After a day or two of counting macros on a ketogenic diet, most people begin to wonder: what happens if you go under or over a little bit? Do you have to eat all the fat macros? What about the protein? Here are the answers you’re desperately seeking!
Calculating Your Keto Macros
5% Carb Limit
The standard keto macros for carbohydrates are a strict limit. You do not want to exceed this number or it might knock you out of ketosis (the metabolic state of the keto diet). As long as you don’t try to pack in low-carb breads and treats, you should be able to hit this goal. Just be sure to plan, plan, plan. And, stick with whole foods, meat, and veggies with a few no-sugar sauces and dips made with low-carb bases like tahini, avocado, or eggplant (baba ganoush!) for flavor variety.
25% Protein Goal
It’s very important to hit your protein macros or slightly exceed so your body doesn’t start consuming muscle. However, you’ll want to avoid excessive protein consumption because it can increase insulin secretion (1). If you’re having trouble fulfilling your protein goals, protein smoothies really fit the bill, especially when made with coconut milk to save on carbs. There are plenty of keto-friendly protein powders available. And, tofu is a very low-carb protein as well.
70% Fat Goal or Ad Libitum
Once you’re in ketosis, your body needs to burn fat for energy. This can be dietary fat and/or stored fat. If you are not trying to lose weight, the 70% fat macro will be a goal. But, if you’re trying to lose weight or have extra fat on your body, it’s not critical that you eat all your fat macros. Healthy fats make you feel full longer and tend to decrease cravings. So, you can eat them ad libitum, meaning as necessary for satiation. This does not mean you should avoid fats altogether. In fact, even obese people can still lose weight when eating all their fat macros (2).
Do you have any tips or tricks to share about sticking to your keto macros? Share them in the comment section below. We’d love to hear your story!