What Are Macronutrients and How Do They Apply to Keto?
Macronutrients or “macros” are the foods we consume in groups such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to fuel our bodies. For example, an avocado would count as fat, a piece of chicken would be your protein, and a potato would be your carbohydrate.
As we mentioned in previous blog posts keto is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. Thus, the keto diet’s high fat intake will be the primary energy source. A standard keto diet includes macronutrients similar to seventy percent fat, twenty-five percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates (Masood et al. 2020). I am sure everyone’s next question would be, how many grams per macronutrients do you need in a day? Unfortunately, I am not here to give you that answer. That is something you will have to figure out on your own, because everyone’s body is different. I am five-foot-tall with a weight of one hundred and thirty-three pounds. So, what I eat and the amount is not going to be the same for another female that is five foot seven in height with a weight of one hundred and eighty pounds. I can, however, help guide you to be able to at least get started with understanding the grams per macros breakdown.
For example, with Keto, if you are consuming a two thousand calorie diet then seventy percent of your daily caloric intake is fat. The macros would translate to one hundred and fifty-five grams, twenty-five percent protein would be one hundred and twenty-five grams, and five percent carbohydrates would then be twenty-five grams. Remember this is all approximated and its purpose is to just give you an idea on the grams per macronutrient breakdown. So, your numbers will vary, if your calorie consumption is either less or more than two thousand calories.
If we compare these macros to a universal American diet, based on a two thousand calorie intake. The ratio would be approximately thirty-five percent fat, twenty five percent protein, and forty percent carbohydrates. That ratio of grams per macros totals to approximately seventy-five grams of fat, one hundred and twenty-five grams of protein, and two hundred or more grams of carbohydrates. Now you can see the big difference in grams per macros.
Other types of the ketogenic diet include a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD), which consists of five straight days of being in ketosis followed by an additional two high-carbohydrate days. This is basically done to shock the body and then restart the ketosis process. Everyone may do these high-carb days differently. Some would consider doing “cheat meals”, while others may consider adding in a few carbohydrates per meal or just increasing their caloric intake. There is also the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD), which is commonly used among bodybuilders. The TKD is done by adding in carbohydrates strictly around weightlifting workouts. When doing so these individuals are actually still maintaining ketosis. The body becomes so deficient in carbohydrates that when used appropriately in moderation around weightlifting these carbohydrates are strictly used for that workout alone as well as aiding in the muscle recovery process. In theory there would be no sustainable spike in glucose since it's being used for the workout. If done properly, athletes have the ability to obtain a more vascular pump along with muscle growth and development while doing a TKD.
So, how many of calories should be consumed in a day? As we all know eating a simple calorie deficit with cardiovascular activity will aid in weight loss and the intake versus output is very simple. In keto calories are not your main priority unless you are looking to go into competitions. The ketogenic diet is more focused on counting macronutrients versus counting calories. Regardless, you will be consuming more calories on keto. This is inevitable because there are nine calories per one gram of fat, four calories per one gram of protein, and four calories per one gram of carbohydrate. It is, however, possible for you to do keto while also doing a caloric deficit. I do not recommend this method of following keto while doing a caloric deficit. I say this because, the transition into ketosis sucks already and is difficult on the body. Restricting calories along with following the keto diet will make you feel even worse during the transition. You will not get the full benefits of what keto does to your body, the high energy, the mental focus, or the clarity won't be optimized.
I was one that was always on and off with counting my macros throughout the year. Prior to starting keto, I went back through my app on MyFitnessPal and took notice of what I was averaging on a day-to-day calorie consumption. I then based my numbers for the keto diet off of that calorie count. Again, this is an experiment and that is what I have been doing this entire time. I started myself off at sixteen hundred calories and based my percentages from there.
Eventually, in future posts, I will share with you exactly what a day of eating looks like for me. As much as you are all waiting for me to get to that point there are still basics that need to be known and understood about the ketogenic lifestyle before jumping ahead. I do this so I can help you all succeed at this and not fail.
Like I said before, I am not a certified dietician to provide you with your own personal macronutrients. This is the time for you to put in some work of our own and figure out what your goals are with this lifestyle. Remember, you won't know what path is best for you until you do the work!
References:Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. 2020. “Ketogenic Diet.” StatPearls, March 29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/.