Is Gluconeogenesis real, or not?


(ryancrawcour) #1

Is Gluconeogenesis (the process of turning excess protein in to sugars for energy) a problem, or not?
When talking to my doc (who is known to this community) about LCHF, he immediately said don’t worry about eating too much protein. Each as much as you want b/c gluconeogenesis isn’t real.

Or at least that’s what i understood him to say …

Thoughts? Comments? Links to good studies showing good bad indifferent results of consuming more protein than the keto-calculator says you should and still losing body fat (note: fat, not weight).

Interesting video on protein converting to sugar
(Tom Seest) #2

Personally, I’m not sure what mechanism causes some individuals to have an increased BG after consuming extra protein in a day. I just know that I’m more sensitive to it than some. In my case, specifically nuts will send mine into orbit for a while.

(jketoscribe) #3

Easy enough to check your blood sugar and find out for yourself.

(Larry Lustig) #4

Is it excess protein from nuts, or any protein from nuts that affects your blood glucose this way. That is, if you eat X grams of protein from meat for 5 days, and the same X grams of protein from nuts for five days, is your blood glucose different during the second trial?

(Tom Seest) #5

I will have to try that. Eat all shrimp for a week and then try a nut for a week…

(Scott Shillady) #6

my Morning BG has been cruising along in the 90’s for the last week. This morning I noticed it was 126. the only thing i did out of the norm was I ate a ton of pork rind chicken tenders last night. I think that this definitely warrants some experimentation on my part.


@richard gave an excellent explanation of the process of GNG in podcast #33, The Protein Controvery. He also wrote a blog post to accompany it with pictures and arrows. :wink:

Transcript: #33 - The Protein Controversy

So, as you can see, the way glucose is raised in someone who is keto, and has insulin resistance, is complicated. I like to over-simplify it by saying that GNG is demand driven, but if your body is over-demanding glucose, you can reduce it by limiting the supply.

This is why everyone is different. They have different responses to protein based on their unique biochemistry. Test thyself.

(patkealy) #8

Assuming that Gluconeogenesis (GNG) happens at a pretty steady rate, and will use available protein or fat to convert glucose, t to reduce weight you want to minimise the total available material for GNG, so that stored body fat is used over consumed fat or protein.

(jketoscribe) #9

My daughter has her (high school) honors biology midterm tomorrow and I’ve been helping her study. They actually very briefly covered gluconeogenesis (“protein can turn to glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis”). So if it’s in the high school curriculum, it must be a “thing” :grin: LOL!


From a weight loss perspective, you would want to find that sweet spot where food consumed supplements fat used from the body. From a glucose and insulin management perspective, if you go a little over on eating fat it will decrease the amount of bodyfat you’re using. Excess protein, above that required for essential functions, will not be stored directly as fat but converted to glucose first. Very high protein, compared to the “sweet spot” of perfect balance, potentially leads to high nitrogen balance also. This is a highly individualized tolerance level.

(River) #11

I dialed in my protein requirements by raising the number of grams a little at a time until the amount consumed kicked me out of ketosis (tested using a breathalyzer). That gave me a general guideline as to how much my body needs for protein synthesis.

Of course my findings apply to me within my own context, I have a regular schedule of resistance training, walking, etc which allows me to assess an average protein requirement based on my own activities.

I’m not sure if this was the right way to go about figuring out my protein requirements, but the advice / info / research available on the internet is all over the place! I think that’s because it’s very contextual. Watching for the point too much protein kicks me out of ketosis, I dialed it back a little and am doing well.

(Larry Lustig) #12

Maybe not your requirements (the minimum you need), but certainly your upper limit. What were your results in a grams per pound of LBM, by the way?

(ianrobo) #13

if GNG did not work then people who are fat adapted in endurance sports would soon fail, we dont … the body produces enough glucose on it’s own, it is why you only need to eat small amounts if any to live.

(Meeping up the Science!) #14

If it didn’t work we’d be in trouble during sleep, as we cannot obviously eat to supply glucose to the brain whilst sleeping. Babies, too, often go in and out of ketosis, especially while breastfeeding. Fascinating stuff!

If curious:

(Meeping up the Science!) #15

Also a blast from the past, so to speak, is one of the first studies to define and detail gluconeogenesis from 1912.

The history of science is amazing. :slight_smile:

(Larry Lustig) #16

You think not? I’m pretty sure I used to be able to do this.

(River) #17

Larry, my upper limit ended up being about .8 grams per pound of LBM. I am very lean, so for me that ended up being about .7 grams per pound of scale weight to maintain strength and stay lean and toned.

(Human) #18

For 2 years I tried to “hit my protein macro” as dictated by one of the more dogmatic Facebook groups. Their figure equated to 2.25g/kg lbm as a MINIMUM for me. I was gaining weight, and not in a good way. Also, any attempt to do anything that required any endurance would result in me being a shaking mess. I repeatedly queried it with the group only to be told that the solution was guess what? Yep, to eat more protein. I also queried the lack of any colour on a Ketostick. Ever. And was told this was because I was uber adapted from following their gospel. But I kept questioning things and eventually I got ejected for being a troublemaker (and after I had been removed, was mocked and ridiculed by two particularly vicious female mods)

The turning point for me was podcast 33. Since then I have dropped my protein to approximately 1.0.-1.5g/kg lbm and suddenly I’m finding it easy. As soon as I reduced the protein, hey presto, dark purple Keto pee. I can go walking in the bush for 2 hours in a fasted state even.

My theory is that my body couldn’t tolerate that much protein and was producing lots of insulin, causing weight gain and stopping ketone production. The end result was I had no fuel to burn, I wasn’t in ketosis so couldn’t access my fat, ingested fat was low due to the doctrine of the fat-phobic protein-a-holiac group. The only macro I had in abundance was protein so my body was constantly trying to fuel itself on demand by converting protein to sugar. I can remember some of my shakey bush walks, I’d walk for 10 mins and then had to stop for 10 mins to get the strength to go again. It was ridiculous.

And the real kicker was all the bullshit I was fed about how my organs and muscles would waste away if I didn’t hit their protein macro, yet I now regularly consume less than half their recommendation and have been steadily gaining lbm despite doing very little exercise. My diet now hardly looks “low protein” and it’s strange also how a lifetime of living on cornflakes, sandwiches and pasta bake didn’t leave me as weak as a kitten.

Everyone needs to find their own level but I believe the case for protein has been overstated. I’m just not sure whether we should be eating as much as we can get away with or as little as we can get away with.

(Larry Lustig) #19

Yes, the thing I can’t figure out about the protein team is where exactly they believe the epidemic of muscle wasting is. There are large numbers of people eating what they state are dangerously low levels of protein and yet no measurable number of people treated for muscle loss. Jason Fung should have patients dropping by the dozens.

(joe churchill ) #20

It is real. I’m T1D and need to take insulin when i eat protein and when fasting.