Your Daily Protein Requirement in a Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is primarily a low-carb, high-fat diet that has become the new trend. If you wish to follow the keto diet, you have to reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fats. The drastic reduction in carbs enables a metabolic state in your body known as ketosis. This makes your body incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. The fats in your liver are turned into ketones, which supply energy to the brain.
Now that you know what a keto diet is, let’s understand your daily protein requirement in a keto diet.
What are proteins?
Proteins are one of the macronutrients required by your body for growth and repair. They are made up of smaller units known as amino acids. The body produces most of the amino acids, 20 of them to be precise. Your body does not make the remaining nine amino acids and these are called as essential amino acids. Your body requires them for proper functioning and hence, you need to consume them on a daily basis.
Why are proteins necessary?
Proteins form a major component of the cells in the body. They are required for three major functions in the body.
1. Muscle repair and growth
The protein from the food you eat is broken down and utilized by your body for muscle repair and growth. The amino acids help in muscle protein synthesis for new muscle formation.
2. Healthy hair and skin
The basic component of hair, skin, and nails is keratin that is a type of protein. Keratin helps create a protective barrier, and promotes healthy growth of hair and nails.
3. Hormones and enzymes
Most hormones that are produced in the body are proteins like insulin and growth hormone. The enzymes released in the stomach, liver, other organs of your body are also proteins. The body requires amino acids to produce these hormones and enzymes.
Protein intake in a keto diet
The recommended protein intake for most individuals is about 0.8 – 1.0 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight. If you are following the keto diet, the range increases to 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight. The increased protein intake levels act as a buffer for any added stress, exercise or occasional illness during your diet phase. In people who are looking to follow the keto diet for therapeutic reasons like cancer management or renal disorders, the protein intake is restricted to less than 1 gram per kilograms of body weight. Your physician and nutritionist will decide the exact requirement of protein based on your health status, body’s acceptance of the keto diet, and any other factors that come into play with regards to proteins.
How to customize your protein intake in a keto diet?
If you have recently started your keto diet and would like to customize your own keto diet protein intake, here are a few guidelines for you.
1. Use your ideal body weight as reference
If you are on a keto diet for losing weight, it is best to follow your ideal body weight for protein intake calculations. Using your ideal body weight when obese, will prevent over intake of proteins.
2. 20 grams of protein per meal
In order to maintain an adequate protein intake, targeting at least 20-30 grams of protein intake during each meal will help you maintain your protein requirements. Spreading out the protein intake evenly over two or three meals ensures that all essential amino acids are incorporated into your body.
3. Mix your proteins with fats
Spacing out your proteins throughout the day helps maintain the body’s necessary protein requirement. Your body is constantly repairing and growing, proteins are the building blocks, which help continue this process. Eating fats along with your proteins will make you feel satiated and ensures that you do not overeat. This makes a positive shift in your metabolic response and promotes weight loss.
How can you maintain your protein intake in a keto diet?
Do not stress over the right protein intake. You need not make it all complicated. Just focus on your target for each meal and you will achieve your balanced protein intake for a keto diet.
Include the following foods to achieve the 20-25 grams of protein per meal:
● 4 large eggs
● 240 grams of plain Greek yogurt
● 210 grams of cottage cheese or paneer
● 100 grams of mixed nuts which include almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds
● 100 grams of meat, poultry, or fish.
Here is a list of five high-protein, low-carb foods to add in your keto diet.
You can hard boil them, whip up an omelet or make some deviled eggs for yourself.
Milk is a rich source of calcium along with proteins. You can consume plain milk or add some berries to it for a yummy smoothie.
Salmon is a fatty fish and is rich in good fats like omega 3 and 6. Grill your fish and toss it into a salad along with some nuts and seeds.
4. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a power food packed with proteins. It is the perfect food for breakfast, snacks or dessert.
Chickpeas are so versatile and full of proteins that you could just eat them as a boiled snack. Whip up your own hummus or add them to your salad to get your protein intake in a keto diet.
Remember keto diet is low-carb, high-fat and not low-carb, high-protein. So focus on limiting your protein intake to 20% of your dietary intake.
Too much of protein intake will lead to increased sugar production in your body and thereby raised blood sugar levels. Whereas, too little protein intake without carbohydrates leads to muscle mass. You do not want either of this and hence it is necessary to monitor your protein intake in a keto diet.