Keto diets are somewhat unique among the many dieting options out there; not only do they rely on a very specific biological process – ketosis – to work, but even a slight deviation from the guidelines of the diet is enough to kick someone out of ketosis and hinder the effects of their efforts. For this reason, those on a keto diet have to carefully monitor what they eat or drink to ensure that a simple snack or beverage won’t force them to restart the process of ketosis, something that can take days. For instance, someone looking to try BCAA supplements, which have become popular as a type of fitness supplement in recent years, may wonder whether these products would interfere with ketosis. So, can you take BCAAs on a keto diet? And if so, how should you use them? To learn the answer to these questions and others, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL® provides some answers.
Can BCAAs Affect My Keto Diet?
By design, supplements made with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have a number of effects on the body that offer one benefit or another to those who work out. However, because the goal of a keto diet – maintaining the process of ketosis – can be easily upended if the wrong food or drink is consumed, it’s prudent for someone on a keto diet to ask how these amino acids might affect ketosis.
Generally speaking, those on a keto diet have nothing to fear from BCAAs. Because maintaining ketosis in your body depends on depriving your system of carbohydrates and forcing it to burn more fat instead, the primary threat to a keto diet is foods or drinks that contain some amount of carbs. Most BCAA supplements, including those from aminoVITAL®, contain little to no carbs, however, making them an excellent addition to a keto diet. The only possible exception to this would be a post-workout supplement like aminoVITAL®’s Rapid Recovery mix, which has 12 grams of carbs – not enough to kick you out of ketosis, but enough that it should be factored into your total daily intake of carbs.
How Much BCAAs Can I Take on a Keto Diet?
While most people can take a significant amount of BCAAs in a day and still be perfectly fine, those on a keto diet have a few unique considerations to keep in mind when using these supplements. Below, we’ll look at general guidelines on how much BCAAs to take and what factors might change those guidelines for someone on a keto diet.
General Guidelines for How Much BCAAs to Take During Ketosis
The amount of BCAAs a sedentary person needs is pretty modest – maybe 12 grams for a man and 9-10 for a woman, depending on their size. Someone who exercises frequently, however, will need more than the standard amount; if you work out, your BCAA requirements could be as high as 20 grams1 per day or more, though the benefits beyond the 20-gram mark are likely pretty negligible for most people. In other words, any fitness fanatic (whether on a keto diet or otherwise) could benefit form as much as 10 additional grams per day of BCAAs, though you probably don’t need more than five or six extra grams daily.
Special Considerations When Taking BCAAs on a Keto Diet
Although they typically don’t contain much in the way of carbs, BCAAs might still be able to kick you out of ketosis if you take them in large enough quantities. If you break it down to a more basic level, a keto diet is actually about depriving your body of glucose (which mainly comes from carbs), so anything that supplies glucose to the body may affect ketosis. Amino acids are one alternative source of glucose; through the process of gluconeogenesis, the body can sometimes take certain amino acids – mainly alanine and glutamine, but also the BCAAs valine and isoleucine, among others – and convert them into glucose2. In high enough quantities, this glucose could interfere with ketosis.
It should be noted, however, that the main amino acid found in BCAA supplements, leucine, is not used to make glucose, so using a BCAA mix that is primarily made up of leucine – as most BCAA supplements, including those from aminoVITAL®, are – shouldn’t provide enough glucogenic amino acids to make an impact on your keto diet. In other words, as long as you don’t go way overboard and take a ton of BCAAs every day, they shouldn’t present a problem to someone on a keto diet.
When to Take BCAAs If You’re on a Keto Diet
Like many supplements, the effectiveness of BCAAs is greatly affected by timing. That’s because BCAAs work their magic during and immediately after exercise, so taking them long before or long after a workout will not produce the same benefits as taking them right before, during, or immediately after finishing your routine. For this reason, anyone on a keto diet who wants to use BCAAs should take them before their workout to provide energy, as a mid-workout supplement to balance hydration and protect their muscles, or right after their workout to promote recovery and boost gains.
Try BCAA Supplements for Greater Gains and a Faster Recovery on a Keto Diet
If you work out on a keto diet, you might have a hard time finding a supplement that checks all your boxes. If so, know that BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® can provide energy, promote muscle growth, and hasten recovery times – all while offering few calories and next to no carbs. To learn more about the benefits of BCAAs on a keto diet, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.