The keto diet looks at increasing fat intake, moderate protein intake, and low carbs. Focusing on fat intake makes it easy to overlook the importance of protein in this diet. By undertaking a keto and low-carb diet, you can increase your ketone level and help you achieve ketosis. Your body enters a metabolic state, where it burns ketones (fat) for energy instead.
However, protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and overall health, especially following a low-carb diet. We'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of protein on a keto diet, reasons to eat more protein, keto-friendly protein sources, and the amount of protein to aim for on a keto diet.
Benefits of Protein on a Keto Diet
Protein plays a vital role in the body, including building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and maintaining muscle mass. On a keto diet, protein provides essential amino acids that the body needs for these functions. Additionally, protein can help you feel full and satisfied, preventing overeating and aiding in weight loss.
Disadvantages of Protein on a Keto Diet
While protein is essential on a keto diet, it can have some disadvantages. Consuming too much protein can cause your body to convert it into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, which can inhibit ketosis. Additionally, too much protein can strain the kidneys, especially for those with pre-existing kidney issues. Consuming an appropriate amount of protein is crucial based on your individual needs.
Keto-Friendly Protein Sources
There are many keto-friendly protein sources to choose from, including:
- Meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, etc.
- Fish and seafood: salmon, trout, tuna, shrimp, crab, etc.
- Eggs: whole eggs or egg whites
- Dairy: cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, whey protein
- Plant-based sources: tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds
Adding these protein sources to your daily meals can keep you within your macronutrient goals and maintain ketosis.
Using a Keto Macro Calculator
To ensure that you're consuming the right amount of protein on a keto diet, it's essential to use a keto macro calculator. This tool considers your individual goals, weight, height, and activity level to provide personalised macronutrient recommendations. A keto macro calculator can help you stay within the appropriate protein range for your body, which is crucial for maintaining ketosis.
How Much Protein to Get on a Keto Diet
The recommended amount of protein on a keto diet depends on weight, age, and activity level. However, as a general guideline, aim to consume around 0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 120-225 grams of protein daily. It's important to note that consuming too much protein can inhibit ketosis, so it's crucial to find the right balance for your needs.
In conclusion, protein is an essential nutrient in a keto diet. It provides numerous benefits, including maintaining muscle mass (thus being helpful for athletic improvement), aiding in weight loss, and supporting overall health. When selecting protein sources, choose those that fit your overall macronutrient goals for the day. Aim for an appropriate amount of protein based on your needs to maintain a healthy metabolism and support ketosis.