The Most Common Keto Protein Myth: Protein Will Increase Your Blood Sugar And Stall Your Progress
The main argument against eating more protein is that your body will turn it into sugar and that sugar increase will cause insulin to increase, fat to be stored, and ketone production to be halted. In other words, you must keep your protein low on keto or else you will be wasting your time.
However, researchers have found that only a tiny percentage of protein consumed will enter the circulation after being converted into sugar. In fact, the current data indicate that blood glucose levels do not increase after protein ingestion in subjects with and without diabetes. Researchers speculate that most of the sugar produced from the protein will be used to replenish glycogen stores or released over an extended period of time in small increments.
In other words, eating high amounts of protein will not affect blood sugar levels in the way that many keto proponents believe they will.
Thus, your protein intake will only be detrimental to your keto diet if it increases insulin levels to the point that ketone production reduced. Whether or not this will happen depends on a variety of factors that we will take a look at in the next section.
Best Keto Protein Foods
A ketogenic lifestyle can sometimes lead to high intakes of saturated fat from animal-based foods like fatty meats and dairy. While these foods can support your keto macros, they arent always the best quality choices to support your health.
The best sources of quality keto proteins are either nutrient-dense lean proteins or options high in healthy fats – like unsaturated fats from plant-based foods and omega-3s from seafood – along with other important nutrients.
Learn more about the best healthy fats for keto and where to get it.
Here are some of the best keto-friendly proteins to note next time you build your keto shopping list.
How Much Protein Will Kick Me Out Of Ketosis
Obviously, one of the biggest focuses when you are on a keto diet is to consume lots of fat and protein, and restrict carbohydrates.
But, even though you are supposed to eat a lot of protein, rumor has it that eating too much protein-rich foods can cause problems with ketone production.
So, the trick is to find just the right amount of protein that will help you to stay in ketosis and be able to lose weight. Do you know how much protein you should be eating while on a keto diet ?
This is something we are going to take a look at in this article. Lets get started.
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The Best Sources Of Keto Protein
Not all protein sources are healthy for you. The belief that your body utilizes macros the same way no matter what source it comes from has been debunked by science.
A meta-analysis conducted on over 450,000 men and women observed the difference between processed meats and red meat to evaluate which one has higher carcinogenicity. Based on this review, scientists concluded that processed meats can cause colorectal and stomach cancer whereas red meat did not.
Processed meats you should avoid on keto include:
- Supports skin health
To Begin With What Is Protein
Protein is composed of several tiny units known as amino acids. While the human body can make nearly all the twenty necessary amino acids, there are nine that it cannot produce. These are referred to as essential amino acids, and they need to be consumed through food every day.
Since animal foods contain all the essential amino acids in approximately equal amounts, they are referred to as complete protein. On the other hand, most plants do not have one or more of these essential amino acids and are therefore called incomplete protein.
Keto-friendly sources of animal protein are meat, cheese, eggs, and seafood, and keto-friendly plant protein sources are tofu, nuts, seeds, soy-based products, etc.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight
A stall in weight loss could be the result of many factors. Although eating an abundance of fat on a ketogenic diet is the goal, consuming fat to the point of creating a caloric surplus can cause a weight-loss plateau.
Although a high-fat diet that omits carbohydrates is a virtually effortless approach to lose fat, please keep in mind that a caloric deficit to produce weight loss is still required.
Concentrate your macros toward consuming the highest quality forms of carb-free fats and protein within your budget and then rely on the appetite-suppressing effect of ketosis to curb overall food intake.
A weight-loss stall can feel frustrating and even isolating, but many keto dieters face the same challenges on the plan, and we’ve helped them overcome the most common setbacks people face.
We’ve dedicated a detailed article outlining the most common reasons why people face weight-loss stalls or plateaus on keto.
Click here to read the entire article.
Designed To Satiate Your Cravings
Don’t believe the hype of the past two decades fat is fantastic. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet is even, again, shown to help naturally suppress the appetite and aid in effortless weight loss after all.
Plus, the formerly popular idea that fat makes you fat is so far from the truth. Eating high-quality fat is not what many coming from a Western eating style would deem healthy.
Still, it is an excellent way to create or maintain a lean physique, along with providing many other health benefits.
Most diets are hard to maintain because they require drastic calorie restriction, force us to eat foods we don’t like and operate at a snail’s pace in terms of results on the scale.
In contrast, the foods encouraged on a ketogenic diet are filled with healthy and satiating fats and are never, ever, boring.
Here are some of the best keto-friendly foods to add to your low-carb, high-fat, diet to make sure your taste buds and satiety catered to:
- Grass-fed butter
- Fish and other seafood
- Dark leafy greens
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.
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 .
- The amount of protein you should eat = 0.8 * Your lean body mass
If you use metric units and prefer Kg calculations, then multiply your lean body mass in Kg by 1.8.
And if youre having a hard time doing these calculations or estimating your body fat percentage, then weve created a Keto macros calculator to help you out. Enter the information it asks for and itll 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.
Bottom Line: Use our Keto macros calculator to easily estimate how much protein you should eat on Keto.
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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.
What About Resistance Training And The Keto Diet
A more recent paper looked at the efficacy of ketogenic diet on body composition during resistance training in trained men.
Researchers found that over an eight-week period, participants were able to lose body fat with no loss of muscle mass. This was achieved while consuming a Keto diet at a calorie surplus and ingesting 2 g protein per kg of body weight .
Based on this and previous studies, anywhere between 1.6-3 g/kg would likely be sufficient for the most active individuals amongst you.
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High Protein And The Keto Diet: Whats The Verdict
There is no reason to be afraid of too much protein on keto. Contrary to popular belief, gluconeogenesis will not kick you out of ketosis because this process doesnt efficiently produce glucose from protein or other sources. Your body will resort to ketones for energy before this happens.
There is little concern about it sabotaging your keto efforts, getting enough protein is extremely important to a healthy diet. Whether your goal is weight loss or youre looking to gain lean muscle mass, increasing your protein intake is a reasonable adjustment on a ketogenic diet.
Protein helps with appetite suppression, which may decrease your calorie intake, and it helps to build and repair muscle tissue.
Weve outlined some diet tips on excellent keto-friendly, high protein sources to help nourish your body to reach your goals. If youre looking for more resources on maintaining a healthy ketogenic lifestyle, browse our blog for evidence-based research articles, nutrition tips, and delicious recipes.
Final Takeaways For Considering Protein Intake
- If you crave protein, you should eat it. Cravings for a natural, relatively unadorned food can usually be trusted.
- Know there arent any hard-and-fast rules about protein and ketosis. Everyones different. Modified ketogenic dietshigher in carbs and proteinare still effective against epilepsy. In one study, obese men ate an ad libitum ketogenic diet consisting of 4% carb, 30% protein, 66% fat. They got into and remained in ketosis and ended up losing more weight with less hunger than another group on a high-carb diet with the same amount of protein.
- If youre going to severely restrict a vital macronutrient like protein, youd better have a good reason. Youd better be seeing measurable, obvious benefits that disappear when you eat more protein. Dont wed yourself to the numbers or to the idea of a thing. Always ground your dietary excursions in tangible, verifiable feedbackboth subjective and objective. Do what works. Dont do what doesnt work, even if its supposed to be working.
- As always , make sure to consult your doctor.
Now Id love to hear from you. How does protein affect your ketogenic diet? Do you even noticeor consider the questionin your process?
Take care, everyone.
- El-rashidy OF, Nassar MF, Abdel-hamid IA, et al. Modified Atkins diet vs classic ketogenic formula in intractable epilepsy. Acta Neurol Scand. 2013 128:402-8.
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A Mediterranean Keto Diet May Be A Heart
How It Works Think of Mediterranean keto as a combination of two popular approaches to eating: sticking to standard keto macro amounts, while emphasizing Mediterranean diet elements like fatty fish and olive oil. The main emphasis is on the quality of fats youll be eating, says Madeline McDonough, RDN, who is based in Boston. Unlike the standard keto diet, which doesnt specify which fats to prioritize, Mediterranean keto diets emphasize options like monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help lower LDL cholesterol, and omega-3s that are anti-inflammatory, she says.
Who It’s Best For This is for those who want a flexible approach to healthy eating that is sustainable long term, notes McDonough, and who want more emphasis on Mediterranean elements like nonprocessed food and high nutrient density. If youre a huge fan of salmon and sardines, this may be your favorite keto choice.
Risks to Note The standard Mediterranean diet which is not keto, thanks to its amount of whole grains and fruits has many elements that are worth shuttling into a keto plan, so the risks are minimal, says McDonough. If you want to get truly Mediterranean, incorporate social time into your meals, rest after eating, and get regular physical activity.
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 Do I Reach The Protein Intake Level That Was Recommended
The easiest way to meet your protein needs is by making sure you are consuming a good protein source at each meal. Here is a list of some of the most common protein sources you can add to your keto meals:
- Wild Caught Fatty Fish
- Higher Protein Cheeses
- Low Carb Protein Powders
Most keto dieters will be able to meet their protein needs with 2-3 keto meals that contain one or more of these protein sources. If keto recipes arent enough to help you meet your protein needs, all you need to do is add one of the high protein foods from the list above.
Here are a couple of examples:
To add as much protein as possible with minimal calories and fat:
- Add an unflavored protein powder to your keto sauce or dressing.
- Add white meat chicken, turkey, or other lean meats or fish to your meal.
- Have egg whites with your meal.
- Make a quick protein shake with a low carb protein powder.
To add extra protein and fat to your meal:
- Add higher fat meats like bacon, sausage, and fattier cuts of meat to your meals.
- Have whole eggs with your meal.
- Add extra high protein cheese to your meal.
- Have some high protein nuts and nut butters .
For more high protein and/or high fat keto meal ideas, check out our keto recipes. Dishes that feature seafood or meat will typically have the highest protein content.
Older Adults And Children Need More Protein
Children that are still developing have a much higher RDA for protein than adults , which in theory makes a lot of sense considering their higher growth rate.
As we become adolescents, our protein needs are not as high as childrens relative to our height and body weight. However, our protein needs go up again as we reach old age.
Health organizations in Europe, the United States, and many other countries recommend at least a daily protein intake of 0.8 g per kg for adults up to 19 years and above. Still, many protein experts think that people older than 65 need at least 1.2 g of protein per kg every day to prevent muscle loss and other age-induced changes.
In a new study conducted on older women, a daily intake of more than 1.1 g of protein per kilogram was associated with a lower risk of frailty, a condition characterized by weakness, lack of strength, and many other changes common in old age.
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Tips For Further Personalization 22
- Adjust the protein portions up or down as needed, but dont be concerned about hitting an exact target. Remember, your ideal protein range is pretty broad, and you should feel completely free to vary the amount you eat by 30 grams or even more from day to day. If you are lower in protein one day, try to add extra the following day.
- If youre an intermittent faster, you may want to increase the protein portions at the two meals you eat somewhat. For instance, in the 70-gram example above, either eat larger portions of fish at lunch and chicken at dinner, or add hard-boiled eggs at lunch and have a piece of cheese after dinner.
- If you eat one meal per day it may be a challenge to get adequate protein intake. Consider eating OMAD a few times per week, with higher protein intake on the other days. Or, if you prefer the consistency of OMAD every day, consider eating within a 2-hour time window. That allows you to eat your meal and still have time to snack on nuts, cheese, or meats to increase your protein.
- Eat nuts and seeds at meals or as snacks. Keep in mind that they provide about 2-6 grams of protein per quarter cup or 30 grams . But beware, they contain some carbs and lots of fat calories, which can add up quickly. Therefore, being cautious with nut intake is a good idea for most people, especially if youre trying to lose weight.
How Much Protein Should I Take On Keto
We’ve established that whey protein isolate is keto-friendly however, one of the critical aspects of the Keto diet is tracking your macronutrients, and protein is no exception.
On keto, your diet should generally consist of 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. For protein, if you exercise regularly, increase your intake to 25%. In place of a macro calculator, a general rule of thumb for how much protein you should consume is as follows:
- Minimum Protein = Weight x 0.6
- Maximum Protein = Weight x 1.0
Example – if you weigh 150 lbs., you should consume between 90-150 grams of protein each day .
To achieve ketosis and to stay there, you must track each macro intake. Too little or too much of each macro can kick you out of ketosis.
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