Keto diet is known as hi-fat, low-carbs, and medium protein diet. Much attention is given to fat and carbs. People will remember to severely limit carbs intake and maximize (but not too much!) good fat intake, but usually they forget to consider protein between panicking too much over fat and carbs.
The original keto diet actually follows 4:1:1 formula. It means, for every part of carbs you take, you should take the same amount of protein and four times amount of fat. This formula is used to treat epilepsy on children, with soaring number of success, and in the rarer example, to treat cancer and diabetes type, 2 patients.
However, if you are on keto diet not for epilepsy, but for its other health benefit including weight loss, that formula is negotiable. Protein, after all, is essential building agent for your body. Limiting the intake when you don’t have a certain condition that requires so may result in deficiency and compromise the optimum performance of your body organs.
So, how can you fulfill your need for protein on keto lifestyle, without exceeding the limit? Here is information about how much you should take protein and where you can get it.
Not less, not more
Although you’re allowed to adjust your protein intake enough for us to call it medium-protein diet instead of a low-protein diet, you’re not allowed to overdo it. To get the answer to why first you must understand how keto diet works.
Your body’s main source of energy is carbohydrate. However, when you specifically limit carbs intake, your body has to find other sources. What are they? They are protein and fat. When your body can’t get enough carbs, it starts to release a chemical compound called ketones, which then will break down fat into energy. This condition is called ketosis.
However, before your body turns into releasing ketones, it usually seeks energy from protein first. If you have too much protein more than recommended for keto diet (medium amount), then your body won’t go into ketosis. The fat won’t get broken down, and you’ll still be having metabolism based on carbs and protein instead of fat.
So, it’s very important to consume the right amount of protein during a keto diet. Not too much, not too less.
Where to get protein and how much?
There are five main sources of protein. Most of them come from animals. There are eggs, meat, milk, and cheese. However, these foods contain rather high protein, so if you are in keto diet, you may want to monitor your consumption of them.
Instead, choose high-quality protein from fatty meat, preferably even from grass-fed animals, because they have a higher fat level (and tastier too!). Lamb and beef meat are recommended. If you’re not too squeamish, you can eat organ meat too such as the heart or liver. Lastly, if you think you can’t eat too much meat, you can turn to fish. Choose fatty fish as well, such as tuna and salmon.
Now, it’s time to get friendly with a number. After you know what protein sources you should choose, now you must know how much of them you can consume. Actually, original keto diet requires you to follow the formula of Fat:Protein: Carbs of 4:1:1. However, if you’re not on a keto diet for a medical reason, you can adjust the ratio to a more common ratio of hi-fat, med-protein, and low-carbs.
Ideally, you should consume 5-10% carbs, 20-25% protein, and the rest should be filled with fat. That’s roughly 1.5-2 gram per kg of lean body weight. So, if you weight 50 kg, you may fulfill your protein needs on a keto diet with 65-100 gram of seared salmon. Of course, the exact number vary among people, so keeping it below the maximum number is key to not overconsume.
Watch out for hidden carbs
There are other reasons why you should watch protein intake. Protein often found in food that also contains carbs, even if only at a small amount. Not watching out what you eat may lead to taking more carbs than necessary and your body won’t get into ketosis.
Carbs often hide in these foods: nuts.
It may seem tedious to remember what kind of food may have hidden carbs and how much of them are allowed for consumption so you won’t butcher up your keto diet. However, it is simpler than it sounds. Just try to remember every meal you have.
Or, if you still have doubt whether you’re eating extra carbs unknowingly whenever you eat, you can simply choose zero carbs protein bar or protein shake. Sure, they do not exactly give you experience like eating natural food, but you don’t have to worry or remember what menu you had for breakfast every single day. Protein bar and protein shake help you sustain protein intake safely, without any chance of carbs sneaking into your body and ruin your diet.
If you’re not sure about protein bar, protein shake, or a protein blend, give it a try anyway. If you like it, then good for you. If not, it’s cool too. I recommend you to try Isopure. Isopure has so many variances, you just have to find which one suits your need. Just remember: pick the zero-carbs ones. Isopure has been mentioned as keto-friendly often, and I love how easy to get it. If you’re interested in trying one, check this: where can I find Isopure?
However, you should be careful not to consume too much protein bar or protein shake. After all, too much protein will give your body another source of energy besides fat, and as the result, your body won’t release ketone or even go into ketosis. The bottom line is, protein is necessary for keto diet, but not too much, otherwise, it will destroy all of your keto hard work.
How important do you think protein is in keto diet? What is your favorite protein-loaded food? Tell your experience about fulfilling protein needs during keto diet below.