How to Count Fat on Keto

Of all the low-carb diets out there, the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet is unique because of its high fat intake. It might seem contradictory to think that you could lose fat on a high-fat diet, but keto has a strong success rate in the short term (less than a year). If you’re interested in this diet, you likely have questions about how you count fat on keto and what types of fat you should be eating. Here, we’ve compiled answers to some of your most common questions about consuming fat on keto so you can decide if this is the way for you to jumpstart your weight loss journey.[1]


[Edit]How much fat can I have on the keto diet?

  1. Generally, at least 70% of your calories should come from fats. The specific amount of fat that you need for the keto diet depends on the total number of calories you’re consuming in a day. However, even if you’re not specifically counting calories, you can still stick to the keto diet by keeping all of your meals within the set proportion of about 70-80% fat, 5-10% carbs, and 10-20% protein.[2]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 1.jpg
    • For example, if you were eating 2,000 calories a day, you’d need to eat roughly 165 grams of fat. For reference, 6 large eggs have about 30 grams of fat.[3]

[Edit]What types of fat are best to eat?

  1. Most keto diets encourage large amounts of saturated fats. Sources of these fats to eat include eggs, coconut oil, fatty fish, olive oil, butter from grass-fed cows, and fatty cuts of red meat (such as porterhouse and t-bone steaks). While you can also eat foods with unsaturated fats, such as nuts, avocados, and tofu, they aren’t really the focus of most keto diet plans.[4]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 2.jpg
    • This is the primary way that keto differs from other diets and from health advice generally, which cautions you to limit saturated fats. If you stay on the keto diet for more than a few months, you could end up with high levels of LDL cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease.

[Edit]Is it even necessary to count grams of fat on keto?

  1. Pay more attention to carbs and protein. The carbs and protein you eat are seriously limited on a keto diet, but fat isn’t. Fat simply makes up the rest of your daily calories—as long as you’re tracking your carbs and protein, your fat should fall right into place.[5]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 3.jpg
    • On a typical keto diet, 5-10% of your daily calories come from carbs and 10-20% come from protein. The remainder comes from fat. Set the amount of carbs and protein you need to eat and don’t eat any more than that. If you eat more fat, that’s simply lowering the percentage of carbs and protein in your diet.

[Edit]Do I count total fat or saturated fat?

  1. All fat counts for the purposes of your fat macro. The keto diet focuses on 3 macros: fat, carbs, and protein. If you’re trying to track the amount of fat you eat in a day, include all the fat you eat. You’ll still want to break it down into types of fat, though, to make sure the bulk of your fat is coming from saturated and monounsaturated fats.[6]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 4.jpg
    • Generally, consume natural fats, such as those that come from butter from grass-fed cows, olive oil, and coconut oil. Limit “yellow oils,” such as vegetable and seed oils. These tend to be highly processed and also contain high levels of polyunsaturated fat, which is the type you should be limiting on a keto diet.

[Edit]How do I determine my fat goal?

  1. Figure out your carbs and protein first, then fill out the rest with fat. Generally, the specific amount of fat you want to consume on a keto diet depends on the number of calories you’re aiming to consume in a day. Since carbs and protein are limited on keto, you want to find those numbers first. The remaining calories in your diet should come from fat.[7]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, assume you’re planning on eating 2,000 calories a day. If you want 10% of those calories to come from carbs and 20% to come from protein, you would need to eat 200 calories worth of carbs and 400 calories worth of protein. That leaves you with 1,400 calories worth of fat.
    • To figure out food portions, remember 4-4-9: 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate, 4 calories in a gram of protein, and 9 calories in a gram of fat.[8] So 1,400 calories ends up being roughly 156 grams of fat.
    • While this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to constantly count calories on keto, you’ll need a ballpark idea of the number of calories you want to consume each day. Use that number to figure out generally how much fat you need to be eating, then go from there.

[Edit]Do I need to hit my fat goal every day?

  1. Focus more on meeting your carb and protein goals. As long as your carb and protein macros are still good, it’s fine if you’re not hitting your fat goal. Falling short of your fat goal throws off the total number of calories you’re consuming, though, which can bump up your carb and protein percentages.[9]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 6.jpg
    • In the keto diet, fat’s function is to help you feel full. If you feel hungry, you need to eat more fat. If you’re restricting your fat intake, you’re probably not going to lose as much weight as you could be.
    • When you’re just starting out on keto, you’ll probably find that you need to eat more fat to feel full. This is because your body’s still adjusting to the diet. Once you’ve been on the diet for a week or so, you might start to feel full with less fat—which might mean you need to adjust your macros accordingly.

[Edit]What happens if I don’t eat enough fat on keto?

  1. If you don’t eat enough fat, you might not go into ketosis. Generally, the amount of fat you eat on a keto diet isn’t that big of a deal, as long as you’re not replacing that fat with carbs or proteins. Eat too much protein and not enough fat, though, and your body won’t go into ketosis—which sort of negates the point of the diet.[10]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 7.jpg
    • Even if you are in ketosis, if you eat less fat, you’ll probably notice that you lose less weight. But as long as you keep your carbs and proteins in check, you’ll be fine.

[Edit]What are fat bombs?

  1. Fat bombs are snacks that help you fill you up without adding carbs and protein. If you’re on the keto diet, too many carbs and proteins are the big no-nos. Fat bombs, on the other hand, are close to 100% fat. So if you start to feel hungry, drop a fat bomb![11]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 8.jpg
    • You can buy commercial fat bombs online or in the diet section of most grocery stores—or you can make your own. Search online for fat bomb recipes and experiment with ingredients until you find the combinations you like the best.
    • Most fat bombs are made of a creamy base, such as cream cheese or peanut butter, with other keto-friendly ingredients, such as dark chocolate chips or bacon, added in. You just roll them into balls and freeze them for a couple of hours—no baking required![12]

[Edit]Is it possible to eat too much fat on keto?

  1. Not really, but you want to make sure you’re consuming the right types of fat. Fat has gotten a bad rap, and that makes a lot of dieters wary about eating too much of it. But there’s a difference between body fat (which you want to lose) and dietary fat (the stuff you eat). As long as the bulk of the dietary fat you’re consuming is natural fat, you shouldn’t have any problems.[13]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 9.jpg
    • Fat from highly processed oils, as well as trans fats, might have other negative health consequences, so it’s best to avoid those. But keep in mind that would be true whether you were on keto or not.
    • Only eat as much fat as you need to feel full. If you’re just mindlessly eating more fat than you need to satisfy hunger, you’ll slow down or even stop weight loss. Your body isn’t going to burn stored fat when it can burn the fat you have coming in.[14]

[Edit]What’s the most important macro to track?

  1. If you’re only going to track one macro, make it carbs. Keto is a low-carb diet, so your carb macro is an absolute limit. Maybe you can consume fewer carbs and be fine, but if you consume more carbs than your limit, your body won’t go into ketosis.[15]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 10.jpg
    • Your total carbs may vary depending on the specific plan you’re following and the number of calories you consume in a day, but all keto diets restrict carbs to 50g or less per day. To put this into perspective, a single medium plain bagel has more carbs than that.
    • Protein is second in importance to carbs. If you don’t consume enough protein, your body will start burning muscle fiber for energy instead of the fat you want it to burn. On the other hand, if you eat too much protein, your body won’t go into ketosis, so keep that in mind as well.

[Edit]Why is there so much conflicting advice on keto?

  1. Advice on keto can be contradictory because there’s no single standard keto diet. While all keto diets significantly reduce carbs and protein, they also all vary in terms of how you measure and track what you’re eating. Some advocate certain foods while others tell you to avoid them.[16] All the contradictions can lead to confusion—that coupled with the heavily restrictive nature of the diet is what makes it so difficult to follow for very long.[17]
    Count Fat on Keto Step 11.jpg
    • If you’re just getting started with keto, choose a plan that you think will work for you and that includes lots of foods you enjoy. If you’re eating things you like, you’re less likely to think about all the things that you’re missing.



  • Make sure you’re eating a variety of foods on keto and not just focusing on high-fat foods. Meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds are all important to ensure you get enough of the nutrients your body needs.[18]


  • Talk to your doctor before you start the keto diet so they can monitor your health. Your doctor or a nutritionist can also suggest meal plans that take your current health condition into account.[19]
  • The ketogenic diet is not meant to be followed long-term (more than a year). There might be health complications, including an increased risk of kidney stones, osteoporosis, and gout.[20]


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