A ketosis diet -- more correctly termed a ketogenic diet --- normally includes three dietary characteristics: low carbohydrate, high fat and moderate protein intake. This type of diet puts you into ketosis, a metabolic condition where your body burns fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, its normal energy source. Protein shakes designed for low-carbohydrate diets will meet your need if you want to follow a ketogenic diet. Ask your doctor before making major diet changes.
If you're following a ketogenic diet, you need a moderate amount of protein in your diet. If you consume too much protein, your liver will convert some of the protein to glucose to use for energy, explains Dr. Michael Eades, co-founder of Medi-Stat Medical Clinics. This slows the changeover to burning fat for energy. Protein intake must remain high enough to prevent muscle loss and low enough to not interfere with ketosis, author Lyle McDonald explains in his book, "The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner." On average, you need 0.8 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight if you're sedentary and 0.9 grams if you're active, according to McDonald, although you might need as much as 150 grams of protein per day in the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet. Protein supplements often contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving; don't drink protein shakes that exceed your daily limit if you drink several per day.
If you drink protein shakes, check the label to make sure the shakes contain no more than a few grams of carbohydrate. As long as you keep your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 to 80 grams per day, your body will go into ketosis, author and trainer Mark Sissons explains on his website, Mark's Daily Apple. However, keeping carbohydrates to less than 30 grams per day induces ketosis more quickly, according to McDonald. If you drink protein shakes as replacement meals or as a snack several times a day, protein shakes containing more than 10 grams could cause you to exceed your daily allowance.
Some protein shakes don't contain much fat. You need fat to burn on a ketogenic diet. You can add fat to low-fat protein shakes by adding coconut oil to your shakes, Eades advises. If your protein shake doesn't contain enough fat add coconut oil, nuts, or some other oil to the shake.
Ketogenic diets differ, according to their purpose. People trying to lose weight often follow a ketogenic diet with different ratios of fat and carbohydrate to protein than the diet followed by bodybuilders or by children with epilepsy, whose ketogenic diet may consist of as much as 90 percent fat. Talk to your doctor about which ketogenic diet might benefit you and choose protein shakes that supply the nutrients you need in the percentages that your doctor suggests.
- ProteinPower.com: Tips and Tricks for Starting (or Restarting) Low-Carb
- Marks Daily Apple: Ketosis
- The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner; Lyle McDonald; 1998
- Muscle and Strength: Protein Supplements Guide
- ABC News: Super High-Fat Diet Can Work Miracles for Seizures in Kids