A calorie is a unit of energy your body uses to perform hundreds of tasks. These include voluntary movements like walking, running, and jumping, as well as involuntary ones like breathing, circulating blood throughout your system, and maintaining normal body temperature. Your body needs a certain number of calories just to keep those involuntary processes going. This is referred to as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Your BMR is influenced by many factors, including your age, gender, body composition, and genetics. Overall, the more active you are, the more calories you need. However, the calories in most foods are a combination of carbs, protein, and fat. For instance, although eggs are considered a protein food, the majority of their calories actually come from fat. For example, two large eggs provide calories.
Most weight loss diets focus on tracking or reducing calories in some way to promote weight loss. But, the keto diet is different. Once your body reaches a state of ketosis, you will tap into your fat stores converting fat into ketone bodies which can be used for energy instead of glucose. And should you be counting calories if you’re following a keto diet? Calorie counting is not necessarily required on keto, but it can help. It may be especially useful when you are just getting started or if you have reached a plateau. Keeping track of what you eat can help you become aware of what foods work best for you. Tracking can help you learn portion control and identify foods that are high in carbohydrates. It can help you figure out what is not working. Keeping food records is no different than recording workout progress or creating a financial budget. The increased awareness can be helpful. But, if your goal is to lose weight, instead of tracking every calorie, focus on high quality food that will promote the release of appetite suppressing hormones to reduce hunger and increase satisfaction.
The ketogenic diet induces a state of ketosis, meaning blood levels of ketones are elevated. This occurs due to carbohydrate restriction, which causes the body to burn fat and from this, produce ketone bodies. Or can they? This is a bit of a simplistic conclusion. So, do calories matter on keto? In technical terms, one calorie kCal is the amount of energy needed to heat one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. Measuring energy in calories is a way that food scientists have developed to quantify the amount of energy present in foods. Foods contain varying amounts of energy stored in their atomic bonds. When the bonds are broken down, this energy is released as heat. Each macronutrient—carbohydrates, protein, and fat—have different calorie contents due to the energy they contain. For instance, one gram of protein and carbohydrate each contain four calories, while one gram of fat contains nine calories; this is called their physiological fuel value.