High protein consumption has been shown to increase certain life-style diseases, and therefore decreases life expectancy. Here are three reasons why decreasing protein consumption in a Ketogenic diet is an amazing idea…
This is the metabolic process by which the liver turns excess protein in the form of amino acids into blood sugar. It is an important and necessary metabolic process, but in our land of plenty, we need less not more.
Many people will see stalled weight loss after a time of being on a ketogenic diet. If you see this happen, or if you see your blood sugar suddenly or unexpectedly begin to rise again, you should consider that too much protein may be a contributing factor.
You want to consume enough protein to build muscle and other protein-based tissues as necessary, but not so much that our bodies start to use protein to blood sugar which, in turn, produces fat. We do that by keeping our protein consumption low to moderate, depending on physical activity level.
Cancer Genes that are Moderated by Protein
The more we know about genes, the more it seems we can’t blame our genes for all our problems. The study of epigenetics is finding that we have a great deal of influence over our own gene expression and suppression.
What we put into our mouths, practice with our bodies, receive into and meditate on in our minds, all have the ability to either suppress or express certain genes.
The gene mTOR is the most widely talked about and understood thanks, in part, to the work of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, Yoshinori Ohsumi. His research looked into the signaling pathway that mediates mTOR gene expression.
When mTOR is expressed, the process of autophagy stops. When mTOR is suppressed, autophagy can continue. Autophagy is one mechanism that the body uses to clean up old proteins and old or dysfunctional cellular organelles.
Dr. Ohsumi’s research showed that during a calorie restricted or fasted state, autophagy increases when:
- Insulin goes down and glucagon goes up. Sounds like a keto-diet, right? (You can read more about insulin/glucagon balance here).
- Amino acids in the diet were eliminated. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so to keep amino acids low, protein consumption needs to be kept low.
So, having low to moderate protein consumption and low insulin/high glucagon levels, increases the rate of autophagy.
This is it, folks! This is THE. BIG. DEAL about ketogenic diets and intermittent or extended fasting.
This is how being in ketotosis decreases our risk of (AND REVERSES) diseases like Alzheimer’s and weakens cancer.
The one thing that works better than keto diets? Fasting. More to come on that soon. But for now, think of ketosis as a type of nutritional fasting—it mimics the fasted state IF it is also low in protein.
In America, almost 60% of adults are obese or overweight. When we lose weight, that can mean a lot of excess skin hangin’ around. These skin flaps and folds are not just unattractive, they are uncomfortable and can cause some serious medical problems such as back pain and infections from fungus and staph.
Doctors like Jason Fung and Andreas Eenfeldt report that they have never had the need to refer their patients for skin removal after weight loss—even for those who have lost 100 pounds or more.
How is this possible? Skin is protein. It will undergo the process of remodeling by autophagy just like any other tissue and that old skin will be renewed.
The rate of skin remodeling is increased by:
- Keeping to a ketogenic diet.
- Learning how to fast, and practicing fasting regularly.
- Lifting weights—especially in a fasted state. Weight lifting forces the body to build muscle protein, and in a fasted state or during low protein intake, that protein will be pulled from other parts of the body.
If you do the above 3 things, you will get rid of excess skin. It won’t be overnight, but it will happen fast enough that you will notice dramatic changes.
How Much Protein Is Too Much?
The amount of protein that you personally need is dependent on your weight/height and the season of life that you’re in.
Pregnancy and Nursing
Women who are pregnant or nursing will need more protein. Remember balance is everything. Pregnancy is a time for more building up than taking down (autophagy). Pregnant women should still choose to eat the best and healthiest proteins (read about The Good and The Bad of Protein in this post). So, let your doctor and your own body tell you how much protein to eat.
In our mid-60’s, we tend to begin to lose muscle mass as a general rule. At this time of life, we may need to increase protein consumption more to the moderate side to help keep our muscle tissue.
Exercising will increase your need for protein, especially weight lifting. Of course, there’s weight lifting, and there’s weight lifting. The more intensely you exercise, the more protein you’ll need ON THE DAYS WHEN YOU LIFT. Even with regular exercise, not every day needs to be a high protein day. Balance out your moderate to high protein days with some low protein days.
However, to increase skin remodeling if you have a lot of weight to lose, you might continue to keep your protein consumption low even on weight lifting days.
How Strict Your Keto Diet Is
Your personal protein consumption is also based on how strict you want your Ketogenic diet to be. That is, how deeply do want to be in ketosis?
How deep into ketosis you go is dependent both on carb consumption and protein level. Counting net carbs is fairly simple. Protein is a little more complicated.
Calculating Protein Consumption
What is the correct level of protein according to how strict you want your Keto Diet to be and how much you weigh?
I show you exactly how to do that simple 2-step calculation with an example and personal worksheet.
If you’d like help with that, sign up for my Protein Consumption Worksheet download here.
If you find yourself stuck at a weight loss plateau or are having trouble meeting your health goals, tweaking your protein consumption will help you get back on the keto path.
Even better, it will decrease your risk for disease!
If you’d like to learn more about which proteins are healthy and which are not, you can do to this post: “Protein on a Ketogenic Diet…”
You can keep track of all of your macros on a macronutrient counter.
I use and recommend Cronometer.com (affiliate link).
There is both a free and a paid version.
The free version sets your macros according to your strictness level of keto or to customize each macro separately. It will also keep track of nutrients, a daily log of biometrics, exercise and diet choices.
The paid version will give advanced analysis with things like nutrient balances to keep track of, among other things, omega 6 : omega 3 ratio–important for those of us who are fighting inflammatory mediated conditions like asthma, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, etc.
I use Cronometer because it isn’t JUST a macronutrient counter, but gives you the tools you need to live a healthy life with weight loss as an amazing benefit.
To learn more about beginning a ketogenic diet, please read “Keto Diets: Healthy or Harmful?”
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