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How Many Calories Can I Eat on Keto?

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  Published on September 20th, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified September 8th, 2023
Eating a low calorie keto meal to lose weight

Adhering to the keto diet means that you have to count carbs and track your intake of protein and healthy fats to see the results that most are looking for in a diet. While tracking all of these macros, you may also want to consider the number of calories you consume if weight loss is the primary goal. While counting calories might seem like just one more thing to track, it can make a big difference. 

If you’re asking yourself, “How many calories can I eat on keto and still lose weight?”, we have some guidelines for you. You’ll start making more progress on your diet if you adhere to these recommendations for caloric intake on a daily basis. 

Has Weight Loss Stalled?

If you find that you shed pounds quickly on keto at first but then weight loss stalls, it is likely a sign that you’re eating too many calories. It’s easy to overdo the calories on keto because many high-fat foods that are keto-friendly and touted for their health benefits are also quite high in calories. For example, avocados are often a staple of the diet because of their fat, but contain 240 calories. [1] Olive oil is a healthy fat but is also high in calories.

 In order to drop weight, you need to keep a calorie deficit in your diet. That means that you need to burn more calories than you are actually eating. 

Many people don’t actually know how many calories they burn each day, but you can stick with a few general guidelines to figure out where you fall. One study found that there are two basic categories of keto diets that help people eliminate stubborn body fat: low-calorie keto diets (800 to 1,200 calories per day) and very low-calorie keto diets (less than 800 calories per day). [2]

How Many Calories Can I Eat on Keto for Weight Loss? 

While the two types of keto diets mentioned above are very restrictive, you will likely be able to make progress on your weight loss goals with a slightly higher caloric intake. Most nutritionists believe that a low-calorie diet of 1,000 to 1,500 calories is sufficient for weight loss to take place. 

If you want to eat this many calories, you simply need to ensure that you burn 500 to 750 calories more than you eat. [] According to the same study, the ketogenic diet also works to suppress the pesky hunger pangs that you might feel when sticking to a new diet with more restrictive calorie intakes.

Low calorie keto meal

You will feel fuller on keto, despite cutting back on the number of calories that you eat. [4] This is excellent news if you often struggle to maintain a diet because of cravings that make you feel like you are missing out on some of your favorite snacks and foods. You can also increase your activity levels to burn more calories, giving you muscle definition, fat loss, and an increased appetite.

How Many Calories Can I Eat on Keto to Maintain Weight? 

Everyone will have different caloric requirements when it comes to maintaining weight. While many people turn to keto for the initial weight loss, they often stick with it because it makes them feel so much better. Ketosis is associated with lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and even lower inflammation in the body. [5]

A Body Weight Planner from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases can help you to determine how many calories a day you should eat to maintain your current weight based on your age, gender, activity level, height, and weight.  

There are a few guidelines you can consider when determining how many calories you should eat to maintain your current weight based on your age and assigned gender at birth. Females generally need to eat about 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily to maintain weight while males may need 2,000 to 3,000 calories daily. [6]

The more active you are and the younger you are, the more calories you need to maintain your current weight. These calorie guidelines stand, even for those who adhere to specific diets such as the low-carb keto diet. 

Keep Careful Count of Calories 

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to stick to an extremely restrictive diet when you make the transition to the keto lifestyle. Like any diet, there are some guidelines that you will want to adhere to if weight loss is the goal. Keep in mind that some of the most beneficial high-fat foods will also have high calories that can detract from weight loss. With some of these rules for caloric intake in mind, you can start to curb your cravings and boost your weight loss.

Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.



Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2023, February 2). Avocados. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/avocados/ 


Basolo, A., Magno, S., Santini, F., & Ceccarini, G. (2022). Ketogenic Diet and Weight Loss: Is There an Effect on Energy Expenditure?. Nutrients, 14(9), 1814. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091814


Kim J. Y. (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 30(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20065


Nymo, S., Coutinho, S. R., Jørgensen, J., Rehfeld, J. F., Truby, H., Kulseng, B., & Martins, C. (2017). Timeline of changes in appetite during weight loss with a ketogenic diet. International journal of obesity (2005), 41(8), 1224–1231. https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2017.96


Batch, J. T., Lamsal, S. P., Adkins, M., Sultan, S., & Ramirez, M. N. (2020). Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article. Cureus, 12(8), e9639. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.9639


United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Dietary Guidelines for Americans. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf 

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