The ketogenic diet is largely macronutrient based, meaning that awareness of how much of the different macros are in your diet is of utmost importance. For those of you who aren’t aware, macronutrients are nutrients that contain a caloric value. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are the three macronutrients that I will discuss with you here.
For a standard diet, experts recommend that people get 45-65% of their daily caloric intake from carbs, 20-35% of their calories from fats, and 10-30% from protein (Kubala 2018). Carbs are foods that contain starch, and people typically think of foods like bread, sugar, and pastas as carb sources. Oils, red meats, and cheeses are all high fat foods. Red meats and cheese are often good sources of protein, but fish, chicken, and eggs are better sources of lean protein (meaning they don’t contain high amounts of fat).
On the ketogenic diet, all the macronutrients of the standard diet go out the window. Since the ketogenic diet’s primary purpose is reducing carbs to the point that your body uses fat for energy, you can see why having half of your daily caloric intake from carbs would be problematic. Also, people on this diet should be careful about their protein consumption, as after a certain point our bodies can’t distinguish protein from fat.
Since the ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet, the percentage of your caloric intake should be somewhere in this range: 55-65% fat, 30-35% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates (Statpearls 2020). This means that based on a 2,000 calorie diet, 1,100-1,300 of the calories consumed should come from fat, 600-700 calories from protein, and 100-200 calories from fat.
Since one gram of carbs is 4 calories, people should really consume between 25 and 50 grams of carbs per day. This means that a single sandwich will take people out of ketosis, and a single soda bottle contains enough carbs for two to three days. If you are craving sweets, berries are a low-carb fruit and can be consumed in moderation. Diet sodas are also a great workaround, as diet soda contains 0 carbs and 0 calories. This is not to say that diet soda is healthy, but for the intents and purposes of the ketogenic diet you can consume as much of this as you’d like.