The Keto Diet has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. By now, you've probably read about how this "new" diet can help you lose weight and get rid of stubborn belly fat -- all by eating more fat! Many studies have shown the benefits the Keto diet has for individuals with Type 2 diabetes, severe obesity, and those who just want an extra health boost.
But really, are we getting healthier by eating MORE fat? Frying up an entire slab of bacon sounds great, but it comes at a cost... cutting out nearly all carbs. To do this diet effectively, not only do you want to consider tracking what you eat, but you’ll also want to ensure your keto “macros”, or macronutrients, are correct.
In this article, we will cover what macros are, the different types of macros, why they are so important to know for keto, and how to calculate those macros as you get started on your keto journey.
Macros are short for macronutrients, and the word simply refers to your breakdown of carbs, proteins and fats, commonly measured in grams.
If you've ever used calorie tracking apps like MyFitnessPal, you've likely noticed that the apps split your nutrition into 3 buckets: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These buckets are your macronutrients.
To figure out your optimal macros on the Keto Diet, you need to understand what ketosis is.
Ketosis is simply a metabolic state in which your body produces higher levels of ketones in response to fasting and exercise. Instead of finding energy via blood glucose, the body draws energy from these ketones, which are byproducts of fat burning.
But how do you actually enter ketosis?
When your body doesn't have access to sufficient carbohydrates, the quick-burning fuel for your cellular metabolism, it depletes its glycogen levels. Your blood sugar and insulin levels also drop, causing your body to look for alternate fuel sources. With nothing else available, it turns to your fat stores.
A person's body can enter ketosis during fasting or starvation, after an extended period of exercise, or by following the keto diet. When the body is in ketosis, ketones are the byproduct that fuels the brain and the body.
One way to tell if you're in ketosis is by taking a ketone test which involves urinating on a test stick. High levels of ketones will result in a positive test result. While urine strips are easy and convenient, you will get a more accurate reading from a blood test.
Macronutrients can be difficult to understand because many foods fall into more than one macronutrient category due to their makeup. However, to master the keto diet and your keto macros, you need to understand what each macronutrient is and how it affects your body's ability to make ketones.
The famous phrase of the Keto diet is "eat fat to burn fat." This goes against what most of us grew up believing. However, fats are an essential part of our diet and can be healthy when they're the right types and consumed in the right proportions.
Fats help give us that feeling of being full. When you're full, you're not off searching for your next meal or snack.
You can find fats in all types of food, but you have to be careful of what kind you eat. Processed foods are riddled with unhealthy fats, and for the Keto diet you'll do better steering clear of them. Instead, opt for healthy fats like olive and avocado oils, grass-fed butter, avocados, nuts, and heavy cream.
As a building block, protein helps our bodies build muscle and repair muscle damage. Protein is also important for growing, repairing tissue, and preserving our immune systems. Protein also helps contribute to the feeling of satiation.
While on a Keto diet, you'll need to make sure you eat the right amount of protein to help preserve or add muscle mass. While it is possible to eat too much protein, most women don’t have that issue - in fact, it’s usually the opposite (not getting enough). We'll discuss how to calculate the ideal amount below.
Luckily, most proteins are ketosis-friendly: these include meats, eggs, fish, and collagen protein.
Our bodies use carbohydrates as their main fuel source. There are many types of carbs, all with names you've probably heard before: glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, and starch.
Carbs are evil in the keto world. That's not only because you can't achieve ketosis if you eat too many carbs, but also because carbs are hidden in nearly everything.
You will become proficient at reading nutrition labels by sniffing out these sneaky hidden carbs, including understanding net carbs. Net carbs describe the actual amount of carbs your body will process.
You calculate net carbs by subtracting the amount of fiber from the total number of carbs. We subtract out the fiber because our bodies do not absorb fiber and, therefore, do not turn it into energy.
You now know what different macros do for your body. Next, let’s learn how to calculate your keto macros so you can stay in ketosis.
Let's start by giving some benchmarks for how much of each macronutrient you should consume each day:
To calculate your protein allowance, you need to first calculate your lean muscle mass. To do this, multiply your body weight in pounds by your body fat percentage which gives you your body weight in pounds. Next, subtract your fat pounds from your total weight to give you your lean muscle mass.
To calculate your keto protein macro, multiply your lean muscle mass by 0.8 to 1.2. If you're highly active, use 1 or 1.2 as your multiplier. The result is how many grams of protein you should consume each day.
Your fat macro will be the remainder of your calories each day. To calculate this, do the following:
Multiply your carbs macro and protein macro each by 4. (This converts your macros into calories.)
Subtract the sum of these two from your daily calorie intake to give you your fat calorie allowance.
Next, divide your fat calorie allowance by 9 to give you your daily fat goal in grams.
The best way to keep track of your macros is by planning out your meals. Know what you’re putting in your body ahead of time. To go one step further, tracking your macros in an app or food diary will help you stay focused on your health goals.
Now that you know what keto macros are, don’t get too hung up on know your exact macros all of the time. Knowing in advance what goes into calculating keto macros and just having a base understanding of macronutrients will set you up for success in your keto journey.
Another success factor involves planning out your meals and making sure you have all the right foods and supplements on hand. Of those supplements, one of the most important to take on a regular basis is Collagen Protein.
At Grandma’s Keto, we have developed a Keto Collagen formula that covers your most important health needs. For more, check out Grandma's Keto Collagen Cacao.