Requiring its users to maintain extremely low levels of carbohydrate intake, the ketogenic – or keto – diet can be pretty difficult to get used it.
The biggest trouble is still getting adequate levels of other nutrients, like protein and fat, so that you can keep your energy levels up while doing without your primary source of fuel. In this regard, protein powders can be powerful tools.
There is sometimes confusion, though, about whether or not adherents of the ketogenic diet need to find a specific keto protein powder. What, exactly should you be looking for when it comes time to shop for a protein powder? Is there such a thing as a keto protein powder?
To understand the connection between the keto diet and protein powders, we first need to be clear about what the diet is. As mentioned, the ketogenic diet asks you to cut carbohydrate intake to extremely low levels – about 50g each day. This then puts your body into a state called ketosis - wherein you burn fat for fuel since carbohydrates are absent.
It's important to note that ketosis is very different from ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal complication of diabetes, even though the two are often confused.
Once carbohydrates are reduced, levels of fat and protein have to be increased to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet. Generally, the proportions of macros looks something like this:
Fat – 60-75% of calories
Protein -15-30% of calories
Carbs – 5-10% of calories
Picking Your Protein Powder
But what does any of this have to do with selecting a keto protein powder? It's important to understand that, in order to keep your body in ketosis, your carbohydrate intake needs to stay low. And, sometimes, protein powders contain more carbs than people realize.
Naturally, whey and protein powders contain low levels of carbohydrates. Naked Whey, for example, has about 1.5g of naturally-occurring sugars in each scoop. Since we do not add anything to our protein powders, this is an excellent representation of how much sugar should be in your keto protein powder.
The truth, though, is that sometimes companies get a little... creative with their protein powders. Sweeteners and other additives are commonly thrown in to improve the flavor and just generally make the powder more appetizing.
If you're trying to stay in ketosis, though, this could be extremely counterproductive. After all, 50g of carbohydrates for the whole day really isn't very much.
When selecting a keto protein powder, then, stick to natural products like Naked Whey and other Naked Nutrition products that have not been added to in any way. Otherwise, you risk accidentally getting more carbs that you want from somewhat unexpected sources.