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Do I Need to Track Macros on the Ketogenic Diet?

Alex Millet

The short answer, yes, no, and it depends.  

We are all SO different in our genetic makeup, our goals, and our environment. So knowing whether we should be calculating macros for our keto diet or not is difficult to answer. But first off, let's define what macros are. 

Macros is short for macronutrients. It is a component of food that provides the bulk of energy for your body, and is grouped into PROTEIN, FATS, and CARBOHYDRATES. If you plan on following a keto diet, you will want to keep your daily carbohydrates around 30 grams a day (lower if you are sedentary, higher if you are an athlete). You will also want your fat to comprise 70% of your daily calories. That would put your protein at about 20% of your daily calories, and your carbs at 10%. 

Keep in mind, these are just estimates. Always consult with your doctor to help determine what is right for you. You will want to adjust these numbers to your needs.   

Now, how do you know if you really need to track these keto diet plan macros, or can you just lower your carb intake alone. Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself before calculating macros for your keto diet.

Have you been following a low carb lifestyle previously? 

If you have, that's great! Your transition will be a whole lot easier. You will most likely avoid the keto flu all together, and not have to track macros. It may be as simple as eliminating that banana in your smoothie (which you can substitute for a green banana), or easing up on those low-carb treats. If after 2 weeks, you still feel low in energy, or you have brain fog, try calculating macros for your keto diet for a couple of days to see if you are off on your eating.

Do you have a history of disordered eating? 

If you are a chronic dieter, the thought of eating a piece of cake makes you feel "bad", or you become a ball of stress when following a diet plan, it might be a good idea to ease into the ketogenic diet. It will probably be different than anything you have ever tried. I highly recommend you check out Mark's Sisson's new book, The Keto Reset Diet. Before you are even allowed to go "full keto", you have to adhere to a lower carb diet. That way you can ease into the lifestyle, and learn to enjoy it. Then, when you are ready, and you have developed good habits, you can tackle ketosis, and reap all the benefits. The book is full of incredible keto recipes. I have personally made the Primal Coleslaw and the Creamed Spinach. They are delicious! 

Do you prefer to follow a schedule? 

If you are someone who likes to follow a schedule, because being spontaneous stresses you out, tracking your keto diet plan macros may be a good fit. It will help you see what works and what doesn't, and help you plan for the future. For example, I have been following the keto diet for a long time, and I now know that I am typically not hungry until 11 am. That means I feel fine running errands in the morning, even working out. Then, I can "break the fast" at 11 am, drink my Keto Meal around 3 pm, and eat a small dinner around 7 pm. And since I tracked my macros in the beginning, I know that I am under 30 grams of carbs a day, and at 70% fat. 

Are you an athlete? 

If you are an athlete who has previously been following a higher carb diet, and plan on switching to this diet, calculating macros for your keto diet is very important. You need to make sure your body is getting enough fat and protein, and that your carbs are high enough. Thirty grams of carbs will probably not be enough for you. But you won't know that unless you are tracking them.  It's good to remember that it can take 6 weeks to start feeling back to normal (as far as athletic performance goes), and a few months to see any kind of improvement. Make the switch during your off-season. 

Are you following the keto diet for weight loss? 

If you are following this diet for weight loss, calculating macros for your keto diet could be important because you need that information to help progress through plateaus. You may only need to track macros for weight loss a couple of days out of the week until you get more familiar with how you are supposed to feel on the keto diet.  

We asked our Kegenix Support Group what they use to track their keto diet plan macros, and they had this to say;

"Dom D’Agostino talked about Avatar nutrition, I haven’t tried it yet. By myfitness pal works."

"Senza-it counts net carbs automatically."

"I have several years of data in cronometer which has been a game changer in not only tracking but going back and correlating."

So give it a try! Experiment. Find what works for you. 

Join our Kegenix Support Group and let us know!