Ask Our Keto Nutritionist: Macros, Leg Cramps, and Picky Teens

It’s so hard to find a nutritionist who understands the keto lifestyle, let alone supports this way of eating. That’s why we’ve partnered with a tried and true keto nutritionist who’s dedicated to helping people live their best lives through the ketogenic diet.

What’s more, to best support our ketogenic community, each week, we’ll answer your questions. Baffled about bad breath? Vitamins? Macros? Please let us know in the comments below what you’d like to know, and we’ll do our best to give you some support and guidance in the coming weeks.

Please note that we’re not doctors, so if you have any questions, please consult with your trusted medical partner.

Are you ready? We’ve got three answers to three burning questions! Let’s go!


What macro percentages do you recommend for keto dieters?

ask a keto nutritionist - should I track macros? - woman writing in a journal

This answer is a bit of a rant, but a message I’m constantly trying to educate about. 

I hate counting macros! Let me explain why. Somehow over the many hundreds of years, we have become the only species on earth that uses a calculator to tell us how to eat and if we should or shouldn’t be hungry! Eating is a natural human ability and necessity that should not involve mathematical percentages and calculations.

I personally don’t advise my patients and clients to count macros and I have yet to not get them into ketosis. In addition, I can personally tell you that I have no clue regarding my daily caloric intake or how many grams of fat, protein, and carbs I consume. But yet, I am able to maintain ketosis and feel awesome!

However, that being said, if you are new to keto and really, really just need to know exactly where you’re at with your macros, aim for 75/15/10 (fat/protein/carb percentage of daily caloric intake). Of the 10% of carbs, at least 5% should come from non-starchy vegetables. At some point when you have become accustomed to keto, please, please, get rid of the calculator and trust your brain! 


I get leg cramps in the middle of the night. Is there anything I can do?

ask a keto nutritionist - how can i avoid nighttime leg cramps?

Leg cramps are a sign of electrolyte imbalances, especially magnesium. Other potential electrolytes deficiencies that may be involved include potassium, sodium, and calcium, which all play a key role in muscle contraction. Adequate fluid is also important to prevent cramps. Check out my article Got the Keto-Flu? Symptoms and How to Avoid it for ways to obtain these electrolytes through foods and beverages. You may also consider adding a magnesium supplement like SlowMag or Natural Calm if cramping continues to persist despite intake from food sources.


Any ideas on snacks for a picky teen who’s detoxing from junk food?

Some of my favorite snacks include: Pepperoni, brie bites, nuts, string cheese, olives, celery and peanut butter, guacamole with veggies, fat bombs, Cheese Whisps/Moon Cheese, small handful of berries, avocado slices, air-popped popcorn with a lot of butter and salt (FYI, 1 cup = 5 gm carb), etc. Pinterest is also a fantastic resource for recipe ideas.


Got questions you’d like to ask a keto nutritionist? Let us know below!


Tara Finnerty RDN, CSP, CD—is a ketogenic specialist and fat-fueled enthusiast. Tara is a registered dietitian in Utah and owner of Sugar House Nutrition LLC. Her aim is to provide nutrition support for people wanting to reap the many health benefits of the ketogenic (keto) diet. Her expertise in the keto diet was initially working with children who have uncontrolled epilepsy. Tara supports nutrition diversity and works toward helping people find an individualized approach to make healthy eating sustainable.


 

 

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25 Comments

  • Serah

    I’m so tired of counting macros so this was encouraging. However, I seem to be losing/gaining the same 5 lbs for weeks…I have over 80 to lose…not sure where I’m going wrong…I thought macros would save me!

  • Denise

    I have this same problem. Been at it for a month and have lost nothing. Clothes also fit the same as always. I feel great but the lack of weight loss can be discouraging.

  • Philomina

    I had lost 42 lbs within 7 months of keto and gained back 2 lbs doing lazy keto, I struggling to get back on track. Do you have any tips? I am horrible at counting or tracking macros.

  • Vee

    So I’m 2 weeks into Keto and I’m definitely experiencing the Keto Flu. All food is grossing me out. Just thinking about eating eggs, bacon, meats, chicken, and cheese makes me want to vomit. I eat because I’m so hungry but as I’m eating I’m completely grossed out. My question is, is this normal? And will it pass? Has anyone else experienced this while beginning keto?

  • Sally Kerr

    I get so dehydrated on this plan. My heart rate is 20-30 beats higher than my normal resting HR.. I have chest pain while in ketosis. I drink more yet go the bathroom even more. Also not a big pill taker. What drink supplements do you suggest for me to replenish my electrolytes to avoid this. I really want to do this diet but am struggling.

  • Debbie

    When counting macros how do you count collagen? Since it’s not a complete protein.
    Also, I am experiencing hair loss do I up protein and/or up calories . I am hoping to allow myself to discontinue the counting and just eat

    • Amber (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      Great question! Modified keto allows for a greater variety of food items, and will also allow for slightly higher carb amounts than traditional keto. So while keto might say no to Diet Pepsi, modified keto folks with no issues with sucralose might choose to have it knowing it’s not stalling their losses, causing hunger, or causing other issues.

    • Amber (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      Keto rash is a toughie because I’ve not seen or heard of anyone having it. Please be safe and see a doctor for that.

  • Kelli

    I am so confused. In doing some research before starting I had read no grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, most fruit and added sugar other than stevia, erythritol and a few others. But then I see people post about eating peanut butter, popcorn & wheat items that are low carb. Can you really get into ketosis eating those things? Or are they really low carb or Atkins? I know there are different forms of the keto diet as well, in clinical terms (SKD, TKD & CKD) and also in layman’s terms (lazy, strict), so are those forms given the option of different foods? It’s so very confusing to start a new healthy lifestyle and see so many different ways to do it and to know what is best!

    • Amber (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      You’re right! There’s both confusion and sometimes misuse of the term keto. Typically so long as the general rules are followed (speaking to macros), what people choose to eat from time to time should not affect ketosis–so long as they stick within their parameters and don’t notice bad side effects from what they’re eating, they’re likely going to be fine. That said, if you prefer meat, fat, and vegetables, simple tends to always be the best approach!

  • L Michels

    I keep reading how important it is to eat grass fed beef but I can’t afford it nor do I like the taste of it. How crucial is it to keto diet?

    • Amber (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      Hi there! While grass-fed is optimal, you can do what you like and which works best for your lifestyle. Hope that helps!

  • Yvette

    I’ve been on Keto to help with migraines and to lose weight. I recently had my cholesterol checked and it was 314!!! High cholesterol runs in my family but I always remained in the 240s with my healthy cholesterol being great so no meds. Now my PCP wants me start on Lipitor and stop Keto. Is there anyway I can stay on Keto and lower my cholesterol so I don’t have to get on meds?

  • Rachel

    Can I di keto after gastric bypass? I need to have at least 60 grams of protein a day which is way higher than what is listed.

  • Laurie

    I have had nocturnal leg cramps every night since I started Keto in May. I try to drink lots of water, I add GoUltima to my water, I also add sodium/sole. I have tried Calm, I take a Magnesium/Potassium supplement daily. I don’t know what else to do to stop them. My macros are 75/25/5 and I have lost 53 lbs.

    • Amber (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      Oh bummer! SO sorry to hear about your discomfort, Laurie! Maybe check in with your doctor to see if they may be able to help. Hoping you feel better soon!

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