Keto Macronutrients and How They Affect the Body in the Ketogenic Diet

When following the ketogenic diet, it’s not enough to just reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat intake.  You want to keep track of the macronutrients you consume to ensure your body is absorbing the recommended percentage of each daily. This blog will outline what macronutrients are, the role they play in the keto diet, how they affect your body and food recommendations to fulfill each macronutrient requirement.

What are macronutrients

Understanding what macronutrients are can be confusing, but it’s important because if you don’t grasp this concept, it’ll be difficult to be successful on the keto diet.  To keep it simple, we will define macronutrients as categories the food you eat daily fall into. The primary macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates, and protein.  These are not to be confused with micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals.  Essentially, the keto diet focuses on restricting your intake of two macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates) while increasing your intake of fat.

Since the keto diet is a low carb high fat diet, your fat intake will be higher than your intake of carbs. Here are the general guidelines for macronutrient intake:

Fat Intake: 70% of your daily diet or more

Protein Intake: 20% to 25% of your daily diet
Carbohydrate Intake: 5% to 10% of your daily diet or less than 20 net carbs

The exact recommendations for your body can be found by using a macronutrient calculator or consulting a dietician. 

The role of macronutrients in the keto diet

Fat, carbohydrates and proteins work together to provide your body with the essential nutrient combination needed to function properly while remaining in a state of ketosis. Being in ketosis is the goal of the keto diet because it’s at this point that your body stops using carbohydrates and glucose as energy and starts using fat and ketones to fuel itself. This switch leads to many benefits overall including increased fat breakdown to improve your body’s overall composition, general health and performance. 

Fat and the keto diet

Consuming high amounts of fat is essential when on the keto diet. Fat helps your body produce energy and suppress your appetite while it supports cell growth, absorbs nutrients and creates  essential hormones.  

When you’re on the keto diet, your body gets energy from ketones which are derived from burning fat, as opposed to getting energy from glucose, which is produced by carbohydrates.  Without a high level of fat, your body would be unable to create the energy required to function correctly. It would also miss out on the many other health benefits fat provides.

Protein and the keto diet

Protein is a necessity while on the keto diet, because every cell in your body needs it to function properly.  It helps you to maintain muscle, build and repair tissues, make enzymes and hormones, and more. 

However, it’s important to note that this is not a high protein diet. If you consume too much protein, it can increase your insulin levels, decrease your ketone production, and take you out of ketosis.  

Carbohydrates and keto diet

While you should consume the smallest amount of carbs on the keto diet, they still provide many benefits.  Carbs have the most significant impact on the body’s ability to enter a state of ketosis. Too many carbs will cause the body to create glucose as its energy source.   When glucose produces energy, it won’t enter a state of ketosis and which is the goal of the keto diet. 

Food recommendations for key macronutrients

Carbohydrate food recommendations
Your carb intake is the foundation of your ability to enter and stay in ketosis. According to Pegah Jalali, a nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, “Low-carb vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more...Not to mention, they make a great vehicle to add fats to.” Therefore, vegetables are highly recommended, but you can also turn to nuts and seeds for healthy carbs. Here are some recommended foods:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Eggplant
  • Mushroom
  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Fennel
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Brussel sprouts 

Protein food recommendations

Protein is an essential component of the keto diet, though you shouldn’t consume too much. When possible, add protein sources to your diet that also provide a healthy amount of fat. 

Here are some protein sources we recommend:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Tuna
  • Mussels
  • Cod
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Pork 
  • Lamb

While you likely think of meat and seafood when the word protein comes to mind, you can also get protein from non-meat sources such as nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Again, seek out foods that also offer a healthy level of fat when possible. 

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hemp seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Eggs

Fat food recommendations

Keto is all about high fat consumption.  You want to consume a lot of fat each day, and you have tons of options to help you reach your goals.  Here are some recommended foods:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hemp seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cheese 
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Nut oils
  • Coconut butter
  • MCT oil
  • Olives

Know Your Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the foundation of the keto diet, so being knowledgeable about what they are and the foods you should consume to meet your daily intake goals is essential. At Heka Good Foods, we are committed to providing you with the food choices and knowledge required to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Be sure to follow us for up to date information on all things keto. 


Sources:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/carbohydrates

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

https://www.health.com/nutrition/keto-diet-grocery-list

https://calculo.io/keto-calculator

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/micronutrients




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