How much protein should be consumed in keto diet


Hi People,

I am new to this keto diet and I wanted to know if there’s limit to the protein consumption. I’ve gone through some studies and they say tythe excess protein is converted in starch, it also accounts for several other problems. Please let me know if these facts are true or not. If there’s such limit to the protein intake, can you please tell me how to calculate the amount of protein an individual should consume during the keto diet.


(Jack Bennett) #2

1 gram per pound of target body weight is pretty common as a recommendation. More if you’re working out hard or bodybuilding.


I’'ll second what @ajbennett said, 1g/lb of bodyweight is standard for people wanting to maintain or gain muscle mass. It’s a good starting point for most people unless you’re obese, in that case you’ll want to try to estimate your muscle mass and go by that, but for most, it’s a good starting point.

Fact’s are always true, that’s why they’re facts. But what you’re referring to is not. You’re referencing gluconeogenesis, which is a real process our bodies do which is the conversion of fatty acids to glucose for energy.

Many people use this process as a reason to be afraid of protein, thinking that if they ate protein in excess it’d be like eating candy. WRONG! Gluconeogenesis is demand driven, not supply driven. There is no reason to fear protein when eating keto.

(Bacon enough and time) #4

Recommendations run from 1.0-2.0 grams per kilogram of lean body mass, and even higher. I just watched a video by an Australian sports physician, Dr. Paul Mason, whose feeling is that too much protein is not a problem.

The idea that excessive protein gets turned into glucose is based on a misunderstanding of the process of glucoenogenesis, which occurs in the liver when carbohydrate intake is low enough. Gluconeogenesis is pretty tightly regulated, and we can trust our body not to make more glucose than we need. Likewise, some experts have recommended avoiding anything more than the minimum of protein from fear that it would activate mTOR. But that fear has been shown to be unnecessary. As Dr. Mason says, “mTOR under what circumstances, and where in the body?” Other experts, cognizant of the fact that assimilating amino acids into new tissue gets more difficult as we age, strongly advocate eating more protein, not less. Benjamin Bikman’s aphorism is “control carobhydrate, prioritise protein, fill in with fat.”

Because the body has a limited ability to store amino acids, some people fear that overwhelming the uric acid cycle with too much nitrogen could result in ammonia toxicity, but those fears may be exaggerated. Studies of overfeeding have found that there is a limit to how much meat experimental subjects could choke down, anyway.


Give a listen to this podcast on protein by the 2ketodudes it is all about protein.

(Jane) #6

Lost 40 lbs just limiting carbs < 20. Never tracked protein - just ate until I was full. Added a bit of saturated fat to make up for the carbs. But never worried about protein intake.


Of course not worrying about it works for some - and not not for others. There is such a thing as too much protein but most of us never meet that. But some do.
I wouldn’t worry until I feel something odd but I personally won’t. I never go over 4g/kg protein for lean bodyweight and my average is just somewhat above 2 and it works perfectly for me. I know it’s unnecessarily much (I am with the people who say 1-2g/kg is okay, I would go for 1.5-2 if I could stay so low regularly. there are individual differences in our protein need but this range usually works for most) but I already keep my protein intake as low as it’s comfortably possible for me - without overeating fat like crazy, that’s very easy for me so I focus on avoiding that too. Even with this, I don’t need tracking, just good food choices and my macros will be fine. I can’t track anyway as I eat fatty meat. Yesterday I actually tracked but I don’t know if my meat had 70g fat or 120… It’s always a mystery. At least I can be more sure about my protein :slight_smile: That was over 3g/kg.

So don’t worry until your body doesn’t tell you there is a problem, I suppose - unless if you are known as someone who can sit down and eat half a sheep or something and can do that regularly? Or if you have some condition that may be not fine with much protein? Or if you have some other special reasons. If you don’t, I wouldn’t worry, a bit high protein won’t kick you out of ketosis (probably very high either but it may cause other problems), it doesn’t work like that as it was already mentioned! The human body knows its thing and only make glucose from protein when there is a need for it.

I personally don’t want to waste precious protein so I try to keep it as low it possible (I don’t need to worry about it being too low, ever) and well, it’s unnecessarily high but feels good. Most of us feel good with much protein. Ask proper carnivores who eat much meat :smiley: I eat below 1 pound a day in average, pathetically low in carni circles but I love my eggs :wink:

And sometimes it’s not a good idea to keep protein just adequate anyway. I often had a day with huge amounts of fat, adequate protein and I just kept getting hungry and needed my somewhat high protein to get satiated. Protein is the most satiating macronutrients in general, of course people are very different… We need fat too, sure and it may matter which kind (to me, the fat in my protein sources are way better at satiating that the others so I avoid the others as much as I can. solid fat tissue works especially great. but many people are fine with added fat) but eating a bit more protein rich may solve some of our problems. Or the opposite, who knows? Basically eating only food items rich in protein (and fat) works best for me. I even have my circumstances and tastes, I couldn’t follow some macros I could came up with if I wanted. So I am all for not overcomplicating things. (Thinking about them is fun though. And experiments! So maybe try out different styles and find your sweet spot?)

(Allie) #8

As much as you need to avoid feeling hungry. It really is that simple.

(Chris) #10

Figured since bodybuilding was mentioned early on I’d weigh in.

As a person who is passionate about being an absolute unit, I’d stick to 1g per pound of bw and fill those remaining calories with carbs. At that point if your weight is not doing what you want it to, adjust up or down.

For a non-bber, ketoer, if you’ve got sufficient fats already and you’re at 1g per pound then I’d say it probably doesn’t matter if you up the protein or the fats to meet your caloric balance, whichever you prefer or makes you feel better.

(Bob M) #11

Adjust what? Protein or carbs? Or fat?


Damn dude, you’re still getting bigger! Congrats! A year ago we were about equal I’d say… You won LOL! I also added carbs back in around my training with an (almost) load once a week and lifts have been going up since then and getting my size back. May have to up it a little more, I know you were taking in more than I am.

(David Cooke) #13

So what happens when you REALLY overdose on protein?
I don’t mean going 100% carnivore. I would say that gluconeogenesis does increase with more protein available, but that this is a complicated process that the body will not ‘willingly’ undertake.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #14

@PaulL you will find the PMC paper very interesting in a number of ways! Plus it cites an additional 26 studies most with links. I think this is one of those ‘must read’ papers.

Many people are now revisiting the protein issue
(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #15


…Current data support the hypothesis that the rate of glucose appearance changes but the rate of gluconeogenesis remains remarkably stable in widely varying metabolic conditions in people without diabetes…The mechanism by which gluconeogenesis remains relatively constant, even in the setting of excess substrates, is not known. One interesting speculation is that gluconeogenic substrates substitute for each other depending on availability. Thus, the overall rate is either unaffected or only modestly changed. This requires further confirmation.

Unfortunately, the full paper is behind a paywall.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #16

For the less technical among us:


But it uses the stupid percentage… I eat very very fatty now but no way I want 75% or more fat! And I was very happy at 65% before… While still eating too much fat. Grams are important and individual factors, percentages aren’t that important. That’s good as many of us don’t even know where we are, it’s not like I can track that just measuring everything, I lack data regarding the fat content of my meat.

And it says we should eat lots of protein on keto because protein has less calories per gram… What does it matter? It makes zero sense to me personally. It’s harder to get satiated due to smaller calories density, it’s not always positive… And even the first point about protein being more satiating than fat (that is probably true in general but not always), it’s not always a positive thing. And raising my protein never helped with eating less calories, sadly, it sounded a good idea though. Maybe I am a weirdo.

Keto isn’t even about fat-loss for everyone but even if it is for someone, things aren’t this easy, unfortunately. I don’t say eating more protein isn’t a great tip for many (especially if they eat little to begin with though I don’t understand why they would do that especially on keto. what do they eat then, almost pure fat?)! But using those points to persuade people to eat much protein… it was odd to me.
And some of us do need to tweak our diet to have any chance at losing fat, it’s not just about ratios. (If I want to lose fat, I must eat less protein than now so I eat less fat but I have these stupid connections between my macros. If I eat more of anything, I will eat more fat, it’s almost inevitable. And I eat too much fat to begin with. But it’s my own personal lil problem.)

(Bacon enough and time) #18

Remember that food percentages are percentages of calories, not percentages of the weight of the foods. This is a holdover from 150 years ago, when all they could measure was calories, but we seem to be stuck with it. So if you eat 50 g of protein along with 50 g of fat, you are getting 31% protein and 69% fat, because of the relative number of calories they contain.

(Pete A) #19

A gram per bodyweight works well for me. I sometimes don’t make that but generally stay under 20 carbs and about 60% fat 35 % protein.

I’ve been maintaining my weight and have added muscle over the last few years.


I know what calorie percentages are, of course. But they aren’t as important as people so often say. There is no problem with 60% fat on keto if that suits the one in question. I don’t need 2 times as much protein if I eat twice as much anyway…

(Chris) #21

hushed voice