The importance of consuming the right amount of protein to achieve ketosis cannot be overlooked. When you cut down on carbohydrates, you block your body’s main source of fuel, so your body starts to burn stored glycogen (aka stored sugar) first.
As soon as the glycogen is removed from the body, the body does not go directly into ketosis – gluconeogenesis begins. This process is a metabolic pathway that turns non-sugar sources into sugar. These non-sugar sources include amino acids that are found in proteins. These amino acids become our main source of energy for days to weeks, depending on how much protein we eat.
When the protein intake is too high, the body is supplied with high amounts of amino acids to go through the gluconeogenesis process and produce enough energy for the body. Insulin (energy-storing hormone) is also released when we consume protein. Part of its role is to let cells know that enough energy is available so we don’t have to burn fat from fat cells and make ketones. After each high-protein meal, the energy source of insulin and amino acids increases, preventing the body from reaching deeper levels of ketosis.
For this reason, eating as little as 35 grams of carbohydrate or less is not the only thing you should focus on when you want to go into ketosis. It is important that you eat the right amount of proteins. Overall, you should aim to get around 25% of your calories from proteins. If you are physically active you can consume more. When you consume the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins every day, you should go into ketosis within a few days, up to a week.
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