Protein is one of the most important macronutrients to maintain a good health. Protein is the primary source of amino acids, and the main material to build or repair muscle, bones and organs. Give any diet has some allowance and some restrictions when it comes to food, it is important to know which protein containing foods are allowed on the ketogenic diet.
Some people perceive the ketogenic diet as a “pure protein” diet, but this is not true. As I’ve said before in other posts, the ketogenic diet is a HIGH FAT diet, NOT A HIGH PROTEIN diet. Yes, you can enter in ketosis on a high protein diet (provided you cut the carbohydrates), but that doesn’t make it the right way to do it.
Furthermore, there are two lines of thought when it comes to protein consumption while being on a ketogenic diet: 1) You should consume lots of protein 2) A lot of protein will cause your body to turn it into glucose and kick you out of ketosis.
How much protein should i consume?
Before we discuss each one, there’s one thing you should know: there is no perfect amount of protein consumption, some people argue that you should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, while other say that the ideal amount is 0.69 grams per lb. of lean body mass, and anywhere from 0.8 to 1.5 grams per lb. of lean body mass to build muscle.
Overall the amount of 0.8g per lean lb. of body mass seems to be the best one to have for a healthy person on the journey of improving his health. So, that’s it on the subject of how much should you consume. Now, let’s talk about the two mindsets I mentioned before:
Mindset 1) You should consume lots of protein.
Although there is no scientific proof that a high amount of protein is harmful for healthy people, there is also not proof about it being beneficial. So, a higher amount of protein will only make it harder to reach a caloric energy balance through a diversified diet. Conclusion: There is no need to consume high amounts of protein, consuming the right amount is enough.
Mindset 2) A lot of protein will cause your body to turn it into glucose.
Yes, this actually happens through a process called “gluconeogenesis”, BUT NO, this won’t kick you out of ketosis. Unless, of course, you are consuming INCREDIBLY HIGH amounts of protein, which you shouldn’t anyway. Conclusion: Same as above, just consume the right amount and you will be fine. Now let’s get into the matter at hand, which foods to eat.
Protein foods allowed on the ketogenic diet.
- Chicken (Any form)
- Beef (Any form)
- Pork (Any form, yes Bacon as well)
- Organs (like liver, tongue, brain, etc. BE CAREFUL THOUGHT They have a high micronutrient content, but a few carbohydrates as well)
- Eggs (Both whole and only whites)
- Nuts (Be careful since they have a high fat and quite a few carbohydrate content)
- Cheese (Has a high fat and a couple carbs, keep an eye on your consumption)
When choosing your protein foods, you should consider 1) their carbohydrate content 2) their fat content. The first one with the purpose of not eating too much carbs (remember 30g), and the second one to have an easier time chasing the caloric energy balance.
Finally, I’ll leave you a tip: Aged cheese has fewer carbohydrates.