4 Macro Tracking Tips For Keto Enthusiasts

Whether your goal is to lose weight, prevent disease, or manage health symptoms, you’ve decided to follow the keto diet. Just one problem: you’ve realized it’s actually a lot more complex than social media might have you believe. You’re not just cutting carbs or following simple rules; you have to keep track of nutrient ratios. You’re starting to think you should’ve paid attention in that high school math class.

Keto doesn’t have to be complicated, if you know how to track your macros and have a clear plan for doing it. You just have to pick the right percentages of fat, protein, and carbohydrates for your needs. Every person’s body is different, so you’ll need to take some time (or check with a healthcare provider) to determine the optimal ratios for you. Here are some tips for tracking your macros more easily and effectively on the keto diet.

1. Pick a Tracker You Love

You’re much more likely to stick to an eating plan or lifestyle change when you choose one you find easy to follow. But manual tracking and even many tracking apps can be slow and tedious to use, which add frustrating levels of complexity. Some trackers bombard you with ads or make you go through too many steps just to log the foods you eat daily. Others don’t have enough foods in their databases, so you get stuck doing a lot of your own math.

Of course, you want a tracking app that gives you accurate metrics, clear data insights, and helpful recommendations. But it’s often much more important to choose an app with an intuitive user experience and a simple logging process. The key is to remove as much friction from the tracking process as possible, so you won’t dread inputting your foods. Remember, the best macro tracking app isn’t necessarily the top seller; it’s the one you’re most likely to use consistently.

2. Set Realistic Goals

To track macros effectively, as mentioned before, you first need to set your protein, fat, and carbohydrate goals. For most people, that’s somewhere between 60-80% fat, 20-35% protein, and 5-10% carbs. A tracker app can often help you set the right ratios for your specific needs or health goals. However, if you have any preexisting conditions, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider first.

Set reasonable target goals and try your best to stick to them without letting perfectionism take over. Try using a tracker that lets you adjust your ratios, if you’re having a harder time sticking to your plan. Be wary of sticking too closely to your numbers, which could result in unsafe levels of restriction. Know that keto diet, like any regimented eating plan, can put certain vulnerable people at risk for eating disorders or relapse.

3. Calories Do Matter, Sometimes

Whether or not you choose to pay attention to calories will depend on why you’re choosing to do keto and track your macros. (Though, it’s worth noting that counting macros is essentially just a slightly more complicated form of calorie-counting.) For example, if you’re using keto to manage seizures, you may be more interested in your nutrient ratios than your weight. However, if you’re trying to make weight for a competition, calories may be your most important metric.

The point is, the keto diet isn’t a magic recipe for weight loss; the rule of “calories in, calories out” still applies. If you consume more than you burn, you’ll likely gain body fat, while if you consume less, you’ll probably lose it. If weight or fat loss factor into goals, then, you’ll want to track your keto ratios, macros, and calorie consumption. But remember: long term weight loss comes from consistency, not perfect adherence. You don’t have to get it right every single time.

4. Track Your Micros, Too

No matter your goals, keep an eye on vital micronutrients, aka vitamins and minerals, in addition to tracking your macronutrients. Because the keto diet requires cutting certain foods out, you could be developing nutrient deficiencies without even realizing it. A good tracker will let you stay on top of critical micronutrients like vitamin D, the B vitamins, iron, iodine, and more. Some will also let you select and prioritize micronutrients to meet your specific health needs.

It’s easy to see how all this tracking can quickly get overwhelming, which is where technology comes in handy. It can analyze your nutrient intake, calculate precise percentages, and even spot deficiencies. If you’re tired of typing out everything you eat, consider a tracker that uses dictation software and AI to assess nutrient intake. This way, you can simply tell your tracker what you ate, and it can document and analyze your food data for you.

Staying Safe

Tracking macros can be a good way to ensure you’re getting enough calories and consuming necessary nutrients while working toward your goals. That said, sometimes the “rules” or limits of any eating pattern can get out of hand, resulting in unsafe levels of restriction. Even if you don’t have a history of disordered eating, it’s important to monitor your wellbeing as you adjust your dietary habits.

If you notice your eating behavior becoming compulsive or overly restrictive, consider getting help from a licensed provider. As one option, you can call the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) at 888-375-7767. Note also that the keto diet can, in some cases, result in certain serious health complications. It’s important to listen to your body, and get help if you feel like something is off.