keep your protein bar longer than your energy bar in Cronometer (as shown in the example below) and keep the energy bar under 100%.

  • If you are not hungry, you don’t need to eat more to fill your protein or energy bar.
  • If glucose variability is a priority, don’t exceed your carbohydrate limit.

Review and Update Your Macro Targets Weekly

You can review your progress in Cronometer each week by looking at the seven-day average under Trends -> Nutrition Report to see how closely you track against the targets. 

You may not hit your target perfectly every day.  That’s okay!  It’s the weekly averages that matter.

  • Unless you’re managing diabetes, your balance of fat and carbs won’t matter much so long as you’re meeting your protein target and keeping the protein bar longer than the energy bar.
  • If your blood sugars rise by more than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L after meals, reduce your carbohydrate limit by 5 g for the coming week. 
  • If you are not losing more than 0.5% of your body weight each week, reduce your energy limit by 50 calories for the coming week.   

Are Macro Calculators Accurate?

A macro calculator estimates your calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates based on your weight, current body fat and goals using a theoretical formula based on population averages. Hence, any macro calculator will be inaccurate to some degree.

To overcome this, in the first week of our Macros Masterclass, Optimisers track their normal eating to establish a baseline and understand their typical macros. We then show them which of their current foods and meals to prioritise to increase satiety for weight loss with less hunger. In the following weeks, we make adjustments to ensure they continue achieving a sustainable weight loss rate.

When using a macro calculator to estimate your calories, protein, carbs, and fat, starting with a gentle deficit and adjusting your target based on your weight loss progress and hunger are best. Everyone wants rapid fat loss from day 1. However, this often leads to excessive hunger, leading people to give up, feeling like they failed another diet attempt.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the bigger (macro) nutrients that provide energy:

  • protein = 4 calories per gram,
  • fat = 9 calories per gram, and
  • carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram.

Note:  Alcohol is not technically a macronutrient, but pure alcohol will provide 7 calories per gram.

Reducing the amount of energy input from your food enables the excess energy stored in your body to be used for fuel.  Conversely, you will require more energy from your diet to gain weight or fuel high activity levels. 

Micronutrients vs Macronutrients

Food also contains micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. While micronutrients do not provide energy, they are required to enable your body to use the energy in your food effectively.  Our analysis also shows that our cravings for micronutrients strongly impact satiety and cravings.

Why Do Macros Matter?

Unfortunately, most people fail when they try to restrict calories. While energy is always conserved, there is more to it than simply restricting your calories by eating less of what you usually eat.  You need to change your diet to lose weight over the long term.

Different macronutrients uniquely impact how much energy we eat, burn and store. Regardless of how much willpower you try to exert, whether you are satiated (or not) determines how much you eat (or don’t) over the long term. 

Our satiety analysis has shown that focusing on protein while dialling back your energy intake from carbs and fat is the most important thing you can do to help you feel fuller during a calorie deficit and use your stored body fat over the long term. Prioritising higher-satiety foods will help you stick to your calorie budget. 

You Need Enough, but Not Too Much Energy

You should eat as much as possible to get the nutrients and energy needed to thrive while achieving a healthy body composition.

  • With nearly unlimited access to cheap, tasty food, many people eat more than their bodies require and gain weight. 
  • Meanwhile, others consume too few calories, leading to fatigue and loss of precious muscle mass.   

Your weight, muscle mass, activity level, and other factors unique to YOU influence your energy requirement.  

Why Do Macros Matter?

While controlling your calorie intake is critical to gaining, losing, or maintaining your weight, the macronutrient profile of your food significantly impacts your hunger and influences how much fat you will lose compared to muscle. 

Protein Intake

Our analysis has shown that protein is the most satiating macronutrient.  

As shown in the chart below, created with more than a million days of data:

  • We eat the most when our diet contains around 12.5% protein. This is the basic formula for ultra-processed food.
  • We may eat less if our diet contains minimal protein, but we’ll also be malnourished.
  • Increasing the percentage of energy from protein (by dialling back fat energy from fat and carbs) aligns with greater satiety per calorie and eating less over the long term.

In addition to satiety, there are many benefits of building the foundation of your diet on protein.

  • Protein plays a crucial role in managing diabetes. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promotes satiety. Ensuring adequate protein intake can better manage your diabetes while supporting overall health.
  • Protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient.  We use a significant amount of the calories contained in protein to digest it and convert it to usable energy in our body and repair and build our muscles and organs.  So, while protein is not a ‘free food’, it’s as close as it gets. 
  • We need the amino acids from protein to make enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters that make us feel good and enable our body to function.  Protein is also required to maintain and build lean body mass or metabolically active muscle and organ tissues.  These tissues burn calories at rest and are essential for keeping your metabolism high during weight loss.
  • Many diets encourage users to focus on low-calorie foods like vegetables and fruits.  While you can eat a large quantity of these foods without exceeding your calorie budget, they do little to maintain your lean body mass or to help you feel satiated over the long term.   

Carbohydrate Management

Adjusting carbohydrate and fat intake is essential for individuals with diabetes. Our calculator helps you find the right balance, reducing the risk of blood sugar spikes and aiding in managing insulin resistance.

Carbohydrates are a rapidly burning fuel source that our bodies use to generate explosive energy. So, athletes with excellent body composition often prefer to get more energy from carbs than fat. However, if you have diabetes or insulin resistance, it’s likely that you already have plenty of glucose stored in your body and, hence, need less in your diet.

As shown in the chart below, we eat the most when our diet contains around 48% carbohydrates. Reducing carbohydrates down to 20% has a significant impact on satiety.

However, it’s important to note that zero carbohydrates is not necessarily better than lower carbohydrates. Nutrient-dense non-starchy vegetables contain some carbohydrates but are hard to overeat and provide a nutrient profile that complements higher-protein foods like meat, seafood, and dairy.

Understanding your blood glucose response after eating can help you find your carbohydrate tolerance. If your blood sugars rise by more than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L after eating, you likely have plenty of stored glucose and might benefit from reducing your carbohydrates. 

Fat Consumption

Fat is a ‘slow-burning’ energy source your body likes to use when not engaged in intense activity. While carbs cause your blood sugar to rise and fall in the short term, fats tend to raise it slightly over the long term.

  • To stabilise your glucose -> reduce dietary carbohydrates.
  • To lower your average glucose -> reduce body fat and dietary fat.

Fat is a great energy source that often comes with our protein. It’s also the easiest to moderate and tailor to our energy requirements by reducing added fats like dressing, cream, oil and butter.

The chart below, from our satiety analysis, shows:

  • A very low-fat diet makes it hard to overeat and
  • A very high-fat diet is less satiating.

But if we have reduced our carbs to stabilise blood glucose, we need energy from somewhere. Hence, you can use ‘fat as a lever’ to ensure you’re getting enough, but not too much, energy to achieve your goals.

Best Macro Ratios for Diabetic Weight Loss

Below, we see the satiety response to protein, carbs, and fat together on one chart. For greater satiety and weight loss, it’s critical to avoid the bliss point macronutrient intakes that lead to food addiction.

  • Progressively dialling your protein from 12.5 to 40% will require reducing fat and/or carbs.
  • If necessary, you can further reduce your carbohydrate intake to achieve healthy blood glucose stability (i.e., a rise of less than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L0 after eating).
  • Finally, you can leverage fat to fill the remaining energy requirements with enough to satisfy your hunger while still achieving your desired rate of weight loss (e.g. 0.5 to 1.0% per week)

Need Some Extra Help?

Using our diabetic macro calculator, you can take a proactive approach to managing your diabetes. The personalized recommendations will help you maintain balanced blood sugar levels and achieve your health goals.

If you need some extra help dialling in your macros to achieve your goals, particularly for insulin resistance, diabetes, or weight loss, we’d love you to join our Optimising Nutrition Community. Here, we have many free tools and resources, including food lists, meal plans, and recipes optimised for your unique goals and preferences.

If you want a structured approach to fine-tuning your macros to increase satiety, stabilise your blood glucose, and help you lose weight, we’d love for you to join our next Macros Masterclass.

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