The Role of Protein In The Keto Diet
Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs to sustain itself. Your body cannot function efficiently if you are deficient in one of the three.
Protein is essential for muscle growth (as well as maintenance). It makes up the majority of your muscles, organs, and other tissue in the body. It also helps create hormones, enzymes, and hemoglobin.
Protein also helps with weight loss, as it is quite satiating. Additionally, having greater muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate, which will also help with weight loss.
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. 11 of these amino acids are not essential, as your body makes them on its own. But 9 of these amino acids are essential, which means you need to get them from your food.
A protein deficiency can result in an increased risk of disease, weaker immune system, neuron atrophy, and worsened workout performance.
All in all, protein is a very important element of your daily diet.
On the keto diet, moderate amounts of protein are recommended to stay healthy and keep your body functioning well. Moderate amounts mean between 1 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
You get your protein from whole foods like eggs, chicken, grass-fed beef, lamb, fish, and game meats.
Do You Even Need A Keto Protein Powder?
If you are following the keto diet closely and getting all your macros in, and are not a performance athlete or hardcore gym-goer, then the answer is very likely no.
But – a good quality protein powder is definitely handy and convenient when you are too busy to make a full meal, need to save time, or if you’re trying to build muscle.
If you’re an active person, a good quality keto protein powder can help you perform better, recover quicker, see results faster, and stay healthy.
When you exercise, your muscles break down. It is actually during times of rest and recovery that your muscles grow. Protein is used by your muscles recover and grow. This is a why a protein powder can be helpful – it helps your muscles rebuild the tissue.
What Is Keto Protein Powder?
Protein powders are a form of dietary supplement, that contains a concentrated form of protein. The powders are mixed with milk, water, or even fruit juice.
Protein powders are most often taken before or after workouts, but also work well as a meal replacement.
Too much protein can be harmful to your body, so it is important to plan your protein shakes around your meals.
There are so many protein powders on the market right now – and not all of them are created equal. A lot of them are packed with carbs and sugar. And those that use sweeteners instead, may still kick you out of ketosis, depending on which sweetener they use. Many are also filled with unnecessary ingredients, preservatives, and fillers.
If you want to add a protein powder to your diet, you will need a keto-friendly, high quality version.
The Best Forms Of Keto Protein Powder
Good quality Keto Protein powders will be based on one of five different types of protein sources. These protein powders are the best for your keto diet as they won’t kick you out of ketosis, are easy to digest, and enter the bloodstream fairly quickly.
Grass-fed Whey Protein
Whey protein is found in milk. It is obtained by separating casein (which is also a protein).
Ideally you want to get whey from grass-fed cows (as you would want to get your beef from grass-fed cows).
Grass-fed whey protein powder is ideal as it is absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids (making it a complete protein), and is low in lactose.
Whey protein comes in two forms – isolate, and contetrate. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of protein. It is safe for those who are lactose-intolerant to consume it safely, as a significant amount of fat and lactose is removed during processing.
Whey protein concentrate is not as concentrated as the isolate, but still a popular choice of protein powder.
Egg White Protein
Egg white protein powder is an excellent choice for those who can’t have dairy-based protein powders (or just don’t like the taste). It has all 9 of the essential amino acids, and is high in leucine. Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid, and studies show that is makes up one-third of your muscles.
Egg white protein powder also has an excellent micronutrient profile.It is high in vitamins A, B, and D. And if the eggs come from pasture-raised chickens, you will also get the antioxidant vitamin #.
Did you know that collagen makes up one third of all the protein in your body? And did you know we lose 1% of this protein every year?
It is vital to replenish this through your diet – whether you are on keto or not, whether you gym or not.
Collagen is one of the best protein powders you can use, because it also has the added benefits of rebuilding healthy skin, joints, tendons, nails, and hair; helping your gut stay healthy.
Collagen protein powders contain the hydrolyzed form of collagen. It is sourced from cows, pigs, and marine animals.
Collagen is not a complete source of protein, like the others we have discussed. This means that it can’t be used as a meal replacement, you should rather use it to enhance your diet.
Grass-fed Beef Protein
Grass-fed beef protein powder is another excellent source of protein, and suitable for those allergic to dairy or eggs.
It has been shown to be just as effective as whey protein powder when aiding in weight loss and increased muscle mass.
Make sure to choose the grass-fed version.
Plant based protein powders can include pea, hemp, flax, and brown rice protein powders (or any combination of these). They contain the isolated form of plant proteins.
The ideal version of a plant-based protein powder is one that combines various plant-based proteins, to provide a complete amino acid profile.
How To Take Keto Protein Powder
It may take some testing to find the right protein powder for you and your body. The one common thread with all the protein powders mentioned above is that are all very easy to digest, so you are very unlikely to experience tummy upsets.
If you are choosing an animal-based protein, look for versions that are grass-fed or pasture-fed. If you select a plant-based protein powder, look for a mix to avoid incomplete proteins.
Always read the ingredients list rather than just going by what it says on the label.
Choose one that uses as few ingredients as possible. You will want to avoid unnecessary additives such as added sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup or fructose; fillers and preservatives (such as TBQH), food coloring, and artificial flavors.
How you mix up your protein powder is really up to you.
You can keep it simple and add it to water. Or you can get fancy and make a keto-friendly smoothie or milkshake. If you are using unflavored collagen peptides, you can actually add it meals that have some amount of liquid such as soups and stews. Even pancake batter!