The role of protein in the keto diet can be controversial as it is often blamed for everything from weight loss stalls, to hair loss and loss of muscle mass. It is also the core element of the Keto diet’s big brother, the Carnivore Diet. Find out how much protein you really need to burn fat in this post.
The keto diet is a moderate protein diet, which means not too much protein and not too little. Too much and you can get kicked out of the magical fat-burning state of ketosis and too little and you’ll lose lean muscle mass. New research shows that the role of protein is more complex than this.
HOW DOES EATING TOO MUCH PROTEIN KICK YOU OUT OF KETOSIS?
When you eat too much protein, it CAN BE converted by the body into glucose. This process has a fancy name called gluconeogenesis. So just while you are trying to keep carbs/sugars to a minimum, eating excess protein creates more!
Even eating too much protein in one meal (more than 9 ounces in a sitting) is also said to kick your body out of ketosis.
The liver can transform excess protein into glucose and as a result, you feel hungry. This can prevent you from getting into ketosis and burning fat.
But Too Much Protein Doesn’t ALWAYS Kick You Out of Ketosis…
Now, this process doesn’t always seem to take place when protein is high. It seems to be dependant on factors such as your insulin sensitivity and underlying glycemic state.
This means that if your insulin sensitivity is impaired (from pre-diabetes to Type 2 Diabetes), and you are starting a keto diet, you should keep your protein in the moderate range as explained below.
If you have normal insulin senstivity then you are less likely to be kicked out of ketosis by “excess” protein while on a keto diet.
To learn more about the research on this topic, take a look at this talk by Dr. Benjamin Bikman – Insulin vs. Glucagon: The relevance of Dietary Protein
How to Reduce Protein on Keto
One option is to eat higher fat cuts of meat and less lean meat like chicken breast and turkey. If you keep your portion size small, this will increase your fat intake while keeping protein low.
Alternatively, eat less protein overall and ensure you are getting…