Calories: The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet typically works out to about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis. However, these ratios don't work well at very low calorie or very high calorie daily totals. And although calorie counting is not required, it is important to understand how macronutrient percentages can be affected by caloric intake, so you may want to read my page on calorie counting to get more information on this subject. Again, low or very high calorie intake will skew the percentages of macronutrients. It is also important to remember that fats are super high-calorie foods, especially if you have extra weight to lose and you are doing keto to lose weight. Read my plateau page if you are not reaching your weight loss goals.
Each person is different with different health goals and macronutrient requirements (ie, weight loss, weight maintenance, brain therapy aid). Each day of our weight loss meal plan falls between 1150-1300 calories for maximum weight loss. There is an optional snack for people that need a bit more calories, which brings the total calories with snack to between 1300-1500 calories per day. In addition, there are various ways you can adjust for your personal macronutrient needs.
A question we frequently get asked is whether you have to defrost boneless, skinless chicken breasts before making this recipe, or if you can just use them frozen. If you forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer in the morning, we have good news for you! Crack Chicken can easily be made with frozen chicken. If using an Instant Pot, just add 5 minutes on to the cooking time (for a total of 20 minutes on Manual High Pressure).
Why higher fat and moderate protein? Fats have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Protein does affect both blood sugar and insulin. If you eat too much protein for your ideal body weight or lean muscle mass (usually more than 1.5-2.0 grams/kg lean body mass), it can spark gluconeogenesis and raise blood sugar. Protein will also spike blood insulin levels temporarily, which can interfere with ketone body production. However, it is important to note that this is an individually driven parameter, as detailed in this excellent post from the Optimizing Nutrition blog.
We all know fat is more filling than carbs, but every now and then you get a hankering for something to snack on and you NEED some low carb snacks. Whether it’s salty, sweet or frosty, we all need a moment to enjoy something in between meals. Being on a diet shouldn’t mean all snacks are thrown out the window, being on a diet means learning what your body needs and how to best provide for it. If your body is craving something salty, there are ways of indulging without setting yourself back. There are ways of eating even brownies and cakes that won’t undo all your progress.
Fears about fat: Most people have trouble on a ketogenic diet plan because they are scared to increase the amount of fat they eat, especially saturated fat. The message that fat is bad has been pounded into the collective American consciousness for the last 30 years. It's hard to unlearn the message that fat makes you fat, and saturated fat especially is very bad for you. I understand that message has been repeated over and over, but it is a lie.
It's only when you combine lots of fat and lots of carbohydrates in your diet that you get into trouble. The sugar from the carbohydrates drives up your insulin levels, and those high insulin levels cause the body to mishandle the way fats are metabolized. More fat is stored or circulates in the blood. This causes the metabolic syndrome and weight gain associated with insulin resistance and starts the health problems that should be associated with a high carb diet, not a ketogenic diet plan.
For instance, since the privately owned Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association) receives great sums of money from processed food manufacturers, they can't just suddenly start saying that a high fat, low grain diet is healthiest - they would lose all their funding from companies like Kraft Foods, Hershey's and Coca-Cola. I know that sounds harsh, but I will add that now in 2016, they seem to be coming around to the low carb idea. I've seen evidence that they are changing their message on the evils of saturated fat and cholesterol and that's a start, at least.
All the bad hype you have been hearing about high-fat diets is not exactly true. If you personally read the studies involving high-fat diets, you’ll discover that 99% of it is a combination of high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets. When you combine high carbohydrates with fat or even protein, insulin will spike dramatically. So that deep-fried donut or deep-fried fatty fries are really fried carbohydrates.
You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.