If you’re currently on the keto diet or getting ready to start, you’ll want to make sure you’re following it correctly. Making mistakes like eating the wrong fats and too much protein can jeopardize your results. According to Catherine Metzgar, PhD, RD, a nutrition scientist and clinician at Virta Health, the ideal macronutrient profile on the keto diet should be close to 70 to 80 percent fat, 15 to 20 percent protein, and five to 10 percent carbohydrates. Eating more macros than recommended can prevent you from reaching nutritional ketosis, the state when your metabolism begins to run on fat instead of carbohydrates.
Dr. Metzgar told POPSUGAR that in her experience, one of the reasons people fail to reach ketosis is because their protein intake is too high. This is because protein has a moderate insulin-stimulating effect that can interfere with ketone production when too much is consumed. According to doctors at Virta Health, studies have found that “most healthy humans maintain lean body mass and function during a ketogenic diet providing between 1.5 and 1.75 grams of protein per kilogram of ‘reference body weight’.” To find out how much protein you need to consume daily, utilize the following chart created by Virta Health. Note that 1.2 g/kg is the low end of recommended daily protein intake, 1.5 g/kg is midrange, and 2.0 g/kg is the upper end. The doctors at Virta Health advise never going below 1.2 g/kg of protein daily.
Habitually snacking on foods full of protein can cause you to go over your daily protein limit on the keto diet. To prevent this from happening, the Virta Health team recommends eating five servings of nonstarchy vegetables a day, like asparagus, broccoli, or peppers. Remember to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.