How Much Fat Should You Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?

Thankfully, the days of low-fat diet fads are mostly behind us, and people are better understanding the importance of eating healthy fats for health. But still, many of those eating keto will underestimate just how much fat they need to eat to see success on this way of eating. So, how much fat can you eat on a ketogenic diet?

This article will cover why fat intake matters on the ketogenic diet and how it makes it successful, as well as how to find out how much fat you need. Then, we’ll touch on how you can make sure your fat intake stays high (while still getting enough calories) and the best types of fat to eat.

The Importance of Fat on the Keto Diet

Dietary fat is the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet. It’s the high fat intake and low carb intake that makes the diet “work” and keeps your body in ketosis — using those ketones for fuel and burning through fat.

Having a very low carb intake allows you to deplete your body of carbohydrates and stored carbohydrates (glycogen) and conditioning it to begin turning to fat instead, leading to the creation of ketones for energy. Getting and keeping the body in this state of ketosis has many benefits that include weight loss and better health.

High Fat and Enough Calories Matters

Those new to keto or who have taken a break from it often struggle with eating enough fat at first. Since you’re greatly reducing your carb intake, you have to really increase your fat intake to replace the calories you were eating before from carbs. This can take some adjustment.

If you’re not used to eating high fat, it might seem like a lot at the beginning. Fat is satiating, which is one of the advantages of keto because you can naturally avoid overeating due to its satisfying nature.

That being said, it’s important to also eat enough calories on the ketogenic diet to avoid any metabolic or thyroid problems that are associated with a low calorie intake and do more harm than good. While lower caloric intake can help you in the beginning for reducing body fat, it’s harmful over the long term.

Bottom line: Besides eating very low carb, you also must make sure your fat intake is HIGH and that you’re getting enough calories. You can do this by calculating just how much fat you’ll need to eat to support your ketogenic diet and stay healthy.

How to Increase Your Fat Intake

First, let’s review the general ratio for the ketogenic diet:

what is the ketogenic diet

Although these percentages offer a good guideline, they really don’t do much good until you know how they fit into your specific needs.

You’ll need to find out how many grams of fat this comes out to for you by using an online calculator (such as MyFitnessPal) to calculate your daily caloric intake. Then, you can input these percentages to find out the amount of carb, protein, and fat grams you need. You’ll get a baseline amount of fat grams per day.

For example, someone who consumes 2,000 calories a day, a fat intake of 70-80% would be around 144g to 177g of fat each day. If your calories needed are greater, you might need even more than that.

Now, to meet those fat needs, let’s cover some of the healthiest fat sources to choose from and include in your diet:

Sources of Healthy Fats

  • There are many places you can get fat on the ketogenic diet. The best sources are whole foods saturated and monounsaturated fats, including:
  • Egg yolks (preferably pasture-raised)
  • Healthy oils like coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, and avocado oil
  • Nuts and seeds (watch your overall nut intake and choose fattier versions like almonds and macadamia nuts)
  • Fatty fish
  • Avocados
  • Butter or ghee
  • Coconut butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cheeses
  • Full fat yogurt
  • Fatty cuts of meat

For more ideas, see our ketogenic diet foods list.

A Note on Protein

Remember that protein intake shouldn’t be too high. Always keep your intake moderate, at about 15-25% of total calories, and possibly even lower for some people (see section below about tracking).

Eating too much protein when your carb intake is low can lead to gluconeogenesis, where your body turns protein into glucose for energy. This isn’t good for your body or your muscle mass. To avoid it, keep your fat intake high and again, protein moderate.

Also, eating fat with your protein sources is a good way to still keep the fat to protein ratio acceptable. You can do this by eating healthy fatty cuts of meat (like organ meats) and the full-fat versions of dairy and eggs.

Track Your Ketones and Fat Intake

Besides regularly tracking the amount of calories and fat, protein, and carbs you’re consuming each day to make sure you’re eating enough of each, it’s crucial to continue testing and monitoring ketone levels.

The best indicator of ketosis on the ketogenic diet is the amount of ketones in your blood. Even if you’re eating lots of fat, very low carb, and moderate protein, you can’t know for sure if you’re on the right track unless you monitor your ketone levels. Remember to test often and keep some exogenous ketones nearby.

Summary: Eating Fat on the Ketogenic Diet

We’ve talked about why fat is important on the keto diet, how to calculate the amount that’s right for you, and the best sources from which to get it. Now, use this information to go out and enjoy one of the best aspects of the keto diet: eating delicious, satiating foods full of fat!

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Responses (25)

  1. Hi,
    I was surprised that you didn’t include cheeses, full-fat yogurts and all other kinds of dairy products; or even fatty meats eg pate, sausages, pork crackling etc in your list.

    Or am I missing something?

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  2. Is it true you can eat as much fat as you want? I have a friend on the Keto Diet, she cooks & bakes a lot with cream cheese and other high fats. She told me you can eat as much fat as you like. Is that true?

    1. Hey Patricia, you definitely want to fill up on fat and make that the majority of your calories. Fat is very satiating so you will probably get fuller, faster compared to when you would eat carbs. However, if you are eating an excessive amount of fat (past your satiety level) than it has to go somewhere and anything in extreme excess will be most likely be stored in your body as body fat. I recommend eating to satiety and if you are not seeing results, you may have to track your consumption for a few weeks so you have a better idea of how much you’re consuming and what works best for your goals. Our macro calculator can help get you started with that if you’d like: https://perfectketo.com/keto-macro-calculator/

  3. Dear all, I already sent similar questions by email, but probably here is a better place to ask a few fundamental things relating to fat and a keto diet:

    a) Why do I need to eat dietary fat during the keto diet if I have plenty of adipose tissue (as is currently the case) that can equally well be used as a source of energy? In your article you simply say that dietary fat is necessary for the keto diet to work, by I can’t see any explanation for that. Eating fat while I already have plenty of it available seems a bit counterintuitive.

    b) Is’t there a danger that I actually get all my energy from the dietary fat and the rest via gluconeogenesis, and the fat stored in my adipose tissue remains like it is?

    c) Even if my body becomes a “fat burning machine” how can I make sure it really is burning fat from the adipose tissue of my body, and not just from the daily dietary fat I eat? I am not referring on how to calculate it exactly, but rather as a principle. Why would my body care where the fat is coming from if there is plenty of it around anyway?

    d) Or does the entire question revert back to a classic calorie counting exercise? In this case, I’ll eat the minimum amount of protein that is needed to prevent my muscles from being cannibalized (for energy) and for the rest, I’ll limit my dietary fat intake per day to a level, where its energy + energy currently obtained from adipose tissue match my total energy need? (I’ll leave gluconeogenesis out of this equation for simplicity.) If this is the case, I’ll lose adipose tissue, i.e. lose weight, but the interesting question still remains: How much energy can my body extract from the adipose tissue at its best? How can I maximize the share of energy coming from adipose tissue instead of dietary fat?

    I’d really appreciate your answer to this, since you seem to be the real expert on keto diets.

    Just to put things in context, I read an old scientific report about a seriously obese man who decided to be without food about a year (under medical supervision) and was given only some necessary micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) during the entire period. In this case all his energy had to come from adipose tissue (plus gluconeogenesis, I assume) in deep ketosis, and eventually he lost a lot of weight, mostly fat. Even more surprisingly, repeated tests during that year and thereafter demonstrated, that his health was continuously improving and he was actually feeling very well. What would be the downside of this kind of “starvation ketosis”, that will obviously last only until the point where the person has lost all his excessive fat?

  4. Hi, one thing I have struggled to understand regarding ketosis is, if the body is going to burn the stored fat anyway in absence of glucose, then why add more fat to the diet? Also shouldn’t there be a ratio of how much stored fat is present and how much new fat should be added via diet for the body to generate appropriate amount of ketones?

    1. Great point! That’s why fasting is so effective for fat loss. That’s what’s awesome about keto is your body can use dietary fat or your own body fat. The less fat you eat the more it will tap into bodyfat. We still want to eat fat though because we need to nourish our bodies and get other nutrients from food.

  5. How much food should you be eating each day. Since this is a high fat diet, I’m concerned about too many calories. Also, I’m not as athletic as I once was due to arthritis. Today, I made hamburger (85/15) with mushrooms, garlic and topped with sour cream. As a snack, I had pimento cheese with a spoon.

    1. Great point – the literature shows that ketogenic macro splits are very protein sparing for weight loss and the body will typically burn fat and glucose and spare lean mass. Dr. Jason Fung makes the analogy that it would be like stacking firewood for the winter and then when winter hits, deciding not to use the firewood and instead use the living room couch!

  6. Does eating a fatty meal reduce my bodys keytone production? Ive really struggled to answer this question online for some reason.

    My understanding is that Keytones are produced when on low carbs to break body-fat down for use. So… if i eat a high fat meal wont thins reduce my bodys need to eat bodyfat? Its rather confusing

  7. I’m very confused I’ve listened to so many videos and comments all these numbers mean nothing to me I need pics so I can see how much I need to eat I’m frustrated cause everyone says different things, I drink my water 3-4 litres a day I eat little protein lots of veg and lots of fat

    1. Listen,Don’t Listen to people and there Opinions follow the guidelines, stick to the plan, and Firstly Most Important thing is have patients.. Also make sure you have a Positive Mindset, to grow every single day.. All the best.. Follow this and get yourself comfortable with Ketogenic deit.. really it worth it.. all you have to do wait..

  8. Great information and questions! I finish eating before 6 and don’t have anything until noon or sometimes later, the next day! I do drink water and plain herbal tea. I take Omega 3’s, 2 Tbsps. of cold pressed virgin olive oil with lemon in water, in the morning! Around noon I have my BP coffee with butter and coconut cream. Primarily eggs, avocado, chicken, stir fry’s, nuts (mostly almonds), etc.

    I had tests done on my liver around 6 months ago, that had been damaged years ago from septicaemia and left scar tissue. The tests also show some fatty deposits! Do you think what I am doing will be good for my liver or do you have other sugestions, as well? Thanks, in advance!

    1. I believe you’re “breaking your fast” by having Olive oil in the morning. Anything over 5 calories will cause an insulin spike. I’ve been intermittent fasting (IF) 16:8 for 4 months and have just recently moved to try ketosis. I’m exercising in a fasted state. I lost 7kg of fat. Can’t comment on how effective Keto is yet, my understanding is it’s excellent for optimal fat burning.

  9. I’ve been following the Keto diet for almost 4 months now. I have lost almost 25 pounds and feel good. I am an active daily walker and have also started doing some strength and conditioning 3-5 days week. I decided to have a physical since I’m being so healthy why not keep up with everything else. All my lab work came back good, and very good except for LDL cholesterol, very high over 200. Immediately the doctor wants to put me on a low dose of medicine. I know I’ve been consuming alot of saturated fats on this diet. I’m confused on what to do now 🙁

    1. I’ve read this is normal. Your body is sorting itself out.
      I would wait, then get tested again in another 2 to 4 months.

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