Can you drink protein shakes on keto?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can drink protein shakes on a keto diet. Protein shakes can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake, which is important on keto for maintaining muscle mass. When choosing a protein powder, look for ones that are low in carbs and calories. Whey, egg white, and collagen peptides are good keto-friendly protein powder options. Limit protein shakes to 1-2 per day and account for the calories and carbs in your daily intake.

Can You Have Protein Shakes on Keto?

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that puts the body into ketosis, a metabolic state where fat is burned for energy instead of carbs. This leads to several health benefits including weight loss, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduced risk factors for heart disease.

Protein is an important macronutrient on keto. Getting adequate protein helps maintain muscle mass as you lose weight on the diet. It also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied.

The recommended daily protein intake on keto is around 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass. This is higher than the RDA of 0.36 grams per pound. For a person weighing 150 pounds with 20% body fat, that equals a protein intake of about 90-120 grams per day.

Protein shakes can help you meet your daily protein needs on a ketogenic diet. But not all protein powders are created equal when it comes to keto. The key is choosing a low-carb protein powder.

Keto Protein Powder Requirements

– Low in carbs – Ideally 2g net carbs or less per serving
– Low in calories – 100-150 calories per serving
– High in protein – 20-25g protein per serving
– Minimal ingredients – no added sugars or fillers

Some keto-friendly options include:

– Whey protein isolate
– Egg white protein
– Collagen peptides
– Hemp protein
– Pea protein isolate

Be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully and calculate the net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols). Stay away from protein powders that are high in carbs or calories.

Benefits of Protein Shakes on Keto

Here are some of the top benefits of adding protein shakes to a ketogenic diet:

Increased Protein Intake

Protein shakes provide an easy and convenient way to increase your daily protein intake on keto. Each serving can contain 20-25 grams of protein or more. This helps you meet your higher protein needs to maintain muscle mass.

Muscle Preservation

Several studies show that higher protein intake, around 1.2 grams per pound of lean mass, helps offset muscle loss when restricting carbs for weight loss. Protein shakes make it easier to get this higher protein amount.

Fullness and Satiety

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Drinking a protein shake between meals or as a snack keeps you feeling fuller for longer compared to carbs or fat. This can reduce hunger, cravings, and calorie intake throughout the day.

Weight Loss

Higher protein diets have been shown to boost fat burning and calorie expenditure. This leads to increased weight loss over time. Protein shakes provide a convenient way to get more protein without excess calories, carbs, or fat.

Ketosis Support

Consuming adequate protein is important for maintaining ketosis. Your body needs protein to support ketone production. Protein shakes can help you get the protein you need without affecting ketosis.

Workout Support

Many people use pre or post workout protein shakes. Whey protein, in particular, is absorbed quickly and can help supply amino acids for muscle recovery and growth when paired with resistance training.

Benefit Description
Increased Protein Intake Easy way to get 20-25g protein per serving
Muscle Preservation Helps maintain muscle on a low-carb diet
Fullness and Satiety Keeps you feeling fuller longer
Weight Loss Higher protein boosts fat burning
Ketosis Support Provides protein without affecting ketosis
Workout Support Good for pre or post workout

How Much Protein Can You Have Per Day on Keto?

Experts recommend getting 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass on keto. The lean body mass equals your total body weight minus body fat.

Here’s how to calculate your ideal protein intake:

1. Determine your current body weight
2. Estimate body fat percentage – use 15-25% as a general range for men and 25-35% for women if unknown
3. Subtract your body fat weight from total weight to get lean body mass
4. Multiply lean body mass by 0.8 to 1.2 grams to get your protein target

For example:

180 pound man with 20% body fat

1. Total weight = 180 pounds
2. 20% of 180 is 36 pounds of fat
3. 180 – 36 = 144 pounds lean body mass
4. 144 x 0.8 = 115 grams minimum protein
5. 144 x 1.2 = 173 grams maximum protein

So for a 180 pound man at 20% body fat, aim for 115-173 grams of protein daily.

Drinking one or two protein shakes per day can help you meet your protein needs within this range.

Keto Protein Shake Nutrition Information

Here’s the nutrition info for one serving of a typical keto protein shake:

– Calories: 120
– Fat: 5g
– Carbs: 3g net carbs
– Protein: 25g

This provides around 100 calories and 25 grams of protein per serving. Two shakes per day would contribute 200 calories and 50 grams protein to your diet.

When adding protein shakes, be sure to account for the calories and carbs in your daily ketogenic diet plan. Track your intake to make sure you’re still meeting your macronutrient needs and staying within carb limits for ketosis.

When to Drink Protein Shakes on Keto

Here are some of the best times to drink protein shakes on the keto diet:


Having a protein shake for breakfast is an easy way to get a nutrient-rich meal first thing. Add healthy fats like nut butter or MCT oil to make it more keto-friendly.


Drinking a whey protein shake immediately after strength training helps kickstart the recovery process. The quick protein absorption can aid muscle repair and growth.

Meal Replacement

Use a protein shake as a keto meal replacement when you’re short on time or need something portable. It beats high-carb convenience options.


When hunger strikes between meals, sip on a protein shake. This is preferable to snacking on cookies, chips, or other high-carb foods.

Before Bed

A casein or collagen protein shake before bed provides a slow releasing protein to aid overnight muscle recovery and metabolism.

In general, the best time is whenever you need a protein boost or find it convenient to supplement with shake. Just be sure to account for the calories and carbs in your daily keto plan.

Keto Protein Shake Recipes

Here are some tasty keto protein shake recipes to try:

Chocolate Peanut Butter

– 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
– 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Handful of ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. The peanut butter provides healthy fats to make this shake more ketogenic.

Matcha Latte

– 1 scoop unflavored collagen peptides
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 tablespoon MCT oil
– 1 teaspoon matcha powder
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Pinch of cinnamon
– Stevia to taste (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender until frothy and creamy. Collagen and MCT oil provide extra ketogenic benefits.

Mint Chip

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
– 1/4 avocado
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 5-10 drops liquid stevia
– 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
– Handful of ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Avocado provides healthy fats, fiber, and creaminess.

Caramel Macchiato

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– 1 shot espresso (or 1 tbsp instant coffee)
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 1 tsp sugar-free caramel syrup
– Pinch of cinnamon
– Ice as needed

Blend ingredients together until frothy. For an iced version, use cold milk and serve over ice.

Pre-made Keto Protein Shake Options

If you don’t want to mix up protein shakes from scratch, several companies make convenient pre-made options.

Here are some top pre-made keto protein shakes:

Perfect Keto Protein Powder

– 17g fat, 3g net carbs, 15g protein
– Comes in chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel
– Contains MCTs and collagen

Keto Chow

– 20g fat, 1g net carbs, 15g protein
– Over 20 flavors including cookies & cream, eggnog, snickerdoodle
– Complete meal replacement with vitamins

Iconic Protein Drink

– 17g fat, 1g net carb, 11g protein
– Unique flavors like chocolate maple waffle, fruity cereal, cookies & cream
– Made with grass-fed collagen peptides

Garden of Life Keto Meal

– 14g fat, 2g net carbs, 16g protein
– Vegan and dairy-free
– Organic plant proteins and MCTs

Look for varieties with at least 10-15g of protein per serving and minimal carbs. Pay attention to calories and account for them in your daily intake.

Potential Drawbacks of Protein Shakes on Keto

While protein shakes can be included as part of a well-formulated ketogenic diet, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

Calories and Carbs Can Add Up

If you overdo protein shakes or choose a higher carb option, the extra calories and carbs could knock you out of ketosis or lead to weight gain. Monitor your intake carefully.

Blood Sugar and Insulin

Although protein has a lower effect than carbohydrates, it can still raise blood sugar and insulin when consumed in large amounts. Keep protein moderate.

Fatigue and Digestive Issues

Too much protein at once can be hard on the digestive system, causing bloating, gas, and fatigue. Limit shakes to 1-2 per day.

Kidney Function

People with kidney disease or diabetes should be cautious with high protein intake over time which could impact kidney function long-term.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Over-relying on protein shakes versus whole foods could lead to deficiencies in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eat plenty of low-carb vegetables too.

Artificial Sweeteners

Some protein powders contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose or acesulfame potassium which may negatively impact gut health. Look for unsweetened types.

Hunger and Cravings

The liquid calories from shakes may not be as satiating as whole food meals and can lead to increased hunger and cravings.

Who Should Be Cautious With Protein Shakes on Keto?

Here are some instances where caution is warranted with protein shakes on a keto diet:

Individuals with kidney disease, diabetes, or other kidney issues

Stick to the lower end of the protein recommendations due to impact on kidney function.

People who are sensitive to artificial sweeteners

Choose unsweetened protein powders or make your own shakes.

Those who struggle with cravings or overeating

The liquid calories from shakes may not curb hunger and appetite as well.

Anyone who has trouble staying in ketosis

Too much protein at once can inhibit ketosis. Keep servings moderate.

Sedentary people or seniors

Protein needs are lower for those who are less active. Excess intake is unneeded.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Stick to food-based protein sources and follow ob-gyn guidance on ideal protein intake.

In these cases, it’s often best to get most protein from whole food sources like meat, fish, eggs, and low-carb dairy foods. Use protein shakes sparingly if at all.

The Bottom Line

Protein shakes can absolutely be incorporated into a healthy ketogenic diet when chosen wisely and consumed in moderation. Look for products that are low in carbs and calories with minimal ingredients.

Aim for one or two shakes per day max. Drink them around workouts or use as a convenient meal replacement when needed. But don’t completely replace balanced keto meals.

Include a variety of proteins, plenty of low-carb vegetables, healthy fats, and other whole food nutrients in your diet in addition to protein shakes.

With the right balance, protein supplements can help you better meet your daily protein goals on keto to preserve muscle, control hunger, enhance workouts, and maximize your results. Just be mindful of your individual protein needs and nutrition targets.

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