One of the biggest common mistakes some people face when following a keto diet is eating too little protein.
Many beginners will believe that high protein intake can turn into glucose – through a process called gluconeogenesis – which is believed to hinder the body’s ability to burn ketones for energy.
Because of this false assumption, most keto dieters don’t get the full benefits of a properly designed ketogenic diet. So how much protein should you eat on my low-carb and high-fat diet?
What Is Protein?
Protein is a vital macronutrient for building muscle mass, and It is essential in general to the human body. It commonly found in animal products, but it is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes.
The human body needs large amounts of macronutrients for daily life, hence the term “macro” according to the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. Each gram of protein contains four calories. Protein makes up about 15% of the human body weight.
Chemically, protein consists of amino acids, which are organic compounds made from carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur.
Amino acids: are the building blocks of protein generally, and protein is that the building block of muscle mass especially, consistent with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“When Breaking down protein in the body, It greatly helps the human body fuel muscle mass in particular, which promotes metabolism,” said Jessica Crandall, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Health.
“It also improves the immune system, as many reliable studies and research have shown that protein has an effect on feeling full. “
For example, two recent studies have shown that satiety, or feeling full after a meal, improves after consuming a high protein snack.
Did you know?
When we start the ketogenic diet, we often ask ourselves this question: Am I eating too much meat? or not enough?
As a reminder, the human body obtains energy from three types of food (macro-nutrients): Carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The first thing in the Keto Diet is to keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum. It is the very foundation of the ketogenic diet. The lipids and proteins then remain.
Sources Of Protein
Considered all daily foods prepared from meat, poultry, fish, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds, are viewed as a component of the protein gathering, as per the USDA.
Most maximum people eat enough food from this group, but they should choose leaner and more varied selections.
Besides animal sources, there are founds many alternative sources of protein, including Soy, hemp and whey. Crandall said all of them are good options. And it depends on your personal preferences. For example, whey protein is more suitable for building and regenerating muscle mass, so people looking to gain bulk or exercise a lot may prefer it.
Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process and therefore is not vegan. Usually, it found in supplements, such as protein powders, according to Medical News Today.
It usually used to promote lean muscle mass and is also associated with weight loss, according to a 2008 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism (There are 20 grams of protein per scoop of whey protein).
Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, which does not contain THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), according to the North American Industrial Hemp Council.
Hemp is available in a variety of forms such as seeds, powder, and milk. There are 5.3 grams of protein per tablespoon of hemp seeds, around 5 grams for each teaspoon of hemp powder, and 5 grams for every cup.
Soy protein comes from soybeans and is out there in many various forms, including milk, tofu, various meat substitutes, flour, oil, tempeh, miso nuts, and edamame, counting on the University of California San Francisco centre. Crandall said ( Soy may be a good source of protein ).
What Are Proteins Doing In Your Body?
Proteins are among the most essential nutrients for a healthy body.
Did you know, that when you eat food, the digestive system breaks down protein in the body into individual amino acids, which are incorporated into your muscles and tissues?
* Some important functions of proteins:
– Good body muscle repair and growth, the proteins in your muscles are normally broken down and rebuilt daily, and a new supply of amino acids is necessary for the synthesis of muscle proteins, the creation of new muscles. Adequate intake of dietary protein helps prevent muscle loss and, when combined with resistance training, promotes muscle growth. [Stong Evidence]
– Maintain healthy skin, hair, nails and bones as well as our internal organs, knowing that the protein turnover in these structures happens more slowly than in muscle, new amino acids are needed to replace those that become old and damaged over time.
– Creation of hormones and enzymes several important hormones for life – including insulin and growth hormone – are also proteins. Likewise, most of the enzymes in the human body are proteins. Your body depends on the continual supply of amino acids to form these vital compounds.
Additionally, clinical experience and scientific studies suggest that consuming enough protein can aid weight control. This may be because protein can reduce appetite and prevent overeating by triggering hormones that promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction.
Your body also burns more calories by digesting protein than fat or carbohydrates.
Finally, there are different opinions according to which increasing protein on the background of following a low-carb diet reduces liver fat and blood sugar in the absence of any change in weight.
Important Guidelines For Protein Intake On The Keto Diet
Given the many different positions among keto and low-carb experts, we recommend a protein intake of 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kg of weight for many people. Getting protein in this range has been shown to preserve muscle mass, improve body composition, is provides several essential health benefits for people who eat low-carb or high-carb diets. [Strong Evidence]
Sometimes, an even higher protein intake, up to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight, may be beneficial, at least temporarily. This includes people who are underweight or recovering from illness, injury or surgery and, in some cases, people who are very physically active.
On the other hand, people who follow a keto diet for therapeutic purposes – for example, for the management of certain cancers – may need to limit their protein intake to less than 1.0 gram per kg of body weight every day.
Important note: all this must be done, under strict medical supervision.
You can just follow these important guidelines to customize your protein intake.
Use The Reference Or Ideal Body Weight In Case Of Overweight
If you are near your ideal body weight or are very muscular, use your actual weight (in kilograms) to calculate your protein needs. However, if you are overweight, it is best to use your benchmark or ideal body weight to avoid exceeding your protein requirement, which based on how much lean body mass you have.
You can use our Target Protein Ranges table to determine your benchmark body weight and daily protein requirement.
It is also very important to properly dose your protein intake too little protein, could melt your muscle mass, while excess protein could turn into sugar in your body (gluconeogenesis from amino acids), thus stopping ketosis and weight loss.
In any case, the very nature of the ketogenic diet will ensure you a very satisfying protein intake such as (eggs, cheese, meats …).
Aim For At least 20 Grams Of Protein With Each Meal To Your Ketosis Diet
A group of studies and research indicates that your body needs 20-30 grams of protein with each meal, to make sure that amino acids are incorporated into your muscles.
Therefore, it may be best to distribute your protein intake evenly. Between two or three meals rather than consuming. Most in one meal – at least if you want to build muscle mass.
Is it better to eat an excessive amount of protein in one meal? What will happen if you do this? This is controversial, but do not worry, you are in the right place to get the correct answer to this question. Two studies in 2009 showed that consuming 20 or 30 grams of protein with a meal maximized muscle growth.
Adding more protein to your daily diet does not increase muscle growth any faster. Others have been interpreted this, that anything over 30 grams during a single meal is “wasted”. However, that’s not what studies have shown.
Because there are several other benefits to consuming protein beyond immediate muscle synthesis, these studies do not prove that the extra protein is “wasted.”
Also, how does eating just once or twice a day affect the way protein is used? Are Low Carb Diets Changing That? As we don’t have reliable answers to these questions, at this time we don’t recommend limiting protein to a maximum of 30 grams per meal.
Did You Know That Older People and Children Have Increased Protein Needs?
Growing children have a height RDA for protein than adults (0.95 g / kg vs 0.8 g / kg), which makes empirical sense given the higher growth rate. As we become young adults, our protein needs are not as high as those of children relative to our height and body weight. But as we approach old age, our needs of the body increase again.
Health organizations in the United States, Europe, and most other countries recommend a minimum daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram for all adults 19 years of age and older.
However, several protein research experts estimate that people over 65 need a minimum of 1.2 grams per kg per day to counter muscle loss and other age-related changes. [Strong Evidence]
Does Resistance Training Increase Your Protein Needs?
People who do weight lifting, other forms of resistance training, and endurance exercise likely need more protein than people of the same height and weight who are sedentary.
If you do strength training, aim for protein intake at or near the top of your range, especially if your goal is to gain muscle. A total protein intake of up to around 1.6 g/ kg/day can help build muscle mass.
However, confine mind that even with rigorous training, there’s a limit to how quickly you’ll build muscle mass, regardless of what proportion protein you consume.
How Much Protein Should You Eat On My Low-Carb and High-Fat Diet?
Getting the right amount of protein doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself in your target range by simply eating a satisfying amount and being careful when you start to feel full.
* Here are the amounts of food you would like to eat to urge 20-25 grams of protein:
- Almost enough of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of meat, poultry or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
- 4 large eggs
- 240 grams (8 ounces) plain Greek yoghurt
- 210 grams (7 ounces) cottage cheese
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) hard cheese (about the size of a fist)
- Almost enough of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of almonds, pumpkin seeds or peanuts (about the size of a fist)
Other nuts, seeds and vegetables give a small amount of protein, around 2 to 6 grams per average serving.
The Dangers of low Protein in The Body While on The Keto Diet?
As we mentioned earlier, eating adequate amounts of protein is beneficial for the ketogenic diet. It helps your body stay in fat-burning mode, it has fewer calories, and not eating enough protein is dangerous. And this for important reasons such as:
# 1: PROTEIN HELPS LOSE FAT
Most people on ketosis will limit their protein to 30-40 grams, limit their net carbs to 10-20 grams, and then eat an excessive amount of fat. This is a common mistake.
If your goal is to lose fat, consuming more protein is a great way to start your keto diet, and get into a ketosis state.
- Protein is more filling than fat
- Proteins are very rich in nutrients
- Some people tend to overeat when protein is low
Plus, the most effective way to start losing weight on keto is to burn your stored body fat for energy and not the new food fat you eat.
If you eat too much fat, your body will burn this new fat and will not have the chance to burn your stored fat stores.
You can overcome weight loss plateaus by increasing protein and reducing your fat intake.
# 2: PROTEIN GIVES FEWER CALORIES THAN FAT
Your body needs more energy (calories) to burn protein than it does to burn fat.
For example, when you eat a 100-calorie serving of grass-fed beef, your body can only store 75% of it as calories because it needs 25% of calories to burn it and use it as fuel. Conversely, when you consume fat, you store up to 98% of it in the form of calories.
This means that you’re storing almost all of the calories from fat, while you will be stocking less protein since you are using a portion of the calories to burn them.
# 3: PROTEIN DEFICIENCY IS DANGEROUS
Not eating enough protein on ketosis has dangerous side effects, including:
- Decreased Training Performance: Without enough protein, you won’t be able to maintain muscle mass, let alone build muscle.
- Neuronal Atrophy: Your brain needs amino acids to function optimally. Research shows that a low protein diet can lead to atrophy and loss of neurons.
- A weaker immune system: A deficiency in the amino acid arginine can contribute to the dysfunction of your T cells – the cells that regulate your immunity.
- Increased risk of disease: A deficiency of amino acids can increase the risk of developing certain diseases, including sickle cell anaemia, acute asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
* Many of these keto side effects occur due to insufficient protein intake:
- Thyroid problems
- Weight Loss Trays
- Hormonal issues
- Hair loss
Now that you know why protein is important, choosing the best possible sources of protein for your diet is essential.
A ketogenic diet can help you build muscle as well as reduce the amounts of fats accumulated in your body.
In the past, most sports centres called for athletes to consume lean protein and large amounts of carbohydrates to increase muscle mass. And for the most part, this advice was prevalent to long period.
But modern science supports the idea that you don’t need carbs to build muscle, So following the above strategies will ensure this.
As long as you carefully monitor your electrolyte levels, measure your ketones, and eat adequate amounts of protein, you will feel a significant improvement in your overall fitness.