Following a keto diet can be challenging, but several apps are available to help people track their macronutrients. Some of these apps also provide suitable recipes and nutritional information for a range of foods.
The features of keto apps vary, and a person’s preference will likely depend on their level of experience with the diet and their specific goals.
In this article, we examine some of the best keto diet apps. We also discuss what a keto diet is and what the research around it says.
A ketogenic, or keto diet, is a low carbohydrate diet that some people use for weight loss or to reduce body fat percentage. The diet is high in fats, moderate in proteins, and very low in carbohydrates. People track these macronutrients (macros) with the aim of consuming them in the following ratio:
- 55–60% fat
- 30–35% protein
- 5–10% carbohydrate
For a 2,000 calorie per day intake, this would mean consuming 20–50 grams (g) of carbohydrates.
The science behind the approach is to put the body into a state of ketosis.
Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy, and it will choose this over any other source when it is available. People obtain glucose from carbohydrates in the diet.
When someone eats less than 50 g of carbohydrate per day, the body changes how it sources energy, producing ketone bodies to use as fuel instead. This metabolic state is called ketosis.
In ketosis, the body produces less insulin, leading it to store less glucose as fat. In this way, the keto diet can help someone looking to lose weight and body fat.
Experts generally consider it to be safe because the amount of ketone bodies that the body produces does not alter the blood’s pH levels. This fact distinguishes ketosis from ketoacidosis — a life threatening condition in which much larger numbers of ketone bodies alter the blood’s pH to make it acidic.
Read on to find out about some of the best apps for someone following a keto diet.
Carb manager is available for free. There is also a premium paid-for version that includes many extra features.
- This app allows people to track their macros and true net carbs (the number of carbs that the body absorbs), subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber. The app alerts someone if they go over their limits on specific macros.
- People are able to join a keto community and connect with friends to share their progress.
- As well as macros, they are able to track weight, exercise, calories, and water. The app also supports intermittent fasting.
- There are also many additional features, such as diet articles, forums, and weekly challenges.
- Fitness integrations, such as a step tracker, are only available in the premium version.
Senza is free to download.
- Senza has features that will appeal to beginners on the keto diet, as well as the more experienced.
- For beginners, there is a “5 days to keto” guide that helps them transition from a regular diet. Those who already have experience of the diet can track their glucose, ketones, and insulin load.
- The app includes barcode scanning, 200,000 food records, restaurant menus, and more than 800 keto recipes. People can monitor their electrolyte intake and get personalized keto recommendations every day.
- One standout feature of this app is that people can connect live to a nutritionist or get online coaching.
- Some reviewers mention having difficulty logging foods and experiencing issues with the functionality of the app.
Total Keto Diet is free to download.
- People can find hundreds of keto recipes and track their macros with this app.
- They can find out the total carbs and net carbs of foods and meals, add their favorites, and create a shopping list.
- There is a beginners’ keto diet guide to help people understand the concept and get started straight away.
- Some reviewers complain about difficulty logging foods and the app being unstable or freezing.
There is a free version of this app, or people can pay either a monthly subscription fee or a one time payment of $29.99.
- Users can track their macros meal by meal with this app.
- The app includes a database that people can search for specific foods, drinks, and restaurant items, or they can simply scan a product’s barcode.
- Users can create their own custom meals to save for later and track the amount of water that they drink.
- The free version only allows people to add five food items, so it is better to invest in the paid-for version, if possible.
- However, the cost is a potential downside compared with other apps, as people must pay a monthly subscription or a one time payment of $29.99.
MyFitnessPal is free to use, with a paid-for premium version also available.
- MyFitnessPal is a popular app that helps people track their nutrition and fitness.
- With more than 6 million foods in the database, the app is a great source of nutritional information.
- Users can log their meals and exercise. Although the app is not specifically for keto diets, people can tailor their meals to meet their requirements.
- Anyone who wishes to track changes in their body visually can add photos to their weight entries.
- The app does not have the capability to find out the net carbs in foods. However, the app creators point out that people can calculate this by subtracting the grams of fiber in their diet from the grams of carbs.
This app is free to download but has adverts.
- This app has low carb recipes for all meals and snacks, including vegetarian recipes.
- The recipes detail how many grams of each macronutrient the meal contains.
- People can make a shopping list directly from the recipes, and they can add meals to a list of favorites. Offline, they can access more than 1,000 recipes.
- The recipes do not detail the macros for separate ingredients, so people will not have all of the necessary information if they swap out ingredients that they do not have or dislike.
Researchers are still studying keto diets to determine their possible benefits and safety issues.
Some research indicates that keto diets are effective for weight loss. However, many doctors are concerned by the increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, that these diets cause. Those who follow a keto diet very strictly may also eat fewer plant foods that have beneficial effects.
Other studies suggest that ketone bodies may be beneficial for healthy aging and help treat some chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. However, many studies to date have involved animals, and human research is necessary to make firm conclusions about these possible benefits.
Various keto diet apps are available to cater to people’s differing needs and experience.
Some focus on tracking macros and providing recipes, whereas others allow people to track their fitness and get advice from professionals and the keto community.
Some people may find apps that detail net carbs rather than total carbs more useful. They should also read reviews and look at the interface of an app to see whether it can work for them.
People can also find out information about keto diets on other apps and websites, such as YouTube and Reddit. However, not all of this advice will be from professionals who are qualified to educate someone about nutrition.
If someone has a health condition or is on medication, they should check with their doctor before starting a new diet.