How Do I Exchange Macronutrients? - Gain Even More Flexibility

How Do I Exchange My Macros?


For those who want to eat more of a certain macronutrient in lieu of another. For instance, a person with diabetes who prefers to eat fewer carbs than allotted and wants to increase their protein and/or fat intake. This is how you exchange your macronutrients.

Protein and carbs are a 1:1 ratio with both equaling 4 calories per gram, while fat is 9 calories per gram which make it a 2.25:1 ratio compared to that of the other two macronutrients.

Let’s say our macro calculator gave you these numbers:

MacronutrientGram Amount/Calories
Protein130
Carbohydrates200
Fat60
Calories 1860

Yet, you prefer to consume more fat and a little more protein. As mentioned above, swapping for protein while counting macronutrients is straightforward, if you take 5 grams of carbs then it will also be 5 grams of protein exchanged.

For fat, it won’t be as straightforward. For example, if you want to be eating 75 grams of fat instead (15-gram increase equaling 135 calories), you’ll need to drop your carbs by 34 grams which equates to 136 calories.

This will make your new breakdown for counting macros:

MacronutrientGram Amount/CaloriesAdded/Subtracted Gram Amount
Protein135+5
Carbohydrates161-39
Fat75+15
Calories 1859

Here’s how we got to this conclusion. First, I decided to add 15 grams of fat which is 135 calories (fat = 9 calories per gram). Then I divided 135 calories by 4 (calories per gram of carbohydrate), this equaled 33.75 grams (rounded up to 34g).

Lastly, I did a 1 for 1 swap with carbs and protein with 5 grams which are 20 calories (5 grams x 4 calories). It’s that simple, which is the beauty of counting macronutrients! It allows for this flexibility while dieting for fat loss, maintenance or bulking.

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