Q&A: Salt Intake, Weight-Loss Plateaus and How Much Protein Should You Eat?

How much salt is too much when on a low-carb diet? How do you handle weight loss plateaus? And how much protein should you eat?

Here are the answers:

How Much Salt Is Too Much on LCHF?

Hi Andreas,

I have been ketogenic for 6+ months. With too little salt I don’t feel well at all.

I understand that an LCHF/ketogenic diet means your body passes salt rather than holding on to it.

Every morning I have 2 g salt in 0.5 l (17 fl. oz) of water, I do the same in the evening. However, this weekend before a 6 hour-25 degree cycle I had 5 g salt in 1 l (34 fl. oz) water before I went, 3 l (101 fl. oz) water while out. I had another 5 g salt that afternoon/evening with 2-3 l (68–101 fl.oz.) water.

I had the best ride I have had for a over a year, so powerful and I did not experience and restless leg syndrome when i went to bed and i slept really well, which i don’t normally do after a big effort.

My concern is 10-12 g of salt in a day sounds a lot. Are there any short or long term issues taking this much salt whilst ketogenic?

Many thanks,

Glover

 
Hi Glover!

I suspect you lost a lot of salt sweating on that bike ride. I doubt this intake is a significant problem, as long as your blood pressure is normal.

Best,
Andreas

Weight-loss plateau

Dear Dr. I hope you’re doing fine ?

I just have a small concern. I have been on and LCHF for almost 6 months now, the first 5 months were amazing I’ve lost around 20 kg (44 lbs.) so a good average of 4 kg (9 lbs.) a month and I feel proud of it and thankful to you and to your website.

Now for the past one month I have lost 0 kg, I weigh 125 kg (275 lbs.) now.

1. Is this a normal plateau or my body got used to the diet?
2. My eating habits are the same. Do you think I should start controlling my portions maybe, and counting the proteins?
3. My friends are recommending that I should have a cheat day once a week which will make my body lose weight more, is this true? what do you think, please?
4. Could it be because I’m eating a bit of nuts?
And yes I’m doing intermittent fasting.

Thank you,
Michel

 
Hi Michel!

1. Could be temporary – that’s very common. Remember you’ve lost a lot of weight in six months (congratulations). Often during big weight loss there are a few weeks without weight loss here and there, before it starts again.
2. Just eat when hungry, and if possible, not when not hungry. Try to avoid snacking between meals as it will slow weight loss.
3. No, cheat days will slow down weight loss. So certainly don’t do it to lose weight. Only do it if you feel you need it for enjoyment and you’re confident it will not get you off track. Certainly don’t ever “cheat” if you’re addicted to certain processed foods, that’s a recipe for failure just like with any other addiction.
4. Nuts can slow down weight loss somewhat, yes. Especially when snacking between meals, when not hungry.

Feel free to check out our other tips for weight loss.

Best,
Andreas

How much protein should you eat?

I would like your recommendations/experience regarding protein amount per meal?

Some keto sites and LCHF doctors recommend a minimum of 30 g protein at each meal – (Leucine and better muscle metabolism or something like that) I am following a clean LCHF lifestyle and I am losing weight. I am interested in the other benefits of LCHF like mental clarity etc.

I am only 15 weeks into this lifestyle, my memory and brain fog have as of yet not improved – my short term memory is a little worse and I wanted to ask you could this be because my blood ketones are not optimal yet – generally my readings are only around 0.4–0.5, only once it was 1.7 even though I’m strict.

So could 30 g protein in one sitting be too much for my case – which then translates to low blood ketones and therefore not optimal brain BHOB fueling. My daily protein macro is approx 67-80 g. Some sites suggest I should have 90 g/day?

My interest in ketones is around brain fuel and clarity. Female, 60, 5’3, 80 kg (176 lbs.), CFS/hypothyroidism Rx /hypertension Rx. Do my low blood-ketone readings indicate that I am not fat adapting fully?

Is 4 months in too soon to expect neuro improvement? If my blood ketones got above 2, would my brain fog improve?

Many days I am not hungry and therefore don’t eat very much at all. I know you state eat only when hungry… I just want to make sure I am doing the best for my health as on these days I probably don’t meet my protein macros.

Therefore, should I be eating the total protein macros even if I’m not hungry? Since starting this lifestyle I have no cravings and minimal to no hunger. My neurobiochemistry must be very content – for the first time in my life!

Many, many heart-felt thanks. Like you -I am doing this for life…

Patricia

 
Hi Patricia!

I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all amount of protein for every meal, neither do I think we need to obsess about getting a certain minimum amount every single day. Just eat when hungry.

However, if you absolutely want to count, 1 gram of protein per day per kilo of desired body weight should be a good spot to aim for (on average).

I’d suggest a cup of bouillon daily for a few days and see if the fluid/salt helps with mental clarity.

Best,
Andreas

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9 comments

  1. Rose
    I don't understand the protein recommendation--I am converting to pounds. For a person 120 pounds = 54 kilos, so does that mean that person should eat 54 grams of protein?

    54 grams = 2 ounces ???

    Replies: #2, #3
  2. Lasell
    Hi Rose,

    I read on Authority Nutrition that between 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound of body weight is a good estimate. So yes about 54 grams.

    Also read there that What “Grams of Protein” Really Means
    When I say “grams of protein” – I mean grams of the macronutrient protein, not grams of a protein containing food like meat or eggs.
    An 8 ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams, but it only contains 61 grams of actual protein. A large egg weighs 46 grams, but it only contains 6 grams of protein.
    See the link to the article here https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-protein-per-day/

    Hope this helps!

    Replies: #4, #5
  3. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Rose!

    Yes, around 1 gram /1 kilo is a general recommendation. But if you are doing a lot of training then you could go up a bit. :)

  4. Zepp
    Its easy if one do understand what its all about!

    Soo I would try to explain?

    Protein (amino acids) are macronutrients, it means it could provide energy (Calories).

    How ever its seldome used as such, but as building blocks for a lot in your body.

    Its essentiall.. att least 20 of the amino acids or soo.

    Anyhow, by living and moving one use and destroy muscles.. its cald protein catabolism.. moste of it goes back in to protein syntesis again and provide those amino acids you ned for muscles, hormones,, other things.

    There are always a waist in this process.. thats what you need to get by food.. animal sorce and/or vegetable!

    One have tryed to estimate minimum needs for that purpose.

    And they came up whit 0,6-0,9 grams/kilo a day as minimum need!

    Minimum needs are seldom the same as optimum.. the leaner one is and the more fysical one is, the more one need.. in grams/Kg a day.

    On a ketogenic diet one altso use extra amino acids for glukoneogens.. so we say 1 gram/kilo a day as a mean minimum intake.

    And at last.. there are high protein diets.. LCHF is a high fat diet, but it seems to be a little higher on protein anyhow for moste people.

  5. Rose
    Yes Thanks!

    Hi Rose,I read on Authority Nutrition that between 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound of body weight is a good estimate. So yes about 54 grams.Also read there that What “Grams of Protein” Really Means When I say “grams of protein” – I mean grams of the macronutrient protein, not grams of a protein containing food like meat or eggs. An 8 ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams, but it only contains 61 grams of actual protein. A large egg weighs 46 grams, but it only contains 6 grams of protein. See the link to the article here https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-protein-per-day/Hope this helps!

  6. Marcos
    Hi,
    I wonder about using mineral salt instead of regular salt. Regular salt has 38g of sodium, 8mg of potassium and no magnesium. Mineral salt (I'm checking Seltin, Norwegian brand) has 20g of sodium, 21g of potassium and 1,8g of magnesium. Is it a good option? I mean, I don't have any problems using regular salt, I just wonder if this mineral salt could be a bad idea.
    Thanks!
  7. Anne mcconnell
    I don't like all veg. But like salads mushrooms onions peas and love dairy and bread I feel I eat a lot of meat chicken etc and I'm worried but what can I eat instead I find it hard
  8. Anna
    Hi, I'm on lowcarb diet few days and it was reccomended to me to drink water with salt. My question is how many g per day is not harmful? I read that this diet lowers a heart blood pressure and I was always tend to have lower heart blood pressure. I was reccomended to take 10-20g per day, but I'm just wondering if it's not too much. I feel much better on lowcarb as I was diagnozed with PCOS, but feel a bit pressure in my ears which I can't understand what is that and make me feel a bit anxious and worry about it.
    Thank you for your reply!
  9. Melissa
    How much water are we supposed to drink a day whilst on keto?

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