Eating Too Much Protein
Protein is a very important macronutrient which most people dont get enough of.
It can improve feelings of fullness and increase fat burning better than other macronutrients .
Generally speaking, more protein should lead to weight loss and improved body composition.
However, low-carb dieters who eat a lot of lean animal foods can end up eating too much of it.
When you eat more protein than your body needs, some of its amino acids will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis .
This can become a problem on very-low-carb, ketogenic diets and prevent your body from going into full-blown ketosis.
According to some scientists, a well-formulated low-carb diet should be high in fat and moderate in protein.
A good range to aim for is 0.70.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight .
Excessive protein consumption on a low-carb diet can prevent you from getting into ketosis.
Monitor Your Ketone Levels If You Eat Too Much Protein You Wont Be In Ketosis
Use a Ketone Meter to monitor your ketone levels. People on a ketogenic diet understand that monitoring ketone levels regularly is the best way to know whether you are in ketosis or not.
Keto monitors are also perfect at letting you know if there are any concerns about what you have just eaten. That is, whether you should rule whatever food that you had previously consumed into your diet or to rule it out.
Bear in mind that it does take time to become keto-adapted and get into ketosis so dont panic if you dont see results for some time while your body adjusts.
There are several methods for monitoring ketones.
- With a Ketonix breath acetone analyzer
- With a Blood Glucose/Ketone meter test like the ones diabetics use
- With Ketostix .
We give a thorough rundown of them all in this article on the Best Ketone Meters to Monitor Ketosis.
These monitors are great tools because even when youre eating lots of fat if you consume too much protein, your body can be thrown out of ketosis.
Dont make all of that effort to inadvertently let yourself down by a simple mistake or miscalculation.
We are fans of one of the monitors mentioned above the Ketonix. As it lets you monitor ketone levels at any time by simply breathing into it to measure the acetone your breath. You can use the Ketonix all day every day without any extra outlay, its perfect for keeping your keto diet in check.
Use a monitor after every meal throughout the day, and you will know if youre eating too much protein.
Gather Your Details: Gender Age Height And Weight
The keto calculator takes into account your gender, age, height, and weightto determine your basal metabolic rate , which is the minimum number of calories needed for your body to properly function while resting.
BMR is calculated through Mifflin-St.Jeor Formula as it is the most precise method .
- Men: calories/day = 10 x weight + 6.25 x height 5 x age + 5
- Women: calories/day = 10 x weight + 6.25 x height 5 x age 161
For instance, If a 35 year old man weighs 90kg and his height is 175 cm. His BMR would be:
BMR = 10 x 90kg + 6.25 x 175cm 5 x 35years +5 = 1823.75 1824 calories/day
= 900 + 1093.75 175 +5 = 1823.75 1824 calories/day
Why are these details necessary?
- Gender: Men and Women have different body composition.
- Age: Resting metabolic rate decreases with age.
- Height and Weight: Unique body composition always needs to be taken into account.
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Protein Why Do We Need It On A Ketogenic Diet
Protein is one of our 3 macros along with fat and carbohydrates.
You have no doubt heard that carbohydrates are the only non-essential macros you can live on fat and protein alone
Protein on the other hand, is an essential macro that is used for the maintenance of organs and tissues.
This is your lean body mass and is crucial to your health.
So, we know we need protein, but if we consume too much the body has a mechanism to turn it into glucose.
Your brain NEEDS glucose to function, and so when you are not eating carbs, your liver creates it instead.
What Is The Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is essentially a high fat, low carb and moderate protein diet.Our body prefers carbohydrates for energy, which are broken down into glucose.When we are restricted from this macronutrient during keto, our body breaks down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies, which then circulate the body and become the main energy source for your cells.This process is called ketosis and is not something easily achieved.It takes approximately two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates to start producing ketones, but this number is highly individualized.
Contrary to popular belief, keto is not something new.Before keto became a mainstream diet, healthcare professionals used it in the clinical setting totreat drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
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Why Too Much Protein Can Prevent Weight Loss On The Keto Diet
The role of protein in the keto diet can be controversial as it is often blamed for everything from weight loss stalls, to hair loss and loss of muscle mass. It is also the core element of the Keto diets big brother, the Carnivore Diet. Find out how much protein you really need to burn fat in this post.
The keto diet is a moderate protein diet, which means not too much protein and not too little. Too much and you can get kicked out of the magical fat-burning state of ketosis and too little and youll lose lean muscle mass. New research shows that the role of protein is more complex than this.
Guidelines For Individualized Protein Intake
Taking into account the different positions among keto and low-carb experts, we recommend a protein intake of 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kg of body weight for most people. Protein intake within this range has been shown to preserve muscle mass, improve body composition, and provide other health benefits in people who eat low-carb diets or higher-carb diets.9
If youre near your ideal body weight or very muscular, use your actual weight to calculate your protein needs. Otherwise, you can use your height and the chart below to estimate how much protein you should aim to eat on most days.
Minimum daily protein target
2 tbsp butter
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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.
The Best Protein Sources In A Ketogenic Diet
A typical serving of protein is between 110-170 grams for women and 230 grams for men.
It is essential to choose high quality keto protein sources found in natural foods and whole foods, such as:
- Fatty parts of organic meat, including beef, pork, lamb, game, and poultry.
- Fatty, wild caught, sustainable seafood such as tuna, salmon, halibut, cod, trout, mackerel, catfish, sardines, anchovies, shrimps, and lobsters
- Eggs, high-fat, low-carbohydrate dairy products, nuts and seeds
- Organ meat like heart, liver, tongue, and kidney
- Supplements such as collagen protein, whey protein isolate, and other ketogenic protein additives
Watch out for certain meat products, high-sugar protein bars and questionable protein powders. Many of them contain artificial ingredients, added sugar and other hidden carbohydrates.
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Gluconeogenesis The Argument Against Too Much Protein On Keto
Gluconeogenesis is a long, confusing word often touted in the protein debate.
In laymans terms, gluconeogenesis is when your body creates glucose from non-carbohydrate sources like protein. Your body does this to keep your blood sugar levels even at times when glucose is low.
The concern around GNG is that eating excess protein will consequently stall or kick you out of ketosis, as your body will be flooded with glucose, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid by eating a Ketogenic diet.
Eating a ketogenic naturally balances your blood glucose levels, so we dont want anything spiking these again.
Different Experts Views On Protein Intake 23
If youre feeling overwhelmed or confused about how much protein you need on a keto or low-carb diet, youre not alone.
Protein intake can be a controversial topic in the low-carb world, and its very common to find conflicting information about this online and in books, especially with the growing popularity of this lifestyle.
This is why we included our simple recommendations earlier in this guide, as a good guideline for most people. However, if youre interested in the different views among experts working in the field of low carb, read on for a summary.
One of the reasons is the lack of universal agreement among keto and low-carb experts about whats optimal when it comes to protein intake:
Adding to the confusion, other doctors and scientists believe protein restriction is a key to longevity, and therefore we should aim for less protein than even the RDA suggests. The general concern is that protein promotes growth, and as we age we need to prevent abnormal growth, such as cancer cells or amyloid plaques in the brain.
While there is preliminary evidence in worms, rodents and other animals that protein restriction can promote longevity, data in humans and specifically humans eating a low-carb diet is lacking.24
Therefore, we feel it is too premature to draw any conclusions about the potential risks of consuming too much protein on a low-carb diet, especially given the risks of eating too little protein.
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Resistance Training Raises Your Protein Needs
People who do weight-lifting, other kinds of resistance training and endurance exercise probably require a higher protein intake than inactive people with the same weight and height. So, if you engage in strength training, try to aim for a protein intake close to or at the top of your range, particularly if you want to add muscle. Consuming up to 1.6 grams per kilogram every day may help raise muscle mass.
However, note that even if you train rigorously, theres a limit to how fast you can improve your muscle mass no matter the amount of protein you take.
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.
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Easy Keto Diet Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day
This article is part of the Keto Series. to learn more.
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As a registered dietitian, I am often asked about the ketogenic diet.Is it safe?Do I recommend it?The media often links it to weight loss, increased energy and more.Here are the facts on keto .
Keto Calculator For Macronutrients
Use our keto calculator to calculate the exact macros you should be eating. Remember, substituting more fat for carbs or protein is almost always ok. In fact, if you’re worried about losing muscle mass because of decreased protein consumption, you may not need to worry. There has been evidence that while in a state of ketosis your body actually maintains protein better than in a standard diet.
Guidelines For Customized Protein Intake
Considering the different opinions amongst nutrition experts, we recommend a daily protein intake of around 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for most individuals. Consuming protein within this range has been shown to help prevent muscle loss, lower body fat percentage and offer many other benefits for people on higher or low carb diets.
Higher consumption of protein up to 2 grams per kg of body weight may also be helpful for some people. This includes people with low body weight or those recovering from sickness, injury, surgery, and sometimes, those who regularly engage in physical activities.
On the contrary, people who are on keto diets for healing purposes may have to cut down their daily protein intake to below 1 g per kilogram of body weight.
However, this should be under thorough medical supervision. Follow the guidelines below to customize your protein intake:
Why Should I Eat So Few Carbs
There are numerous benefits that are scientifically proven on the ketogenic diet. On keto, its a general rule of thumb to stay under 30g net carbs a day. We recommend for weight loss to stay at or below 20g net carbs a day.
The end goal of a ketogenic diet is to be in a metabolic state known as ketosis. We do this through starvation of carbohydrates.
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The Keto Carnivore Diet Doesnt Seem To Halt Ketosis
You would expect that all that protein would be converted to glucose and stop ketosis in its tracks but paradoxically it doesnt seem to.
It appears that if you are keto-adapted, your insulin levels are consistently low and therefore the high levels of protein do NOT spike your insulin or blood sugars.
Most people that try the Carnivore Diet are already on a keto diet so are typically fat-adapted and hence why they typically remain in ketosis while eating a Carnivore Diet.
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 bodys first choice carbs and fat come before that .
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 much excessive is. How much is too much?
Too much or too little are relative terms. Before you tell someone on the internet that they eat too much or too little protein, make sure you know their body composition, their goals, age, gender, and activity level.
For example, 100g of protein per day might be too much for some people but it could be just the right amount for other people. Remember, everyone is different!
How Does Protein Impact Insulin Levels?
How Much Protein Should You Consume On a Keto Diet?
What Are The Best Protein Sources?
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Does Protein Negatively Impact Blood Sugar
One of the arguments in support of protein restriction is that consuming higher amounts of protein can raise the levels of sugar and insulin in the blood. This is often an anecdotal report from people with diabetes. But there seems to be a disconnect between anecdotal reports and published studies.
For example, two studies indicated that a diet with 30% of the total calories coming from protein helped improve the levels of glucose in the blood. Although this was compared to a higher-carbohydrate diet, the higher intake of protein did not blunt the benefit of reducing carbohydrates.
Other studies of people with type II diabetes have shown that protein also helps reduce blood sugar. While its true that protein may raise blood insulin levels acutely, there is no evidence that high protein diets chronically increase the concentrations of insulin in the body . High protein in a carb-restricted diet may even help reduce fasting insulin levels.
As a matter of fact, the significant increase in insulin after eating may be one of the reasons why protein helps maintain low blood sugar levels.