You have probably wondered how much protein you should be consuming on a keto diet in order to optimize your results, and you have probably checked a few of the keto calculators available online, only to find yourself even more confused than before.
We all know that protein is essential for our health. Our bodies use it to maintain, build and repair the tissue of our organs and muscles.
Additionally, it’s a major contributor to the feeling of fullness, which, as we all know, helps tremendously with diet compliance and weight loss.
But what is the exact role protein plays in the keto diet and how much of it do you need to consume to maintain optimal ketosis?
There is a lot of conflicting information online, so we would like to bring some clarity to the heated debate of protein and the keto diet.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Protein and Why Is It Important?
Protein is the most important structural component of your muscles and other bodily tissues such as organs, skin, hair and practically all body parts, and without it, your body cannot repair and maintain itself.
Protein is made of amino acids. While our bodies can make some amino acids from scratch, we need to get others from our diet, and these are the so-called “essential amino acids”.
The primary function of protein metabolism is to maintain the body and its tissues and functions. Protein can be used as an energy source, although it is clearly not the body’s first choice – carbs and fat come before that (1).
Does Excess Protein Turn into Sugar on a Ketogenic Diet?
There is a common misconception that excessive protein will turn into glucose, thus hampering your progress.
First of all, when people say “excessive protein” will turn into sugar or kick you out of ketosis, they need to define how much ‘excessive’ is. How much is too much?
“Too much” or “too little” are relative terms. Before you tell someone on the internet that they eat too much or too little protein, make sure you know their body composition, their goals, age, gender and activity level.