If you’re following the ketogenic diet, then you know that this diet is known for being strictly low in carb and high in fats. The goal is to boost your level of ketones and get into the state of nutritional ketosis, where your body will end up burning fats for energy instead of carbs.
Aside from the carbs and fats, there’s another nutrient that is often misunderstood when it comes to the ketogenic diet and that’s the protein. And although good quality protein is important in the diet, too much of it can be bad for you.
Importance of Protein in Keto
When you’re on the keto diet, it’s important that you consume a good amount of high quality protein like grass-fed meat, free range or organic poultry, eggs, high fat dairy, and wild caught fish. This macro is a bit complicated to nail down especially for beginners because of the many conflicting information about it.
As mentioned on the Keto Island blog,
Many people believe that a ketogenic diet is a high-protein diet. This is a myth, a ketogenic diet balances a moderate level of protein with lowered carbohydrates and is high in healthy fats.
It should be noted, however, that protein is a building block of life and an important component of any diet. Protein is important for:
• Building muscles
• Cutting down fats
• Muscle, bone, and skin health
• Proper brain functioning
• Recovering after a workout
Why Too Much Protein Can Be Bad
Although protein does come with many benefits as stated above, too much of it is not good, especially if you’re on the ketogenic diet. If you consume too much protein, you could prevent yourself from getting into the state of ketosis.
Ideally, you should maintain a protein intake of 3 to 6 oz. in every meal. This is why high protein diets like the Atkins will not put you into ketosis. Your liver can only process a certain amount of protein. If you have more than your liver can process, this could wreak havoc on your liver. And it can be bad for people with poor kidney function or those suffering from certain types of kidney diseases.
How Much Protein should You Eat on a Keto Diet?
Since too much protein can be bad, then how much protein should you be eating on a keto diet? The standard diet is often loaded with carbs, with a few proteins and a small number of fats. When you’re on the keto diet, however, you do the opposite – you eat more fats and proteins and only a little amount of carbs. The bulk of your calories must come from fats and some from proteins.
Each and every person’s needs are different. But generally, followers of the keto diet follow these guidelines in order to stay in ketosis:
• Fats – 75 to 80%
• Protein – 20%
• Carbohydrates – 5%
Although this is what most people on the keto diet tend to follow, there are so many factors to consider when it comes to determining the amount of protein to consume. For instance, if you are sedentary, then at a minimum, you should take 0.8 grams of protein for every pound of your lean body mass. On the other hand, if you’re regularly working out or if you are an athlete, you should consume about 1 to 1.2 g of protein for every pound of your body weight.
Remember that good quality protein is just as important as the fats in your ketogenic diet. Therefore, you should make sure to include this nutrient in your diet but only in the recommended amount, which is around 20% of your overall macro-nutrients. Otherwise, you could kick yourself off the ketosis state and cause harm in your kidneys.
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