Now that you’re rocking your ketogenic macros, let’s discuss calories and whether or not you should count them when on this diet.
The keto diet has gained fame because of its effectiveness for weight loss. If you have been reading online about this diet, you probably know that what makes this high-fat, low-carb diet different from other diets is that it promotes nutritional ketosis—a normal metabolic state characterized by moderate levels of ketones in the blood.
For decades, many diets have been focused on restricting calorie intake, and many think that it is totally different for keto. Well here’s the truth:
Calories aren’t your priority now. But that doesn’t mean you should not count your calorie intake and can just gorge yourself all day!
Should I Track Calories When I’m Just Starting Keto?
Of course, you’re not gorging yourself every day. That’s because when on keto, you’re too full to gorge!
If you have just started going keto, you should be experiencing more fullness from fibrous vegetables, proteins, and fats. That is why you may notice that you are eating slightly less now.
Before going keto, you probably used to eat every two to three hours on low-calorie foods. Do you know why?
Because your body just burnt through the glucose so fast that it needed constant fuel. You used to eat more calories throughout the day.
But now that you’re on keto, you are eating more fat! So, do you need to track your calories when you’ve just gone keto?
Compared with other diets, calorie counting is not central to a keto diet, because as you adopt the low-carb, high-fat and high-protein diet, your calories start taking care of themselves. Remember that a keto diet is very satiating, that is why you are no longer as hungry as you were before.
As you go keto, ketosis dampens your appetite, so you reduce your food intake automatically.
But just because you are eating less now doesn’t mean you should no longer be mindful of your calorie intake! Once you sign on to this low-carb, high-fat diet, you already know what foods to avoid. And while it causes you to eat less, that doesn’t mean you can consume calories all you want!
Why Is It Important to Count Calories on Keto?
Just like everything else, calorie needs greatly vary from person to person. If you have a fast metabolism, you will naturally eat more as you burn more.
Otherwise, you eat less because you don’t experience true hunger as much as those with faster metabolisms.
You may be wondering if the “calories in, calories out” theory does apply to weight loss. Of course, it does!
The more physically active you are, the more calories you burn. Well, unless there is something funky happening with your thyroid, hormones, and endocrine system.
Isn’t it frustrating to bust your ass working out and not see a pound drop? This is where the idea of working out comes because it makes you feel good and strong vs. working out so you can eat more wins.
You know the benefits of being active. More than it helps you lose weight, it enhances your lean muscle mass, bone health, and endorphin production.
The keto diet’s ultimate goal isn’t just to help you lose weight, but to keep you healthy. And a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about nutrition, but incorporating daily movement.
That is WHOLE BODY health, and that’s what you are committed to when you adopt the keto diet!
Can You Do Keto Without Counting Calories?
You may ask, if the keto diet naturally suppresses appetite and leads to a spontaneous decrease in calorie intake, is it possible to go on with this diet without counting calories?
When you are on keto, you achieve a calorie deficit and lose weight without feeling hungry. However, counting calories is still important as not everyone experiences this diet’s appetite-suppressing effect.
Also, it is entirely possible to eat more calories than needed for weight loss!
Remember that even when you are eating a well-formulated keto diet, if your goal is to lose weight, you still need to pay attention to your calories. A keto diet will shift you to burning fat for energy, but if you are eating enough fat, your body won’t need to liberate its own fat stores to do so!
Take note, however, that it isn’t just about the amount of calories you consume, but the quality of your calories. Make sure they are coming from high-quality proteins and good sources of fat!
If your calories are coming from sugars, processed or starchy carbs, omega-6 fats like vegetable oil, canola oil or lots of processed meats and cheeses, that is when you need to make changes.
Why? Because those will not only stall your weight loss but will also block some of the best health benefits that the keto diet offers!
What Is a Calorie Deficit?
Here’s another important point: You wouldn’t want to go into a calorie deficit that is lower than your fat stores can handle, right? If that happens, it will signal a “fight or flight” response and will hold onto fat, putting a lot of stress on your adrenal glands and raising your cortisol levels.
Sometimes you just need to up your calorie intake because it isn’t enough to keep you fueled and in the healthy fat-burning zone.
When it comes to keto, a calorie deficit is like a magic that makes weight loss possible. It allows your body to use fat stores for energy by burning more calories than you consume.
Say you burn 1,300 calories a day but only eat 1,000 calories. That way, you create a deficit of 300 calories a day!
As your keto diet forces your body to use non-food sources of energy to make up for the shortfall, you lose weight. Works like magic, right?
What Do You Use to Count Calories?
So you see, tracking your calorie intake is important even when you’re on a keto diet. The amount of calories you eat does matter for weight loss!
Today, it is easy to know your calorie intake because there are so many free apps that let you track your weight and calculate your recommended daily calorie intake. If you want to start counting calories today, you may use the MyFitnessPal app for free!
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie counters today. Its homepage offers you a clear picture of how many calories you have consumed during the day and shows your remaining recommended intake.
The app is also well-designed for food diary and exercise log, allowing you to know the number of calories you’ve burned by exercising. Use this app to track your progress towards your goal!