.A ketogenic diet is great for weight loss … but only if you get it right. Most people in the Ketosphere tell you to lose weight on keto, all you have to do is lower carbs and eat more healthy fats.
If only it were that easy, am-I-right?
First of all, there’s more to effective weight loss on keto than cutting carbs and upping your fat intake. Let’s take the second part of that equation into consideration.
What does upping your fat intake even mean? Does everyone need to douse themselves in coconut oil to lose weight on keto? And won’t chugging that much extra fat just make you even more fat?
I know I already said first of all, but perhaps I should have begun with – dousing yourself with any kind of fat, no matter how healthy it is, only serves to create a mess. This is coming from the girl who has coconut oil splatters on every single one of her $8 t-shirts from Target. I definitely know a thing or two about healthy fats.
Oh, and it’s also coming from the girl who lost 110 pounds on a low-carb diet. This was after I couldn’t get the scale to budge with any other diet known to man. That means I probably have a thing or two to say about how you too can drop body fat with a high-fat diet.
How Much Fat Should I Eat on Keto?
Even though I just said I could tell you all about how to eat more of the good fats to lose weight, I can’t give you an exact number. Unless a keto coach analyzes your personal stats, there’s no way to tell you how many grams of fat YOU should eat on keto.
Even with a fancy keto macro calculator as a guide, there’s more to consider. Good coaches need to take into account things like how long you’ve been dieting, how well your body can digest fat, and are you focussing on the right things. FYI – the right things includes eating mostly whole foods instead of highly processed keto-friendly foods.
With all of these variables to consider, getting the right amount of healthy fats on keto can be tricky. While I’m a firm believer that most stalled keto dieters need to eat more fat, overdoing fat can also lead to weight gain. What’s a confused keto dieter to do?
Eat Enough Fat on a High-Fat Diet
When it comes to how much fat on keto per day, err on the side of eating enough fat. This is especially important if you’re just getting started with a keto meal plan, or if you hit a keto weight loss stall.
Even though most dieters believe weight loss is all about a calorie deficit, that’s just not the case. You need to eat enough calories when trying to lose weight. If you don’t, your body will hold onto stored fat like it’s toilet paper and the news won’t shut up about a virus that’s sure to doom us all if we don’t have enough butt-wipe on hand.
More specifically, most of those calories need to come from fat. This will trigger the fat burning state of ketosis. It’s also vital to keep total carb consumption low in order to unlock your body’s fat stores. At this point of fat loss, the number of calories you eat has little to do with how much weight you lose. Purposely withholding fat in order to reach some obscure calorie count on your macro app can stall weight loss for a lot of people.
Not Eating Enough Fat on Keto
The macros for a standard keto diet are in the range of 70% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. This means a whopping 70+ percent of total calories should come from fat.
The first step to reach this level of fat is to track everything you eat. We advise our members use a food scale or measuring cups when getting started. Even though this seems tedious, it’s useful to understand the percentage of macros in your diet.
Keto won’t work if you should eat 70% of calories from fat, but after tracking you realize only 40% of your total calories come from fat. Plus if don’t track, chances are you’re eating too many carbs. Measuring meals and adding them to a macro app helps you take a closer look at how keto-fied your diet really is.
However, all of this measuring and tracking won’t do you any good if your overall caloric intake is still too low. Too many long-term dieters come into keto after years, or even decades, of following mainstream starvation diets. These are plans that base weight loss on eating in an extreme caloric deficit. You can basically name any mainstream diet, and it’s likely a starvation diet in disguise.
The best way to head towards a big fat keto weight loss stall is to come into keto with this calories in vs. calories out mindset. This is where you base weight loss efforts on drastically slashing calories, while also increasing your activity level. This whole charade is in hopes of chiseling away at your middle. Since drastically cutting calories combined with daily cardio marathons isn’t a great strategy to reach weight loss goals, let’s talk about how to determine if you’re eating enough fat on keto.
Basal Metabolic Rate Calculation to Determine Your Fat Macros
In case I’ve been too wordy thus far (I can’t see you shake your head in agreement, so you won’t hurt my feelings too much), the amount of fat you need to get into ketosis depends on your individual needs. Using a keto calculator is a great start to determine right macros for you. It’s still a good idea to use a basic BMR calculation as a backup. This will help you determine the minimum amount of fat YOU should aim for most days.
The reason I double check my client’s macros against BMR is that some keto calculators still run off of the idea of calories in vs. calories out. Even if that’s not the calculator’s intent, most of them have options to adjust calories based on how quickly you want to lose. Most dieters are trained to believe faster is better. This leads you to choose the most extreme option. This means even if you calculate 70% of calories from fat, that won’t do you much good if the macro calculator tells you to eat less than my two year old.
Yes, that’s a thing. Or at least it was a thing since my youngest is now five. With that said, I’ll bet there’s days my five year old eats double what you do if you still rely on a low calorie program to hit your weight loss goals. That kid can crush a ribeye steak like nobody’s business!
A quick macro calculation to determine how much fat to eat on keto:
Let’s assume you eat 30g carbs and 70g protein most days. While these numbers aren’t right for everyone, they’re pretty basic. The point is to keep total carbs low and allow enough protein, without eating too much protein.
Find a basic BMR calculator to figure out your current basal metabolic rate. Type in your weight, height, activity level, etc. Once you get your BMR, let’s head back to math class. Don’t worry – I’m too old to know anything about this fancy new common core math method, so we’ll keep this basic.
Add together total carbs and protein; then multiply by 4. If your math skills are lacking, or you have zero desire to brush up multiplication while reading a weight loss blog, the answer is 400.
Next, subtract that number from your total BMR. If you are a woman who’s 5’8, weighs 180 pounds, and you go for walks most days, your BMR is around 1500 calories. This is the minimum number of calories to maintain your weight for basic functions, like getting out of bed and reading this blog.
So 1500 – 400 is 1100. The minimum amount of calories from fat you should aim for most days is around 1100. Since there are 9 calories in each gram of fat, divide 1100 by 9. This comes out to 122.
With this quick calculation, you determined you should eat a minimum of 122 grams of fat most days. This can help you get into ketosis.
Since you’re a smart keto cookie, you remember you need to adjust that number based on how you feel. You won’t shove extra fat in to hit this goal … and you’ll eat more if you feel hungry. Plus, most of that fat will come from real food sources, not keto-friendly cookies 🧐
A Quick Keto Calculator Comparison:
Just for comparison’s sake, I typed these same stats into a popular keto calculator. The fat macros given were 64 – 91 total grams each day. When you hit the midrange of fat most days, you fall right into the 70% fat macro. Technically, that makes this plan keto. However, this also puts a full grown 180 pound woman in a caloric range of 1,018 calories each day.
When I look at this plan, I don’t understand how it’s any different than the same starvation diets we’ve all failed for years. No grown woman should ever attempt a plan that only offers 1,000 calories day in and day out. I can tell you from first hand experience the metabolic damage a low calorie plan will cause.
I also don’t foresee a ton of health benefits stemming from a plan where daily calories remain so low. Even though most calorie purists will have you believe you’ll always lose weight by eating fewer calories, it’s just not the case. In Keto Challenge after Keto Challenge, I work with women who only gain weight while adhering to the low calorie madness still taught.
How to Get Enough Fat on a Keto Diet
Now that you understand why eating enough fat is important, you’re probably wondering how to increase fat. We talked about how chugging coconut oil straight from the tub won’t work. Let’s chat about other ways to increase fat.
An easy way is to choose meats with a higher percentage of fat. The trick is to aim for high quality, organic meats since animals store toxins in fat cells. Conventional meats contain more toxins than meats that are grass-fed and organic. When your body has to deal with a toxic burden, it has less time to burn fat.
I won’t pretend to enjoy seafood, but your favorite fatty fish can also help raise fat intake. Pair it with a low carb side dish, and you have an easy answer of how to get more fat on keto.
If organic meats aren’t in your budget, get whatever fits your price range. A trick to add more healthy fats to meats and veggies is to top them with butter, coconut oil, or olive oil.
My favorite way to add more fat is with fat bombs on keto. These tasty treats pull double duty by getting your sweet tooth fix, while also bumping up healthy fats. Since most fat bomb recipes also serve as keto-friendly desserts, don’t overdo them. Sticking with fat bombs with a coconut oil base will give you the most bang for your healthy fats buck.
Don’t have time to make fat bombs, but you need more fat? Grab a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. These make a great energy source since they’re high in healthy fat. They also provide a small amount of protein. Keep in mind, most nut butters contain carbs and they’re easy to overeat. Always measure your serving.
What Are The Best Fats to Eat on Keto?
My favorite healthy fats on a keto diet include butter, coconut oil, and ghee. Even though the American Heart Association says otherwise, getting enough saturated fat on keto is important. Of course, I’m not a doctor so none of what I say should be taken as medical advice. With that said, my overall health improved greatly once I began a low carb diet with plenty of saturated fat.
Foods higher in monounsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil, and avocados can also work well for a keto diet. Keep in mind some of these foods will raise your carb intake as well. Still, many keto dieters do well going by net carbs with these foods since they’re natural food sources.
Some forms of polyunsaturated fats can be OK. These include the versions found in some nuts, seeds, and avocados. Avoid anything made with toxic vegetable oils. Canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil are among the most common vegetable oils used in processed foods. You really need to check the label on “keto-friendly” products like salad dressings to make sure they don’t contain this bad fat.
We recently recorded a members-only episode of Chat the Fat where we detailed the common mistakes keto dieters make regarding fat on a keto diet. Step one is skipping trans fats all together since that’s the most poisonous dietary fat of them all. Removing all highly processed vegetable oils is the next important thing you can do. The side effects of keeping even small amounts of these fats in your diet include increased cravings, weight loss resistance, and adverse reactions like headaches.
We chatted about this subject for nearly an hour, so I suppose we had a little more to share with our members than just skip the really toxic fats. Getting the good info is the main reason our members lose up to 80 pounds in a year after every other diet they tried failed them for decades 😉
Can You Eat Too Much Fat on Keto?
Now that I spent the entire blog singing the virtues of fat, like how you have to eat enough fat, plus the best fat on keto, I’m about to wrap this blog up by telling you to put down that second cup of bulletproof coffee.
It’s true keto is a high fat diet. This means the healthiest way to lose the weight on keto is to lower carbohydrate intake, and then eat more healthy fats. But remember – you’re still on a diet plan. If you’re this far into the blog, my assumption is you want to lose weight.
While I don’t believe weight loss is really about calories in vs. calories out, you can still overdo the amount of energy you take in when you overdo fat. When you’re slipping fats like MCT oil into coffee, then fat can be easy to overdo. This is especially true since fat is the most calorically dense of all of the macronutrients.
If you’re confused with this entire Goldilocks equation when it comes to fat, start with the simple BMR equation. Track what you eat in a macro app to make sure you’re eating at least the minimum amount of fat that’s right for you. Once you get there, listen to your body to tell you when enough is enough.
Will you still be tempted to go by calorie intake when you track what you eat? Yep! Old habits die hard.
If you fall back into this pattern, just remember that every time your belly rumbles – a fat cell starts to grow. (That was my keto take on the famous line from It’s A Wonderful Life – every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets his wings).
Want Better Results on Keto?
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How Much Fat on Keto