Protein question from Newbie

(Angela Rosemary Humphrey ) #1

I’m on day 6, and here not so much for weight loss, but to see what keto can do for depression that is causing extreme fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, lethargy etc. I’m interested in any positive experiences anyone has around that. However my main question is regarding protein. I don’t understand how you make sure you’re not getting “too much” protein, if you are eating a fairly high amount of meat (for the sake of the fat). I know fattier cuts of meat are better. But how much meat causes too much protein? Same question regarding eggs as they are high in protein. Quick online reading says add olive oil, butter etc to your protein, but this doesn’t actually reduce the protein!! I got started last week, and have just today started looking at apps to track macros.

(Alec) #2

Welcome to the community, I hope you find a home here! There are lots of opinions and experience here, so I am sure you will get lots of replies.

My view is that it is super hard to get “too much protein” if you’re eating meat. I think you’d need to be fuelling almost exclusively on lean meat and protein powder. As long as the meat you are eating is reasonably fatty and you don’t deliberately select lean cuts you will be just fine.

My advice for the keto diet in the early days is keep it super simple. Don’t worry about macros, just think about one thing only: keep total carbs below 20g/day, less if you can. If you do that, you will generate ketones, which in your circumstance is actually what you are trying to do: you want to try to get your brain running on ketones. This should help a lot, but you will only know when you try it.

I have suffered from mental health issues in the past, but that was way before my keto journey. So all I can tell you is I feel fabulous mentally running on ketones!

Good luck!

(Michael) #3

Minimum protein: 0.8 g/kg bodyweight
Ideal protein 1.5 - 2.5 g/kg bodyweight
Too much: average more than 2.5 g/kg bodyweight
Definitely too much: 3.4+ g / kg bodyweight

Here bodyweight is goal weight when at goal.

(Angela Rosemary Humphrey ) #4

This is marvellous thanks. Very clear and very encouraging. I’d be happy not to get too caught up in the maths if possible. Feeling mentally fabulous sounds wonderful!

(Angela Rosemary Humphrey ) #5

That’s great thanks, I’ll do the calculations some time

(Cindy) #6

Michael, when you say “lean weight,” do you just mean muscle/bone mass? I’m at goal now and weigh 50 kg. My muscle/bone percentage is 44% right now. So do I base the protein recommendations on my full weight or on my muscle/bone weight of 22 kg?

(KM) #7

Lean body mass means total body mass minus fat. I make my rough calculation simple by just using my desired total weight and one gram per kilo. We’ve been having a lot of discussions about how much protein lately, the general consensus is that the important thing about following a ketogenic diet is mostly keeping it low carb. People’s protein / fat requirements differ, for the most part it’s about the carbs, lower the better at first.

(Michael) #8

Perhaps I should have said goal weight. If you are at 50 kg and happy, use 50kg as the number. I should not have used the term lean weight really, as I meant goal weight.


My meat consumption actually does very tiny difference, actually.
I tend to eat too much and I tend to overeat protein but it’s not THAT very hard to stay below 200g protein on average… And that wouldn’t even too much for a bigger, more active person.

I never eat more than 1kg of meat but my norm is around a pound. I have many other protein sources.

I wouldn’t say that or it depends. Only a third of calories come from protein though you can eat more whites, that’s another matter…
10 eggs is still very little protein, only 60. Significant, sure but you can eat several eggs and a decent amount of meat :slight_smile:

Indeed but fat helps with satiation… :wink: I do need my high protein but if I only eat that, I stay hungry and end up eating even more protein when fat would do the job too.
I avoid added fat personally, fat in my protein sources work better.

But in the very beginning I wouldn’t even worry nearly as much about protein as I do longer term (not like I actually worry, merely do my best to eat as little protein as possible, this is 130g a day for me and it should be enough).
For a newbie, it’s most important to get used to keto, chill, making it easy and enjoyable if possible… If your body wants much meat and eggs, give it to it. Sometimes, after low-meat times I eat unusually much meat but I trust my body knows what it needs :wink:

How much protein do you eat? As far as I know, it’s safe until about 3.4g/kg (I suppose it’s for LBM as our fat mass doesn’t really need protein). Or whenever your body complains, there is a personal factor, of course and some people have some health condition so they need to stay quite low compared to healthy persons.
My over 4g/kg days still feel quite nice but those are exceptional days, my average is well below 3.4. I eat high-protein since… No idea, probably since I was a baby but definitely since I track, at least sometimes, that was 13 years ago. No problem this far.


Lean weight and goal weight aren’t even that very far :slight_smile: I have problems with people using actual weight when there is a big fat mass…
I use lean weight for myself as it’s probably about 50kg at most, easy to calculate with it. But even for goal weight, 2.5g/kg is almost the same as my minimal protein needs, apparently, that’s why I believe there are personal factors. I try not to go above but I must meet it to avoid hunger at night.

We have pretty good ranges for protein as a starting point though different groups think it differently… I always found the 1-2g/kg for LBM range the best (1.5-2 to be safe or when one lifts or loses fat, is older…) so my advice to others is that. 1.5-2 but one can try to go lower if it’s hard to eat 1.5.
But if one is like me and simply CAN’T eat only 2g/kg protein (I tried and failed basically all the time. even if I do it, I just get hungy again unless maybe if I really overeat fat but probably even then, I only can do one day like that. anyway, overeating fat without overeating protein is super hard for me) but has no problem with eating more, they should eat more. Crazy high protein is still unhealthy and it’s a very good idea to try to limit our protein intake longer term (it’s my sacred mission to try that, I have good reasons for it) but most of us can’t easily go high enough to have problems. As much as I tend to overeat protein, after 4g/kg I simply stop wanting protein sources.

Fat may or may not help with protein. I overeat protein way more easily using fatty meat even if may not sound logical. As I love fatty meat way more. It’s easier to eat. And eating a ton of fat doesn’t make much more satiated than eating just a decent amount. So it’s easy for me to overdo it and fat brings protein as I don’t eat fat alone.

If I want to keep my protein and fat proper, I eat protein sources with the right fattiness. Too lean surely would cause problems (I am not prone to that but I like leaner meat now and that too easily triggers higher protein days. I make sure to include really fatty items on days when my main meat is leaner now) but too fatty wouldn’t be good either.
The best way for me to avoid protein overeating is not eating too often. That’s one reason I aim to do OMAD. I don’t remember going over 170g protein in one sitting (even that is rare). Give me multiple meals and I will overeat everything (maybe not carbs, it’s easiest to keep that low, fat and protein are both trickier).

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #11

Welcome to the forums!

As people have responded, it is difficult to eat too much protein, especially if you stick to meat, fish, and poultry. While protein needs differ greatly from person to person, there are researchers who believe that all mammals, including us, have an instinct for eating the right amount of protein, so start with what feels right and adjust from there. Don’t fear fat, because it is our main source of energy for the body on a ketogenic diet. Fear carbs instead, because they raise insulin, which does a lot of damage over time.

If you do end up eating “too much” protein, you will know it from the smell of ammonia in your body odour and on your breath. That comes from overwhelming the uric acid cycle with too much nitrogen. But it is extremely difficult to eat too much meat; in one overfeeding study, one of the participants actually broke down in tears when they tried to get him to eat one more pork chop.

Meat is not the only source of fat, by the way. A lot of people on a ketogenic diet cook with butter/ghee, bacon grease, lard, or tallow; put gravy on their meat and cheese sauce on their broccoli; and put blue cheese dressing on their salad. You can even butter your meat (and cheese, yum!) if necessary.

But if you are getting enough protein, you won’t be hungry for too much fat. The reason is that, once our need for protein is satisfied, it takes a lot less fat than it does carbohydrate to get enough energy. For example, if you eliminated 750 calories of carbohydrate from your diet, that’s 187.5 grams, but you can get the same number of calories from only 83.3 g of fat.


Hi Rosemary my family has a history of MH problems and I have problem’s myself. Currently working on these with Talkworks. I was hoping Keto would help alleviate this. In short it has helped a lot but my wife does say it’s not just the nutrition.

It particularly helped when extended fasting but even better now I’ve been eating one meal a day. There is a physical affect I’m not sure I can explain but I’m guessing it’s a mixture of everything happening in the body and brain.

The mental lift helps me cope with everything a lot better. There’s much less anger , low mood and much more positivity. I can see other peoples attitudes towards me change as well.

Depression is often caused by prolonged suffering. This prolonged lift in MH will hopefully, eventually turn my MH around completely as the prolonged lift in mood takes effect. 5 weeks into OMAD and my wife says I’m completely changed.

Dave Macleod, pro climber and keto experimenter for the last 6 years reports the same effects in his 2 Keto videos you can find on YouTube which I would recommend.

I’ve been getting adapted for 18 months so don’t expect immediate results but avoid hunger by eating a lot, kick through the keto flue, manage your electrolytes and hydration, stick with it and the benefits are worth it.


You’re not, because that’s really not a thing. The fear of “too much” came from a debunked fear of protein turning into glucose, which it biologically can, but it won’t. Since then (aside from people eating massive amounts without issue for years) we’ve learned that’s a demand driven process, not supply.

If you want a MacroTracker to figure out your metabolism and do all the math, and tweak your macros as needed for fat loss, maintenance, or gain (with cool graphs to show water flucations, weight trends etc) go with MacroFactor.

If you want to do all the math on your own, but want to know every micronutrient you’re taking in, go with Crononmeter. Cronometer can also do custom graphing with the paid version and you can correlate some cool stuff with it, but for me having my macros right at all times that adapt to what I’m doing in real life sold me.

The stripped down version of Cronometer is free, MacroFactor is paid, but worth it’s weight on gold. Pretty much as long as you don’t go with MyFitnessPal, you’re good though!

(Cindy) #15

Thank you, thank you!!! I’m super low carb - zero carb mostly, occasionally as high as 2-5 carbs per day, so that part is easy for me. But getting the fat/protein macro right is my hard part. This really helps!


Why do you think you don’t get it right without much effort? It’s possible yours isn’t right but I don’t know you and maybe you have some wrong idea about what these should be, many have that especially newbies.
My fat may be perfect at 90g and 200g alike, it depends. My protein intake doubles from one day to another sometimes and there is no problem with it as long as my average is fine, it doesn’t mess with my other macros and I feel okay. There are exceptional days, it’s fine. There are days when my body wants much meat, it’s fine. And sometimes I have an unusual energy need for reasons, that is okay too. Just like low-cal days are perfectly normal for most of us, they are super rare in my life but still happen. There is no fixed ratio or even grams we should follow - unless we do therapeutic keto or have some other reason for it. Some people notice they work best with a smallish range. I am fine with a big range as long as it doesn’t mean overeating or I don’t eat fatty enough to get nausea (but it’s already against my tastes, I love fat but I need lots of protein with it).
So I typically advice people to figure out what works for their individual body, this is what matters. Not some fixed “rules” or ideas about how keto should be done.