How do you determine if you’re getting enough protein?

How do you determine if you’re getting enough protein?

Anonymous says, “How do you determine if you’re
getting enough protein? I heard Dr. Stephen Phinney say, for those
on a keto diet, if ketones are greater than 3 on a regular basis, then it’s a sign you’re
not getting enough protein.” Okay, first of all, why are you on a ketogenic
diet? So, if your purpose is to get the ketones,
why wouldn’t you want your ketones higher than 3? The ketogenic diet is, regardless of what
people are doing it for, it’s best tested in terms of epilepsy, and the classical ketogenic
diet gets ketone levels up to 3 or 4 millimoles per liter or sometimes higher. Then the question is, you’re not doing it
for medical therapy, why are you doing it? If you’re doing it to lose weight, who cares
what your ketones are? There’s a ton of people out there who are
on a “ketogenic diet” who don’t care what their ketones are because they’re doing it
for weight loss, for body composition, or to feel better. If those are what your goals are, your metrics
should just be whether you’re losing weight, whether you’re getting better body composition,
or whether you’re feeling better. There’s no data backing up the fact that you
can measure your blood ketones and determine what any of those outcomes are going to be,
so you should just use the metric that you want. That has nothing to do with why you need protein. Yes, too much protein is probably going to
lower your ketones. Protein is anti-ketogenic. It’s not as anti-ketogenic as carbs are, so
I get the kernel of truth that Phinney is getting at, that the higher your protein is,
the lower your ketones are going to be, and maybe there’s some general correlation to
be seen across people that the people who tend to have ketones that high tend to not
be eating enough protein, but that’s a correlation that has nothing to do with the underlying
reason of why you eat protein. You eat protein because you need protein to
optimize your neurotransmitters, you need protein to optimize your metabolism, and you
need protein to optimize your body composition. And the number one metric that we have on
protein intakes and quantifying them is on body composition, and you want a half a gram
to a gram of protein for every pound of target body weight. So, if you’re trying to gain muscle, use what
you want to have at the end of gaining muscle. If you are overweight, use what your ideal
weight would be. And the more you care about your body composition,
the more you should aim for the top of that range instead of the bottom. And it doesn’t matter if you’re keto or not. Carole Matt says, “What would you suggest
for nutritional support for those who experience edema due to third-spacing?” Carole, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what third-spacing
is. Can you chat what you mean? I’ll go to the next question, and if you can
clarify, I’m sorry if this is a woman’s health issue, and I just am not in that area, but
if you can clarify what you mean in the chat, I’ll come back to that question.



  • Dennis Sparks

    What about the studies that conclude that protein intake above 1.6gs per kilogram of body weight show no muscle building advantage?

  • John Smith

    My Ketone is (15) … not sure if this high or low.
    The only carbs that I consume is 100 grams of dextrose per day.
    Not sure how to know if you consume "enough" protein, but one sign is if your shit sinks in the toilet it means it is high in protein and if it floats it is high in fat.

  • Blue Skies

    So If I am 140 pounds I should have 70-140 g of protein? What would be the best range for longevity? MInus 30%?

  • Jim D

    Chris I think Dr. Phinney was kind of joking tongue-and-cheek when he said 'if your ketones are greater than 3 then you are protein deficient'. In other words it's a practical and a simple indirect way to gauge if one is way too low on protein (and an easy way to answer a dumb question) since holding ketones at 3 is very hard in general unless multi day fasting. There is no direct way other than that by proxy for the average person to measure amino acid levels – which by definition is too low protein if desiring to put on LBM.

  • Sue Taylor

    Any recommendations for people that have mild metabolic acidosis issues processing amino acids. Just had my genetics tested. Yikes, no wonder I don’t feel good when I eat meat. I would love to see a video it. Your videos are fantastic thank you so much!

  • LGF

    Dr Masterjohn – can you please make a video reviewing the evidence supporting various lengths of fasts? It’s hard to figure out if multiple day fasts are superior to daily 23 hour fasts. Thank you.

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