How Much Protein Should I Eat On Keto Heres What The Keto Experts Said:
Because theres a lot of varying views on protein intake on Keto diets, weve included some quotes from Keto experts below.
In general, the consensus seems to be that we need protein, but the exact amount we need really depends
Ever heard of a protein sparing modified fast? Listen to our podcast here for yet another aspect of this whole protein on keto thing.
How Many Calories Should I Eat On A Keto Diet
- How Many Calories Should I Eat on a Keto Diet?
minute read | Last update: Dec 24th, 2021
This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.
When on the keto diet, you usually count carbs more than you do calories. As long as you stay within your macros, then you should remain in ketosis so you can burn fat and lose weight. Yet the keto diet isnt a caloric free-for-all. Ingesting too many calories can push you out of ketosis and undo your weight loss, so whats the right amount of calories to eat?
To stay in ketosis, the calories from the carbs you consume should be no greater than five to 10 percent of your overall caloric load. Another 10 to 20 percent should come from protein and about 70 to 80 percent of your calories should be from fat. You can consume up to 2,000 calories a day and stay in ketosis if you follow the above dietary rules.
In this article, well discuss further the number of calories you should eat to stay in ketosis as well as how to accelerate your weight loss by restricting calories and carbs. By the time youre done reading, youll know how to eat to look and feel your best on keto!
As the National Institutes of Health or NIH says:
Calories are the way to measure the energy you get from food. How many calories you need depends on age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. – NIA scientists
The average daily caloric load is between 1,600 and 2,400 calories, but sometimes it can be even higher.
How To Track Your Keto Macros
For tracking your keto macros, a variety of options are available. If youre old school like some of us here at Team Keto, you can simply keep a journal handy and write down how much protein, fat, and carbs you eat throughout the day.
Nevertheless, its the 21st century and technology makes it easier than ever to track your keto macros without having to carry a journal and pen around all day.
One of the most intuitive and user-friendly smartphone apps for tracking your keto macros is MyFitnessPal.
The process of tracking your keto macros is pretty straightforward. For beginners and those new to the keto diet, we strongly recommend that you plan out your macros for each meal/snack ahead of time. From there, you can basically reverse engineer your daily diet by selecting food choices and serving sizes that fit those macros.
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The Argument That Calories Are Poorly Derived
Some may argue that the calorie is a poorly derived unit of energy, which also poorly translates across carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
This simply isnt the case. We understand how cell respiration works, and there are numerous studies on how it works.
Lets take a look at how we found these values:
- Digestible fiber is 2 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram
- Protein is 4 calories per gram
- Fats are 9 calories per gram
Counting calories has shown to be accurate. Theres a large database that exists on the energy expenditure. This study shows that the energy expenditure is actually similar to the recommendations adopted by FAO and WHO.
These recommendations have been adopted because studies have been done on these units, and confirmed that these are good approximate values for human digestion and utilization.
How Much Protein Should I Eat On A Ketogenic Diet
As we touched on earlier, the side effects of consuming too little protein can be serious, so its important to ensure you’re getting enough.
The macros of a typical Keto diet can be broken down as follows:
- Protein: 20-25%
- Fat: 65-80%
- Carbs: 3-10%
To get your personalized numbers, we recommend calculating your protein as a first priority. From there, keep carbs at a minimum and fill the rest with healthy fat sources.
If you don’t feel like doing a bunch of math, theres good news:
In the Carb Manager app, we have a handy calculator that determines your personal macro breakdown and how many grams of each to consume per day for your goals.
Just plug in your metrics and activity levels, and we do the rest!
Why Does Your Keto Calculator Only Calculate Net Carbs
Total carbs is not a precise indicator of the carb content of a food. When you see total carbs on a food label, the number beside it represents the cumulative total of grams of dietary fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohol that are in that food item or beverage. Net carb content, on the other hand, relates to the carb content of the food that is digested at four calories per gram and impacts your ketones levels.
For example, if we told you to eat 50 total carbs rather than 20-30 grams of net carbs, you could be eating anywhere between 0 and 50 grams of net carbs. At 0 grams of net carbs, most people will get into ketosis within the first week and experience deeper levels of ketosis as the weeks progress. On the other hand, while eating 50 grams of net carbs per day, many people will struggle to get into ketosis and sustain higher ketone levels.
How Much Protein Is Recommended Daily For The Keto Diet
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Can You Reach Ketosis On Lazy Keto
Youre unlikely to reach ketosisthe state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of glucoseon a lazy keto diet.
Reaching ketosis requires a diet of very few carbs and lots of fat. This helps to train your body to use fat as its primary energy source. It also requires a controlled intake of protein. As the body is able to convert protein into glucose , eating too much protein can tip the body out of ketosis.
Without tracking protein and fat, its pretty hard to eat the perfect ratio of ketosis-inducing macronutrients. For this reason, lazy keto may not promote weight loss quite as intensely as the traditional keto diet.
But that doesnt mean lazy keto is pointless. Watching your carbohydrate intake can naturally help you to improve the overall quality of your diet, achieve a calorie deficit and lose weight. Low-carb diets can also help to suppress appetite and food cravings, which makes it so much easier to avoid unhealthy foods.
And lets not forget that the best diet for sustained weight loss is the one that you can stick with. If you feel good on a lazy keto diet, find it easy to follow and get the results youre looking for, being in ketosis isnt really necessary.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Every Day
Obtaining the correct amount of protein should not be hard or complicated. Most times, all you have to do to reach your daily target range is consume a satisfying amount and be mindful of when you start to feel full.
Below are the amounts of food you have to consume to gain 20 to 25 grams of protein:
- 100 g of fish, meat, and poultry birds
- 4 big eggs
- 240 g of plain Greek yogurt
- 210 g of of cottage cheese
- 100 g of hard cheese
- 100 g of peanuts, almonds, or pumpkin seeds
- Other veggies, nuts, and seeds contain a little amount of protein, about 2 to 6 grams per serving.
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How Much Protein Should I Take To Lose Weight
The amount that we’ve advocated throughout this guide, 1.0-1.25 grams per pound of body weight per day, works just as well for weight loss as it does for weight gain. If you’re otherwise restricting your calories, it’s even more important to make sure you get enough protein!
You can use Bodybuilding.com’s calculator to estimate how much protein to consume every day, and the calorie and macronutrient calculator for added information about what your overall diet should look like.
To get maximum body-composition and appetite-management benefits, consume 20-40 grams of high-quality protein every few hours, rather than having just one or two massive meals a day.
Why Is Protein Important
Protein is an essential micronutrient, needed for a whole host of important bodily processes. These include:
People who don’t get enough protein may run into various issues that are less than ideal:
- Thyroid issues
- Struggles with weight
How Does The Keto Diet Work
Its a partial fast. Typically after you eat carbs, your blood sugar goes up, and that sugar powers the bodys cells. But when you dont eat carbs for a while, your blood sugar runs dry, and the liver begins using stored body fat for fuel. Its like a back-up system for your body. This process is called ketosis.
Because the keto diet is not a full fast, your body still has an alternative source of energy, and you can maintain lean muscle mass.
Different Experts Views On Protein Consumption
If you are unsure or overwhelmed about the right amount of protein to take on a low-carb or keto diet, know that many people feel the same way too.
Protein consumption is a controversial subject in the world of low-carb and keto diets. And it is not uncommon to see contrasting information about this in books or on the internet, especially with the increasing popularity of this lifestyle.
This is the reason why we provided some simple tips earlier in this article as a guide. But if you want to know the different opinions of low-carb and keto experts regarding protein intake, continue reading for a summary.
The point is nutrition experts dont agree on the amount of protein that is optimal when on low-carb or keto diets.
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What Fats Should You Avoid
There are some fats that are worth avoiding on a keto diet. These include artificial trans fats, processed meats, and fried foods. Avoid some frozen foods like sausages, hotdog, hamburger patties etc. because they tend to be rich in trans fat and other additives that may not be optimal for health. It could lead to other health problems too. You should only have a very small amount of calories from foods containing these fats each day.
If you want to make sure you’re eating the right types of fats, check the nutritional information on foods before you buy. If there’s no information available on the packaging, you can look online or even find useful apps that help you to analyze the foods you’re eating.
Does Your Calculator Have A Fiber Intake Option
Our keto calculator will only tell you your suggested carb, fat, and protein intake. The general recommendation for fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. The simplest way to meet your daily fiber needs are by eating more low carb vegetables, having some keto bread with your meals, or taking fiber supplements.
If you find that your fiber needs are difficult to meet with your current net carb limit, then simply eat enough fiber so that you have regular bowel movements one or more times a day.
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Mistake #: Choosing The Wrong Kinds Of Fat
When it comes to consuming dietary fat, itâs not only about quantity, but quality, too.
Fat is essential and two of its primary functions in humans are: 1) as a fuel source, particularly when âketo-adapted,â and 2) to build and maintain vital membranes for all the cells in the body.On a ketogenic diet, monounsaturated and saturated fats should provide the majority of your dietary fat intake to supply the body with energy, as the body prefers to use these types of fats for fuel.
Monounsaturated and saturated fat sources are both readily available and delicious. Monounsaturated fats are found in abundance in certain oils such as olive, avocado, and canola, as well as in some animal fats such as lard. Saturated fats are naturally concentrated in most animal fats such as dairy fat, beef , and lamb, as well as âtropical oilsâ . Dietary saturated fats are readily burned off to be used for fuel when a person is keto-adapted.
Finally, avoid artificial trans fats all together, such as commercial shortening and margarine, as they are strongly linked to coronary artery disease .
âThe ârightâ fats to choose are outlined below.
Keto Protein Sources To Limit Or Avoid
While protein is absolutely necessary for optimal health and performance, certain foods with protein are best avoided or consumed only when you have no other choices available for example, you lack time for meal prep. Avoid or limit the following:
- Packaged foods with added sugars
- Protein snacks with too many carbs
- Deli meat and canned foods
- Fast food
Whole foods are always better, so strive to consume them more often. Prepping your meals in advance will ensure you eat whole meals and meet your weight loss and body composition goals on keto.
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Aim For A Minimum Of 20g Of Protein At Every Meal
Studies have shown that the body requires around 20 to 30 grams of protein at every meal to make sure amino acids are absorbed into the muscles. So, you should spread the protein you take over two or three meals instead of taking most of it in a single meal if you intend to build your muscle mass.
But can you consume too much protein in a single meal?
This is a controversial topic, with only a few studies to answer this important question. Two 2019 studies suggested that taking 20 or 30 g of protein per meal promotes muscle growth.
But incorporating more protein in a meal did not immediately improve muscle growth. Hence, some people believed this means that anything more than 30 g in one meal was wasted. However, this is not actually what the studies suggested.
Since muscle synthesis is not the only possible benefit of consuming protein, these studies dont indicate that the additional protein is wasted.
Furthermore, questions arise how does eating once or twice per day impact the way the body uses protein? Do low-carbohydrate diets help change this?
Presently, we have no answers to these questions, so its recommended that you take no more than 30 g of protein per meal.
Eat Fewer Processed Carbs
Instead of thinking about the total carbs youre eating, assess what those carbs provide to you. Do the majority of your carbs come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, all of which deliver loads of and health-supporting fiber and antioxidants? Fantastic. Or are you consuming them mostly in the form of added sugars or refined flour? Its fine to enjoy your favorite sweet treats and processed foods sometimes, but the bulk of your carbs should come from whole food sources.
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What Is A Ketogenic Diet
Once the structure of your macros changes, your body will enter a state called ketosis. Since you’re not providing enough carbohydrates to allow it to generate energy from glucose, your body will start burning fats. When the fat stored in your cells is broken down to produce energy, ketones will be produced as a side effect of this process.
How Do I Meet My Macros With A Ketogenic Diet
The simplest way to meet your macros is by cutting out non-keto foods and eating keto-friendly foods. Heres a brief food list for you to start with:
Do Not Eat
- Grains wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
- Sugar honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
- Fruit apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
- Tubers potato, yams, etc.
- Sweeteners stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
- Other fats coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
To see more specific advice on how to meet your macros on keto, for a comprehensive keto food list. Or, if you want a different idea of how to get to these macro calculations, you can also see our 14 Day Keto Diet Plan for ideas.
If you are looking for more specific suggestions on how to meet your protein and/or fat needs on keto, we will explore that in greater detail in the next two questions.
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