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Counting Macros To Stay In Ketosis

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counting macros
Counting Macros To Stay In Ketosis

There’s a huge debate in the keto world about counting macros for optimal results. In this article, I give you my take on this important question. You may be surprised by my answer.

What Is Ketosis?

First, before we dive in…what exactly is ketosis? The body produces ketones on a regular basis, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. However, ketones do not rise to therapeutic levels (ketosis) until you start restricting your carbohydrates. Eating keto- a low carb, high fat diet, ramps up ketone production and leads to nutritional ketosis with a few days.

This process, ketosis, is a metabolic state where the body’s energy comes from fat. In the liver, a fat molecule is split into a two carbon ‘ketone’ and released into the blood. Ketone bodies can then be used as energy in place of glucose, the simplest form of carbohydrate.

But do we need to count macros to get into ketosis?

What Are Macros?

Macronutrients are the largest class of nutrients the body requires for energy. They include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. When we refer to “macros,” we are referring to these major nutrients. Since “macros” means large, macronutrients are those nutrients we need in large amounts.

There are three major macronutrients important to health and energy:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Healthy Fats
  • Protein

On a low-carb ketogenic diet, the point is to limit the carbohydrate intake to force the body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs or sugar (aka get into ketosis). This is done by limiting your carbs to achieve a state of ketosis.

How To Count Macros

On a keto diet, it is important to track your total carbs with a limit of around 20-50 grams per day. I like to use total carbs, not net but I talk about that here if you want more info. It is also important (at times) to track the healthy fats, protein, and fiber because on the keto diet the goal is to maintain ketosis, so that your body becomes a fat-burning machine. To make this happen, fat should be 60-70% of the daily intake and protein is to be 25% and the  carb intake is to be 5-10%

An excellent free Macro Calculator is MyFitnessPal. This popular app gives you access to the world’s largest nutrition and calorie database with over 5 million foods listed. It is a great way to keep up with your progress. Also, it allows you to track exercise and calories burned, water intake, and determine accurate nutrition facts for your recipes. Another very common Keto app is Carb Manager.

How Easy Is It To Track Macros?

Simply download the app, enter the food group you will be eating from, the serving size, and how it will be prepared. Not only will it save that information, it will give you information about calories, and a space to track your exercise. By the end of the first day of meals, you will see how well you were able to stay on track with your keto diet plan. And, you will see at a glance if you were able to maintain ketosis by eating the right amounts of fat, protein, and carbs.

When To Track Your Macros

In my professional opinion counting macros is important BUT NOT AT THE START. When you start a ketogenic diet it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Simply follow the food list that’s provided here and know that you are headed in the right direction. Things will never be perfect but you are after PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION when you start keto. To me, the time to start counting macros might be if you hit a stall in your weight loss. Or at the least to check in with yourself every once in a while to see if your macros are on point. Getting caught up in tracking (I’ll just say it…obsessed) every day with hitting your ideal macros defeats the purpose of enjoying your food and the keto lifestyle.

Summary

The goal of counting macros is to achieve nutritional ketosis. I don’t feel its necessary to track your carb, fat and protein percentages every day. What I do recommend for beginners is to track grams of carbs. It’s too overwhelming to be tracking “all the things.” One of the most common reasons to track is when you hit a plateau in your progress.

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