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Wondering how much protein you can eat with a Keto diet?
I was really confused about this when I started Keto. Some people have warned not to eat enough protein.
While others told me I ate too much protein and ruined my Keto diet.
So what is the optimal amount of protein to achieve the results you want from Keto?
This is what I will 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 can cause your body to turn this excess protein into glucose and knock you out of ketosis.
There is no general consensus on this issue …
Below are some good guidelines for determining the total amount of protein you need daily on Keto.
Calculate your protein needs on Keto using this:
- Calculate 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 amount of fat (from above).
- The amount of protein you should eat = 0.8 * Your lean body mass (in pounds)
If you use metric units and prefer the calculations in kg, multiply your lean mass in kg by 1.8.
And if you have trouble making these calculations or estimating your body fat percentage, we've created a Keto Macro Calculator to help you. Enter the information requested and you will get your total daily intake of protein, calories, fat and carbohydrates. But remember, these are just guidelines – things will vary according to your needs, your health status and your level of activity.
What do many proteins look like in steaks and chicken breasts?
For most of us, when you do these calculations, you should consume about 90 to 120 grams of protein a day.
So it's 1.5 chicken breasts or two steaks of 6 to 8 oz per day.
Here are the amounts of protein in some common Keto foods:
- A big egg = 6 g of protein
- A large avocado = 4 g of protein
- An average cauliflower head = 11 g protein
- 8 oz chicken breast (without skin) = 70 g protein
- An 8 oz beef tenderloin steak = 54 g of protein
- 100 grams of salmon = 20 g of protein
- 100 grams of shrimp (peeled) = 20 g of protein
- A burger patty (4 oz) = 28 g of protein
- A box of 6 oz of tuna = 40 g of protein
- A slice of bacon = 3 g of protein
Of course, if you opt for more fat cuts of fish and meat, you will find that it contains less protein and more fat. This is another reason why we always suggest eating the skin of fish as well as chicken and opt for more fat cuts of beef and pork.
What if you eat too much protein on Keto?
The common fear on Keto is that if you eat too much protein, then you will not lose weight.
But is it true ??
The idea is that excess protein turns into glucose, which increases your insulin, lowers your ketone levels and frees you from ketosis.
But as you will discover below, this idea is very controversial.
So, it's not because you hear that too much protein gets you out of ketosis, but it's true.
How can eating too much protein prevent ketosis?
According to Rudy Mawer, a sports nutritionist, CISSN, "Proteins should be moderated because a very high intake can boost insulin levels and reduce ketones."
Theoretically, when you eat an excess of protein, it can trigger gluconeogenesis: the process that transforms proteins into glycogen (a type of stored glucose).
And the idea is that your body will use this glucose as fuel instead of using ketones, so you will not enjoy the benefits of ketosis to burn fat.
However, not everyone agrees that too much protein can prevent ketosis
It seems that there is still a lot of research to do before knowing for sure …
- "We have found no solid evidence to support the idea that excess protein is converted into glucose. More experiments are needed to confirm that this is still true in diets. "(1)
- "The key = less than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. The lesson = high protein intake does not erode glucose control or destruction of ketones in the context of carbohydrate restriction. "(2)
How much protein should I eat with Keto? – Here's what the keto experts said:
As there are many views on protein intake in Keto diets, we have included below some quotes from Keto experts.
In general, the consensus seems to be that we need protein, but the exact amount we need really depends …
Have you ever heard of a modified protein quickly? Listen to our podcast here to discover another aspect of this protein on ketone.
Dr. Tommy Wood, M.D., PhD.
"Do not forget that more protein (much more than 1.5-1.8g / kg) is not necessarily better." (3) "The protein intake should be enough to recover, but not too much to promote excessive growth factors (a delicate balance)." (4)
"For Americans, the protein intake should be between 90 and 125 grams of protein a day. If you get that from meat, it looks like about 12 oz – 16 oz of meat a day. Break it up between three meals, and that's 4-6 oz of animal protein per meal."(5)
"Keep your protein between 1 and 1.5 g / kg per day. This is optimal for staying in nutritional ketosis. But proteins can be insulinogenic and an excess of protein can fuel the metabolic pathway of gluconeogenesis and make you leave ketosis. More protein is needed than in the most active people who train a lot. "(6)
"The recommended daily protein intake is 0.84 g / kg body weight (body weight) … (However), the average protein intake for the general population in the West is about 1.2 g / kg. kg of LBM, about 16% of calories … It seems like most people get sufficient protein without trying too hard. However, what constitutes a "sufficient amount" of protein will vary depending on whether you are experiencing puberty, weightlifting, a sedentary middle-aged office worker or an elderly person in a retirement home. "
"I think the real problem with" too much protein "is that once our proteins are too rich, we end up reducing the amount of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids in our food. If it is important to get enough amino acids, it is also important to have enough vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. "(7)
Excess protein is "everything your body needs for optimal function: hormones, repair and strengthening of tissues (not just muscles). At Ketogains, we suggest 0.8 g protein per lean body mass, which gives you an extra buffer for all needs (a little bit more is not bad and will not harm ketogenesis). So what would be the excess? All that is above that. "
How to check that you consume a good amount of protein?
As many experts have mentioned above, proteins are essential to the proper functioning of our body. So, do not consume protein in your quest for high ketones! (Plus, there are other ways to increase ketone levels, if needed!)
If you are only looking to maintain your muscle massSo, a rough guide for protein is to consume 0.8 grams of protein per lb. of lean body mass.
Therefore, it may be best to spread your protein intake evenly between two or three meals rather than eat it for much of the same meal – at least if you want to increase your muscle mass. "
Therefore, it may be best to spread your protein intake evenly between two or three meals rather than consuming it at one time – at least if you want to increase your muscle mass.
If you are looking to build more muscleyou will need to consume a little more protein (about 0.9-1 g of protein per lb of lean mass).
According to Registered Dietitian Franziska Spritzler, Dt.P. and Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, "Research has suggested that your body needs about 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal for amino acids to be incorporated into your muscles. Therefore, it may be best to spread your protein intake evenly between two or three meals rather than eat it for much of the same meal – at least if you want to increase your muscle mass. "
If you do not know how to calculate lean mass, scroll down to the explanation above or check out this article.
Then use a tracking app such as My Buddy Fit to make sure you do not overeat protein or eat too much!
If you want to go further and make it more specific, remember that you will need to periodically recalculate your protein intake to account for the evolution of your lean mass.
What are the good sources of protein in the Keto diet?
Try to stick to real foods where possible. Protein powders can be useful if you are a vegetarian or vegan,
we suggest going for whole foods. Enjoy meat, organ meat, fish and seafood – great sources of protein.
As with any food, quality counts in addition to quantity! So buy grass-fed meat (for example, from ButcherBox or the US Wellness Meats) if you have access to it and if you can afford it. They contain more nutrients, which allows you to know your protein needs as well as your vitamin and mineral needs.
Keto foods with approx. 37 g protein (per 150 g serving)
These foods contain more protein because they are less fat (and have virtually no carbohydrates).
These Keto foods contain 28-30 g protein (per 150 g serving)
These Keto meats and fish are high in fat and, therefore, low in protein.
- Chicken thighs
- Beef steak (ribeye), pork loin, lamb chops
- Deer steak
- Salmon, cod, sardines, mackerel, bar
Other sources of protein Keto
Eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds are other good sources of protein.
Keto foods with 7-8g of protein (per 30g serving):
- Pumpkin seeds
- Feta cheese
- Hard cheeses like cheddar
*** Note – Although many people recommend cheese and fat dairy products in Keto diets, for reasons of health and weight loss, it is strongly recommended that dairy products, with the exception of ghee, when you follow a ketogenic diet.
And these keto foods have 5-6g (per 30g serving):
- Sesame seeds / tahini paste
- Sun-flower seeds
Finally, these ketone foods have 2-4g (per 30g serving)
- Nuts, Hazelnuts, Nuts From Brazil
- Pine nuts
- pecan nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Should you include protein supplements in your diet?
Most people should include protein supplements (such as powdered protein) in their keto diet – You should be able to easily meet your daily protein needs by eating nutrient-rich whole foods, such as those mentioned above.
Some recipes, including smoothies and smoothies, include protein powder in your ingredients: if you want to try them, be sure to choose a protein powder that does not contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, soy or processed milk powder.
Personally, I'm a fan of Equip beef protein (made from grass-fed beef, no dairy, no whey, no soy, no preservatives). The chocolate flavor comes from stevia and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Do not worry about protein – focus on carbohydrates first
I know that one of the main problems with a ketogenic diet is whether you are doing it right.
Do you get enough fat? Do you eat too much carbohydrate or too much protein?
That's why we try to simplify things.
To get started with Keto, do not worry at the beginning of your protein or fat intake. Simply focus on your net carbohydrate consumption at less than 25 grams per day.
If you need to eat more protein early because you do not know how to add healthy fats to your diet (or if you have trouble digesting fats), then that's fine.
It's time to change your Keto diet after starting.
And if you do not want to think of all the macro calculations, check out our Keto Meal Plans for an effortless keto.