If you have spent any time looking into one of the most popular diets around, the ketogenic or “keto” diet, you may have come across some controversy over how much protein is allowed on this diet. Not only is the amount of protein you should eat on keto somewhat controversial, there are also a lot of differing opinions about what type of protein should be included. So, what about whey protein? Is whey protein keto friendly? Or are there better protein options if you are eating a keto diet?

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet. The macronutrient breakdown is something like this:

  • Carbohydrates: 5-10% of calories
  • Protein: 15-25% of calories
  • Fat: 75-85% of calories

As you can see, it is a “standard” diet, that usually recommends that most calories come from carbs, flipped on its head.

The goal of eating so few carbohydrates, while significantly increasing fat, is to encourage the body to get into a state of ketosis. This metabolic state only occurs when the body is starved of carbohydrates, its primary and preferred fuel source. When the body doesn’t have enough carbs, it switches to burning fat as fuel instead. This shift leads to a decrease in hunger, weight loss, improved blood sugar and stable energy levels.

Keto and Protein

Now back to the controversy over protein. It is clear that to stay in ketosis, you have to eat more fat and fewer carbs. But, what about protein? How much should you eat?

First, you want to understand some basics of biochemistry. When the body is deprived of carbs or glucose from the diet, it needs to make a small amount to function. The body makes the glucose it needs from protein through process called gluconeogenesis. This is why people believe that protein may kick you out of ketosis. There are rumors floating around that you should limit protein as well as carbs on a ketogenic diet.

The body does not like to rely on gluconeogenesis, unless absolutely necessary. It takes a lot of protein and energy to make a small amount carbs through gluconeogenesis. And the body is designed to preserve protein at all cost. This means it will look for other sources of fuel before converting protein into carbs.

A study by the American Diabetes Association found that during a period of low carbohydrate intake, only about 3 grams of carbs were produced via gluconeogenesis from protein ingested during an 8 hour period. Three grams is not enough to kick you out of ketosis.

Eating more protein may be beneficial for keto dieters. A higher protein intake may be one of the reasons why the keto diet works so well to suppress appetite and promote weight loss. Protein helps satisfy hunger, which means you are more likely to consume less overall.

Is Whey Protein Powder Keto Friendly?

Now that you understand the role of protein on keto, what about whey protein? Is whey protein keto friendly?

Yes, whey protein is keto friendly, but you have to be careful with the amount of carbs in the product you choose. There are three main types of whey protein powders on the market: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.

These protein powders have varying amounts of lactose or milk sugar, which determines the amount of carbohydrates. Generally, concentrate is the highest in lactose, but may not always be the highest in carbohydrates. Any protein powder can have added sugar or other ingredients that contribute to the carbohydrate count.

But, if you choose the right product, whey protein powder is keto friendly.

If you are trying a keto diet to lose weight, whey protein has many well-established benefits for weight loss. It can help increase satiety, support a healthy metabolism and help make weight loss easier.

Choosing a Keto Whey Protein Powder

If you are looking for a keto whey protein powder, here are a few tips that you might want to consider before making a purchase:

  1. Total carbohydrates. Most keto-dieters aim to eat between 20-50 grams of carbs per day. When looking at a protein powder, you will have to know how many carbs you are aiming for and determine if the product can easily fit into your daily allotment.
  2. Net carbs. Some protein powders contain fiber, which you can subtract from the total carbohydrate number. This will give you the “net carbs” in the product. Net carbs are the only carbs that matter for staying in ketosis. This will allow you to choose a product higher in carbs, while sticking with your goals.
  3. Total protein. Be sure you know how much protein you need daily, so you can evaluate if your protein powder is giving you enough.
  4. Personal goals. What is your reason for doing keto or wanting to drink whey protein? This can help you determine the best protein powder for you and how it fits into your lifestyle. Whey protein is a great option for those wanting to build muscle or lose weight while on keto.
  5. Even if a protein powder is perfectly keto-friendly, if it tastes awful, you probably won’t want to drink it regularly. Protein powder should be at least tolerable to you or even taste great!

There are many keto whey protein powders available on the market, you just have to be sure to take a look at the label, so you don’t overdo it on your carbs. Our Vital Whey protein powder only contains 2 grams of carbs per serving, perfect to help you meet your daily carb goals, while also meeting your protein needs.

     

     

     

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