Is Keto a High Protein Diet?
The simple answer is NO!
Keto is a low in carbohydrates, MODERATE in protein and high in fat. Excess protein is damaging to the kidneys and liver – especially if you have kidney or liver disease.
Also be wary that if you have diabetes type 2. In this case years of poorly treated diabetes control – in other words, the usual approach to diabetes treatment with medications such a metformin, insulin, etc – will have had a damaging impact on your kidneys and liver function. This damage will require some recovery time once you move on to the ketogenic diet and no longer need your diabetic drugs. But in the mean time you should be particularly careful of excess protein.
On the other hand, you should be aware of the fact that too little protein will cause you to lose muscle mass. Apart from the brain, which uses 25% of all the calories you burn each day, muscle mass is the engine to weight loss. So if your goal is to lose weight then you simple can’t afford to lose much muscle mass!
The key is to eat the RIGHT amount of protein for you!
How much protein is right for me?
Depending on your activity level, each day you should be consuming between 0.5g and 1g of protein for every kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight.
Personally, when I started keto, I used the following macro calculator to establish my macros and recommended calorie intake:
I mention calories because CALORIES DO MATTER. After losing the initial water weight you aren’t going to lose any more weight unless you are running a calorie deficit. The good news is that you will be less hungry on a keto diet anyway, especially if you incorporate intermittent fasting – something I called Supercharged Keto. But let’s save this discussion for another article.
But if I choose to do a long fast (e.g 48 to 72 hours) does this mean that I will be losing muscle mass?
No. In fact fasting has been shown to be protective towards muscle mass. Fasting causes your body to produce more human growth hormone which encourages the actual formation of new muscle – contributing to overall muscle mass maintenance during periods of fasting.
Finally, doesn’t protein enable you to go longer between meals?
There is evidence to suggest that protein does improve satiety between meals, but so does fat, and unlike protein, fat is not insulinogenic. In other words – EXCESS protein causes your pancreas to produce insulin, locking away your fat stores and causing you to store any excess calories you consume as fat or glycogen.