Can Whey Protein Shakes Throw You Out of Ketosis??

by Richard
(Brighton, England)

Question: I’ve been working out and eating a really low-carb diet for the past 8 weeks or so and have lost a stone (14 pounds) in weight and definitely have put on some muscle. I reckon I've got another stone or 2 to go though - I'm 5ft 11 and currently weigh 15 stone (210 pounds). At the moment my weight loss has plateaued.

My question is about Ketosis. I tried a CKD diet for a few weeks and didn’t really mind it. I ate loads of meat, fish, dairy and cheese and drank loads of water. I didn't get any of the usual side-effects (ketone breath, the muddled head) and didn’t really miss bread, pasta etc. All in all, it wasn’t too much of a hardship.

However, I bought some ketostix and I never seemed to get out of the pink - maybe once or twice after a big workout did it show slightly dark pink but that was about it. I wonder if I ever actually made it to ketosis?

I know my carb in take was extremely low, I was really careful monitoring what I was eating, but I wondered if my whey protein shake (Sci-Mx Ultragen which does contain some carbs - 4.42 g per 100g) could be throwing me out of ketosis? It was about the only carb intake I had each day.

Do you think this could’ve affected my ketosis and would you recommend whey shakes in general?
Do you think they help? I haven't tried Creatine, it kind of scares me!

I'm going to start your 3 day a week work out from Monday - so I'll let you know how it all progresses.

P.S I love your site. Many thanks for all the time and effort.

Answer: Thanks for your question and kind words Richard.

Whey protein shakes (or any protein shakes for that matter) will not throw you out of ketosis. Despite what many low carb dieters believe, you will always be in ketosis if your daily carb intake is below 100g. The protein shake you’re using has less

than 5g of carbs so it will be fine.

Meeting your protein needs each day is one of the most important aspects of successful dieting so if they help you achieve this then I’m all for them. Whilst whole foods are better than liquid meals, the convenience they offer is a major plus point and as long as you meet your protein target each day that’s the most important thing
regardless of how you get there.

Keto sticks are slightly misleading as dieters often believe that the darker the reading the better, when in fact you won’t lose any more fat by registering a darker reading. The reason you showed a dark purple reading after a big workout is probably because you were dehydrated. On my Keto Sticks page you’ll see that I was never in the dark purple zone and it didn’t stop me losing 28 pounds over 16 weeks.

From the information you’ve provided, the fact you’ve lost a stone (14 pounds) in 8 short weeks tells me you’re doing brilliantly! As long as the scale keeps going down keep doing what you’re doing as its obviously working so don’t worry about being in ketosis or keto sticks not showing dark purple and keep doing what your doing!

In regards to creatine, it’s by no means essential but it is one of the very few supplements that actually has numerous scientific studies which back up its effectiveness. It can help you maintain strength while dieting which can be useful but many low carb dieters fear it because it makes them think they are gaining weight. The reason for this is because creatine pulls water into your muscles which can lead to an increase in scale weight.

As long as you are maintaining your strength in the gym and the scale keeps going down I wouldn’t introduce anything new just yet.

Your ketogenic diet coupled with my 3day workout routine will be a perfect match and I’d love to hear how you progress so please do come back and share your results with us!

Good Luck Richard!


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Jun 29, 2014
Whey protein And Keto NEW
by: Gizmo

I'm glad to know I can supplement with Whey Protein. I'm having trouble getting enough protein because I don't get hungry!
As long as you keep the amount of protein within your optimum macros amounts~ it snould NOT throw you off Ketosis as I understand.

Apr 18, 2013
I disagree. NEW
by: Anonymous

Actually protein can throw you out of ketosis, because some proteins can be converted into glucose which will raise insulin levels. Also, in my experience, it is critical that you consume a lot of fat, especially at the beginning of the diet. Anyway I know this is an old question but just wanted to add my 2 cents.

Jun 07, 2011
Keto and Whey Protein
by: Shaun

Great post! I've been wondering about this too and after checking the label on my protein powder it looks like its fine after all.

Thanks for putting my mind at ease!

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