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Keto Diet Mistakes: High Protein Levels May Kick You Out of Ketosis- Thomas Delauer… The reason too much protein is bad for ketosis is because our bodies have a fundamental energy process called gluconeogenesis – translates to “the making of (genesis) new (neo) sugar (gluco.)” During gluconeogenesis, the liver (and occasionally the kidneys) turns non-sugar compounds like amino acids (the building blocks of protein), lactate, and glycerol into sugar that the body uses a fuel. When glycogen is low, protein intake is high, or the body is under stress, amino acids from your meals and your muscle become one of your main energy sources.
Gluconeogenesis and Your Liver:
As mentioned, the process of gluconeogenesis takes place primarily in the liver, where glucose is made from amino acids (protein), glycerol (the backbone of triglycerides, the primary fat storage molecule), and glucose metabolism intermediaries like lactate and pyruvate. Lactate is produced by a breakdown of muscle tissue and sent to the liver through the bloodstream – at night, when we haven’t eaten for several hours, the body begins to manufacture glucose using gluconeogenesis.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effects of gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet.
Wanted to see whether a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet (H diet) increases gluconeogenesis and whether this can explain the increase in EE (energy expenditure.)
10 healthy men received a high protein, low carb diet (30%, 0%, and 70% of energy from protein, carbohydrate, and fat, respectively) or a normal-protein diet (12%, 55%, and 33% of energy from protein, carb, and fat, respectively) for 1.5 days.
Endogenous glucose production (EGP) was lower in the high protein, low carb group than in the normal protein, higher carb group.
However, researchers found that there was a 42% of the increase in energy expenditure after the high protein, low carb diet, explained by the increase in gluconeogenesis – the cost of gluconeogenesis was 33% of the energy content of the produced glucose.
Concluded: With the high protein, low carb diet, the contribution of increased gluconeogenesis to increased energy expenditure (EE) was 42%. Although, other energy-requiring pathways in protein metabolism, such as protein synthesis, may contribute to the increase in EE after a high-protein diet, the results of the study showed that gluconeogenesis contributes to a major part (42%) of the increased EE.
1) Gluconeogenesis. (2016, July 21). Retrieved from