The Keto diet is filled with specificity, nuance, and a constantly evolving understanding of shifting body chemistry. While the Keto diet seems very simple on the surface, the details of how to best implement and execute this rigorous lifestyle adjustment can sometimes get lost in translation.
The easiest way to establish and maintain ketosis is by monitoring your macronutrient intake. In this article we will do our best to help you figure out which keto macro ratio works best for you!
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
There’s a good chance that if you’re looking into keto macros percentages that you already have a fairly strong understanding of what the Keto diet is. But just in case you’re new to this diet/lifestyle, here’s a little overview about what the Keto diet is:
According to Eat Right Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics “Keto is a high fat, low carb diet…that uses natural enzymes called ketones to help breakdown fats.” Ketones are produced in the liver, and when your body goes into glucosamine deprivation, like it would if you cut out all carbohydrates and sugars, the body responds by producing ketones to convert your body's natural fat stores into usable energy.
What Are Macronutrients?
According to MD Anderson Center, macronutrients are the major nutrient sources found in food. These nutrient sources are what your body uses to make energy. The three macronutrient categories are as follows:
Carbohydrates - The traditional energy source for the body. Carbohydrates are a quick source of energy thanks to their high glucose levels and offer support for movement and the nervous system.
Proteins - Proteins are the building blocks of the body. Protein is vital to cell growth and tissue repair making it a key source of nutrients for regenerative processes.
Fats - Traditionally thought of as a backup energy source, fats also act as a protective barrier for your organs, and offer themselves as a distribution method for vitamins and minerals.
How Does The Keto Diet Use Macronutrients?
The Keto diet utilizes macronutrients by relying heavily on fats and proteins, while simultaneously excluding/eliminating carbohydrates. As we know, the Ketogenic diet is a type of deprivation diet wherein you deprive your body of certain nutrients (carbohydrates), in order to change your overall body chemistry.
With the Keto diet, you deprive your body of carbohydrates while simultaneously increasing your fat intake in order to shift your body chemistry to burn fat for energy. This dramatic shift in macronutrient balance is exactly how the Keto diet uses macronutrients to help the liver produce the fat-burning enzymes we call ketones.
The enhanced production of Ketones radically shifts the biology of your digestive system, forcing the body to run on fat instead of glucose (aka sugar). Once your body has fully acclimated to running on fat instead of sugar, it is easier to control your weight by simply limiting or increasing caloric intake.
Macronutrients continue to be a crucial part of the Keto diet, even after your body has begun to produce ketones. Being in a constant state of Ketosis (i.e. the goal of the Keto diet), requires vigilant monitoring of your macronutrient intake. Very simply, to remain in Ketosis you must keep carbohydrates low and fat intake high.
How Do I Transition to the Keto Diet?
When first transitioning to the Keto diet, the two biggest questions are typically:
1) What is my ideal macronutrient ratio for getting into, and staying in, Ketosis?
2) What do I do about the potential energy dip that comes from transitioning to Keto?
Let’s start with a quick answer for question #2…
When first transitioning to Keto, there will be some initial struggles with energy. Some people believe that in regards to the pros and cons of the Keto diet, the massive energy dip during the first month is enough to abandon the Keto diet altogether.
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Oh, it also has the added benefit of being protein rich and sugar free, making it an easy way to hit your macronutrient targets and get a great energy boost.
Plus, once you’re fully acclimated to Keto, Buzzfit is an easy way to add more fuel to your fire and really bump up those protein numbers with a beverage you already love…coffee!
What Is The Correct Macronutrient Ratio For Me On Keto?
Now let’s talk about the right keto diet macro ratio for your needs…
There is no one size fits all answer to “what is the best macro ratio for keto?” Or, “what should your macronutrient ratio be?” Things like natural metabolism and activity level are going to determine your needs. You may need to do some fine tuning to figure out how much of each nutrient group you require to achieve your fitness goals.
With that said, here are some general consensus guidelines according to Health.com that may help you during your initial planning stages:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) - Macronutrient ratio: 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs
Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) - Macronutrient ratio: 65-70% fat, 20% protein, 10-15% carbohydrates
Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD) - Macronutrient ratio: 70-75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbohydrates on "keto days;" 15% fat, 15% protein and 70% carbohydrates on "off days"
High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD) - Macronutrient ratio: 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbohydrates
These guidelines are not to be used as a definitive outline for how to structure your diet. Rather, they should be discerned, and used judiciously as a starting point for your diet.
From the starting points listed above you can feel free to adjust your diet based on how your body reacts to certain macronutrient combinations. Additionally, your doctor should always be a part of any major diet changes. Whether you are working with a nutritionist, or simply employing the counsel of your primary care physician, be sure to involve a physician during your decision making process.
Starting with a firm understanding of keto diet macro ratios will not only help you in your diet goals, it will also help you find some wiggle room for those moments of indulgence. Interestingly enough, you may actually find that you can incorporate more carbohydrates into your diet than the standard Keto diet recommends based on things like natural metabolism, activity level, etc!
You’re already off to a great start, so stick with it and keep it up. And remember, for those moments when you need to indulge without wreaking havoc on your macronutrient goals, grab a BuzzFit and enjoy a healthier buzz!