Adopting a new eating plan into your lifestyle will be both rewarding and challenging.
Various diets or meal plans may have strict rules that are unlike anything that you have ever used before, and that can make the entire process a bit overwhelming.
Those that are new to keto, for example, often come out of introductory knowledge with the same question: what are keto macros, and why do they matter to my diet?
Those who understand the basics of what the diet aims to do might not yet understand how the macros and exact ratios of nutrient types make a difference in the long-run.
By gaining a working understanding of keto macros, it will become easier to follow a keto diet successfully.
This keto guide shares insight into what macronutrients are, how they are handled in keto, and how you can calculate your specific nutritional needs when starting your keto lifestyle.
What Are Macros and Micros?
Macros is a common abbreviation for macronutrients when discussing various diets and eating plans, while micros is an abbreviation for micronutrients.
When it comes to nutrition, everything is either considered to be a micronutrient or a macronutrient.
Micronutrients are everything that your body only needs in small amounts, such as vitamins, minerals, and water
On the other hand, macronutrients are things that your body needs in large amounts, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Most food items contain a combination of macronutrients and micronutrients since this is what your body really needs.
As such, your overall dietary nutrition makeup will be a mix of all of the above.
When it comes to deciding and following the most popular eating plans, the focus is usually on macronutrients since these are what your body needs more.
Changing the ratios and sources of macronutrients that you feed your body can have significant effects on your weight loss, long-term health, and body’s strength.
What Is the Keto Diet?
Before we get into the specific ratios recommended for a keto diet, let’s talk about what a keto diet is and what the goals of the keto lifestyle are.
Keto, short for ketogenic, is a type of diet that focuses on trying to push the body into a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is when the body relies on dietary and stored fat instead of carbohydrates to create energy. Meaning, the body burns fat rather than any other substances for its function.
Ketosis can help create both rapid and long-term weight loss effects, and that is why the diet centers around feeding the body in a way that encourages ketosis.
In order to reach ketosis, you need to drastically reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat and replace it with healthy fats.
Eating in this way helps to force the metabolic system to act differently than it was previously.
Generally speaking, the diet is a low-carb, medium-protein, high-fat diet.
What Are Keto Macros?
Let’s take a closer look at the recommended ratios or macros most often used when following the keto diet.
Remember, there is more than one way to follow keto, so there are actually a few different ratio patterns that might be followed depending on which type of eating plan one wants to follow.
Standard Macro Ratios In Various Keto Diets
Generally speaking, the macro ratio of a keto diet must fall into the falling ranges in order to qualify as a keto diet:
- 60% to 75% of calories from fat
- 15% to 30% of calories from protein
- 5% to 10% of calories from carbs
While these ranges all make for acceptable keto diets, people tend to follow a few specific ratios when adopting a keto lifestyle.
Standard Keto Diet
First, let’s talk about the most commonly used and referenced keto diet plan, the standard diet.
This diet uses the following macro breakdown:
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbs
Another way that people follow keto is on cycles. This method usually sets you up to eat standard keto for five days, followed by two days of high-carb dieting.
The goal of the cycling is to kick your body in and out of ketosis so that the metabolism continues to be as efficient as possible.
If you are an athlete or do a lot of heavy-duty workouts, it might be necessary to add more carbs into your general keto diet to safely and effectively do your workouts.
In targeted keto, you eat extra carbs around workouts. At other times, you follow the standard keto ratios.
Finally, there is a form of keto known as high-protein wherein you increase the amount of protein in the macros as follows:
- 60% fat
- 35% protein
- 5% carbs
The most common keto diets used by the general population are the high-protein keto and the standard keto macro breakdowns.
While cyclical and targeted keto diets have their benefits, they are more advanced methods reserved for athletes, bodybuilders, and others with particular nutritional needs based on their physical performance.
Carbs in Keto
What types of carbs can be used for 5% of carbs generally allowed when following a keto lifestyle?
Understanding how to cut carbs effectively and making sure that you don’t fill your limited 5% of carbs with heavily processed starches is critical.
Carbs in keto are counted based on the net carb value; you calculate this value by subtracting the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total grams of carbohydrates in a food item.
If possible, you should not include these carbs in your keto diet:
- Candy bars
The best sources of carbohydrates that you will often find in keto-diet plans are:
- Low-carb veggies (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
- Berries (in moderation)
Proteins in Keto
Protein is essential for muscle strength, maintenance, and repair in the body; they also help to regulate and create both hormones and enzymes in the body.
In essence, protein is essential for your body to function properly, so you need to be sure that the proteins you feed your body are good proteins that will support a healthy lifestyle.
While following a keto diet, the following proteins are great options to make up 15% to 30% of your daily caloric intake:
- Dark meat or poultry
- Fatty cuts of meats
- Whole eggs
- Bacon and sausage
- Nut butter
When choosing meat, make sure that you check for sugars if you are choosing a protein source that is processed and may contain sugar or other carbohydrates.
Additionally, remember that protein is relatively moderate in a keto diet.
Choosing a fatty cut of meat is always going to be preferable as it contributes to the correct macro ratio more than a lean cut of meat.
If you do choose a lean cut of meat, supplement it with something fatty like nuts or cheese.
Fats in Keto
Finally, and most importantly, you must consider the source of fats in keto.
Diets throughout history have relied on healthy fats, and the same can be said about ket0.
The keto diet is centered around eating large amounts of healthy fats.
As such, you want to consider your fat sources carefully while ensuring you are eating a high-fat percentage.
Protein with saturated, monosaturated, and polyunsaturated fats are all okay to eat as long as they are naturally occurring.
You should avoid processed fats and trans fats since they are chemically altered.
Ideal sources of fat in a ketogenic diet are as follows:
- Good oils (olive oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil)
- Fatty fish
- Animal fat (non-hydrogenated)
- Egg yolks
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Lard, butter, and ghee
- Coconut butter
- Nut butter
As you can see, there are many great sources of fat when on a ketogenic diet, so you will want to make sure that you properly include fats in your diet as you plan your meals.
Fighting Cravings on Keto
As you adopt a keto diet based on the keto macros outlined above, you may find yourself craving for certain foods that are not keto-friendly.
Sometimes, those cravings may feel like they will completely overwhelm you if you don’t eat something.
Food cravings are scientifically rooted in what nutrients, usually micronutrients, that your body is noticing an absence of.
While there is a mental aspect to cravings, addressing the missing nutrients can help to curb the cravings.
Here are some common cravings and how you can cope with them while sticking to your ketogenic lifestyle:
- If you’re craving chocolate, your body may want magnesium, so eat a handful of low-carb nuts or seeds.
- If you’re craving bread and carbs, your body may want nitrogen; thus, eat a serving of high-protein meat.
- If you’re craving sugary food, there are a few micronutrients your body may want. Try eating broccoli, cheese, or chicken.
- If you’re craving salty food, your body may want silicon or chloride; try eating some fish, nuts, or seeds.
- If you’re craving oily food, your body may want calcium. You can try eating cheese or spinach.
Cravings will happen, and they will be particularly strong when you are first adapting to a new eating plan.
Be patient with yourself, but also be strict about keeping away from sugars and carbs as much as possible.
The more you indulge in these things, the harder it will be to stick with the diet long term.
The alternate food options will help to curb cravings so that you can stick to the keto diet successfully.
Create Your Diet With Keto Macros
Now that you know more about keto macros, what are keto macros that work for your diet?
Can you identify foods from each macro category that are going to work for your diet and lifestyle?
The key to understanding the keto diet before you commit yourself to it is that you want to be sure that the nutritional plan you follow is and will remain healthy.
Nutrient needs to be properly balanced for your body to work properly.
If you are ever concerned about your nutritional plan, consult with a doctor to determine if it is healthy for you to continue eating as is.
Following any type of eating plan needs to support your body properly; make sure you determine macros correctly to keep your body safe!