How Much Protein Can You Eat In Ketosis?
Having been a low-carb enthusiast and team Diet Doctor member for years, you would have thought I’d nailed ketosis ages ago. I haven’t. In the last post, Why You’re Not in Ketosis, I revealed why, and how I fixed it (by reducing my carb and protein intake to 20 and 60 grams per day respectively). But, I had a problem. Though it felt awesome to be back in ketosis, it sucked to eat so little protein – 60 grams a day isn’t much for a meat lover like me. Could I eat more protein AND remain in optimal ketosis? I was going to find out. The protein experiment I designed the following experiment: First, I would increase my protein intake from 60 grams a day to the level where I would no longer be in optimal ketosis. Then, I would reduce my protein intake until I was back in optimal ketosis, using what I ate on the last day to define my daily-protein limit. Finally, I’d eat to this daily-protein limit every day for a week to test its accuracy, adjusting my protein intake if necessary. To increase the trustworthiness of the experiment, I added five rules: 1. Keep eating 10-20 grams of carbs a day 2. Keep eating during a four-hour window (5-9pm) 3. Adjust my protein intake gradually 4. Make no other major changes to my life 5. Measure my blood-ketone levels every morning before eating “Nice plan”, I thought. But there was one thing I hadn’t taken into account… Preparation To start off the experiment, I measured my blood-ketone levels: 2.0 mmol/L. Not exactly shocking news – I had been eating 45-60 grams of protein and 10-20 grams of carbs a day for weeks, being in optimal ketosis almost every morning. But all that could end soon – it was protein time. Day 1: Taco-cheese shells On the first day of the experiment, I ate similarly to how I’d eaten lately – Continue reading >>
How Too Much Protein Is Bad For Ketosis
One of the well-known mantras of the ketogenic diet is very low carb intake and high fat intake. But there’s another nutrient that’s important to monitor when going keto—and a lot of people make the mistake of not considering its importance. That would be protein. Although protein is a critical element in the diet we need for optimal health, it’s important to not eat TOO much protein on the ketogenic diet. Why? Well, there are a couple reasons that we’ll be discussing below. How Too Much Protein is Bad for Ketosis The biggest energy source on the ketogenic diet is fat. In fact, around 75% of your diet should come from healthy fat sources. The key here is that, unlike the traditional idea of low-carb diets where protein is higher, protein intake should bemoderate, not high, on keto. Not following this advice will never allow your body to enter ketosis, which is the main point of going keto and reaping all of the amazing benefits. The reason too much protein is bad for ketosis is because our bodies have a fundamental energy process called gluconeogenesis. For a deeper dive into the topic, see our post on fixing the biggest ketosis mistakes. For now we shoud know the basics. Let’s break it down this mouthful of a term. The word gluconeogenesis has three parts to it, Gluco – coming from the greek root glukos – literally meaning “sweet wine.” Neo – “new” Genesis – “creation” So a great way to think about it is this is how your body creates new sweet wine for your body. Some people tout that “you don’t need carbohydrates to survive,” which is only partially true. To clarify, you don’t need to eat any carbs to survive, but make no mistake, your body needs carbs in the form of glucose and glycogen, and it will get this via survival mechan Continue reading >>
How Much Protein Can You Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?
You likely already know cutting the carbs is important on a keto diet, but protein intake matters, too! One of the biggest mistakes people run into when going and staying keto is eating too much protein. So, you might be left with the question: How much protein can you eat on a ketogenic diet? Let’s cover how you can avoid the mistake of consuming too much protein and exactly how much of it you can eat on a ketogenic diet. Eating Protein on the Ketogenic Diet A great appeal of the ketogenic diet is getting to eat plenty of foods that are filling and satisfying. Those foods include rich, fatty animal proteins. But how much of these proteins is the right amount? To answer that question, you need to understand how proteins work within the ketogenic diet and why it’s important to monitor your amounts for the best results. The Role of Protein in Ketosis Protein is an important building block of life; we need them to provide our bodies with all of the essential amino acids. Proteins are important for many different actions in the body, including regulation and function of the organs and tissues. Obviously, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of these complex molecules. The problem is that when you’re eating a ketogenic diet, it can be pretty easy to eat a lot of foods high in protein. You’re almost eliminating an entire macronutrient group from your diet (carbohydrates), so those new to keto might simply replace the carbs with more protein-rich foods. This is where you have to be careful, because more protein is not always better—in fact, it can keep you out of ketosis. A common misconception is that the ketogenic diet is a high protein diet—it’s not. It’s a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet. Why Eating Too Much Protein is Bad Ket Continue reading >>
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 >>
How Much Protein On Keto
When on the ketogenic diet, you have to pay some attention to how many calories in what proportions you’re consuming. In addition to carbs and fat, you need to know how much protein on keto is safe. Before I give you the magic answer, let’s look at some of the differences and potential dangers when consuming protein on a low carb diet. The first of many to pioneer the keto movement was the Atkins diet in the early 2000s. It’s not really a ketogenic diet, but more like a kind of low-carb diet. Basically, you restrict your carbohydrates to almost zero and eat more fat and protein. Sounds ketotic, and it will definitely establish nutritional ketosis at least every once in a while. However, the Atkins diet promotes eating protein until satiated, which is quite an ambiguous recommendation. There are potentially no limits to the foods you’re allowed to eat, such as fish, meat, eggs, sausages, nuts, oils, cheese etc. – all the keto goodies. What’s wrong with that, you may ask? The thing is that protein is the only macronutrient that cannot be stored within the body. Carbs get stored as liver and muscle glycogen (100-500 grams) Fat and extra carbs get stored as triglycerides in the adipose tissue (infinite) Protein needs to be converted into glucose through gluconeogenesis first before it can be stored within the body. So, it doesn’t matter how little carbohydrates you consume, if you still eat too much protein. If there’s excess glucose running through the bloodstream, you won’t shift into ketosis. Herein lies the difference between a low carb diet and a ketogenic one – one maintains a sugar burning metabolism, whereas the other switches over to ketones. But how much is too much? In order to establish nutritional ketosis, you need to keep stable blood sugar Continue reading >>
Will Too Much Protein Per One Meal Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?
In short: Yes. Your body will use gluconeogenesis to turn the protein into glucose for energy. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. From my knowledge of reading articles (probably a bunch of bro science), it depends if your body needs energy (ATP). The more you go into ketosis, the better your body gets at making keynote bodies, the more keynote bodies you have the more fat stores you will tap into, the more fat stores you tap into, the more energy you will have. If you are just starting out carb cycling, your body probably won't be so capable of making as many keynote bodies, so it won't be able to tap into as many fat stores to produce enough energy. Therefore your body will use whatever is has such as protein/amino acids and convert it to ATP via gluconeogenesis. However, your body will only convert what it needs and will still be making as many keynote bodies as it possibly can. So, the protein won't turn into large amounts of excess glucose and make you fat. So, don't be afraid of eating good meat. Protein will not cause fat gain. If you'd like to avoid gluconeogenesis/running on protein made ATP and run only on ATP synthesized from fat, there is a way. A simple solution for this is called a "Fat Fast". This is where you only eat fat. Good fats tho! Coconut oil, grass fed organic butter, avocado, cashews, cream cheese. Only do this for 1 or 2 days MAX. Good fats help tap into fat stores, so your body doesn't need to create as many keynote bodies. This will also help your body get better at creating keynote bodies, because you are still in deep ketosis. Hope that helped. I carb cycled for nearly an entire summer and went from 255 to 219. If my science wasn't incorrect, it didn't matter in the end. That was my understanding of it, I put in the dedication to t Continue reading >>
How Much Protein Should You Eat On Keto Diet
You have probably wondered how much protein you should be consuming on a keto diet in order to optimize your results, and you have probably checked a few of the keto calculators available online, only to find yourself even more confused than before. We all know that protein is essential for our health. Our bodies use it to maintain, build and repair the tissue of our organs and muscles. Additionally, it’s a major contributor to the feeling of fullness, which, as we all know, helps tremendously with diet compliance and weight loss. But what is the exact role protein plays in the keto diet and how much of it do you need to consume to maintain optimal ketosis? There is a lot of conflicting information online, so we would like to bring some clarity to the heated debate of protein and the keto diet. Let’s start with the basics. What is Protein and Why Is It Important? Protein is the most important structural component of your muscles and other bodily tissues such as organs, skin, hair and practically all body parts, and without it, your body cannot repair and maintain itself. Protein is made of amino acids. While our bodies can make some amino acids from scratch, we need to get others from our diet, and these are the so-called “essential amino acids”. The primary function of protein metabolism is to maintain the body and its tissues and functions. Protein can be used as an energy source, although it is clearly not the body’s first choice – carbs and fat come before that (1). Does Excess Protein Turn into Sugar on a Ketogenic Diet? There is a common misconception that excessive protein will turn into glucose, thus hampering your progress. First of all, when people say “excessive protein” will turn into sugar or kick you out of ketosis, they need to define how Continue reading >>
The Top 10 Ketosis Mistakes And How To Prevent Them
What mistakes are you making when it comes to your health? I know I’ve been making plenty. That’s why I’m tracking my data in this recent ketosis experiment that I’m doing. What about you? Most people think that the ketogenic diet is just “low-carb” which leads them to make many mistakes that prevent them from not reaping all of the benefits of ketosis that they could. What benefits? How about an improved immune system, increased longevity, lower inflammation, effortless weight loss, decreased hunger, reduced risk for disease and more. Read on to know the top 10 ways that people make mistakes with ketosis and how you can prevent them. 1: Not tracking protein intake By far the biggest problem with a ketogenic diet is not tracking how much protein you are eating. The far majority of people are simply eating too much lean protein, which ends up kicking them out of ketosis. Protein can turn into carbs by a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis, meaning “making new carbs.” This then spikes insulin, and reduces ketone levels. Even though you are eating super low carb, this could make your body switch back and forth between energy systems, which will lead to high levels of fatigue or “low carb flu.” The easiest way to avoid this mistake is by tracking your ketone levels to see how you respond to different amounts and different types of meat. Everyone is different, so the only way you can tell is by tracking. I “listened to my body” before and it didn’t work. I wasn’t in ketosis when I thought I was. I also thought ketosis kind of sucked. It didn’t, I was just wrong. The only way you know is by tracking. If you consume more fat with protein, it will slow this effect. So think fattier cuts of meat, and less muscle meat. But wait, are you going to Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
How Much Protein Can I Eat On A Keto Diet?
I was definitely confused about that when I first started Keto. Some people warned about not eating enough protein. While others told me I was eating too much protein and it was ruining my Keto diet. So, what’s the optimal amount of protein to achieve the results you want from Keto? That’s what I’ll cover in this article. How much protein is optimal on Keto? Eating too little protein can mean you lose too much muscle when you lose weight. But eating too much could cause your body to turn that excess protein into glucose and thereby knock you out of ketosis. There’s not a general consensus on this issue… But below are some good guidelines to follow when determining how much total daily protein you need on Keto. Calculate Your Protein Needs On Keto Using This: Figure out your body fat percentage. Multiply your body fat percentage by your weight. This gives the amount of your fat. Your lean body mass = Your weight – Your fat amount (from above). The amount of protein you should eat = 0.8 * Your lean body mass (in lbs) If you use metric units and prefer Kg calculations, then multiply your lean body mass in Kg by 1.8. And if you’re having a hard time doing these calculations or estimating your body fat percentage, then we’ve created a Keto macros calculator to help you out. Enter the information it asks for and it’ll provide your total daily protein, calories, fat, and net carbs intake. But remember, these are just guidelines – things will vary for your specific needs, health conditions, and activity level. What does that much protein look like in terms of steaks and chicken breast? For most of us, when you do these calculations, we should eat around 90-120 g of protein per day. So this is 1.5 chicken breasts or two 6-8-oz steaks per day. Here are the pro Continue reading >>
Is Too Much Protein On Keto Really A Thing?
is too much protein on keto really a thing? There is a lot of confusion in keto land about excess protein. Insulin and protein are used to build and repair your muscles, organs and the other important parts of your body. This is an important and beneficial use of protein and insulin. Foods that contain the harder to find nutrients (e.g. potassium, magnesium, choline, vitamin D) typically contain plenty of protein. Actively avoiding protein and can lead to a less nutritious diet. Unless you require therapeutic ketosis for the treatment of cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimers, Parkinson or dementia, you should be chasing vitality, health and nutrition along with stable blood sugar levels rather than some arbitrary ketone level. There are a range of different ways to quantify protein intake. Thinking in terms of percentagescan be more confusing than helpful. Its hard toover-consume protein because it is highly satiating. However, if you avoid protein your body may drive you to consume more calories until you get the protein it needs. If you follow your appetite and focus on foods that contain the vitamins and minerals you need you will probably get enough protein. I recently had the opportunity to pose some questions about protein intake to the Godfather of Keto, Dr Stephen Phinney in a recent Facebook live Q&A . Dr Phinneys response to my question is shown below, including his recommended protein intake levels of 1.2 to 1.75 g per kg reference body weight of protein. While I largely agree with Dr Phinneys response, I think its worth elaborating on some of the issues that are causing so much confusion at the moment. Will too much protein kick me out of ketosis? If youve read previous posts on Optimising Nutrition youve probably seen my analysis of the food insulin index data that Continue reading >>
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 >>
- Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)*
- The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Pre-diabetes goes into remission on higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet (Zone diet balance)
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 >>
Keto Problems: Too Much Protein?
A ketogenic diet requires that a person eat a high fat diet while keeping carbohydrates to a minimum. The third macronutrient category, protein, is an interesting one and often creates heaps of discussion. Carbohydrates and fat are primary energy sources for the body. Protein, on the other hand, is a source of essential amino acids which are the building blocks for the body. However, the amount of protein needed by each person varies greatly based upon a number of factors, including activity level, lean mass, sex, and personal preference to name a few. One question I am often asked is, “can you eat too much protein on a ketogenic diet?” Protein is a very satiating food, and usually the more protein a person eats, the less hungry the person is. One trick people use is to eat a diet high in protein (150 grams + per day) while limiting carbs and fat. This strategy is often wildly successful for fat loss, but it can create other problems to eat so much protein while limiting carb and fat calories so dramatically. I do not advocate eating a high protein/low carb/low fat diet, especially for women. But I do believe wholeheartedly that it is important to eat enough protein. This is even more critical on a ketogenic diet, where carbs are so limited. Under eating protein can cause the body to lose muscle. Some argue for limiting protein because 1) doing so leads to higher ketone levels and 2) they believe that eating too much protein can lead the body to create new glucose from protein (gluconeogenesis) and keep a person from transitioning effectively to fat burning. My friend Mike Berta explains the fallacies of this thinking so well that I am sharing his post rather than recreating my own. Mike can be contacted directly at [email protected]. His Facebook group is cal Continue reading >>