My keto diet plan seemed to be going great, but I suddenly realized I had never sat down to ask some questions apart from possible meal additions to my list. One question that suddenly pops up is, "Do you count calories on the keto diet?".
Counting calories on a keto diet is not a must, but it is recommended since it makes it easy to eat the right amounts of carbs, fats and proteins.
If you want to get the most out of the ketogenic diet you should not only count your calories but even track your macros. This will get you into ketosis fast.
Let's dive into how to actually do that so you can start loosing weight with the keto diet as efficient as possible.
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Why do I need to count calories in my Keto Diet?
Despite not being a must, there are still some reasons to count your calories irrespective. Here are some significant reasons why one should count calories while on a keto diet
It helps you track your macronutrient ratio.
A keto diet's primary aim is to help one eliminate foods high in calories, such that the body runs on a caloric deficit. This, in turn, forces your body to utilize fat as its energy source.
Various nutrients have different calories, with carbohydrates and fatty foods being the highest concentration. There are several calorie counter calculators on the web to help you.
Counting calories gives you a better sense of how much you are eating and what to cut to lose weight.
Different foods have different calorie loads, as you will see listed on food labels in stores and supermarkets. However, metabolism differs among individuals. The same banana that gives one person 300 calories might give another person 275 calories.
If you count your calories when on a keto diet, you can pick out the huge ones. That way, you know what foods to eliminate if your goal is to lose weight.
In general, counting calories helps giving a range of what to eat based on your body goals.
This is quite similar to the second point. The only difference is that instead of counting calories for weight loss, it can be applied to various body goals. Be it to bulk up for a fitness contest or maintain a specific weight range, counting calories works fine.
How Do I Count My Calories During Keto?
Now let's go into the nitty gritty of how to count calories for the keto diet. Basically there are two ways. The first one are applications for your phone and the second one is just using a calculator, a piece of paper (or journal) and a scale.
Calorie counting applications
There are several applications for calculating the calories associated with each macronutrient in your meal. Here are some of our favorite applications available for download for this purpose;
CarbManager - This app is highly recommended for those who use various ingredients when preparing their meals. The app can also count calories for the different carbohydrates, namely fiber, sugar, and starches.
Fitbit - Aside from monitoring your steps, Fitbit allows you to manually add ingredients and foods. You can also scan the barcode on the food label, which seems more convenient.
MyFitnessPal - MyFitnessPal is highly recommended by fitness and health experts.
With more than four million foods to pick from, there is almost no limit to which macronutrients cannot be calculated. The app also records what you ate, so you don't have to input ingredients.
Calorie Counting Using A Food Scale
Don't want to use mobile apps to count calories on your keto diet? If you prefer the old-school method used by bodybuilders, which is a weight scale, then no problem.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to count calories using a weight scale.
(Amount of calories per serving ÷ grams per serving) x the weight of the food on your scale in grams
= the total calories of the food on the scale.
How Many Calories Are In Each Macronutrient?
Below is the caloric content for one gram of each macronutrient consumed
Counting calories is not necessary, but there's no harm in doing so. You can track your macronutrient ratio and know what calorie range to stay in based on your fitness goals. Some apps can help with this, saving you stress on the manual methods.
Several factors determine how many calories one should consume per day. These include sex, age, height, lifestyle, and metabolism.
It is recommended that a healthy male should consume between 2,200 to 2.800 calories per day. For women, the recommendation is 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. Remember, this recommendation differs based on specific criteria.
One should aim to reduce their calorie intake by about 500 calories during keto. This forces your body to turn to fat reserves to complete the deficit. By doing this, you can lose about 1 pound per week.
Calories still matter when on a keto diet, but to a lesser extent when compared to a diet high in carbohydrates. When combined with intermittent fasting, it really gets you the desired results.
In some cases, you might not even need to add in physical activity if your calorie intake is spot on. This is more applicable if your goal is weight loss.
This is very possible, especially if your carbs and fat consumption is on the low side. If you do not know the number of calories per gram for each macronutrient, you might be starving yourself unknowingly.
It is advised that 60-75% of your meal comprises fat. That being said, it's just not advisable to underserve yourself during keto.
You should eat as much as you need to (not want) to attain your set calorie target. However, you should be mindful of your choice of what fat you add to your meal.
Steer clear of saturated fat found in canola and dairy products. Recommended fats in a keto meal include butter, avocados, and coconut oil. Vegetables also make great additions.
The answer is that both matter substantially. However, carbs are essential because the source of carbs really matters when it comes down to blood sugar level.
Carbs to add to your keto plan include asparagus, leafy greens, and kale. Carbs that should be limited or avoided are beans, grains, and potatoes.
There is also what is known as total carbs and net carbs. Total carbs consist of all available carbs in a diet, such as dietary fiber, starch, and sugars. Net carbs refer to the number of carbs that can be converted to glucose.
Net carbs can be calculated using the formula:
Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrate - Fiber - Sugar Alcohol/ 2
There are also calculators online to determine your net carb intake based on specific parameters you input into the calculator.
if you want to learn more about net carbs you can read our guide here.