Which Calorie Counting App Should You Use The Top Three Options For The Keto Diet
Choosing the right app from the dozens of diet trackers can be overwhelming. To help simplify your decision, weve asked the keto community for their favorites and experimented with each one.
Here is what we found to be the top three tracking apps for keto:
- Cronometer This is the best option for anyone looking to track macronutrients, net carbs, vitamins, and minerals with greater accuracy and precision . However, it can be time-consuming to add keto recipes and less common foods/ingredients.
- MyFitnessPal A great choice if you make a lot of keto recipes and use wide array foods/ingredients. Unfortunately, it is not as precise as Cronometer and requires you to subtract total fiber from total carbs to find your net carb intake.
- CarbManager This app has the same advantages as MyFitnessPal, but with the added ability to track different types of carbs. However, it is not as accurate as Cronometer and uses aggressive pop-up ads.
If youd like to learn more about each app and how to use them for counting your calories and keto macros, read through our comprehensive guide to tracking on the ketogenic diet.
What Are Some Examples Of Simple Carbs And Complex Carbs
We already filled you in on the difference between simple and complex carbs: simple carbs are quickly and easily digested while complex ones take longer .
Some examples of simple carbs include:
- fresh fruit and dried fruit
- fruit juices, jams, and jellies
- white bread
- green peas
You can learn more about why these foods fall into the complex carb category in the gallery below. Ideally, you’ll be loading up on these kinds of carbs to make up your carb intake each day.
Why Would You Want To Calculate Net Carbs
Calculating net carbohydrates provides a more accurate number of calorie-containing nutrients in the foods we consume.
There are multiple reasons people may choose to calculate net carbs:
- Diabetics use net carbs to dose their insulin.
- You can use net carbs to lose weight by identifying low-calorie foods.
- The keto diet requires a low-carb intake to drive the body into a state of ketosis.
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Factors To Consider When Determining Carb Goal
I find that most of my patients want guidelines as to how many carbs they should eat a day. There are a few areas I look at or questions I ask before making a recommendation to my patient as to how many carbs might be best for them. Keep in mind that this is based on my experience and not actual studies!
My Protein Is Higher Than My Fat Recommendation What Should I Do
You may notice that the percentage of grams of protein you have to eat is much higher and fat is a lot lower than the percentages that are typically recommended for keto. This can happen for two reasons:
The only problem that high protein intake can cause, however, is lower levels of ketone production. If this is the case for you and you want to maintain a higher level of ketosis, then try decreasing your protein intake to the lower end of the recommended range or restricting carbs a bit more.
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Macronutrients: Fats Carbs Protein
When it comes to nutrition, there are macronutrients and micronutrients. The big 3 macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and protein. When eaten in the right ratios, these three macronutrients can improve your weight, health and overall physical well-being.
In general, most adults should target their diets to comprise of 45-65% Carbohydrates, 10-35% Protein and 20-35% Fat.
One of the problems with traditional calorie counting is that it doesnt take into account the quality of what youre eating. While portion control alone may work for the short term, unless youre eating nutrient-rich foods that leave you satisfied, your self-control will eventually break down. Below youll find more information on how to get the most out of the macronutrients each day.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, but they are critical and the most accessible sources of energy for your bodys systems. Whats most important is the type of carbohydrate you choose to eat because certain carbs are healthier than others.
Protein: Well known in the world of fitness, protein is associated with building muscle and primarily found in foods like meat and eggs. However, protein is needed for more than just muscle growth. Protein is made up of many different amino acids which are the building blocks of organs, bones, hair, enzymes, and pretty much all of the tissues in your body.
First What Exactly Are Carbs And What Do They Do
Carbohydrates are nutrients, and they’re the most important source of energy for your body, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Your digestive system converts carbs into glucose , which your body then uses for energy for your cells, tissues, and organs.
Carbs are also split into two different categories: simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs include dairy, fruits, and vegetables while complex carbs include whole grains, starchy vegetables, and legumes.
Your body tends to digest simple carbs more quickly, while complex carbs provide a longer-lasting source of energy. But you do need both types of carbs for a balanced diet, BTW.
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Assumed Variety Of Food Choices
And as you can see, the hand-portion system assumes a mixed intake of protein, veggies, carbs, and fats. As of course, these food sources will have varying amounts of each macronutrient.
For example, lets look at protein.
Perhaps you start the day with eggs , have a mid-morning Super Shake , have a chicken breast for lunch , and have salmon for dinner .
The hand-portion recommendations are based on the assumption that, on average, youll get a moderate amount of fat and even a small amount of carbs from your protein sources.
Now, if youre consistently eating lots of fat-rich protein sources, or lots of very lean protein sources, you may need to make adjustments. Based on your progress, use outcome-based decision-making to determine if you, or a client, should simultaneously increase or decrease your daily number of thumb-sized portions of fats.
These same assumptions are built in for carbohydrates and fats as well. The hand-portion recommendations assume youll have a mix of fruit, starchy tubers, beans, and whole grains for carb sources.
And it assumes youll have a mix of whole food fats , blended whole foods , and pressed oils for fat sources.
In essence, this means asking, Hows that working for you? If you are achieving the desired results and are pleased with the overall outcome, theres no reason to change what youre doing. But if youre not progressing the way youd like, you could adjust your intake.
What Foods Have Carbs
Carbohydrates are found in many foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, sugars, and processed foods . And although carbohydrates are commonly referred to as sugars there is a big difference between getting carbs from processed foods with added sugar and refined grains compared to nutrient dense plant sources.
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What Determines Ideal Carb Count
Figuring out the ideal number of carbohydrates you should eat daily needs to be a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare team. Specific factors that influence your carbohydrate intake include:
- Blood glucose response
Some people benefit from eating a consistent carbohydrate diet. For example, eating the same amount of carbohydrates per meal daily can help take the guesswork out of managing medication at mealtimes.
A good way to determine your ideal carb intake is to test your blood sugar before and after you eat. If it’s within target range two hours after a meal, then you know your meal plan is working for you. If it is higher, you may need to adjust your meal plan by reducing your carbohydrate intake.
|Target Blood Glucose Levels 2 Hours After Eating|
|Adults who are not pregnant||180 mg/dL or less|
Hand Portions: The Easiest Way To Track Calories And Macros
When we created this calorie, macro, and portion calculator, we asked:
How can we help people eat the right amount of food, but without the burden of having to weigh and measure every morsel?
Our solution: to give personalized targets not just for daily calories and macros, but also hand portions. That way, you can use whichever method you prefer.
This hand portion systemdeveloped by Precision Nutritionallows you to use your own hand as a personalized, portable portioning tool. Youre not actually measuring your food, but rather using your hand to gauge portion size. Its highly effective for food tracking because your hand is proportionate to your body, its size never changes, and its always with you.
Heres a snapshot of how it works:
- Your palm determines your protein portions.
- Your fist determines your vegetable portions.
- Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
- Your thumb determines your fat portions.
Based on the calorie, portion, and macro calculators output, all you have to do is eat the recommended number of each hand portion daily.
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Added Sugar Vs Natural Sugar
Added sugar is a concentrated, simple carb that is used as a single ingredient, most commonly in processed foods and recipes. This type of sugar can be extracted from carb-containing foods or found in naturally occurring sweeteners.
The trouble with added sugar is that it has been linked to numerous chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity . And it provides a source of empty calories to the diet. Even if the sugar is extracted from a “healthy” source, only the sugar is being used – leaving behind important nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that may also be naturally occurring in the food.
So where exactly does added sugar come from?
While there are 50 different names for added sugar on a nutrition facts label, the most common forms come from sucrose and fructose – but sugar can be created from many different types of simple carbohydrates.
Sucrose is essentially the same thing as table sugar. This is because sucrose is extracted from the heavily concentrated sugar beets and sugar cane plants to create table sugar. And fructose is the type of sugar extracted from corn to create high fructose corn syrup.
Natural sweeteners, like maple syrup, honey, and agave, can also be considered added sugar as they provide the same amount of carb grams per serving and are processed by your body in a similar fashion.
Why Should I Eat So Few Carbs
There are numerous benefits that are scientifically proven on the ketogenic diet. On keto, its a general rule of thumb to stay under 30g net carbs a day. We recommend for weight loss to stay at or below 20g net carbs a day.
The end goal of a ketogenic diet is to be in a metabolic state known as ketosis. We do this through starvation of carbohydrates.
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How Can I Increase My Fibre Intake
To increase the amount of fibre in your diet, aim for at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg a day.
Go for higher fibre varieties of starchy foods and eat potatoes with the skin on. Try to aim for an average intake of 30g of fibre a day.
Here are some examples of the typical fibre content in some common foods:
- 2 breakfast wheat biscuits 3.6g of fibre
- 1 slice of wholemeal bread 2.5g
- 1 slice of white bread 0.9g
- 80g of cooked wholewheat pasta 4.2g
- 1 medium baked potato 4.7g
- 80g of cooked runner beans 1.6g
- 80g of cooked carrots 2.2g
- 1 small cob of sweetcorn 2.2g
- 200g of baked beans 9.8g
- 1 medium orange 1.9g
- 1 medium banana 1.4g
How Do I Meet My Macros With A Ketogenic Diet
The simplest way to meet your macros is by cutting out non-keto foods and eating keto-friendly foods. Heres a brief food list for you to start with:
Do Not Eat
- Grains wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
- Sugar honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
- Fruit apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
- Tubers potato, yams, etc.
- Sweeteners stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
- Other fats coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
To see more specific advice on how to meet your macros on keto, for a comprehensive keto food list. Or, if you want a different idea of how to get to these macro calculations, you can also see our 14 Day Keto Diet Plan for ideas.
If you are looking for more specific suggestions on how to meet your protein and/or fat needs on keto, we will explore that in greater detail in the next two questions.
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How Many Carbs Per Day Do You Need
The US Dietary Guidelines recommend that we get between 45 and 65 percent of our calories from carbohydrates . And with the recommended calorie intake anywhere from 1800-3000 calories a day, based on gender, age, and activity level, this translates into at least 200 grams or more of carbs per day .
For example, for an individual seeking to consume 2000 calories a day, they should aim for 900-1300 of their calorie intake to revolve around carbohydrates , equaling out to about 225 to 325g of carbohydrates.
But many popular low carb weight loss diets and health professionals recommend a range from 25% to 40% of your daily calories.
The thing is, your carb needs are directly related to your level of fitness, health goals, body composition, and overall diet. And everyone is a little different. If you are extremely active or an athlete, your needs may be closer to the higher end compared to if you are more sedentary, working a desk job most of the day and little activity, you probably need a lower carb intake .
Another way to estimate your carb needs is based on your current body weight. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. You can then multiply this amount by one of the following:
- 2.5 to 3.5g/kg for sedentary to lightly active
- 3.5 to 4.5g/kg for moderate to heavy activity
- 5 to 7.0g/kg for extremely active
For example, a 150-pound adult who is sedentary needs ~170 to 238g of carbs per day .
Adding Fat And Protein
Making plates that contain carbs, protein, and healthy fats can help you keep your glucose levels in better balance than by eating simple or refined carbs alone.
Proteins to include as part of your healthy diet:
- Meat, such as poultry, fish, and lean red meats
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Determine How Many Calories You Should You Eat When Bulking
Determine your calories for bulking
If you are taking in more calories than you are burning in a day, you will be in a caloric surplus that will lead to muscle and/or fat gain.
The purpose of a bulk is to increase your body mass. So in order to do this, a bulk requires eating in a caloric surplus so that your muscles have a strong environment to grow in.
For the purposes of this article, Im going to focus on a clean bulk.
This assumes you want to focus on increasing your lean mass and limit the amount of body fat that you add in the process.
So how much of a caloric surplus is required in order to successfully bulk?
Youll want to start with a caloric surplus of at least 10%.
This would mean you would have to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and increase that number by 10%.
To calculate your TDEE, you can simply input your personal stats into an online calculator likethis one.
For example, if my calculated TDEE came out to be 2,500 calories, I would want to start my bulk at 2,750 calories .
This calculation is not entirely accurate though.
Calculating your caloric intake based on your theoretical TDEE is just that, theoretical.
Now, setting your calories is one thing, but not all calories are necessarily created equal.
Thats because the way that the body digests and metabolizes energy from carbohydrates, protein and fats is different. Therefore the ratios of your macronutrients are also very important for the success of a bulk.
How Does A Low
On a very basic level, weight loss happens when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories burned. Eating low-carb is one way to get there, but its not the only way, says Schaub. More important than the sheer amount of carbs is the kind of carbs you eat replacing simple carbs, like refined grains and sugar, with complex ones, like carbs from veggies and legumes, can have many of the same low-carb benefits.
Fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and dairy all contain carbohydrates but are minimally processed and loaded with fiber and other nutrientsno research has ever shown that eating these types of carbs hinders healthy weight loss, Schaub explains, adding that the carbs found in processed foods like pasta, bagels, muffins, crackers, soda, and candy dont contain many nutrients and are the main culprits for weight gain and metabolic issues.
For example, a 2017 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that simple carbs like sugars and sweeteners may increase a populations rate of obesity, where complex carbs like whole-grain cereal may contribute to an overall decrease in obesity rates.
When you limit carbs, youre also more likely to get more of your daily calories from protein and fat instead, both of which are more filling than carbs. You may eat fewer calories overall because youre more satisfied by what you are eating, says Schaub.
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