If you are looking to learn what the Keto Diet is please head over to Part 1 to get an overview!
So, you’ve learned a little about the Keto Diet and decided you’d like to try it. Great! Let me get you started!
The first thing you’ll want to do is calculate your daily calorie needs and macronutrient totals. In the following examples, I’m using the SKD version, for those individuals that feel the CKD or TKD variations are better suited to their goals, you can use these calculations as a starting point and I’ll explain how to adjust them to fit your needs.
To determine our basic calorie requirements, I recommend using the revised Harris-Benedict formula by Roza and Shizgal in 1984 (1). Before we begin this process, we need to define BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. BMR is defined as “The rate at which the body spends energy for basic maintenance activities” (2). Or it can be said like this: BMR is the number of calories (energy) the body burns (spends) to meet daily maintenance requirements.
Here is the formula:
Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) – (5.677 × age in years)
Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 × weight in kg) + (3.098 × height in cm) – (4.330 × age in years)
Next, we’ll need to determine the recommended daily calorie intake required to maintain your current weight (3):
Little to no exercise – daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) – daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) – daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) – daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) – daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.9
*To convert from metric measurements, note that 2.54 centimeters is equal to 1 inch, and 2.2 kilograms equals 1 pound.
Ok, we have our formula’s, here’s an example, using a 6 ft., 200 lb. man that’s 30 years old with 15% bodyfat:
88.362 + (13.397 x 90.71) (200 lbs. divided by 2.2 kilograms) = 1215.24
4.799 x 182.88 (6 ft. = 72 in. divided by 2.54 = 877.64
5.677 x 30 = 170.31
88.362 + 1215.24 + 877.64 – 170.31 = 2013.92, or 2014.
Therefore, BMR = 2014 calories per day. Now let’s factor in activity: we’ll use light exercise, so we multiply 2013.92 x 1.375 = 2769 calories per day. This number represents what you would need to maintain your current weight.
That wasn’t too bad, right? All I did was get the individual totals for each part of the formula and calculated the total.
OK, in general, if fat loss is your goal, you’ll want to reduce your daily calories by 500. On the other hand, if your goal is to build muscle, you’ll want to increase calories by 500 per day.
In this example, here’s how our 200 lb, 6-foot, 30-year-old male’s calories need to work out if the goal is fat loss:
Using our SKD variation, here are our macro totals:
2769 calories per day – 500 calorie reduction = 2269 calories
Carbohydrates: 5% – at 5%, our daily carbohydrate intake will be 113 calories or 28 grams per day (carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram).
Fats: 70% – at 70%, our daily fat intake will be 1588 calories or 176 grams per day (fat has 9 calories per gram).
Protein: 25%, or 1 gram per lb. of lean mass, I assume a 200-lb. man has a lean mass weight of 150 lbs., this assumes 15% bodyfat. So, our daily protein intake will be 600 calories or 150 grams per day (protein has 4 calories per gram).
Based on our totals, here’s a by-meal breakdown:
Example 5-Meal Per Day Breakdown – 6 grams carbs/35 grams fat/30 grams protein per meal.
One important point is that you may have to adjust the 500-calorie reduction as individuals vary – you may find it’s a little too big of a deficit, or not quite enough. A second point is, you can adjust the carbs if you’d rather have more in the morning, for example – you have a daily total of 28 grams to work with.
We have our daily calorie intake broken down into macro-nutrient totals per meal, the next consideration will be food choices. First, get rid of all the high carb foods in your cabinets and cross them off your shopping list. This includes these foods:
The Do Not Eat List
High-sugar foods: Sugary junk food, such as cake, ice cream, candy, cookies, soda, and fruit juices.
Fruit: All fruit, except small amounts of berries like blueberries or strawberries.
Beans or legumes: Kidney beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Grains: Wheat products, rice, pasta, cereal, and breads.
Low-fat or diet products, including sugar-free: These are often highly processed and tend to be high in carbs or sugar alcohols.
Condiments or sauces: Watch the sugar content, these often have too much sugar.
Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, high-fat salad dressings, mayonnaise.
Alcohol: These beverages can have too many carbohydrates.
Next, your meals should primarily include the following foods:
The Yes You Can Eat These Foods List
Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey.
Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
Full Fat Dairy: whole eggs, cheese, butter.
Nuts, Nut Spreads, Seeds: Cashews, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, nut spreads.
Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut, flax and avocado oil.
Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
Low-carb veggies: Green veggies, such as lettuce, celery, broccoli, spinach, also tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Vegetarians: You’ll need to rely on soy and vegetable protein foods and protein powders, beans, meatless burgers, oils, nuts, nut butters, and low carb veggies.
If you’re following one of the variations that allow a carb re-feed day, or workout carbs, here’s how to do it:
On this variation, we have one carb re-feed day per week. The primary considerations are to keep protein the same, reduce fat intake and increase carb intake. In general, using our example 200 lb. male, you should increase your calories back up to maintenance (2769), increase carb intake to 30% of total calories, in our example this would be 830 calories or 207 grams of carbs. The balance after calculating protein (600 calories) and carbs (830 calories) would be 850 calories from fat, or 95 grams. Your carb intake for this day is adjustable in that you may find your body reacts better to a little lower carb intake. Remember, you’ve been eating virtually no carbs for 6 days, ease into your re-feed meals and listen to your body. Just because the number is 207 grams does not mean you must force yourself to eat that much. Similarly, don’t use the re-feed day to go nuts and pig out. Your goal is healthy carb choices.
In this variation, we’ll incorporate carbohydrates before and after your workout. The primary goal of extra carbs in either the CKD or TKD variation is to temporarily restore glycogen levels, in the case of TKD, you want to positively impact your workout performance.
Staying with our example 200 lb. male trying to lose fat, we will assume he is training 5 days a week, so on those days, he will take in carbohydrates leading up to and right after workouts. The other 2 days he will follow their SKD macro-nutrient breakdown.
The TKD nutrient breakdown is the same as SKD, except we are adding carbohydrates (with a corresponding decrease in fat) on training days. Here’s how it would look:
Protein intake stays the same (600 calories or 150 grams). Increase carbohydrate to .50 grams per lb. of lean body weight – notice I said lean! Our example male has 150 lbs. of lean mass. Therefore, we’re looking at 75 total grams divided up and ingested before and after the workout. You can divide these 75 grams, or 300 calories, however you prefer, I would suggest taking in 35 grams before and 30 grams after. So, after calculating protein (600 calories) and our new carb (300 calories) totals, this leaves us with 1369 calories (152 grams) for fat (2269 daily calories – 900 (600 + 300) = 1369).
As with CKD, you may need to adjust your carb intake based on how you feel. If you don’t like how you react to the 35 grams of carbs during your workout, adjust them down, if you feel good, then stay with that. Everyone is different, there are no carved in stone numbers that work for everybody.
So that’s the Keto Diet! There’s never a better time to take the step to the body you want than right now! The Keto Diet can help you get there!
by Jim Brewster, CPT, CSN.
1, 3: Roza, A. M., & Shizgal, H. M. (1984). "The Harris Benedict equation reevaluated: resting energy requirements and the body cell mass". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition., 40(1), 168-182.
2: Cataldo, C., M.M Se, & DeBruyne, L., M.S. (1999). Metabolism and Energy Balance. In Nutrition and Diet Therapy (Fifth ed., p. 128). Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth.