Consume 70%+ fat? + Food Labelling
Hi. I am not too dumb a person, but for the life of me I cannot figure these issues out:
1/ Keto diets routinely indicate you should consume 70+% of calories from fat. But most of the fattiest meats are perhaps 25% fat (although a few are higher). Other than oil and animal fat, virtually no foods contain anywhere near the fat proportion required to get anywhere near 70% fat intake. Short of drinking oil and eating lard, I just don’t understand. I try and eat the foods with the highest fat proportion, but none come anywhere near 70% fat. Please explain! Am I misunderstanding food labels? (see next)
2/ Nutritional Info labels on food make no sense to me. [In the UK] they show fat, carbohydrates, protein and salt values in grams per 100g. Depending on the food, when you add up these components, you get a wide range of totals for the fat + carbs + protein + salt of the 100 g. [Food labels in the USA are even harder to decipher as they show amounts in grams “per (arbitrary) serving size”]
For example: Mixed nuts (100g) have fat 61g + carbs 7g + protein 17g + salt 1g = 86g.
Tuna in oil (100g)has fat 9g + carbs 0g + protein 26g + salt 1g = 36g.
Ground beef (100g) has fat 20g + carbs 0g + protein 18g + salt 0g = 38g.
Pork belly (100g) has fat 53g + carbs 0g + protein 9g + salt 0g = 64g.
Coleslaw dressing (100g) has 48g fat + 19g carbs + 0g protein + 0g salt = 67g.
Nothing adds up to 100g, and the range is enormous. Why? Perhaps the remainder is “other”, but if so, what might that be? Water? Does it matter?
Then: The ground beef is 20% fat. Very far away from the 70% fat intake you are supposed to have on a keto diet. Even the pork belly, at 53% fat, is still no where near 70%. I just do not understand how, even eating the fattiest foods available, you can eat 70% in fat! What am I not understanding?
I understand the keto diet is meant to be “70+% of caloric intake from fat.” Is looking at the amount of fat in the food on the the label completely different than the amount of calories that come from the fat? In which case the nutritional label is useless to determine a keto diet.
So how do you figure out if and how 70% of your calories are coming from fat? I can’t see where this is explained well on any keto diet website (they all just say “eat 70% of calories as fat” but don’t explain how to calculate that with the info we consumers have available to us).
It is very very hard to do a classical keto diet without adding fat to your meals. The classical keto diet is one which requires that the meal or snack must be on a 3 to 1 ratio which means you have to have 3 grams of fat per 1 gram of protein and or carbohydrate. The confusion arises when the term 70 or 75% is used as this calculation does not include things like fibre or water. So in answer to your first question you probably need to add fat to almost everything to reach the target you are working towards. The big question is why you are setting your target at 70% rather than something else . Are you doing keto for weight loss or another reason? There are many versions of the keto diet and some are better for weight loss than others etc
With regard to labelling – everything in the UK is based around a total of everything and not just protein carbs and fat. So again if you want to work out what you are eating and then matching it to the classical keto diet you need to only look at protein and carbs and fat and then calculate whether the fat content is three times the size of the protein and carbs combined.
Do remember that when adding fats you need to think in pure fats rather than butter or cream etc which do contain non fat elements. Not much but if you are being strict etc..
The US label will not help you at all and is most confusing unless you are an expert in this area .
Hope this helps
- Hanna, thank you for taking the time to help clear things up a bit. The reason I was talking in terms of percentages is that every keto diet source I’ve seen talks in terms of percentages. “70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, 0-10% carbs.”. Your ratio is the same thing, 3:1 fat:other (=75% fat). It seems virtually impossible to succeed at this diet unless you drink oil and eat lard. But I have been testing my urine (which I know is unreliable) and 95% of the time have been in at least the min. level of ketosis over the past month, despite failing to consume 75% of calories as fat, as hard as I’ve tried. I thought that in terms of calories perhaps 1g of fat provides more calories than does 1g of protein or 1g of carbs. Or does 1g of “anything” provide equal amounts of energy kcal. The reason I am doing this diet is that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME and a doctor advised me to do a paleo-keto diet to redress gut dysbiosis in the hope that once my gut microbiome is ‘normal’ I can successfully do a regime of supplements to address the cause of ME (surmised to be mitochondrial dysfunction).
- This is the problem. You can be in ketosis without the ratio because the main driver is carbs and keeping your daily intake to below 50g a day . The fat level is really a separate issue and unfortunately the Internet generally confuses the public. Some people do need to restrict carbs to below 30 to get into ketosis but the fat level is less important The big hidden secret is not to protein load as this can drive an insulin response and work against the low carbs
- I think your answer, Hannah, just adds to the confusion that already exists. I have always understood that one of the benefits of a Ketogenic diet for weight loss is lack of hunger. You just restated the basic premise of Keto…low carb moderate protein. That means that in order to get enough CALORIES you have to add fat…no other way around it. I have been Keto for about six years and listen to and read all the “experts.” Very few are willing to talk about the actual amount of fat that is consumed by eating this way. I believe it is because there is still a degree of fat phobia, especially saturated fat, and a reluctance to scare people and draw criticism by giving actual amounts. My 6′ husband (Type I Diabetes) weighs 160 lbs or 72 kilos. He eats about 80-100 grams of protein a day or approximately 1+ gram per lb of lean body weight. He is about as lean as he could get. That is only about 400 calories from protein…he eats 30 grams of carbohydrate a day (as per Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s diabetes protocol) about another 120 calories per day. Where does the rest of his calories come from??? He could not exist on a 500+ calories a day. They have to come from fat. If he is to consume a basic 2,000 calorie diet…that leave almost 1,500 calories coming from fat or approximately 15 tablespoons of butter…Kerry Gold of course. ;) Obviously some of the fat can come from the meat…but that only means that you up the amount of meat you eat to get your protein requirements. However, if you eat conventional store bought meat…I suggest you buy the leanest cuts, easier to calculate your protein, and add your own good quality fat. Many of the toxins of which people are concerned in conventional meat are found in the fat. A compromise for those that cannot afford pastured meat. All of the numbers I gave are of course approximate and I suggest varying your fats…butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow, and some homemade quality olive oil mayonnaise. The alternative name for Keto or Ketogenic Diet is after all, HFLC…High Fat Low Carb. Don’t run from it…embrace it I say. While you do not have to stick to rigid numbers…you have to eat a lot of fat. :)
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Ah! So the caloric value IS different depending on the macro!? THANK YOU AlohaBird!
That makes all the difference — I don’t know why this is not stated on keto diet websites, it’s a very simple concept and would help to explain how you might possibly eat 75% kcal as fat.
So, for example, the ground beef, of which 100g has 250 calories, fat 20g, carbs 0g, protein 18g; means that in terms of calories, fat makes up 72% and protein 29% of the calories.
- Exactly. I guess it is such a basic fact that all the websites figure everyone knows it already but it bears repeating.
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This is where things get confusing as people use the keto diet for different purposes. If you are using the diet to manage a serious health condition such as epilepsy etc you need to follow one of the very prescriptive diets as recommended by a dietician and this is where you have to ensure that you are getting a lot of fat. Indeed there are various versions of the keto diet for epilepsy and choosing the right prescription is not always straight forward. However using the keto diet for weight loss is very different and you can over eat on fat.
By the way, you do not need to work out the diet by reference to calories and fat. As I hope I explained you can do it by reference to grams of food which I find a whole lot easier. So ignore calories initially and then look at grams of food . Apologies for not making that clear at the start
- I just found this forum and this thread. I have been struggling with this issue, too. I am using My Fitness Pal to track my food. It asks you to set a daily goal of total calories and then a breakdown in grams. Am struggling with making this work. have wanted to lower calories because to get my grams/% close to where I wanted, it puts my calories at 1659. So you’re saying to ignore the calories? I am trying to lose weight. I have been in ketosis (testing blood) at a 4 or 5 but feel like I’ve overeaten some days in order to reach fat goal. I do check the pie chart on home page to see where I stand %wise on carb, fat, protein. Carbs are set at 20 g but I struggle to stay there. Don’t feel like I’m eating enough vegetables. Is there a better tracking program that oriented toward Keto? Thanks!
- And is there a way to print a thread so that it fits on the width of the page and without the share list (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and spaces between responses?
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The food composition doesn’t add up to 100 because most of it is water, unless it’s something dried or naturally dry.
If your grams of fat are the same or more than your grams of (protein + carbs) then you’re heading in the right direction.
Eggs, hard cheese (eg cheddar) and 20% fat beef mince all have the right sort of macro balance in themselves. Adding fat isn’t required if you pick the right foodstuffs.
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