Take Just A Moment and Admire . . . (Then Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight)

A patient just sent this picture to me this evening.  I got a good laugh out of it.

pile o bacon

It brought up a couple of principles. Seriously, take just a moment and admire this pile of bacon. . .

First, it’s important that we take a moment and think about what is important in life.  What is it that really makes you tick?  To those of us following a ketogenic lifestyle (low carb, high fat living), this represents food, fuel, taste and great conversation value.  This pile of bacon forces one to think about what is really important in ones life.  This pile of bacon represents 2-3 weeks of breakfast, flavor for the salad, and something to use to dip in the guacamole.

Low Carb Gluten Free Salad

Second, how much of this bacon can one following a ketogenic lifestyle have at a meal?  Well, that is based on your ideal body weight.  Many people have asked me how to calculate ideal body weight this week.  I’ve provided the calculation below:

Ideal Body Weight (IBW) – Estimated in (kg)
Males: IBW = 50 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet.
Females: IBW = 45.5 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet.
The average female needs 1.0 g per kg of ideal body weight per day.
The average male needs 1.2 g per kg of ideal body weight per day.
If you are exercising more than 60 minutes 5 days per week then those values increase to 1.4 grams per kg for females and 1.6 grams per kg for males.
Example:
A 6 foot male’s IBW would be 50 kg + (2.3kg x 12 inches) = 77.6 kg
A 5 foot 4 inch females IBW would be 45.5 kg + (2.3kg x 4 inches) = 54.7 kg.
If you eat three times per day, then simply divide your IBW by 3 to get the maximum protein you need per meal.
I hope that helps.
KetoOS

KetoOS – Drinkable Exogenous Ketones

26 Comments on “Take Just A Moment and Admire . . . (Then Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight)

  1. Dr. Nally, I am 5′ 2.5″. If I did this correctly, my IBW is 111 pounds. My current goal weight is 135. While I have been under that in the past, I look emaciated if I go under 130. So, where does this “IBW” come from? It seems unrealistic to me.

    • Lynne,
      Ideal body weight is a “ballpark” average that gives one the ability to calculate protein and or caloric need based on averages. (I realize that neither you or I are “average” but it is a simplistic way to calculate baseline protein need without sending you for an extensive and expensive VO2 max test on a treadmill). It puts us in the range needed to determine protein intake for weight loss. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should weigh 116 lbs. (However, you’d be surprised that losing fat and gaining muscle will often let you get pretty close to your IBW and not look emaciated like you would with a low fat diet. Low fat diets often cause fat loss and muscle wasting causing the emaciated look)

      • Thank you, Dr. Nally. I appreciate your explanation, and look forward to seeing how close I do come to my IBW.

  2. “If you eat three times per day, then simply divide your IBW by 3 to get the maximum protein you need per meal.”

    My IBW is 84.5 Kg based on the formula. I think there may be something wrong with this sentence because my maximum per meal protein would then be 28.2 Kg. Seems like a little much 😉

    • For some, it may be “a little much,” but for others 3 eggs (7 grams of protein per egg) and 2-3 slices of bacon (3 grams of protein per slice) may not seem like enough.

    • You do have to multiply by the conversion factor of 1.0g protein/kg IBW or 1.2 g protein/kg IBW. Perhaps that wasn’t totally clear. For us gals, it’s pretty easy since it’s a 1g/1kg conversion! Of course for me, with a 5’3″ frame, 52.4 g of protein, or just 7.5 oz of meat (7g/oz) or eggs (6 g/egg) per day is hard to keep to in 3 meals. Easier to do with IF and only 2 meals.

    • Sorry, I don’t understand this at all. Iam a female. 50 yrs old 5’1. ? Iam confused on how much protein I should have per day.?

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  5. I calculated my IBW based on your formula and at 5’7″ it comes out to 66.1kg or 145 lbs. I currently weigh 150 and am considered thin. your example of a 6′ male weighing 170 lbs would also make him thin. Where did this formula come from? To me is seems quite a bit off. It doesn’t take into account structure or body fat %. My wife is 5’5″ with a large bone structure using your calculations she should weigh 125 lbs. at that weight she would look anorexic and very malnourished. I have been utilizing a Ketogenic approach for 1 1/2 years and other keto calculators have different numbers than yours for protein intake etc. As you can see this creates confusion. who do you follow? Who is accurate?

    • Steven,
      Not having ever seen you, completed body composition measures and measuring waist circumferences, I cannot comment on your statement of being “considered too thin.” I have multiple men in my practice that are 5′ 7″ with a weight of 145, yet hold a large amount of abdominal fat around their middle and are metabolicly sick. When only 1 in 3 Americans are normal weight, we also get used to seeing overweight and consider it normal. 170-185 lbs is the “norm” for a 6′ 0″ male in most physiology textbooks I’ve read.
      The calculation for IBW is just that, a calculation. No it does not take into account body structure or fat, and it was never meant to do so. It is a “ballpark” estimation for protein needs.
      If you want exact measures, you will need a complex and expensive VO2 Max measurement and the associated calculations that go along with that.
      The article is not implying that this is how much you should weight, it is giving you a very simple way to dial in your overall protein needs, period. It is a calculation designed to give an estimated protein need without completing a full body composition evaluation. In my 10 years of clinical experience using ketogenic diets, the other protein calculators often significantly over-estimate your protein need (for fear of protein deficiency), and when used, weight loss halts or weight gain persists. I have found the numbers in the article to be very effective in helping someone get into ketosis who has been struggling with carbohydrate restriction alone.
      I hope this answers your question.

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  8. Am I figuring this right… my ideal body weight is supposed to be 185 lbs… so I should be getting 222 gr of protein per day??? I can’t eat that much… LOL

    • 185 lbs / 2.2 lbs/kg = 84 kg is your ideal body weight in kg.
      84 kg x 1.2 g/kg = 100 grams is your daily need. If you eat 3 times daily you should limit protein to 33 grams per meal.

  9. Hi Dr. Nally, Please help!!! Protein per meal. I’m 175 lbs. which is 79.37 kg.
    79.37 kg x 1. kg = 79.37 kg. My protein would be 26.45 x 3 a day, and carbs is 20 for the day, is that right? How much fat should I eat for the day?

    Thank you!!

    • Leigh,

      You calculate your protein need off of ideal body weight which is calcuated off of height (not your actual weight). If you are 5′ 9″ then:
      First 5 feet = 50kg
      9″ x 2.3 kg/inch = 20.7 kg
      Total Ideal body weight: 50kg + 20.7kg = 70.7 kg.

      Protein need for a sedentary patient is 1g per kg. (~ 71 kg if you’re sedentary)

      If you exercise more than 4 hours per week moderate to vigorously, then you multiply your Ideal Body weight(70.7kg) x 1.2 g/kg (for females) or x 1.6 g/kg (for males).
      Female 70.7kg x 1.2 g/kg= 84.8 g <—- this is your protein need for the day
      Male 70.7kg x 1.6 g/kg = 113.1 g <—- this is your protein need for the day.

      Does that make sense?

  10. so do i understand that there is no need to calculate calories? i have calculated that my need is based on being 5″6 as a female is 59.3 grams of proteins.
    so if i use myfitnesspal to track my foods . do i have to keep a calorie count

    my carb grams are 20 or less, 59.3 grams of protein.. then no limit on fat grams? is that correct.

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