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Can Too Much Protein Get You Out Of Ketosis?

How Does Protein Affect Blood Sugar?

How Does Protein Affect Blood Sugar?

One of the common pitfalls for people living a ketogenic lifestyle centers around protein and how it can sabotage your ketosis without you even knowing. You might think you are doing well, eating right, avoiding carbs, but you’re not seeing progress. One of the points I talked about here has to do with moderating your protein as a step to get back on track or break a plateau. So I thought I’d go into a little more depth. Your body has two main sources of energy: glucose and ketones. Ketones are only generated through fat metabolism. Glucose can be created by metabolizing carbs or proteins. A brief interruption to discuss carbs and protein Carbs are, basically, just sugars that are arranged in different structures that can be rearranged into glucose. Proteins, on the other hand, are a complicated matter. Proteins are strings of amino acids. There are 22 dietary amino acids, nine of which are essential, which means they cannot be generated by the cells in the body. So we must get those nine amino acids via our diet. And, of course, meat is the best dietary source for our amino acids. All of our body tissues are constructed of protein, so when we eat protein, we are supplying our tissues with material for rebuilding and healing. That’s why bodybuilders shovel huge amounts of protein into their gullet, because they are constantly breaking down their muscle fibers, so they need a constant stream of protein to heal and build their muscle. Interruption complete Our bodies can use ketones to power roughly 75% of its energy needs. The remaining 25%, almost all of which is used by the brain, comes from glucose. But, if we’re ketogenic, how do we get that glucose? If we are powered by fat, dietary and stored, and fat metabolism results in ketones, then where can we get the Continue reading >>

If You Eat Excess Protein, Does It Turn Into Excess Glucose?

If You Eat Excess Protein, Does It Turn Into Excess Glucose?

Gluconeogenesis is Demand-Driven, not Supply-Driven We have seen the claim that any protein you eat in excess of your immediate needs will be turned into glucose by spontaneous gluconeogenesis ¹. (Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is the process by which glucose is made out of protein in the liver and kidneys.) Some people think that because protein can be turned into glucose, it will, once other needs are taken care of, and that therefore keto dieters should be careful not to eat too much protein. While we believe there are valid reasons for limiting protein intake, experimental evidence does not support this one. In our opinion, it makes sense physiologically for GNG to be a demand-driven rather than supply-driven process, because of the need to keep blood glucose within tight bounds. In brief Gluconeogenesis is a slow process and the rate doesn't change much even under a wide range of conditions. The hypothesis that the rate of gluconeogenesis is primarily regulated by the amount of available material, e.g. amino acids, has not been supported by experiment. Having insufficient material available for gluconeogenesis will obviously limit the rate, but in the experiments we reviewed, having excess material did not increase the rate. We haven't found any solid evidence to support the idea that excess protein is turned into glucose. More experiments are needed to confirm that this still holds true in keto dieters. Gluconeogenesis has a Stable Rate Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a carefully regulated process for increasing blood sugar. It is stimulated by different hormones, including glucagon — the primary hormone responsible for preventing low blood sugar. GNG produces glucose slowly and evenly ². It was once thought that the main determination of the rate of GNG was how much glucogen Continue reading >>

Can Too Much Protein Stall Your Results?

Can Too Much Protein Stall Your Results?

It’s true that eating protein may boost metabolism and help you to feel fuller but this doesn’t mean that Atkins is the protein ‘free for all’ that many believe it to be and excessive amounts of steak, cheese, eggs and other foods shouldn’t be over-eaten, and this is for a valid reason. If you consume too much protein then this can be converted into glucose by a process called ‘gluconeogenesis’. The conversion of protein to glucose occurs as a result of the hormone, glucagon, which prevents low blood sugar and so isn’t a bad thing unless you are OVER-consuming protein. You see, when you reduce carbs, you go into ‘ketosis’ or fat burning and you produce ketones which are also used for energy. The small amount of glucose needed for brain function comes partly from the process of gluconeogenesis. This means you’ve no need for high amounts of carbs, above and beyond the ‘good’ carbs which you get from vegetables, pulses etc.; and this is for their nutritional factor as they are packed with fibre and other nutrients. When following Atkins, if you do overeat protein foods then you can stall the transition to ketosis; or even get knocked out of this fat burning state altogether. Don’t worry too much though as gluconeogenesis is a slow process and so you’ll not instantly stop burning fat if you eat a steak that’s too large, or you have an extra helping of bacon on your full English breakfast. However don’t eat large helpings of meat or eggs on a daily basis as this may set you back and stall weight loss. It’s also depends on you as a person as some people are more sensitive to protein and are best advised to err on the lower end of the scale when choosing meals. Others can eat more protein and needs will increase if you’re exercising too. S Continue reading >>

Ketosis, Ketones, And How It All Works

Ketosis, Ketones, And How It All Works

Ketosis is a process that the body does on an everyday basis, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. Your body adapts to what is put in it, processing different types of nutrients into the fuels that it needs. Proteins, fats, and carbs can all be processed for use. Eating a low carb, high fat diet just ramps up this process, which is a normal and safe chemical reaction. When you eat carbohydrate based foods or excess amounts of protein, your body will break this down into sugar – known as glucose. Why? Glucose is needed in the creation of ATP (an energy molecule), which is a fuel that is needed for the daily activities and maintenance inside our bodies. If you’ve ever used our keto calculator to determine your caloric needs, you will see that your body uses up quite a lot of calories. It’s true, our bodies use up much of the nutrients we intake just to maintain itself on a daily basis. If you eat enough food, there will likely be an excess of glucose that your body doesn’t need. There are two main things that happen to excess glucose if your body doesn’t need it: Glycogenesis. Excess glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles. Estimates show that only about half of your daily energy can be stored as glycogen. Lipogenesis. If there’s already enough glycogen in your muscles and liver, any extra glucose will be converted into fats and stored. So, what happens to you once your body has no more glucose or glycogen? Ketosis happens. When your body has no access to food, like when you are sleeping or when you are on a ketogenic diet, the body will burn fat and create molecules called ketones. We can thank our body’s ability to switch metabolic pathways for that. These ketones are created when the body breaks down fats, creating Continue reading >>

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Protein & Gluconeogenesis

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Protein & Gluconeogenesis

My dear readers, the website/blog update has run into some snags. Rather than continuing to keep you waiting, though, I’m going to publish new posts and I’ll worry about transitioning them over later on. And since it’s been a few months since I last posted anything of substance, I’ve decided to drop this enormous, enormous post on you to make up for that lost time—and it might take you equally long to read it. Sorry about that, but hey, I haven’t written anything meaningful since May, so, depending on your point of view, this post is either a gift or a punishment. As I’ve said in the past, if you’re an insomniac or a cubicle dweller with lots of time to kill, you’re welcome. (The rest of you, go get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, come back, and get comfy.) I’ve been meaning to write this post for over a year, but it’s such a big topic and so much can go wrong that the thought of tackling it all was enough to make me not write it. But it’s gotten to the point that I’m tired enough of seeing the same questions asked and the same myths propagated over and over on various keto and low carb forums that I’ve decided this needs to be done, no matter how painful I might find it. Because seeing nonsense and fearmongering regarding the role of protein in low carb or ketogenic diets is even more painful. So if finally managing to organize my thoughts into some kind of coherent prose means I never have to read the phrase, “too much protein turns into sugar” ever again, it will be worth it. So that’s what’s on tap today, kids: Gluconeogenesis. That’s right, friends, it’s time to do some myth-busting surrounding the whacked-out notion that protein—lean protein, in particular (like a skinless chicken breast, or tuna canned in water)—is the Continue reading >>

What Is A Good Protein Shake For A Ketosis Diet?

What Is A Good Protein Shake For A Ketosis Diet?

A ketosis diet -- more correctly termed a ketogenic diet --- normally includes three dietary characteristics: low carbohydrate, high fat and moderate protein intake. This type of diet puts you into ketosis, a metabolic condition where your body burns fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, its normal energy source. Protein shakes designed for low-carbohydrate diets will meet your need if you want to follow a ketogenic diet. Ask your doctor before making major diet changes. Video of the Day If you're following a ketogenic diet, you need a moderate amount of protein in your diet. If you consume too much protein, your liver will convert some of the protein to glucose to use for energy, explains Dr. Michael Eades, co-founder of Medi-Stat Medical Clinics. This slows the changeover to burning fat for energy. Protein intake must remain high enough to prevent muscle loss and low enough to not interfere with ketosis, author Lyle McDonald explains in his book, "The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner." On average, you need 0.8 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight if you're sedentary and 0.9 grams if you're active, according to McDonald, although you might need as much as 150 grams of protein per day in the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet. Protein supplements often contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving; don't drink protein shakes that exceed your daily limit if you drink several per day. If you drink protein shakes, check the label to make sure the shakes contain no more than a few grams of carbohydrate. As long as you keep your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 to 80 grams per day, your body will go into ketosis, author and trainer Mark Sissons explains on his website, Mark's Daily Apple. However, keeping carbohydrates to les Continue reading >>

All You Need To Know About Protein On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

All You Need To Know About Protein On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

Proteins, which consist of amino acids, are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can be used as a fuel source. Unlike carbs, which are not essential for our body, protein and fat are a vital part of our diet. Without these two macronutrients, we would simply not survive. There is a misconception that the ketogenic diet is a high-protein diet. This is a myth; the ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs. Why moderate in protein? Too much protein can kick you out of ketosis, while too little protein may cause muscle loss and increased appetite. What is the ideal protein intake? Does quality matter? Is too much protein dangerous? Let's have a look at these frequently asked questions in more detail. Why is protein so important for weight loss? Studies show that protein is the most sating while carbs are the least sating macronutrients. In other words, if you eat enough protein, you will feel less hungry and eat fewer calories. That's why it's critical to eat adequate amount of protein if your aim is to lose fat. Protein has also been shown to increase energy expenditure. This means that by following a diet rich in protein, you will burn more calories. This metabolic advantage is not significant (around 100 kcal a day) but every little counts! Another way to burn more calories is to build muscle mass. Protein is the most important macronutrient for preserving and building muscle tissue, especially for physically active individuals. More muscles burn more calories and slightly increase your base metabolic rate. This means that you will burn slightly more calories even at rest. Although protein slightly increases insulin, there is no need to worry about negative effects on weight loss. Continue reading >>

Protein Over-consumption In Ketogenic Diets Explained

Protein Over-consumption In Ketogenic Diets Explained

Protein over-consumption is one of the main issues discussed at the Ketogains Group everyday. People are always reading, hearing and/or misunderstanding that eating protein will cause gluconeogenesis and kick you out of ketosis. Tyler Cartwright splendidly refuted the claim that protein supply activates GNG in this post, I recommend you check it out. So, if protein consumption doesn’t massively increase gluconeogenesis, then two questions remain: Why doesn’t ketogains recommend you eat tons of protein? Why does protein over-consumption lower ketones? Ketogains Protein Recommendation Of these questions, the first is easier to answer. The reason we don’t advocate the consumption of tons of protein is because beyond a certain point -arguably somewhere between .8g and 1.2g per pound of lean mass(lbm)- there’s just no benefit. Protein also carries a couple of minor inconveniences: It tends to be expensive and it can cause indigestion. If there were no other reason not to over-consume protein, this would simply be enough. There is also a minor debate over whether or not protein over-consumption prolongs the adaptation phase (irrelevant if you are already adapted). Also some people argue that it may be sub-optimal for performance, but these are secondary to the previous points: It’s unnecessary to eat more, so there’s no reason to recommend over-consumption. Protein and lower ketones The second gets a bit more complicated, and touches on something that Tyler just hinted at in his article. My soapbox is diabetes, and to a lesser extent, obesity… Diabetes has a lot to tell us about blood sugar control and precisely how and why certain food items impact blood glucose. In type one diabetes, the population of beta cells in the pancreas mostly dies, leaving the alpha c Continue reading >>

5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

A few months ago, I read a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living. The authors are two of the world's leading researchers on low-carb diets. Dr. Jeff S. Volek is a Registered Dietitian and Dr. Stephen D. Phinney is a medical doctor. These guys have performed many studies and have treated thousands of patients with a low-carb diet. According to them, there are many stumbling blocks that people tend to run into, which can lead to adverse effects and suboptimal results. To get into full-blown ketosis and reap all the metabolic benefits of low-carb, merely cutting back on the carbs isn't enough. If you haven't gotten the results you expected on a low-carb diet, then perhaps you were doing one of these 5 common mistakes. There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a "low carb diet." Some would call anything under 100-150 grams per day low-carb, which is definitely a lot less than the standard Western diet. A lot of people could get awesome results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods. But if you want to get into ketosis, with plenty of ketoness flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy, then this level of intake may be excessive. It could take some self experimentation to figure out your optimal range as this depends on a lot of things, but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis. This doesn't leave you with many carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries. If you want to get into ketosis and reap the full metabolic benefits of low-carb, going under 50 grams of carbs per day may be required. Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren't getting enough of. It can improve satiety and incr Continue reading >>

9 Reasons Why You Aren’t In A State Of Ketosis

9 Reasons Why You Aren’t In A State Of Ketosis

If you’re having trouble getting into ketosis, it is useful to understand the factors that actually impact blood ketone levels. When I first started on the ketogenic diet, I made sure to educate myself fully on how I can efficiently get into a fat-adapted state (ketosis). Just like everything else, there’s going to be some hurdles you’ll face when adopting a keto lifestyle. Watch out for these 8 ketogenic pitfalls you could be potentially be falling for. 1. Carbohydrates Pretty much all steps involved in producing ketones are inhibited by insulin, this means that ketone levels are extremely sensitive to carb intake. There isn’t an exact amount of carbohydrates that works for everyone to get into ketosis. But, there is a general guideline that works for most people. It has been estimated that around 50 grams per day or lower of carbohydrates will elevate your blood ketone levels. You should be eating less than 30 grams in order to get into ketosis. From personal experience, I found that if i’m more active on any given day, I can get away with eating more carbohydrates and still have decent blood ketone levels. I actually have been able to get away with upwards of 100 grams of carbs and still be in ketosis. I believe this is because when you are active, you are burning extra glycogen storages that come from carbohydrates. 2. Protein. Just like carbohydrates, increasing your intake of protein to fat in your diet will limit your ketone production. The reason behind this is because over half of amino acids in proteins are converted into glucose in the body, thus, producing an anti-keto effect. This is not as big of a deal for athletes / people who are very active because the body is utilizing the protein and amino acids to the point where it is not hindering your k Continue reading >>

Here's Exactly How I Lost 50 Pounds Doing The Keto Diet

Here's Exactly How I Lost 50 Pounds Doing The Keto Diet

Of all the places to seek life-changing nutrition advice, I never thought the barber shop would be where I found it. But one day last January, after a couple years of saying to myself, "today's the day I make a change," my barber schooled me on something called keto. Normally, I take things he says with a grain of salt unless they're about hair or owning a business, but this guy could literally be on the cover of Men's Health. He's 6 feet tall, conventionally attractive, and his arms are about five pull-ups away from tearing through his t-shirt. If anyone else had implied that I was looking rough, I would've walked out in a fit of rage, but I decided to hear him out. I should clarify that I was out of shape, but my case wasn't that severe. I hadn't exercised in a few years and basically ate whatever I wanted and however much of it, but I was only about 30 to 40 pounds overweight. My barber went on to explain that this diet, paired with an appropriate exercise routine, allowed him to completely transform his body in less than a year, and all he ate was fatty foods. Once he showed me his "before" picture, I was sold. It was time to actually make a change. Short for ketogenic, keto is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that forces your metabolism into what's called a state of ketosis. There's a much more scientific explanation to that, but it basically means that instead of burning carbohydrates (mainly glucose, or sugars), your body switches to burning fat as a primary source for energy. Keto isn't necessarily about counting calories, though the basic idea of eating less in order to lose weight still applies. This is more of a calculated way to rewire your metabolism so that it burns fat more efficiently over time, using very specific levels of each macronutrient Continue reading >>

Why Do My Blood Sugars Rise After A High Protein Meal?

Why Do My Blood Sugars Rise After A High Protein Meal?

Complex issues often require more detail than you can pack into a Facebook post. One such area of confusion and controversy is gluconeogenesis and the impact of protein on blood sugar and ketosis. Some common questions that I see floating around the interwebs include: If you are managing diabetes, should you avoid protein because it can convert to glucose and “kick you out of ketosis”? If you’ve dropped the carbs and protein to manage your blood sugars, should you eat “fat to satiety” or continue to add more fats until you achieve “optimal ketosis” (i.e. blood ketone levels between 1.5 and 3.0mmol/L)? Then, if adding fat doesn’t get you into the “optimal ketosis zone”, do you need exogenous ketones to get your ketones up so you can start to lose weight? This article explores: the reason that some people may see an increase in their blood sugars and a decrease in their ketones after a high protein meal, what it means for their health, and what they can do to optimise the metabolic health. You’re probably aware that protein can be converted to glucose via a process in the body called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the process of converting another substrate (e.g. protein or fat[1]) to glucose. Gluco = glucose Neo = new Genesis = creation Gluconeogenesis = new glucose creation As shown in the table below, all but two of the amino acids (i.e. the building blocks of protein) can be converted to glucose. Five others can be converted to either glucose or ketones depending on the body’s requirements at the time. Once your body has used up the protein, it needs to build and repair muscle and make neurotransmitters, etc. any “excess protein” can be used to refill the small protein stores in the blood stream and replenish glycogen stores in the liv Continue reading >>

Finding Your Optimal Protein Intake For A Ketogenic Diet

Finding Your Optimal Protein Intake For A Ketogenic Diet

When embarking on a ketogenic diet for health or fat loss, finding the optimum protein intake can be very confusing for many beginners. For smooth adaptation in the transition to a ketogenic metabolism I typically guide people using a caloric spread of around 70-80% fat, 15-25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate from green fibrous vegetables – but this ratio varies for every individual and using percentages is confusing and misleading in many cases. The best way to look at macronutrients is not in percentage ratios, but in grams. The slew of bloggers and gurus spouting so much conflicting information leads many into a mental stalemate about how much protein they should be eating. This article lays out the metrics I most commonly use to quantify how much protein an individual should intake – there is no magic ratio and the needs, preferences, and goals of the individual determine the amount of protein they will likely require on their ketogenic diet which usually lies within a relatively broad range of 1-2.2g/kg (and in some cases even higher *cringe say the protein-phobic) of bodyweight or .5-1g/lb of lean body mass (Lean Body Mass equals Body Weight minus Body Fat). Myth: “Too much” protein turns immediately into sugar I almost always recommend people increase their intake of fish and seafoods in order to get the vital nutrient DHA into their central nervous system and mitochondrial membranes. We see amazing results when people opt for more fish and less red meat, which I also love, but land mammals are not nearly as nutrient dense as seafoods with their incredible levels of DHA, EPA, selenium, and iodine. Sometimes this means they will be eating more protein than they believe will allow them to be “ketogenic”, this protein-phobia can be counterproductive, which Continue reading >>

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips

10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). I personally recommend a cyclic ketogenic diet for most of my clients where you go low-carb for 3 days and then have a slightly higher carbohydrate day, followed by 3 lower carb days. This cycles the body in and out of a state of ketosis and is beneficial for hormone balance while keeping inflammatory levels very low. The biggest challenge with this nutrition plan is to get into and maintain the state of fat adaption. Here are several advanced tips to get into and maintain ketosis. 1. Stay Hydrated: This is considered a no-brainer, but is not easy to follow. We often get so busy in our day-day lives that we forget to hydrate effectively. I recommend super hydrating your system by drinking 32 oz of filtered water within the first hour of waking and another 32-48 oz of water before noon. I have most of my clients do a water fast or eat light in the morning doing smoothies or keto coffee or tea. So hydration around these dishes should be well tolerated by the digestive system. In general, aiming to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water and closer to your full body weight in ounces of water daily will help you immensely. I weigh 160 lbs and easily drink 140-180 ounces of water each day. Sometimes more in the summer time. As you begin super Continue reading >>

13 Common Keto Mistakes

13 Common Keto Mistakes

Adjusting to the Ketogenic diet and lifestyle is a process, and, like any other process, there are some learning curves and speed bumps. These curves and bumps can lead to frustration and disappointment, but they don’t have to. I’ve put together a list of what I see as the most common keto mistakes (and what you can do about them). You are obsessing over macros On the surface, this might seem a little contradictory to some of the other items on this list, but hear me out for a second. The mistake isn’t tracking your macros. The mistake is OBSESSING over your macros. The biggest psychological benefit to keto is the freedom it provides. You’re no longer shackled to the hangry, sad existence filled with constant food preoccupation. You’re free to live. So don’t shackle yourself by fretting and obsessing about macros. You aren’t eating macros, you’re eating food. Make sure your food is keto-friendly, and you’re going to be doing just fine. You are obsessing over the scale I’ve written about this before, but it’s important enough to repeat. The number on the scale is the least important metric you can use to gauge your success. This is another pet peeve of mine that is similar to the previous mistake. Enjoy the freedom of your life, don’t fret about the number on the scale. The scale is always a snap shot of what happened two weeks ago. Think about it. Aside from water, which can fluctuate many pounds in a short period of time, in order for you to gain or lose weight, it requires time. The scale doesn’t tell you important information. Don’t sweat it. You are eating too much protein Protein is, probably, the most important macro, because it is essential (we cannot manufacture all the requisite amino acids) and it is required to build and rebuild al Continue reading >>

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