I am a member of three on-line “keto communities”, as well as blogging about ketogenic diets myself:

A frequent question in these communities is “what should I eat?”  This question might mean “what proportion of carbs, proteins, and fats should I eat?”  It might mean “what actual foods can I eat, and in what quantities?”  In every case the answer is always “it depends …” which is highly frustrating for the person asking the question.

There are some calculators out there, but quite a few people, especially those less confident as computer users, or less confident with math (or both) have had trouble using them.  This blog post intends to help!

At the moment it is only talking about one calculator, Martin Ankerl‘s Keto Calculator: http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/.  This video should explain all.  Below are some links that you might find helpful.  Some notes appear as the video runs: you will find them easier to read if you make the video full screen (click the icon in the bottom right of the video).

kcal or kilo-calories.  It’s all very confusing, but a calorie is the amount of heat that it takes to warm up one cc of water by one degree centigrade.  A Calorie (with a capital “C”), also known as a kilo-calorie (kcal) is what nutritionists use, and most people just lose the “k” and don’t bother with the capital “C”.  So, if you see kcal or kilo-calorie, just know that that is what dieters call a “calorie”.  Summary: don’t worry: ignore the “k”!

Basic Metabolic Rate: The energy it takes to stay alive without losing or gaining weight.

Lean Body Mass: How heavy you would be if you had no body fat.  Note: if you had NO body fat, you would be dead!  You always need some, just to stay alive.

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Body Fat Percentage: What percentage of your weight is body fat.  There are various ways of measuring it.  Many fancy modern bathroom scales will do it for you, if you just step on in bare feet.  Pictures on the left for USA, on the right for UK.

A simpler method is to look at pictures of people, labelled with their body fat, and pick out the nearest to you.  There is a good set of body-fat pictures here.

MFP: My Fitness Pal — software to help you keep a food and exercise log, and work out what you have eaten in terms of carbs, protein and fats.  (It’s free!)  Go to their home page, scroll down a little and watch the video.  I am not going to create a MyFitnessPal “how to” video, because there are dozens on You Tube.  Here’s one I picked at random:

That’s it for now: I will be adding a tutorial on http://www.eatthismuch.com/ a little later.

Effective Exercise: I believe that Nordic Walking is the best exercise for people on a ketogenic diet.  Overview here, “How to Get Started with Nordic Walking” here, Who can do Nordic Walking here.

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

9 Responses to How to Use the Keto Calculator

  • bunny says:

    Hi James I found you on Mark Maunders blog.
    I used the calculator you suggested. If I’m eating 25 grams of carbs, 100 grams of protein, how much fat should I be taking in. I’ve got written down 30 grams but that doesn’t sound right. What is the ideal fat:protein ratio i should go for?

    Also I hate to sound stupid, but how do you know what 25 grams of carbs are? Do I just stick something like spinach on a set of scales and wait till the scales hit 25 grams?

    Thank you in advance :)

    • James says:

      Hi there, Superbunny, The short answer is “no, that’s not how you do it”. The long answer is quite long, but/and it’s on my list of things to do to describe this in some detail. But here’s the quickest answer I can think of for now.

      I notice that you’re in Australia. Let’s say that you fancy a slice of brown bread with butter and Vegemite. Go to this website: http://www.fatsecret.com.au/calories-nutrition. Search for “toast”. Click on “Toasted Whole wheat bread”. These are the numbers that you will get: Calories: 128, Fat 2.48g Carbs 23.69g Protein 3.86g. Then search for “butter” and under serving size, click “pat”. You will get these numbers: Calories: 36, Fat 4.06g Carbs 0g Protein 0.04g. Lastly, search for Vegemite. You’ll get these numbers: Calories: 10, Fat 0g Carbs 0.995g Protein 1.27g.

      This gives you these totals: 174 cals Fat: 6.54g Carbs: 24.685g Protein: 5.17g

      You can either do this using the Fat Secret database, or by using nutrition labels. This might seem like a total fag, but there is a wonderful system called My Fitness Pal, which is free. You can set up “recipes” in there, so having worked out the numbers for a slice of toast with butter and Vegemite, you can store that in there as, say “Vegemite Toast Slice” and then in future you can just click it, and click “number” to say you had 5 slices (or whatever), and it does all the sums for you. You can also put all your goals (the numbers you get from the keto calculator) into MFP, and it will show you how you are doing. MFP also has a database of thousands of foods, so it’s pretty easy to use.

  • bunny says:

    Sorry I sent a message before with wrong amounts.
    I did it again and came up with 25g carbs, 100g protein and 122g of fat. I have never counted calories or anything before, how do I work out how much food is in these measurements please.

  • James says:

    Hi, bunny: See above!

  • bunny says:

    Thank you :) sounds do-able.
    Does the ketogenic diet give you bad breath. I read on the net that your teeth go furry and you get bad breath. Is this wrong.

    • James says:

      No, that can be the case! The bad breath isn’t too bad, but you may find yourself cleaning your teeth more than you used to (but them you’ll save on dentist’s bills two ways: less decay because you’re eating less (no!) sugar, and less decay because you’re cleaning more often. A win all round!

  • D says:

    I’ve been doing atkins for 2 months and have stayed below 25 nc per day for over a month now. But my weight has stalled and I am quite frustrated. I would think that the lower the carb, the better. Why am I not losing? My protein and fat grams average 100 g per day. I have about 30 lbs to lose to be my ideal weight.

  • Pingback: Ketone Testing: Testing blood ketone levels with a low-cost home system | Live Free From Obesity

  • Pingback: A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics | Live Free From Obesity

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