Protein and the Ketogenic Diet
Although carbohydrate intake is arguably the most important aspect of successfully inducing ketosis, protein intake is extremely important in order to prevent muscle loss. While an easy solution is to simply eat as much protein as possible, too much protein can prevent ketosis as well, disrupting the adaptations which ketogenic dieters seek.
Protein has both ketogenic effects (46%) and anti-ketogenic effects (58%). This reflects the fact that 58% of dietary protein will appear in the bloodstream as glucose, raising insulin and inhibiting ketogenesis.
Therefore, protein intake must fall within a narrow range: high enough to prevent muscle loss but low enough that ketosis is not disrupted.
- Sedentary people: 0.69 – 0.8g per lean pound
- Mildly active or doing endurance / strength training: 0.8 to 1.0g per lean pound
- Heavy strength training / bodybuilders: 1.0 up to 1.2g per lean pound
These are general guidelines. Check out the Keto Calculator to calculate it for yourself.
Protein according to lean pound is recommended for people who are obese or want to achieve low body fat levels.
For the most part, the timing of protein intake is not an issue on a ketogenic diet, except as it pertains to maintaining ketosis. The nature of the ketogenic diet ensures that protein is consumed at most meals with few exceptions.