Feeling overwhelmed by the Keto diet? You are not alone. While I had tried many diets before (low carb, paleo, Whole30, etc.) the macros, the fats, the calculating and net carbs were all a new mantra for me. After researching and asking friends, I learned some simple tools for the keto diet that would make me successful and they most certainly did.
If you are new to Keto, I suggest that you read these two post (one and two) first, to learn some basics. As a reminder, the purpose of the Ketogenic diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis so that it starts burning stored fat for energy instead of glucose which comes from carbs. Strict Ketoers eat 20g of net carbs a day but I generally am around 30g of net carbs. Naturally, it is a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet where fat should consists of 65% to 80% of what you eat. Some of my kitchen staples are heavy whipping cream, butter, eggs, coconut oil, salamis, smoked fish and cheese just to name a few.
Ensuring that you eat 20 grams of net carbs a day was hard for me to calculate in addition to ensuring that 65% to 80% of what I consumed was fat. I am a fat lover at heart but even this was challenging. Here are some tools that I use to help me with my success.
#1. Keto Calculator
I mentioned the Keto calculator in my previous post. This is the first place you should start. The way to ensure that you are in Ketosis is to manage your net carb intake. At first sticking to 20g net carbs a day is challenging but the more you practice Ketoing the more you will get use to it. There are actually some days I don’t even eat 20g of net carbs so don’t be too afraid.
As a reminder, everyone’s body is different. When I entered my information into the Keto calculator, it gave me 25g of net carbs to eat. I adjusted it down to 20g of net carbs in the beginning because I wanted to lose weight at a more rapid than gradual pace. My husband weighs 220 pounds and is 6 feet 7 inches tall. When I entered his information, the calculator gave him 45g of net carbs a day. He wasn’t as interested in losing weight at the pace I was so he wasn’t as strict, although I believe he actually ate around 30g of net carbs a day. He didn’t feel like tracking his carbs like I did so we never really knew how many he ate. We did check to see if he was in ketosis and I will show you a little later on how we did that.
#2. My Fitness Pal App
This app will help you manage your macros and count your total net grams of carbs in a day. Remember that net carbs is calculated by taking the total carbs, found on your nutrition label, and subtracting the dietary fiber.
Before starting this app, use this Keto calculator to determine what your macros are and how many net carbs you should eat a day. Remember you can adjust the numbers to fit your lifestyle and needs.
#3 Ketone Tester
Like most people, I had a hard time knowing if I was in ketosis or not. If you are use to eating a carb rich diet, it will take you upwards of 7 days to get into ketosis. Most people can get into ketosis by day 3 or day 4 of the diet.
I am somewhat neurotic so I wanted to ensure that I was actually in ketosis and staying in ketosis. And, as I mentioned before, Nathanael wasn’t interested in calculating his net carbs so he preferred to just use these strips to measure his ketone levels. I purchased these Ketone strips from Amazon. What I love about these strips is they are easy to use, inexpensive, non-invasice and great for those first starting on the Keto diet.
For those more tenured Keto dieters, a different tool might be needed. As your body becomes efficient at processing and metabolizing Ketones, it can get harder for the Ketone strips to accurately measure if you are in Ketosis.
If you are looking for a more advanced tool that measure blood glucose , I would recommend the Precision Xtra Glucose Monitoring System. This is a highly regarded tool used quite frequently by Tim Ferriss, who is an avid Keto dieter. His main goal of the Keto diet is to help manage the negative effects of his Lyme disease. What I like about this tool is the precise measurement but it is a bit more costly. Oh….and you have to prick your finger (ouch)!
If you are considering doing this diet to lose weight or try something new, I would recommend purchasing the Ketone strips. If you are getting into this diet for medical reasons or aid in the healing of your body, I would recommend the Precision Xtra Glucose Monitoring System because of its accuracy. Because I am not a medical professional, please seek medical advice before starting any diet.
Hopefully these tools will help you as you get started on the diet just as they did for me.