The ultimate calculator for calories, portions and macros

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The ultimate calculator for calories, portions and macros

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The calorie and macromathematics

Here we outline the numbers used to determine the calories and macros provided by the calculator.

Calorie math

This calculator uses the same basic algorithm as the Precision Nutrition Weight Loss Calculator to calculate the need for maintenance, weight loss and weight gain. It takes into account the dynamic and adaptive nature of your metabolism to predict how long it will take to reach your body weight goal.

This algorithm is a mathematically validated model based on the NIH Body Weight Planner and derived from research by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.

Q:

How do goals change the equation?

ON:

For people who want to improve their health, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator uses the weight calories determined by the validated mathematical model of the NIH algorithm.

For people who want to lose body fat, the calorie, portion, and macro calculators use the validated mathematical model of the NIH algorithm. It takes into account a variety of anthropometric data, the time required to reach the goal and the adaptability of human metabolism.

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For people who want to build muscle, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator uses the validated mathematical model of the NIH algorithm. It takes into account a variety of anthropometric data, the time required to reach the goal and the adaptability of human metabolism.

For people who want to improve their athletic performance, calorie, portion, and macro calculators add an extra 10% more calories to the weight maintenance requirements calculated by the NIH algorithm. This supports the increased demands on athletic performance.

For those who want to change their body composition with minimal weight change, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator reduces calorie requirements by 10% over the weight requirements calculated using the NIH algorithm. This facilitates simultaneous fat loss and muscle growth. It should be noted that this approach is best for people who do not want to change their body weight by more than 10 to 15 pounds but still want to improve their body composition.

Makromath

The macronutrients are calculated according to many rules.

  1. Protein is determined in a range of 0.65 to 1.35 g / lb on a per gram body weight basis, depending on sex, weight, goal and level of activity. (In very low-fat and low-carbohydrate options, protein is fixed at 20% of calories, not body weight.)
  2. The protein requirement is also very different, as heavier people would, on average, have a higher body fat percentage than lighter people even within the same goal and activity levels. Therefore, they require a smaller amount of grams per pound of protein (though they are still higher on an absolute basis).
  3. Then, depending on the chosen macronutrient preference, either fat or carbohydrates are set to a certain percentage of calories (eg, “low fat” is set to 20% calories from fat and “low carbohydrate” to 20% calories from carbohydrates) to determine remaining non-protein calories.
  4. Finally, the rest of the calories are replenished by the remaining macronutrient (either fat or carbohydrate). Note that choosing Balanced will break the non-protein calories evenly between fat and carbohydrates.

Custom percentages for macronutrients

When user-defined percentages for macronutrients are entered, these ratios are used to determine all macronutrient and hand portion calculations. Overwrite the macronutrient maths described above. (Calories are not changed.)

Calorie and Macro FAQ

How do I make macros meals?

You can not. At least not easy.

Instead, you often need to first prepare your meals, weigh and measure foods, and put those measurements in an app to find the macronutrient and calorie levels. Then see what “allotment” you have left over the day.

However, the hand-serving system makes this much easier, which you can read about in your free personal guide (and below).

Hand share math

Hand portion quantities were determined based on the calorie and macronutrient calculations as outlined above.

Approximate portion sizes

Using the average hand size for the man and woman of average size and in combination with the usual serving sizes of foods, the hand sized portions are approximated as follows.

For men
1 palm (protein)
~ 115 g of cooked meat / tofu, 1 cup of Greek yoghurt / cottage cheese, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 whole eggs
1 fist (vegetables)
~ 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables (eg spinach, carrots, cauliflower, peppers etc.)
1 hollow hand (carbohydrates)
~ ⅔ cup (130 g) cooked grains / legumes (eg rice, lentils, oats), 1 medium fruit (eg banana), 1 medium tuber (eg potatoes)
1 thumb (fats)
~ 1 tablespoon (14 g) of oils, nuts, seeds, nut butter, cheese, dark chocolate, etc.
For women
1 palm (protein)
~ 85 g of cooked meat / tofu, 1 cup of Greek yoghurt / cottage cheese, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 whole eggs
1 fist (vegetables)
~ 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables (eg spinach, carrots, cauliflower, peppers etc.)
1 hollow hand (carbohydrates)
~ ½ cup (100 g) cooked grains / legumes (eg rice, lentils, oats), 1 medium fruit (eg banana), 1 medium tuber (eg potatoes)
1 thumb (fat)
~ 1 tablespoon (14 g) of oils, nuts, seeds, nut butter, cheese, dark chocolate, etc.

You will notice that we used a cup of Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, comparable to a palm tree. And we used a medium-sized tuber and medium-sized fruit as a hollow handful. These sizes have been used because they represent common patterns of consumption or pre-portioned quantities of these foods, allowing for the most consistent and easy accounting possible.

Remember, these are just approximate. No exact measurements. The actual portion sizes ultimately depend on the size of the individual’s hand, which is usually proportional to the size and needs of the individual. (That’s part of the beauty of the handpiece approach.)

Approximate portion of math

With the above approximate parts, we can create different meal scenarios and simulations and calculate the approximate macros that provide these parts. In this way, number-oriented users can see how the weighing and measuring of their food behaves compared to our hand-serving system.

Men serving macros
1 palm protein
~ 24 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fat, 145 kcal
1 pesto
~ 1.5 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 25 kcal
1 handful of carbohydrates
~ 3 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 120 kcal
1 thumb fats
~ 2 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 100 kcal
Woman serving macros
1 palm protein
~ 22 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 130 kcal
1 pesto
~ 1.5 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 25 kcal
1 handful of carbohydrates
~ 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 110 kcal
1 thumb fats
~ 2 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 90 kcal

It can not be emphasized enough – these are approximate. Nothing will be accurate as all aspects of calorie and macronutrient calculation are based on averages with known error rates. (Yes, even the USDA Nutrient Database reports averages, actual foods always vary.) Regardless, this information can be useful to inform those who are mathematically interested and / or those with highly specific and targeted goals.

Assumed choice of food

And as you can see, the hand serving system requires a mixed intake of protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and fats. Of course, these food sources contain varying amounts of each macronutrient.

For example, let’s look at protein.

You may start the day with eggs (a high-fat protein source), a morning super-shake (very lean protein powder), a chicken breast for lunch (very lean protein source), and salmon for dinner (moderate) lean source of protein).

The hand-serving recommendations are based on the assumption that you will receive on average a moderate amount of fat and even a small amount of carbohydrates from your protein sources.

If you are constantly consuming many high-fat protein sources or many very lean protein sources, you may need to make adjustments. Based on your progress, use results-based decision making to determine whether you or a customer should simultaneously increase or decrease your daily number of fat-dense portions.

The same assumptions apply to carbohydrates and fats. The hand portions are considered to have a blend of fruit, starchy tubers, beans and whole grains as a source of carbohydrate.

And it is assumed that you have a mixture of whole-food fats (eg nuts, seeds, avocado), mixed whole foods (eg nut and seed butter, guacamole, pesto) and pressed oils (eg olive oil, Avocado oil, coconut oil) for fat sources.

If you are low on oil, you may need to reduce the number of thumb-sized fat portions you eat, as they contain more fat than the other sources. Or if you only eat berries for carbohydrates, you may need to increase the number of hollow hands of carbohydrates you eat – as they contain fewer carbohydrates than the other sources. However, you should only decide this using results-based decision-making.

In essence, this means asking, “How does it work for you?” If you (or your client) achieve the desired results and are satisfied with the overall result, there is no reason to change what you do. However, if you do not get ahead the way you want, you can adjust your recording.

Testing the handpiece math

Let us see how this system works in practice and compared to manually tracking macros and calories.

Example 1: High-ranking athlete, 135 pounds with 18% body fat, training twice a day

  • Pre-workout at 6 am: 16 ounces of black coffee, 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup of chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, 1 glass of water
  • Workout at 7: 15-8: 30: Take a sip of water during the training session
  • Post-workout shake at 9:00 pm: 12 ounces of water, 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 medium apple, 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats, 2 cups of spinach, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed, 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • Lunch at 12 o’clock: 3 ounces of salmon, 1 cup of steamed mixed vegetables, 1 medium sweet potato, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 2 glasses of water
  • Afternoon snack at 4 pm: 1 banana, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1-2 glasses of water
  • Workout at 17:30 – 18:00: Take a sip of water during the training session
  • After dinner training at 7 pm: 3 ounces of chicken breast, 2 cups of cooked whole wheat pasta and 2 cups of sautéed vegetables with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and white wine, 2 glasses of water

If you calculate that person’s calories and macronutrients using the USDA Nutrient Database, you will receive:

  • 2672 kcal
  • 170 g protein
  • 264 g of carbohydrates
  • 104 g fat

And when you express that person’s intake in hand-sized portions, you get:

  • Protein = 5 palms (Greek yogurt, protein powder x 2, salmon, chicken)
  • Vegetables = 5 fists (spinach x 2, mixed vegetables, sauteed vegetables x 2)
  • Carbohydrates = 10 cupped hands (pineapple x 2, apple, oat, sweet potato, banana, noodles x 4)
  • Fats = 9 thumbs (walnuts x 2, flax seed, almond butter, coconut oil, peanut butter x 2, olive oil x 2)

If you multiply these portion numbers by the approximate hand portion calculation for women (see table above), you will receive an estimated intake of:

  • 2672 kcal (just like with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 166 g of protein (4 g less than when calculating with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 273 g of carbohydrates (9 g more than calculated with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 102g of fat (2g less than when calculating with apps and spreadsheets)

Example 2: Moderately active man, 210 pounds with 17% body fat

  • Wake up at 5:30 am: 12 oz black coffee
  • Breakfast at 7:00 am: 4 whole eggs with a large amount of peppers, scallions and mushrooms, cooked in a large piece of butter, placed on wholegrain wrap, with ~ 1 ounce of cheese, 1 handful of black beans and some pico de gallo, big glass of water, 12 ounces of black coffee
  • Super Shake at 10:30 am: ~ 10 ounces of water, 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder, 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups of frozen cherries, ~ 1 tablespoon of cocoa nibs, ~ 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Lunch at 2 pm: 4 ounces of turkey breast, ~ ⅔ cup of quinoa, 1 fist mixed vegetables, 1 apple, 2 thumb roasted almonds, 1-2 large glasses of water
  • 1-2 cups of green tea at 3-4 o’clock
  • Dinner at 6 pm: 8 oz sirloin (lean), 2 hollow hands of roasted red potatoes with onions, 2 cups of roasted rainbow carrots, 2 tablespoons of olive oil to roast, 1 glass of wine, 1-2 large glasses of water

If you calculate that person’s calories and macronutrients using the USDA Nutrient Database, you will receive:

  • 3130 kcal
  • 212 grams of protein
  • 283 g of carbohydrates
  • 111 g fat

And when you express that person’s intake in hand-sized portions, you get:

  • Protein = 7 palms (eggs x 2, protein powder x 2, turkey, sirloin x 2)
  • Vegetables = 6 fists (spring onions / peppers / mushrooms / pico, spinach x 2, mixed vegetables, rainbow carrots x 2)
  • Carbohydrates = 9 cupped hands (wrap, beans, cherries x 3, quinoa, apple, potato x 2)
  • Fats = 8 thumbs (butter, guacamole, cocoa nibs, chia seeds, almonds x 2, olive oil x 2)
  • Alcohol = 1 (wine)

If you multiply these portion numbers by the approximate hand portion calculation for men, you will receive an estimated intake of:

  • 3183 kcal (53 kcal more than calculating with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 220 g protein (8 g more than calculated with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 285 g of carbohydrates (2 g more than calculated with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 113 g fat (2 g more than calculated with apps and spreadsheets)

If you look at both examples, 96-100% of the ease of using your hands is as accurate as weighing, measuring, and logging all food in apps or spreadsheets. Given the known error rates of calories and macronutrients on labels and nutrient databases, this accuracy is likely to be sufficient for all but the most advanced individuals (that is, for people paid to look a certain way).

Handpiece FAQ

Do I measure my portions before or after cooking?

One of the most common questions about using your hands to measure portions is whether the hand portions are for cooked or uncooked foods.

The answer is certainly cooked. Hand portions are used to cover the food, not for cooking. That way, they can be used at home, in restaurants, at buffets, at conferences, at mom’s home and in the office.

Other helpful hints:

  • Dry carbohydrates tend to double in boiling. For example:
    • 1/4 cup dry oats (25 g) = 1/2 cup cooked
    • 1/4 cup of dry rice (50g) = 1/2 cup cooked
    • 1/2 cup dry whole wheat pasta (40 g) = 1 cup cooked

This is useful for knowing when it is difficult to measure a cooked meal by hand.

What to do with foods that do not fit?

Some items do not fit well in the hand-sized portion system. It is not perfect. Not a single system. It should provide practical and actionable guidelines.

Particularly problematic are liquids.

dairy

Cow’s milk and non-Greek yoghurt are difficult as they can be a fairly even mixture of all three macros or may vary depending on the fat content you choose (eg whole, low fat, fat free, etc.).

Ultimately, we recommend making this decision based on the fat or carbohydrate content of the milk or yogurt you consume.

In general, consider 1 cup (8 oz) whole milk products as a “thumb” fat. (Even if it’s bigger than a thumb and also provides protein and carbohydrates).

Anything that contains less fat (eg 0-2%) is generally considered to be a handful of carbohydrates (while providing fats and proteins at the same time).

A cup of anything that is sweetened (eg, chocolate milk, strawberry yoghurt) is generally considered a handful of carbohydrates (while providing fats and proteins).

So what happens in this situation: You have a full greasy Greek yogurt or a whole milk that is sweetened? Is it a fat or a carb? Imagine it: If it’s already full, you know it’s a thumb fat. But if a lot of sugar is added, it’s also a handful of carbohydrates.

The key is to pick an approach and apply it consistently. This is probably more important than the actual classification. (Remember, the system already has built-in buffers: your sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates are expected to contain smaller amounts of the other macros.)

Biscuits, ice cream, chips (and other compound foods)

In the case of naturally occurring or only minimally processed foods, it is usually best to allocate only one hand portion to a food. However, you would like to allocate two (or more) hand portions to these highly processed compound foods. Because just like dairy products that are high in fat and sweetened, they are both fat and carbohydrates. A simple way to explain it: A handful equals a thumb of fat and a handful of carbohydrates.

lemonade

Again, a portion of soda does not really fit in a cupped hand. Instead, consider a 12-ounce can of soda as a handful of carbohydrates. Eight ounces would certainly be preferable from the standpoint of physical size (and carbohydrate), but 12 ounces really do simplify size and math because these drinks are pre-packed in this way. (This is similar to bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and other fruits, because they are naturally “prepackaged.”)

nut milks

Nut milk is like cow’s milk. Depending on the source, they offer a mix of macros, and the classification also depends on whether they are sweetened or not.

In general, unsweetened versions (like almond milk) are not considered to be something, as they usually contain only 30 to 40 calories in a whole cup (8 ounces) and are often consumed in relatively small amounts. However, a sweetened version would be considered a handful of carbohydrates.

Again, it is important to choose an approach and follow it consistently.

alcohol

Alcohol should generally be its own category, as most of its calories come from its alcohol content (7 kcal / g) and not from its carbohydrate content. This is true for just about any alcohol, be it light beer, microbrew / craft beer, wine or spirits (though some microbrew / craft beer and dessert wines may contain some carbohydrates).

However, many people like to include alcohol in the carbohydrate category, which may work. Again, any method you prefer can work. Just follow it consistently.

Note that most alcohol contains about 100-150 calories per serving. If it has a sweetened additive (think of margarita or alcohol + tonic) then it adds a lot more sugar. Count this as one serving (or more) of alcohol and one (or more) hands with carbohydrates.

How do I calculate mixed meals?

Mixed dishes such as soups and chilies are difficult. You just have to take a look and make your best guess, especially if you did not make it yourself.

Ultimately, the general goal is to get protein, vegetables, high-quality carbohydrate, and / or healthy fat in each serving. This is relatively easy if you do it yourself. If you are being done by others, just guess as best you can. Most importantly, if the goal is anything other than weight gain, eat slowly and carefully until you are satisfied.

Such meals are often a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fats, but contain fewer vegetables. Adding a vegetable to the page can be very helpful. Adding extra protein may also be helpful if the meal seems to have a higher carbohydrate and fat content.

Legumes and Lentils: Protein or Carbs?

Legumes and lentils contain both protein and carbohydrates. Where should they be counted?

Answer: It depends on the meal itself and / or the eating style of the individual. If someone is completely herbal / vegan, legumes or lentils are probably the source of protein, as these are probably the most protein rich foods he consume. But they can also be both … under certain conditions.

Our suggestion: Choose the highest protein food (assuming there is one) as a protein source and sort the other products from there.

Examples:

  1. Chicken with beans, broccoli and olive oil.
  2. Beans with rice, broccoli and olive oil.
  3. Beans x 2 with broccoli and olive oil.
  4. Rice with broccoli and olive oil
  5. Beans with broccoli and olive oil

In Example 1, chicken is the protein (the most protein-rich part of the dish), beans are carbohydrates, broccoli vegetables and olive oil is fat.

In example 2, beans are the protein (the most protein-rich part of the dish), rice the carbohydrates, broccoli vegetables and olive oil the fat.

In Example 3, one portion of beans would count as protein and the other portion as carbohydrates. In this scenario, it becomes more difficult because it is less clear than the first two examples.

In Example 4, there is no high protein food, just carbohydrates, vegetables and fat.

In example 5, it would depend on the eater. Omnivore? Then we would count the beans as carbohydrates. Vegetable? Then we would count the beans as protein.

How do I quantify my exercise?

When you use the above calorie, portion, and macro calculator, the terms “gentle,” “moderate,” and “stressful” are displayed. These describe the intensity of your activity.

Use the instructions below to measure your activity levels. When in doubt, it’s better to underestimate your activities than to overestimate them,

Moderate to strenuous activity

  • strength training
  • Interval or circuit training
  • crossfit
  • Running or jogging
  • rowing
  • To go biking
  • swim
  • Team sports (eg basketball, hockey, football, tennis etc.)
  • hike
  • Skipping rope
  • Group lessons (spin, dance, etc.) and boot camps
  • Yoga (strength, Bikram)

Gentle activity

  • Walk
  • Yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga etc.)
  • Pilates
  • golfing
  • Cycling, swimming or cycling at a leisurely pace or for pleasure

Example 1: Suppose your week includes:

  • Run 2 times 20 minutes
  • Vinyasa Yoga for 30 minutes, 2 times
  • Strength training for 45 minutes, 2 times
  • Run for 30 minutes, 3 times

That would count as:

  • 4 gentle activities (Vinyasa Yoga x 2, walking x 2) for a total of 100 minutes (1.66 hours)
  • 5 moderate to strenuous activities (strength training x 2, running x 3) for a total of 180 minutes (3 hours)

This means that you select your activity level as “Moderate” under the targeted exercise question. (Defined as moderate to strenuous activity 3 to 4 hours a week.) The gentle activities are fantastic, but do not increase your calorie needs, as is the case with higher intensity activities. So that’s what you count.

Example 2: Suppose your week includes …

    • Leisurely swim 3 times for 30 minutes
    • Strength training for 30 minutes, 2 times
    • Group practice lesson for 60 minutes, 1 time

That would count as:

  • 3 gentle activities (leisurely swimming x 3) for a total of 90 minutes (1.5 hours)
  • 3 medium activities (strength training x 2, group practice x 1) for a total of 120 minutes (2 hours)

This means that you select your activity level as “easy” under the targeted exercise question. (Defined as gentle to moderate activity 1 to 3 hours per week.)

Example 3: Suppose your week includes …

  • Golf for 2 hours, 1 time
  • Strength training for 60 minutes, 2 times
  • Mountain biking for 90 minutes, 4 times

That would count as:

  • 1 gentle activity (golfing) for a total of 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • 6 intermediate activities (strength training x 2, mountain biking x 4) for a total of 480 minutes (8 hours)

This means that you select your activity level as “Very intense” under the targeted exercise question. (Defined as moderate to strenuous activity over 7 hours a week.)

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