Ask anyone and most people will tell you that protein is key to a healthy diet. It fills you up, is converted and used to build and maintain muscle, and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. We by no means will argue with that. Yet when it comes to a ketogenic diet, which by definition is a low carbohydrate, moderately low protein, high fat diet, you need to monitor your intake and consume the proper amount to meet your body’s nutritional needs while maintaining ketosis.
So what happens when you have too much protein? Well, when eating a well formulated ketogenic diet, you are depriving yourself (intentionally, of course) of glucose. This is done to force your body to rely on fat for energy. This means your stored fat (aka, adipose tissue), your ingested fats, and your self-generated fats (cholesterol). When you are depriving yourself of excess glucose to be used as energy and stored as fat, your body will look to utilize other macronutrients in its place. With protein, this can become a problem. Unlike lipids (fats), protein converts more easily into glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis. You need just enough protein to maintain and build muscle, fuel your workouts, and provide important nutrients but anything in excess will turn to sugar and may kick you out of ketosis.
This is where the keto-mojo meter comes into play. We have a saying here…you can only manage what you measure! For the full benefits of a ketogenic diet, you want to know for certain that you are in ketosis!