Setting up a ketogenic diet can feel a bit overwhelming and frustrating if you don’t understand how a keto diet works and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Using an OKL Chart, rather than an online keto calculator or mobile app, can help you reach your dietary goals with less hassle and guesswork.
Losing weight is the ultimate goal, of course, but a ketogenic diet tries to help you reach that goal in a safe and healthy manner.
Keto does this by having you track your macros.
Macros is a term that refers to the major nutrients in your diet, often called macronutrients. These macronutrients are:
- dietary fats
By keeping these major nutrients in certain proportions, you can be sure that you are in the state of ketosis and burning body fat at the best rate possible.
Many keto diets recommend keeping your macros within certain dietary percentages. These dietary percentages range from:
- 3% to 5% for carbs
- 15% to 20% for protein
- 75% to 80% for dietary fat
However, percentages can be misleading.
The body doesn’t deal in percentages. It only recognizes exact grams, so when you only focus on percentages, and use percentages to determine how much you should eat, your health can suffer.
The OKL Chart simplifies these percentages and corrects the misunderstandings about dietary fats and protein that many people within the low-carb community have.
It shows you exactly what you need to eat each day to not only reach your ideal body weight, but to also attain optimal health while dieting.
What is OKL Chart?
The OKL Chart was created by Raymund Edwards in 2015.
Originally, it was created for the OKL Facebook Group, but the chart is becoming more popular among ketogenic dieters who are looking for a simple solution to keeping track of their keto diet and macros.
OKL is a chart that shows you the exact amount of macronutrients you need to eat in their proper quantities for Optimal Ketogenic Living (OKL).
The chart isn’t just about weight loss.
It deals with what’s actually achievable on a keto diet and reveals exactly how to do that.
Since it shares the exact grams of protein, carbs, and fat you should eat each day, there is less chance of error by newbies. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of setting up your macros.
Some may find the dietary fat recommendation a bit controversial, but the figures the chart uses for all of the macronutrients are based on the recommendations of Dr. Stephen Phinney, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Virta Health, a medication-free treatment program for type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Phinney is the originator of the Nutritional Ketosis movement and is the one who coined the term, “Nutritional Ketosis.”
The chart clears up much of the misunderstandings that the low-carb community has about dietary fats and protein, and uses Dr. Phinney’s recommendations for a ketogenic weight-loss diet.
How to Read OKL Chart?
The chart is based on gender and height, and also shares your approximate body fat percentage.
To read the OKL chart, first find your gender, and then, on the left-hand side of the appropriate gender section, find your height.
Once you have your correct height, you read across that line horizontally to discover the proper amount of carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fat you need to eat each day for optimal health and weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain.
Protein grams provide about 20 percent of your energy needs.
This is at the high end of what most keto programs recommend.
Where traditional low-carb diets place most of their emphasis on restricting carbohydrates, the OKL Chart recommends plenty of protein to protect your lean muscle mass from unnecessary losses.
The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you use throughout the day, so OKL seeks to protect as much muscle tissue, as possible.
The protein number on the chart is the minimum amount you need to eat each day.
It is not the maximum you can eat.
Amino acids, derived from dietary protein, are the building blocks for cell repair. You need to eat plenty of protein so the body can rebuild its worn out protein structures.
The carbohydrate number is given in net grams and is a maximum amount.
Net carbohydrates are what’s left when you subtract the fiber grams from the total amount of carbohydrates in a low-carb food or product.
Most keto programs today use net carbs, rather than total carbs, so the OKL Chart does too.
Dietary programs tend to use the same level of carbohydrates for all keto dieters, but the OKL Chart tailors your carb level to your body’s physical structure.
Dietary fat is given as a range, instead of an exact figure, because fat is used to dial in your calorie intake.
Once you have your protein needs and carbohydrate tolerance level set, all you need to do to eat at a caloric deficit is count your fat grams.
For weight loss, stick to the lower end of the dietary fat grams.
For maintenance, stick to the amount that helps you maintain your losses. For weight gain, use the higher end of the scale.
Fats are given as a range because each dieter is unique, but keep in mind that the idea behind eating at the lower range for fat grams is that part of your dietary percentage needs to come from your body fat.
Eating less fat forces the body to use your stored body fat to fuel your daily activities.
While Nutritional Ketosis is considered a high-fat diet, if you have excess body fat, part of your daily fat percentage comes from your stored energy reserves.
OKL Chart vs Other Keto Calculators
So how does the OKL Chart compare to other keto calculators?
Keto calculators are used as guides to help you set up your macros.
They are available online or as a mobile app.
The aim of these calculators is to help you determine how much of each macronutrient to eat, but some calculators are more accurate and useful than others.
Typically, these calculators ask you for personal information, such as your:
- current weight
- body fat percentage
- activity level (sedentary, light, moderate, or active)
- deficit desired (in percent)
- carb intake desired
- protein intake desired
The keto calculator takes all of the information you give and tells you how many carbs, protein grams, and fat grams to eat each day to either lose weight or maintain your losses.
The macros it gives you depends on the type of diet the calculator is based on, so some of the more popular mobile apps have to be readjusted by the keto dieter because they are based on a low-fat diet.
This means you have to already know what the proper keto macros are before they can be useful.
What the app gives you as your macros won’t be appropriate for those restricting carbohydrates.
You’ll have to manually adjust the macros to fit your keto diet.
Many keto dieters find the calculators confusing and difficult to use.
While a bit of research might help you determine that 20 to 25 net carbs a day is the best place to start a ketogenic diet, you have to already know what your current body fat percentage is or take a guess.
You have to already know the optimal level of protein for your build and gender, or once again, take a guess.
You also have to set your own caloric deficit.
Most people will set this deficit far too large, triggering additional adaption by the body to offset that large of a deficit.
In addition, you’re expected to be accurate in your description of your activity level, even though scientific research has found that people tend to overestimate their activity and underestimate the amount of food they eat on a regular basis.
Calculators use various mathematical formulas to find the average intake of carbohydrates, protein, and fat grams that will allow the average person to lose excess body fat, but they are only as accurate as the information you give it.
They also can’t determine physical adaption, so physical adaption to dieting is not included in the formula.
This makes keto calculators a good place to start from, but they will have to be tweaked as your diet progresses to keep the pounds coming off.
Since the OKL Chart focuses on optimal health, instead of just weight loss, it’s much easier and faster to use.
You simply find your gender and height, and then read across the line for the average optimal macros.
There’s no input of personal information, and no guessing about your activity level, body fat percentage, or caloric deficit needed to make the chart work.
The guessing has already been done for you.
No matter which method you decide to use to keep track of your keto diet and macros, you’re going to have to do some personal experimentation to see what works best for you.
This is why the OKL Chart gives you minimums, maximums, and ranges.
Using the OKL Chart, instead of a keto calculator, gives you the freedom to experiment and learn how your body reacts to the protein, carbohydrate, and fats that you eat.