Protein Intake? I'm confusion


(Nicolas) #1

Ok, I’m kind of new to the Ketogenic diet (In practice) in theory I read and watched a lot of youtube videos (Dr Berg) but Im kind of confused about my protein intake.

Im gonna clarify a few things:

Im 178 cm height (5’8) I weight 110Kg (242 lbs)

So I heard you usually want to eat 1.2 Gr/ Kg of Body Weight of protein.

That means I have to eat: 132 Grams of Protein.

Now at this point we all know 1 Gr of protein is not equal to 1 Gr of whatever meat/food, so I decided to grab the two meats I eat on my diet.

(Chicken Breast)
21.43Gr Prot per 100Gr Meat

16.36Gr Prot per 100Gr Meat

I’m eating 1700Kcal daily, that means 20% of that should be protein right? (340 Kcal / 4 Kcal (1Gr Of Protein) = 85Gr

So it seems 132Gr (Recommended) is not equal to the percentages of the diet (20% Protein)

But here comes the weird stuff for you people, how much meat is 132 vs 85?
I eat half Chicken, Half Red Meat so:

WITH 132Gr Protein:
Red Meat:
If 16.36gr/Prot — 100gr Beef Then (132 / 2 = 66)
66gr/Prot — 403gr Beef (That I need to eat)

If 21.43gr/Prot — 100gr Ch. Breast Then (132 / 2 = 66)
66gr/Prot — 308gr Ch. Breast (That I need to eat)

Total Meat: 711 Gr of Meat.

WITH 85Gr Protein
If 16.36gr/Prot — 100gr Beef Then (85 / 2 = 42.5)
42.5gr/Prot — 260gr Beef (That I need to eat)

If 21.43gr/Prot — 100gr Ch. Breast Then (85 / 2 = 42.5)
42.5gr/Prot — 198gr Ch. Breast (That I need to eat)

Total Meat: 458 Gr of Meat.

Which one makes sense? If I eat less that the recommended (132) Would I get less nitrogen to support my muscles? I think Im gonna catabolize muscle (Maybe).

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Where does the number 1700 calories come from?

(Nicolas) #3

I was in contact with a nutritional deportologist who made an anthropometry and the amounts of Kcal I have to eat is 1938 Kcal, but I reduced it to 1700 Kcal as I dont need that much eating with this much Fat now.


There are never such exact numbers… Beef isn’t 16.36% protein for weight, percentages don’t really matter and it’s not 1.2g/weight…
I go with 1-2g/lean bodyweight kg myself, preferably 1.5-2 and more if the level of activity is higher, it seems a nice and widely accepted range but if it’s 3 sometimes, oh well. My body doesn’t complain.
Others use a different range/target and some need a low one as they feel bad when eating more.

132g sounds good to me but you probably don’t get problems with somewhat less, it’s just good to be safe. One usually don’t know in the beginning if they can get away with less or needs more than it’s statistically fine… I heard about people who even gained muscle eating 1g/lean bodyweight kg but it’s extreme, most of us have way better chances with eating more. But as far as I know, no one uses 2g/lean bodyweight protein according to some experiments - of course, without steroids, those change things. But maybe some exceptional people needs more. Or they want to be super sure even if some of the protein can’t be digested well? I don’t know but experimenting has an important role in many of our lives. Or we simply can’t eat the planned amount and go with a different one and we see that it works. Or not. I know my protein intake is surely enough. My more muscular, male SO eats significantly less protein than me (I am shorter, way less active and female. and I often eat unnecessarily high protein, I am sure) and he gained muscle with it… So his intake must be enough for him too.
But it’s nice to be safe, it’s a good start.

So, go with 132g or whatever you think is right for your body. It doesn’t matter what percentage it means. If you have an active day and you need, like, 4000 kcal, do you think your protein need rises like crazy too? If you eat less, do you think your protein need drastically lowers? It doesn’t. You probably need a tad more protein if you get more active but only a bit. And you don’t need very little protein if you are fine with somewhat low-calorie for a while because you have enough bodyfat to pull it off…
20% protein for everyone, no matter what? It can’t be right…


You start with two contradictory premises. Your need for proteins should be primarily based on lean body mass, not as a percentage of caloric intake.

You should start from the macros and let your calories flow from them.

First, set your macros, keeping in mind that the proteins macro is a lower limit, while the fats and carbs macros are upper limits.

I see keto as simply “Minimal carbs. Adequate proteins. Fats as needed (for satiety).”

So, two priorities:

  • You need to keep carbs low to stay in ketosis.
  • You need to make sure you get enough proteins. Your body needs them. Being significantly low on them over an extended period can cause the body to get it elsewhere. That may mean break-down of muscle tissue. Not good.

After that, ideally, it should be hunger that determines how many fats (and thus calories) that you need to be eating, if only because leaving yourself hungry all the time means keto won’t be sustainable. You don’t need to eat all of the fats macro if you’re not hungry, because the body can make up the difference with stored body fat.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

Think so? You paid an expert and then ignored his/her advice! Go here and calculate it yourself:

Then run the calculator for DREE (Caloric Needs). I think you will be surprised.

Anyway, @OgreZed has given you better advice than what you’re currently attempting to do. It’s more important to set your daily protein requirement in grams based on lean body mass (if you know it or how to calculate it) or total weight. A reasonable guess of lean mass would be what you weighed when you graduated from high school, assuming you were not overweight then of course.

Again, as @OgreZed advises, if you have reliable hunger/satiety signals use them to determine how much fat to eat. It’s OK to feel hungry before meals, not OK to feel hungry all day long or for long periods of time during the day. If you don’t have reliable hunger/satiety signals (many of us do not, so don’t think you’re an oddball if you don’t!) start by eating 1.5 times more fat in grams than protein. Then increase/decrease the fat in 1 gram increments until your weight stabilizes for a few weeks.

Keep in mind that fat has 2.5 times the energy as protein and is much more easily released. So adjust the fat grams up/down carefully. When you attain weight stability, you can decrease fat intake a little so that you begin to lose weight slowly like a pound or pound and a half weekly.

Hope this helps.

(Nicolas) #7

Both of those pages gives different amounts (but it is ok, they are not paid professionals). 2500 KCals or 3300 KCals is a lot, I eat 1700 and I feel full, maybe I can up a little more Protein, instead of 85, I Will go 120, that means I need to eat 647 Gr of both Chicken and Red Meat to no catabolize my own muscles.


(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

Of course they do! Your BMR is your minimal metabolic rate just to stay alive. Your DREE is what you need to sustain your daily activities. Remember, you’re packing a lot of excess fat and it takes energy to carry it around all day, let alone do anything. Of course, your goal is slowly but steadily to burn off that excess fat, not your muscles. But if you eat too little to fuel your needs your metabolism just adjusts down to adapt. When it does you get to a place where you can’t and won’t burn any of the excess.

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #9

Oh, dear. Here is where it gets complicated. Meat is, in general, about 25% protein, the rest being water and fat. So if you want to eat 100 g of protein, you need to eat 400 g of meat.

Food as a percentage of diet is always converted into calories, and calculated as a percentage of total caloric intake for the day. So if you eat 400 g of meat, which is 100 g of protein, then you are eating 400 calories of protein, and if you are eating 2000 calories that’s 20% of your caloric intake. If your 400 g of meat also happens to contain 100 g of fat, then that’s 900 calories of fat, and 45 % of your caloric intake. Twenty grams of carbohydrate are 80 calories’ worth, or 4% of caloric intake.

This is why we advise keeping carbohydrate under 20 g/day, eating a reasonable amount of protein (whatever feels right probably is right), and eating enough fat to satisfy hunger. No calculating involved.