Too much protein on a Keto Diet is a common mistake
Many of the people we talk to that are complaining about not being able to achieve ketosis make the mistake of not factoring in the amount of protein they’re consuming.
Their protein intake is far too high, and that’s bad for several reasons that we’ll touch on further.
Protein intake on a ketogenic diet ought to be moderate and not excessive.
We know that 75 percent of your keto diet should come from healthy, non-processed, fats but so many people miss factoring protein into that equation.
“Low-Carb, High-Fat. NOT Low-Carb, High-Protein”.
We’ve all seen people trying to lose fat and gain muscle, chowing down on lean chicken breast and broccoli. Don’t do that!
The important thing is that unlike many modern low carb diets in which protein dominates, on a ketogenic diet fat should be the dominating macronutrient.
Specifically, protein should be around 20% of your macros. Just enough to maintain lean mass and prevent cell degeneration.
Not so much that it turns into your bodies primary fuel source via a process called gluconeogenesis.
What is Gluconeogenesis?
Gluconeogenesis is the process in your bodies metabolism that produces glucose by catabolic responses from non-carbohydrate sources in the absence of carbs.
- Too little protein without carbs will have gluconeogenesis eating away at your lean mass (muscles).
- Too much protein will have gluconeogenesis creating so much sugar that you’ll end up with high blood sugar levels and large amounts of insulin being released. Counteracting the purpose of omitting carbs and sugar from your diet in the first place.
This is how, back in the day, that I appeared very fit yet was diagnosed pre-diabetic with high (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
You can, in fact, become insulin resistant or diabetic by overeating protein.
If sufficient carbohydrates are not present, your body needs to find something else for energy: That should be fat not protein.
How To avoid Gluconeogenesis?
As we know the purpose of a keto diet is to get, the body to break down fats and generate ketone bodies for energy, in a process called ketosis. To ensure that we arrive at that happy place we should take particular measures.
Instead of using whey protein in your pre or post workout shakes (or as a recipe ingredient) use a collagen protein / MCT Powder blend.
These collagen protein blends have a more keto-friendly protein to fat ratio. Your body will use the protein as it is intended (as a building block for lean muscle) and use the fat from MCT Powder as its energy source.
Or blend your favorite protein at half the dose with straight MCT Powder to keep your fats up.