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Why The Ketogenic Diet Limits Protein and What You Can Do

Understand what protein is, why you need it, the best protein sources, and how much your body needs.
Strong kid why limit protein keto the best protein sources what is protein

In short, the ketogenic diet limits protein because too much protein can push the body to go into gluconeogenesis.

Gluconeogenesis is when protein produces glucose. Which can kick you out of ketosis.

Don't pledge to stop eating protein just yet!

Protein is an essential component to the body and ideal health. But what exactly is protein, where can you get it, and how do you know the right amounts for your body and lifestyle?

What is protein

Protein is ideal for life long weight loss and proper health.

Protein is made of amino acids. Nine of which the body cannot produce on its own. That means protein must be consumed daily for proper health and nutrition.

Many animal products like meat, cheese, seafood, and eggs contain those nine essential amino acids. Usually known as "complete protein sources."

Plant products are great for the body but normally lack one or more of the nine essential amino acids. These sources are sometimes called "incomplete protein sources." A bigger variety of these sources is usually consumed daily for complete nutrition.

Why do we need protein on the keto diet?

Protein provides vital building blocks to support the human body. The right amount of protein every day helps to repair, heal, and grow.

Why keto limits Protein the best protein sources

Top protein sources for keto

Protein comes from many different plant and animal sources.

Animal protein can come from:

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Organs
  • Cheeses
  • Collagen powder
  • Plain yogurt

Plant protein can come from:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tofu
  • Green Vegetables - like kale and spinach
  • Ground vegetables - like cauliflower and cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat substitutes - like tempeh and seitan

Fattier cuts are better. The amount of protein will outweigh the amount of fat, but you can add healthy fats in later.

Space your protein out throughout the day so your body can use it as needed.

How much protein should I eat every day?

The keto diet limits protein to 15% - 30% of your total intake for the day.
The minimum amount of protein a person should eat on a daily basis is determined by these factors.

  • Regular activity level
  • Health goals
  • Lean body mass (your weight minus fat)

1. Pick your level

These are the general guidelines for determining protein intake. Pick the one that applies to you.

  • Sedentary - Ideal for people who have office jobs or do not regularly participate in physical activity.
    Recommended protein amount: Consume 0.6 - 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • Regularly active - Ideal for people who participate in physical activity at least 3 times a week.
    Recommended protein amount: Consume 0.8 - 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  • Athletic - Ideal for people who participate in physical activity almost daily or lift weights.
    Recommended protein amount: Consume 1.0 - 1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.

Women tend to stick to the low to mid half of each range. 

2. Calculate

You can use this calculator to determine lean body mass.

Please note: The calculator provides you with three answers from three different formulas. You decide which answer to use. You can also take the average amount of all three.

3. Simple Numbers

Take your lean body mass and multiply it by the recommended protein amount you selected.

There you have it.

Will too much protein kick me out of ketosis?

Protein is very important to the body so don't stress out so much if you ate a little more protein than you calculated. As an essential, protein is quickly used up by the body after consumption.

On the other hand, if you constantly eat way more protein than your body or lifestyle requires then yes it is possible for protein to be stored as fat or for gluconeogenesis to occur. Especially when carbs are cut down and protein is constantly being consumed more than healthy fats.

Overall just do your best, adjust when needed, and listen to your body.

Need help getting started with the keto diet? Here are 5 simple steps that any beginner can make use of.


Psst! Are you ready to get healthy? Check out my 4 WEEK EASY KETO MEAL PLAN. Jam packed with tasty easy keto recipes, shopping lists, meal plans, tools, and text you need for rapid ketosis! 

4 Week 
Easy Keto Meal Plan

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