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Old 04-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
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Protein Questions

1. If I'm doing NK purely for health and not for weight loss, is it still important to restrict protein?

2. Would someone be kind enough to help me with my protein calculation?

My basic stats are: 131 pounds total weight, estimated 105 pounds of lean body mass (around 20% body fat). This is just using tape measure and caliper calculations of body fat, I've never used any of the high-tech methods. So I'm not sure how accurate this is.

If I'm doing the calculation from the book correctly (1.5 to 2.5 grams per kg of lean body mass), that gives me a range of about 71 to 119 grams of protein per day.

But according to the method I've seen on these boards (0.6 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass), 63 - 105 grams is my range.

The difference matters to me, because without thinking about it and just eating to satisfy hunger, my protein intake is usually around 105-115. So I'd like to know if the 105 limit is more accurate, and if it's worth striving for and changing habits for. I'm happy with my weight, so is there any point to reducing protein intake?
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
1. If I'm doing NK purely for health and not for weight loss, is it still important to restrict protein?

2. Would someone be kind enough to help me with my protein calculation?

My basic stats are: 131 pounds total weight, estimated 105 pounds of lean body mass (around 20% body fat). This is just using tape measure and caliper calculations of body fat, I've never used any of the high-tech methods. So I'm not sure how accurate this is.

If I'm doing the calculation from the book correctly (1.5 to 2.5 grams per kg of lean body mass), that gives me a range of about 71 to 119 grams of protein per day.

But according to the method I've seen on these boards (0.6 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass), 63 - 105 grams is my range.

The difference matters to me, because without thinking about it and just eating to satisfy hunger, my protein intake is usually around 105-115. So I'd like to know if the 105 limit is more accurate, and if it's worth striving for and changing habits for. I'm happy with my weight, so is there any point to reducing protein intake?
You are mixing the two different methods for calculating protein requirements.

The Performance book uses body fat % and LBM with the range of .6 to 1.0 for protein grams.

The Living book uses (reference weight/2.2)*1.5 to 2.0 for protein grams. Reference weight being your ideal total body weight divided by 2.2 to get kg of ideal body weight.

Yes, protein is always restricted with NK whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain or gain. The end goal of NK, without regard to those three transient states, is maintaining a steady level of blood ketones in the range of .5 to 3.0 mmol/L.

On maintenance you probably don't need to control your grams of protein tightly but you should stay in the range that keeps your weight level. Or if you are testing, the range that keeps your blood ketones between .5 and 3.0 mmol/L.

There is latitude though and it really just comes down to how sensitive you are to protein's insulinogenic properties.

Using the Living book formula your range is 77g to 102g. And I wouldn't look at it as a stark line. 105g should be fine. 115-120 is probably okay too if not done too often. You should get feedback from your body if you are eating too much protein through unusual appetite or weight gain (I think).
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by reddarin View Post
Reference weight being your ideal total body weight divided by 2.2 to get kg of ideal body weight.
Oh! Okay, thank you so much for clearing this up. I thought reference weight just meant lean body mass. Feeling like a genius at the moment.

Quote:
On maintenance you probably don't need to control your grams of protein tightly but you should stay in the range that keeps your weight level. Or if you are testing, the range that keeps your blood ketones between .5 and 3.0 mmol/L.
I'm not testing, though I'm open to the possibility of buying a monitor. But let's say hypothetically I'm on the lower end of that range. Is there any advantage to pushing toward the upper end?

Quote:
Using the Living book formula your range is 77g to 102g. And I wouldn't look at it as a stark line. 105g should be fine. 115-120 is probably okay too if not done too often. You should get feedback from your body if you are eating too much protein through unusual appetite or weight gain (I think).
Going by the way I feel and by my weight, I think I'm doing fine. I know that people say not to rely upon your "symptoms" or the urine strips to know if you're in ketosis, but I am quite certain that I am. It's not just a matter of how my breath smells, in fact I don't get that "symptom" at all. It's that when I allow my carb grams per day to exceed 50, my sweet tooth is uncontrollable, I have IBS, and I'm sick all the time. When I keep my carb grams below 50, it's like night and day. My appetite normalizes, my IBS disappears, and my immune system actually WORKS! I wonder if there would be additional advantages if I were to go "deeper" into ketosis.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
...I know that people say not to rely upon your "symptoms" or the urine strips to know if you're in ketosis, but I am quite certain that I am. It's not just a matter of how my breath smells, in fact I don't get that "symptom" at all. It's that when I allow my carb grams per day to exceed 50, my sweet tooth is uncontrollable, I have IBS, and I'm sick all the time. When I keep my carb grams below 50, it's like night and day. My appetite normalizes, my IBS disappears, and my immune system actually WORKS! I wonder if there would be additional advantages if I were to go "deeper" into ketosis.
With IBS, it may well have a lot to do with the TYPE of carbs within that maximum tolerance range -- if it was me, I'd be looking at that and definitely trying for the lower carbs replaced by fats - by nature, that's generally "good" carbs just to accomplish it - and the higher ketone level from the increased fats breakdown. A little bit of the Ketogenic Diet as traditionally used to treat and help with epilepsy. Just thinking aloud here.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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With IBS, it may well have a lot to do with the TYPE of carbs within that maximum tolerance range -- if it was me, I'd be looking at that and definitely trying for the lower carbs replaced by fats - by nature, that's generally "good" carbs just to accomplish it - and the higher ketone level from the increased fats breakdown. A little bit of the Ketogenic Diet as traditionally used to treat and help with epilepsy. Just thinking aloud here.
Well I have definitely learned that I cannot tolerate grains or beans at all, whether it's a portion that's within my carb allowance or not. So yes, I definitely agree with you that quality is an issue, and it's not ONLY about quantity! And though I notice the benefits at a 50g per day limit, my intake is usually around 35g per day. I just seem to feel a little better at 35, and crave sweets and crunchy/salty things less. But I don't usually go lower than that - I feel pretty run-down when I try. Kind of tired and cranky. So I think 35-ish is a pretty good maintenance level for me, right?

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
Oh! Okay, thank you so much for clearing this up. I thought reference weight just meant lean body mass. Feeling like a genius at the moment.
Nah, it is easy to get confused between the two formulas

Quote:
I'm not testing, though I'm open to the possibility of buying a monitor. But let's say hypothetically I'm on the lower end of that range. Is there any advantage to pushing toward the upper end?
I've never tested. I hate needles and the strips are an arm and a leg. And I do not care if the tester thingie is not actually a hypodermic lol.

The answer is... no, for most people a higher ketone level is not advantageous. The upper end of the range simply means that your body is more efficient at using fat for fuel but that really doesn't matter unless you require your body to be very efficient. If you are an exercise enthusiast or an athlete then it is very worthwhile because the more efficiently your body can access stored energy the better you will perform. For weight loss it doesn't really matter much as long as you are in the range or infer that you are through positive weight loss results.

There are advantages to testing. It allows for very quick tweaking and feedback. So if you don't mind blowing the money and/or you really *have* to have the immediate feedback then it is very much worth doing. I'd do it, despite the needle thing, if I tweaked everything and still couldn't get results. Maybe. Probably I'd just have myself hypnotized into thinking I was skinnier and avoid the needle like experience altogether. That'd be cheaper too. Win/win.

Quote:
Going by the way I feel and by my weight, I think I'm doing fine. I know that people say not to rely upon your "symptoms" or the urine strips to know if you're in ketosis, but I am quite certain that I am. It's not just a matter of how my breath smells, in fact I don't get that "symptom" at all. It's that when I allow my carb grams per day to exceed 50, my sweet tooth is uncontrollable, I have IBS, and I'm sick all the time. When I keep my carb grams below 50, it's like night and day. My appetite normalizes, my IBS disappears, and my immune system actually WORKS! I wonder if there would be additional advantages if I were to go "deeper" into ketosis.
Possibly. I think the only way to find out is to tweak and infer or get the tester and strips. The former being tedious and requiring some good discipline on making notes. The latter being super quick feedback and more effective tweaks.

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Old 04-05-2013, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a thorough and thoughtful answer! I don't mind the finger prick, but the expense of the test strips is what has kept me from buying a monitor. I think that since I'm not an athlete, I'm happy with my weight, and I feel healthy, I'll skip the monitor, but try to adhere to that 105 limit a little closer and see what happens. Thank you again for helping me sort this out!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a thorough and thoughtful answer! I don't mind the finger prick, but the expense of the test strips is what has kept me from buying a monitor. I think that since I'm not an athlete, I'm happy with my weight, and I feel healthy, I'll skip the monitor, but try to adhere to that 105 limit a little closer and see what happens. Thank you again for helping me sort this out!
I resisted the expense of testing for a long time and as it turns out, I could have kept doing so but I did break down and forked over the $ to see. My first reading was 2.1. Seems that I was firmly in ketosis all along as I thought.

I started testing in January and since that time, the lowest reading I have gotten was .9. I still have about 15 strips left and will use them to test when I think I may have exceeded my carb/protein limits.

In the end it was an expensive little experiment.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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I resisted the expense of testing for a long time and as it turns out, I could have kept doing so but I did break down and forked over the $ to see. My first reading was 2.1. Seems that I was firmly in ketosis all along as I thought.

I started testing in January and since that time, the lowest reading I have gotten was .9. I still have about 15 strips left and will use them to test when I think I may have exceeded my carb/protein limits.

In the end it was an expensive little experiment.
Thanks for sharing this, Cathy. I'm glad that you're feeling about ketosis was confirmed. It would be nice to know a number, but sounds like it's probably not worth the expense. So I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. So many other things to spend money on!
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:51 AM   #10
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Yes - way better things to spend money on! The other thing that I allowed to escape me was that I was eating (and still am) in a way that I feel is appropriate for nk and also that I can sustain. If I hadn't been in ketosis, I don't know what I could have done different....

Testing would be really useful for those that are new to the game but ketostix can do it too. They are not terribly reliable but they can tell a person that they are in ketosis .... just can't say definitively that they are not in ketosis. Much cheaper!!

Last edited by clackley; 04-09-2013 at 07:54 AM..
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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The other thing that I allowed to escape me was that I was eating (and still am) in a way that I feel is appropriate for nk and also that I can sustain. If I hadn't been in ketosis, I don't know what I could have done different....
Same here, I am already eating the NK way and aside from tweaking my protein a bit, there isn't much I could do anyway. I have been adhering to my 102 protein limit more consistently since starting this thread (not that I was going over it by much at all), but that's about all I can do. Sustainability, as you mentioned, also very important! So I think I'm good. Thanks again for helping me, because I'm always tempted by LC foods, gadgets, books, everything! But I'm also on a budget.
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