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Proteins are amino acids, which are the foundations and building blocks of muscle tissue in the body. They are considered an essential macronutrient that the body needs to be able to function efficiently. Carbohydrates are not vital for the body or for the proper functioning of it. However, fats and proteins are important, and the body requires a certain amount of them each day.
Anyone who has ever been on a keto or low-carb diet will understand that fat and protein both play a part in helping you reach ketosis at a much faster rate. How quickly can get your body into ketosis will depend largely on your macronutrient ratio of fat, protein, and carbs. How long you stay in ketosis will also depend mainly on your macro intakes. This is what we call tracking your macros, and it is an important part of being on the keto diet. For most people staying under 20g of carbs each day is ideal to remain in ketosis. Some people can get away with more, others need less.
As with most diets, each person will have their own unique and individual limits, and what works for you may not work for the another. Now, there is a common belief that a keto diet is one that consists of high protein intake. However, the truth is that a keto diet is actually more focused on a high-fat intake. The best way to get your body into ketosis is by consuming a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. It may surprise you to learn this, but too much protein can actually kick you out of ketosis! So how much protein do you need for ketosis?
How Much Protein for Ketosis
When on the keto diet, it is important to know how much protein to consume each day for the best results. Too little protein and you risk losing your lean muscle mass, too much of it and you risk ruining your keto efforts. So, what is the perfect amount of protein to consume to remain in ketosis and hold on to your lean muscle mass? Below you will see the equation, and it is really quite simple.
Between 0.6g and 1.0g protein per pound of lean body mass. (or 1.5g to 2.0g of protein per kg of lean body mass)
The amount you need will depend on how active you are and whether you are trying to build muscle but for the average person starting a keto diet, keeping within this range is ideal.
So, what does this look like? If you are 100 lb of lean body mass and are moderately active, you will need about 80g of protein each day.
For more on how to work out your lean body mass and macronutrients you can use this great macro calculator from Ruled.me.
Most of the time, working out the ratios of your macronutrients can be confusing and time-intensive. If you want to get a dose of high-quality protein in a measured amount then a protein shake or meal replacement shake can help you with this. Typically, a good protein powder will contain anywhere between 20-40g of protein per serving. You will want to mix this with a low-carb liquid, like almond milk, coffee, or water, and add in a teaspoon or two of coconut or MCT oil to increase the fat content.
Remember, a keto diet is primarily a high-fat diet. The higher the fat intake, the more likely ketosis will occur. With a high fat intake, the body metabolizes that fat and any reserves for energy. Ketones are a byproduct of this process and can be measured using urine ketone test strips (litmus paper you pee on). There are also other, more accurate, ways to test your ketone levels.
Many people think that eating fat will make you fat, but it doesn’t. In fact, the evidence indicates that a low-fat diet can actually be harmful to health and is an outdated view of diet and nutrition. The body needs many types of good-quality fats to help absorb and deliver certain nutrients to the body. Many fat-soluble vitamins and minerals would not be able to be absorbed without fat in the diet.
As touched on earlier, carbs really are not a vital part of the keto diet. Today, many people are addicted to them as they offer an energy-rich, dense source of calories. The problem with this is that these are often empty calories and in too large a quantity. All of that energy prevents body fat from being broken down and used for energy, and any fat that isn’t used is stored as more body fat. Getting rid of carbs from your diet will do your body and mind some good.
How Much Protein is Too Much on Keto
Getting your macro ratios correct is important for success on a keto diet. The amounts for most people will generally be as follows. Fat should consist of around 75% of your total calories, protein should make up 20%, and carbs should be the last 5%. Entire meals can be difficult to make in these exact ratios, and unless you are using weighing scales and measuring tools, getting them right take some practice. This is where a keto-friendly meal replacement shake or protein powder comes in handy. The fact that all of the nutritional elements have been pre-measured and are easy to understand via the packaging info makes them a simple and easy to use tool for your keto diet.
Many of the best protein shakes that are keto-friendly will also be fortified with adequate amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and hunger-busting compounds. It is no wonder that so many people turn to them when starting a ketosis diet, especially during the ongoing weight loss and maintenance stages. Ketosis can be hard for some to get into, and it can be even harder to remain in it, so having a ready-made meal substitute with the right macros can really make a difference.
While everyone is different, there will be an upper limit to how much protein you should consume. Unless you are trying to build muscle mass you should not exceed 1.0g of protein per lean muscle mass. This will help to keep you in ketosis.
Try to get out of the mindset that protein = ketosis, because it doesn’t. Fat and protein = ketosis, and too much protein and too many carbs can kick your body out of ketosis and you will lose the benefits that come along with that.
Don’t forget that fiber is also a useful tool when on a low-carb diet. Fiber not only keeps you feeling fuller for longer, as does protein, but it also helps regulate and stabilize blood glucose levels. This means that insulin levels can be controlled and staying in ketosis becomes a much easier task.
Now you know how much protein you should eat on keto, working out your daily requirements is a simple calculation. Don’t forget these numbers will change if you are bulking or building muscle, or are an athlete and work out a lot. But basically, the rules are simple, plenty of fat, moderate protein, very few carbs. Following this will ensure that ketosis journey is easier than ever before.