Keto has become one of the most popular ways to lose weight over the last few years, mainly due to its effectiveness. Keto revolves around lowering your carb intake to the point where your body goes into ketosis, which burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
But how does keto work for weight loss? Do you still need to watch your calories on a keto diet?
There is controversy surrounding whether counting calories on the keto diet is necessary.
Some say there’s no need, as lowering your carb intake so drastically naturally increases your deficit. In contrast, others believe that not doing so could lead to overeating.
This article will examine whether calorie counting plays a part in a keto diet and how strict you must be with calorie control.
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How Keto Works
The keto diet works when people lower their carbohydrate intake to considerably lower levels than they’ve been used to. It’s advised that someone starting a keto diet should reduce their carbohydrate intake to between 20g and 50g.
This amount depends on age, health, personal goals, and willpower.
People should use a trusted keto calculator to get the carbohydrates they should eat daily.
The keto diet has been growing in popularity over the last five years, and it’s now one of the most favored ways to lose weight.
This drastic and proven weight loss comes because your body becomes accustomed to the lack of sugar and carbs, it begins burning fat for energy. This also means you need to increase your fat intake by quite a lot; up to 80% of your diet should be fat sourced from natural sources such as avocado, nuts, oily fish, olive oil, and fatty cuts of meat.
This high-fat content can make calorie restriction difficult. For instance, it would be near impossible to follow a 1200-calorie-per-day diet when so much of your food needs to contain fatty products.
So, how many calories should you be eating on a keto diet if you were to count?
Do You Have to Count Calories on Keto?
The straightforward answer to this question is no. There is no need to count calories. It’s one of the reasons many people find a keto diet so appealing.
However, just because you don’t need to count them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch them. You could overeat if you completely disregard them, leading to weight gain or maintenance.
You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, and most diets imply this. It’s the science behind the saying, “Eat less, move more.” So as long as you’re eating less than you’re burning, you will lose weight.
Thus, because of the types of foods you eat on keto, you experience fewer cravings and feel fuller for longer.
On keto, though, this does a lot of the hard work because eating fewer carbohydrates will naturally lower your calorie intake, preventing you from adding 100g of cheese to every meal.
So, while we don’t say you should restrict calories on keto, it’s still important to me to be mindful of quantity.
How Many Calories Should You Eat on Keto?
This is a slightly tougher question because each individual is different. It also depends strongly on your personal goals, how much you currently weigh, and how old you are.
The easiest way to find this out is to use our online keto diet calculator tool.
Your sex can also make a difference. In general, males need more calories than females. But again, this can be debatable, depending on personal circumstances.
The daily calories someone on keto should likely consume are between 1600 and 2400. But for some people, this could be even higher.
This seems like a high number considering old-fashioned diets, which tell us we need to consume 1200–1600 calories per day to see any weight loss, which is completely misunderstood.
For example, up to 350 calories in a single avocado, and you’re on a 1200-calorie diet; that’s three avocados, and your allowance is gone. This is not sustainable, so you don’t need to be concerned about upping your calories on keto.
Once you’ve established your goals and nutrient needs, you can enter these into apps such as MyFitnessPal, where you can keep track of your daily fat, carb, and protein intake.
To Sum Up
The be-all and end-all of counting calories on keto is that it’s optional, but this doesn’t mean you should suddenly start doubling your calories and eating non-stop.
Many people also wonder if keto is better than counting calories.
The foods that you’re going to be consuming through practicing a keto diet mean that you will automatically put yourself into a deficit; carbohydrates make up a large portion of the average person’s calories, so reducing them to as little as 20g per day, means you will naturally be consuming less.
The most important thing to be mindful of on keto is eating the right foods and a varied diet—for example, plenty of leafy greens and protein from eggs, meat, and fish.
Suppose you try to cheat on keto and restrict yourself to foods such as bacon and butter. In that case, you’re not doing yourself any favors. It could lead to severe long-term health problems, including high cholesterol and heart disease.
To get the most out of your keto diet, check out our beginner’s guide to keto.