Should I Count Calories On A Ketogenic Diet?
Calorie counting is a great tool for people to use to get a rough idea of caloric intakes, as well as a way to pinpoint mistakes they might have made if they hit a plateau. You might have been told that counting calories is not needed on a ketogenic diet because it causes more weight loss than other diets. That’s not exactly true. Would you be burning more calories than a low fat diet? Most likely, but that’s because of your protein intake. What about high carb vs. low carb? The truth is, there are no studies that properly show a fat loss advantage between low carb and high carb diets. There’s been over 20 long-term studies done in the last 50 years trying to give a solid conclusion on this, but all of the results have been the same: there is no significant difference in weight loss between a low carb and high carb diet.  The Ketogenic Diet and How This Ties In The thing about a ketogenic diet is if you tell people to eat as much as they want, they will tend to eat slightly less than other diets. Naturally, you will eat less if you’re eating food that can satiate you easier. You will have more fullness from vegetables, satiety from protein, feel fuller for longer from the fat, and endure higher levels of thermogenesis from unprocessed foods. So what does that all mean? In a nutshell, it means that you will eat less food, and therefore less calories. Your body can dig into your fat stores, since you’re naturally restricting calories, and you’ll lose weight. With high carb diets, usually with a good amount of processed foods, you will see swings in blood glucose. This makes it easy for people to give in to cravings, and succumb to the “carb addiction” created from serotonin and dopamine. There are no magical metabolic advantages to a ketogenic die Continue reading >>
New Scientific Study: Calories Matter
Do low-carb diets have a “metabolic advantage” for weight loss? That’s the million-dollar question! For years, some prominent health figures have proposed that low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets help us burn more body fat even when we eat the same number of calories (or more) as we do on higher-carbohydrate diets. This belief comes partly from the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of obesity, which proposes that dietary carbohydrates drive up insulin levels, which in turn leads to greater fat storage. Take away the carbohydrates (and lower the insulin levels), and we’re able to metabolize fat and increase our energy expenditure—so the theory goes! But, is this really true? Lucky for us, a few recent studies have looked specifically at whether low-carbing causes endocrine adaptations that improve fat loss. The latest one, not yet published but discussed in a poster presentation by lead researcher Kevin Hall (video below and video transcript here), has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. The AIP Lecture Series is a 6-week video-based, self-directed online course that will teach you the scientific foundation for the diet and lifestyle tenets of the Autoimmune Protocol. Hall is quoted as saying that the study falsifies the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis—causing some people to focus on the study’s weaknesses and dismiss its results. So far, criticisms by Dr. Michael Eades, Jason Fung, and David Ludwig have surfaced! In reality, this is a very important study that does shed light on the “metabolic advantage” issue with low-carbohydrate diets. So, while we wait for the complete study to be published, it’s worth looking at the information we have so far and seeing what we can learn from it! What Did the Researchers Set Out to Study? Before we get to the Continue reading >>
Do Calories Matter On Keto Low Carb Diets?
This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. We may earn money from purchases made through links mentioned in this post, but all opinions are our own. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliates sites. Do calories matter on keto low carb diets? And, is it important to limit calories for weight loss? Let’s examine the impact of calories when losing weight. Nearly every aspiring fitness trainer and health coach learn early in their education about the “Law of Thermodynamics.” The Law of Thermodynamics, at least when applied to nutrition can be summarized like this: Change in fat mass = Energy consumed – Energy expended People who are trained to counsel people, either through exercise coaching or nutrition, interpret this information as: What you weigh equals how much you eat and how many calories you burn. Or, to put it yet another way, bodyweight equals calories in versus calories out. So, this theory leads one to believe how many calories are needed to lose weight depends on activity level. But is this simple equation accurate? Does it really show the whole picture? Do calories matter on keto low carb diets when you are trying to lose weight? The answer: Yes! But also, No! In a sense, yes calories do matter when it comes to weight loss. But unequivocally more important is what you eat and how the nutrients that are derived from the foods you eat affect fat metabolism. In essence, how your hormones are functioning, specifically when it comes to regulating fat metabolism is vitally more important than just a total caloric daily value. Let’s use an example of how calories aren’t the most important thing when Continue reading >>
Calorie Counting: Helpful Or Not?
Calorie counting is not really necessary on a ketogenic diet. It would seem that as long as you keep your carbohydrate intake super low, and your protein intake moderate, you shouldn't have to worry about calories. It is true that a ketogenic diet is very satisfying, and after you adapt to ketosis, you'll find you just aren't as hungry as you were when you ate lots of carbohydrates. Ketones have a damping affect on the appetite, and most people spontaneously reduce their food intake when they eat a high fat diet. However, for some people, myself included, it may be necessary to track calorie intake to take off excess weight. There are two ways to do figure out how much of each macronutrient (fat, protein, carb) as a percentage of calories : Use ketogenic percentage ratios Setting gram amounts of protein, carbs and fats on a reference weight and then multiplying to get calories. I think the second way is the better way and I'll explain why, but let's explore the first way. Using Percentage Ratios You can set calories on the ketogenic percentage ratios of about 70% of calories from fat, about 20% from protein, and under 10% from carbohydrate. Here's an example on how to do it. Let's say you set your total calorie intake for the day to be 1500. Here's one way to calculate how many grams of fat, carb and protein to eat: 1500 x .70 = 1050 calories from fat. Fat has 9 calories per gram = 1050/9 = 116.5 grams of fat. (Reference: 1 tablespoon of butter has 12 grams of fat. 1500 x .20 = 300 calories from protein. Protein has 4 calories per gram, = 300/4 = 75 grams of protein. (Reference: an ounce of meat has 7 grams of protein). 1500 x .10 = 150 calories from carbs. Carbs have 4 calories per gram, = 150/4 = 38 grams of carb. (Reference: 1 slice bread has 25 grams of carb.) While Continue reading >>
How Much Fat On A Ketogenic Diet?
Do calories matter? How much fat can I eat to lose weight on a ketogenic diet? These are just some of the many questions I focused on when writing this post. What's the Ideal Fat Intake on a Ketogenic Diet? As most of you know, ketogenic diets are high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates. The aim of the ketogenic eating is to get your body into a state known as ketosis. Generally, the macronutrient ratio varies within the following ranges: • 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more), • 15-30% of calories from protein, and • 5-10% of calories from carbs. However, percentages are relative and don't say anything about the amount of calories you are eating. Percentages will give you an idea of the macronutrient composition of a diet. To determine the amount of calories, you have to look at absolute numbers - macronutrients in grams. So it's totally different to consume 4,000 kcal and 2,000 kcal on a ketogenic diet. Can I Eat less than 60% of Calories from Fat? Yes, you can. Since you only regulate your energy intake via fat when following a ketogenic diet (protein and carbs remain more or less constant), you may end up eating less than 60% of calories from fat, especially if you are trying to lose weight. This is perfectly fine. In his bestselling books and also in this video, Dr. Stephen Phinney explains the different phases of the ketogenic diet. Depending on your goal, your fat intake will vary in each phase and you will lose different amount of body fat. Weight loss slows down and it's completely natural - you will lose more weight at the beginning (water weight + accelerated fat loss) so don't get discouraged if your weight loss slows down as you get close to your target weight. Why You Need to Use a Keto Calculator Not everyone follows the keto Continue reading >>
All About Calories, Part 1: Do Calories Count?
If you really want to start a catfight in the Paleo world, just raise the topic of calories. Is calories in, calories out a load of baloney, or is it the only legitimate way to lose weight? Do you need to count calories for weight loss? Does a ketogenic diet work because it automatically restricts calories, or because it provides some special metabolic adaptation? As usual, the answer is complicated. And if we try to oversimplify it for the sake of a snappy catchphrase, we’re just making it harder to get to the ultimate goal: better health. So instead of getting caught up in black-and-white thinking about how calories either “count” or “don’t count,” consider that there are really two different arguments going on here: Argument 1: By the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Weight gain or loss physically must depend on a calorie surplus or deficit. Change in weight = calories in – calories out. Argument 2: Counting calories and increasing exercise (“eat less, move more”) is the best/only way to achieve a calorie deficit and thus lose weight. Agreeing with one of these two statements does not mean that you agree with the other. You can completely accept the calories-in/calories-out theory, but still think that counting calories isn’t the best way to get there. Alternately, you can consider calories-in/calories-out to be incomplete or even incorrect, but still think that counting calories has some value as part of the big picture. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happens, and that’s probably why very intelligent people disagree so strongly on the calorie issue. Argument 1 seems to be true, in a certain very limited sense. But Argument 2, the “eat less, move more” prescription, is so oversimplified that it’s Continue reading >>
How Many Calories Should I Eat On Keto?
One of the most common questions I see about keto is “how many carbs should I eat in a day?” The next thing people usually want to know is, “how many calories should I eat in a day?” Totally reasonable. There seem to be two schools of thought on this: those who ignore calories, and those who eat at a huge deficit. But, what should you do? So, how many calories should I eat on keto? Well, the answer lies somewhere in between not counting calories at all and going crazy, and being obsessive and eating very few calories. You’ve probably figured that much out, but it’s worth stating anyway. There are many bro science-y keto advocates that preach the fallibility of the calories-in-calories-out model. And they’re not totally wrong – saying 100 calories of corn chips is the same to your body as 100 calories of broccoli isn’t really correct. Your body will get far more out of the broccoli, and it will actually decrease inflammation, whereas the corn chips will create inflammation. As a quick reminder, inflammation is basically excess water in the body, which can cause swelling and weight gain. It also puts pressure on your various organ systems. So, the general idea with foods is that we want to reduce inflammation throughout the body. What are your goals on keto? Not everyone follows a ketogenic diet to lose weight. In fact, there are many medical conditions which studies have shown to be greatly improved by the individual remaining in ketosis. So, if your goal has nothing to do with weight loss, you can pretty much stop reading this article now, and just eat however much you want. ;) For the small minority of you who are trying to actually gain weight, I’d advise a similar protocol as above, but just keep eating. For many people, weight loss is the goal, a Continue reading >>
What Role Do Calories Play In A Keto Diet And Do You Need To Count Calories?
You most likely will not have to focus on counting calories. You will typically eat from your allowable foods list until you feel full and satisfied. It’s also a great time to re-learn what eating is all about, and to start basing what, how much and how often you eat on your body’s hunger cues. You will eat when you’re hungry, and you’ll eat until you feel full and satisfied. Eating fats and keeping carbs very low helps your body release fat into the blood stream. This helps you feel more satisfied by what you’re eating, and often, the desire to overeat goes away. Calorie counting can be done if you are being very strict with your diet, or don’t yet trust your instincts to help you eat only what is needed. Some people just like to start out counting calories (along with the macronutrients) to see how much they’re eating on a daily basis. You don’t necessarily have to have a limit, but this method can give you a good idea of how many calories it takes to keep you feeling good. You may be surprised if you’ve never counted calories before, how many more calories you racked up while consuming a more moderate, or even a high carb, diet. Often, once people get into the swing of things with a ketogenic diet, their overall calorie intake tends to lessen naturally, despite the greater number of high-calorie fat grams being eaten. If you are interested in getting a caloric snapshot of your daily food intake, there are many great online food tracking programs. One with a very large and useful database that you can use is called My Fitness Pal (10). This popular site has helped literally millions of people track their food intake and manage carbohydrates easily. If counting calories is too stressful for you, then, by all means, try dieting by just managing your ma Continue reading >>
Is It Possible To Eat Too Many Calories On Lchf?
Is it possible to eat too many calories on LCHF? The answer to this and other questions – for example, what type of exercise is best on LCHF? And what should you do if you sleep really poorly? – in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt: Exercising on LCHF – cardio or weights? I have just recently started this way of eating and am going to the gym five days a week. I am morbidly obese. I am enjoying the exercise, I will do a mix of boxing, HIIT circuit, PT session and cardio and weights. I have been told that cardio any more than once a week is no good and has adverse effects. Could you elaborate further on this for me if it is indeed true or is it up to the individual? For me personally, I feel that the exercise can only benefit me. On a side note, my PT actually supports this way of eating too! Christine Hi Christine! I think the exercise and the cardio is likely to benefit you. Just remember that if you’re morbidly obese then diet quality (few carbs) and only eating when hungry are the most important things, at least when it comes to weight loss. So focus on getting those right first and consider postponing exercise until those earlier habits are simple to maintain. However, if you’re confident you can do everything at once, good for you! Best, Andreas Eenfeldt Can I eat too many calories? Can I eat too many calories? My carbs are under 18 grams per day, my fat is quite high 130g – 250 grams and my protein around 80 grams. My calories are around 2,500… sometimes up to 2,800. I have 48 kg (105 lbs) to lose. My blood ketones read 0.3 – 0.4 mmol/L in the mornings and in the evening 0.6 – 1.6mmol/L. I eat no junk or processed foods or sweeteners or sugars. I am aged 59, partially disabled with fibromyalgia, CFS and arthritis. My weight loss is very Continue reading >>
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Is A Calorie Deficit Necessary?
This is a summary/extract from The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald. A popular belief states that fat can be lost on a ketogenic diet without the creation of a caloric deficit. This implies that there is an inherent ‘calorie deficit’, or some sort of metabolic enhancement from the state of ketosis that causes fat to be lost without restriction of calories. There are several mechanisms that might create such an inherent caloric deficit. The loss of ketones in the urine and breath represents one mechanism by which calories are wasted. However, even maximal excretion of ketones only amounts to 100 calories per day. This would amount to slightly less than one pound of extra fat lost per month. Additionally since ketones have fewer calories per gram (4.5 cal/gram) compared to free fatty acids (9 cal/gram), it has been suggested that more fat is used to provide the same energy to the body. To provide 45 calories to the body would require 10 grams of ketones, requiring the breakdown of 10 grams of free fatty acids in the liver, versus only 5 grams of free fatty acids if they are used directly. Therefore an additional 5 grams of FFA would be ‘wasted’ to generate ketones. However, this wastage would only occur during the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet when tissues other than the brain are deriving a large portion of their energy from ketones. After this point, the only tissue which derives a significant amount of energy from ketones is the brain. Since ketones at 4.5 calories/gram are replacing glucose at 4 calories/gram, it is hard to see how this would result in a substantially greater fat loss. Anecdotally, many individuals do report that the greatest fat loss on a ketogenic diet occurs during the first few weeks of the diet, but this pattern is not found in resea Continue reading >>
Body Composition Set your current weight, in pounds or kilograms, and your bodyfat percentage. (How to visually estimate bodyfat %) Activity Level (not counting exercise): Set your usual activity level. This does not include additional exercise like gym, running, etc. If not known, choose Sedentary. Choose "Custom" to set your TDEE manually. Multipliers for activities are taken from Chapter 8 of "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, 5th Edition" Daily Calories Set your goal to get your recommended calorie intake. If you used the Exercise Info section above, then you can compare calories for those days that you exercise and those that you don't. It is not recommended to go over 25% deficit for fat loss or over 15% surplus for muscle gain. Daily Exercise Info If needed, set your exercise information for those days that you will be exercising. (Click here for Kcal / min calculations). This will allow you to compare calorie limits on those days that you exercise against those that you don't. Activity Minutes Kcal burned / min Total Kcal burned Weights Cardio Other Daily Macros Adjust your protein ratio: To maintain muscle, leave protein ratio between 0.69 to 0.8. It is not recommended to drop below 0.69 or muscle loss may occur. To gain muscle, the protein ratio should be between 0.8 to 1.2. There is normally no advantage to consuming more than 0.82g/lb (1.8g/kg) of protein per day to preserve or build muscle once you're past the novice level as a natural trainee. Source. Adjust the carbs and fat grams to reach daily calorie goals. If doing a Standard Ketogenic Diet, carbs should be set lower than 30g: It is suggested you count carbs as TOTAL for all foods, except for green veggies and avocado, on those count as NET. Protein Ratio Macronutrients Macro Grams Kcal per gra Continue reading >>
Calories Or Carbohydrates – Which Ones Really Matter?
Introduction For most of the people who are trying or following a low-carbohydrate approach to fat loss or to health improvements, it is clear from the very beginning that one of the most important things that they need to know is the amount of carbohydrates they ingest. It is nice to know that you don’t really have to focus on calories, which is the main preoccupation of the rest of the diets. Carbohydrates are the ones that really matter here. How many calories? Many people who begin or consider following this approach to fat loss are very confused and many keto-dieters are doing it the wrong way and then they say it doesn’t work. The idea behind a ketogenic approach is that you can eat as much as you want (calorically speaking) if you stick within the limits of your macros. This means that you have to go at least 60% fat from the total calories, 20-35% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. Let’s be more specific. If one day of your ketogenic lifestyle you eat 2,500kcals, 60% of them have to come from fat, 20-35% of them have to come from protein while 5-10% have to come from carbohydrates. That’s it. I’ve noticed that for many people the best would be to go 70-80% fat, 15-25% protein, while 5-10% should be carbohydrates. It doesn’t matter if you consume 1,500kcals, 2,500kcals or 5,000kcals as long as you stick within these macronutrient values. Net or Total Carbs? In ketogenic diets the limitation is put on the amount of carbohydrates you ingest daily. Those 5-10% of carbohydrates should be somewhere between 20-50g of total carbohydrates so that you are in ketosis. This range of 20-50g is only a narrow window because some people can easily eat 70-100g of carbs per day and still remain in the fat burning metabolism. On the lower end, 95% (rough estimate) of th Continue reading >>
Do Calories Matter?
In a word, yes. But, technically this is the wrong question. The correct question is probably closer to, “What is the impact of the calories I consume on my body’s ability to store fat versus burn fat?” The immediate follow-up question to some variant of this first question is, “Should I be counting calories?” In a word, no. But you’ll want to read this post fully to qualify that answer. Before I answer these important questions, let’s spend a few moments reviewing five key concepts. Key concept #1 – the definition of a calorie A calorie is a unit of measurement for energy content. By formal definition a calorie is the amount of heat energy required to raise one gram of water from 14.5 to 15.5 degrees Celsius at atmospheric pressure. One-thousand calories is equal to 1 kilocalorie, or 1 kcal for short. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Most people use the term “kilocalorie” and “calorie” interchangeably. So when someone says, “a gram of fat has 9 calories,” they actually mean 9 kcals. The important thing to remember is that a calorie (or kcal) tells you how much energy you get by burning the food. Literally. In the “old days” this is how folks figured out the energy content of food using a device called a calorimeter. In fact, to this day this is how caloric content is measured when doing very precise measurements of food intake for rigorous scientific studies. As a general rule carbohydrates contain between 3 and 4 kcal per gram; proteins are about the same; fats contain approximately 9 kcal per gram. [If you’re wondering why fats contain more heat energy than carbohydrates or proteins, it has to do with the number of high energy bonds they contain. Fats are primarily made up of carbon-hydrogen and carbon-carbon bonds, which have th Continue reading >>
Calorie Counting – There’s A Better Way
Back in 2009 I did quite a lot of running and followed a pretty strict diet. I would calorie count down to the last gram of food, keeping a detailed log of everything I ate. It was utterly ridiculous. However, it seemed to be effective – over the course of nine months or so I lost nearly 30lbs and was the lightest I have ever been in my adult life. It doesn’t mean that my method was optimum though. After all, if you’re running 20–30 miles per week and eating dramatically less than you normally would, the weight is bound to fall off you. One thing’s for sure: my new eating regime certainly wasn’t enjoyable. In this post I want to explain why calorie counting isn’t the only approach to dieting, and offer up a completely different (and far more intuitive) approach that will never leave you hungry. The Calorie, Defined The calorie (or to be precise, the kilogram calorie or kcal) is a unit of energy that was defined by the French physicist and chemist Nicolas Clément in 1824. It is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. But what does this have to do with food? Well, the human body requires energy in order to operate. Everything from brain activity to blood flow requires energy, which is where the calorie comes in. Conventional thinking assumes that the interaction between food and the human body is as follows: Calories In – Calories Expended = Calorie Deficit/Surplus For example, let’s say your body supposedly requires 2,000 calories every single day to keep things ticking. If you consume 1,800 calories then you will be at a calorific deficit and the body will seek the necessary extra energy from another source (such as your fat reserves or your muscle mass). Conversely, if you consume 2,200 c Continue reading >>
Do Calories Even Matter?
Written by: Kevin Cann The great calorie debate is and has been quite a controversial topic for some time. I am not going to lie, I have changed my stance on this topic probably more than once. To quickly answer the question “Do calories matter?” the answer is yes. However, I want to take this topic a bit deeper and help everyone gain an understanding for how our body should be controlling our caloric intake. We have survived for millions of years as a species without having to weigh and measure our food. The most popular calorie counting equation is the Harris-Benedict equation. This equation has quite a few downfalls. First, it was established in 1918 which makes it almost 100 years old. This study also used a small sample size. This study looked at 136 men, 106 women, and 94 newborns. To summarize, our most popular equation for calculating intake is 100 years old and looked at a sample size of a little more than 300 people to establish guidelines for the entire population. I think it is safe to say that there is a good chance that these researchers missed the mark a bit. I am not saying that I have all the answers. If I did I would not be writing this article right now, but laying on the beach of an island that I own because I would be the richest man alive. We are still trying to figure out what causes people to be obese and how to correct it for the long term. We have consistently tried the eat less and exercise more mantra with very limited success. If looking at the climbing obesity rates of the American population is not enough here is a conclusion on a literature review of low calorie dieting: “Dietetic literature on weight management fails to meet the standards of evidence based medicine. Research in the field is characterized by speculative claims that Continue reading >>