Many people do see success in just a short period of time (like in the “28-Day Keto Challenge“), but without a road map it can be difficult navigating the challenges that the keto diet presents.
If you’re looking to start the diet yourself, look out for these common keto mistakes to make your transition as smooth as possible.
You’re not eating enough fat.
The intention of the keto diet is to force the body to run on fat, as opposed to glycogen (sourced from carbs). When the body reaches this stage, it’s called ketosis. As a result, you need to be eating a significant amount of fat.
If you’re not used to eating a lot of fat, you may find it difficult to hit your required amount. The first 30 days are critical and this step-by-step 28-day keto plan was designed for you to lose weight.
However, general guidelines stipulate 60-75 percent of your food should be from fat, 15-30 percent from protein, and five to ten percent from carbohydrates. To work out your personalized split, try using an online calculator.
It’s a good idea to plan your meals and moderate your fat intake until you can estimate the number of fats in your meals by eyeballing portions.
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You’re eating too much saturated fat.
One of the common keto diet mistakes that people make is eating too much saturated and trans fats. Yes, the keto diet is a high-fat diet, but there is still a difference between the types of fats that you should eat.
Healthy fats are the ones that should make the up the most of your fat intake.
The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your saturated fat intake. Too much saturated fat can increase your “bad” cholesterol, and, therefore, your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate saturated fat from your diet, don’t let it make up the majority of your diet.
On the other hand, healthy fats, which are monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats, are the ones that raise your “good” cholesterol. So, stock up on your nuts, avocado, and fatty fish intake. Your body will thank you for it.
You’re avoiding fruit and vegetables.
Too many people focus on restricting carb intake to the point where they don’t eat their vegetables. Don’t do this. Vegetables are critical to your health, even if you’re on the keto diet.
They also contain micronutrients and fiber, so you don’t want to miss out on them. Make sure that you’re eating your veggies, especially the non-starchy kinds. Cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms are great options.
Fruit also becomes the enemy for people following a low-carb diet. But, just like with vegetables, they are an important factor in your health. While some fruits are higher in carbs, there are also alternatives, such as berries, that are delicious and are low in carbs.
Eating your servings of whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables, is important. Don’t just rely on products that are marketed as “keto-friendly,” because chances are, they are also processed.
While it is okay to indulge a little, you want to make sure that you’re eating as much whole food as possible. That includes your fruits and veggies.
Dr. Anthony Gustin, Co-Founder of Perfect Keto, says, “I would ten times out of ten rather have you eating a diet composed of 90 percent real food carbs and not have a single ketone in your body than eating a heap of processed junk.”
He emphasizes food quality. Whatever food plan or diet you choose to follow, this is an important factor.
You’re consuming too much protein.
The keto diet typically stipulates moderate protein. Another one of the common keto diet mistakes people make is consuming too much protein.
This hinders the ability to enter a state of ketosis because excess protein will be converted to glucose by the body, which you don’t want on a keto diet.
Additionally, in general, consuming too much protein may cause kidney issues so make sure you have a good kidney support.
Though a high-protein intake doesn’t cause kidney issues in those with normally-functioning kidneys, studies have found it may exacerbate kidney issues in people who already suffer from mild kidney abnormalities.
Like with your fat intake, monitor your protein intake to make sure that you’re eating the right amount of protein for you. You don’t want to go to all this work to limit carbs and increase fat, only to derail your progress because of your protein intake.
You’re not drinking enough water.
Due to the restriction of carbs, you lose a lot of water in the body. So, make sure that you drink more water to prevent dehydration.
Keep your water bottle on you at all times, as it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget to drink. Don’t let your thirst be the only indicator to have some water. If you’re thirsty, it means that you’re already getting dehydrated, and we want to avoid going down this path.
If your urine is on the yellow side, then drink up! It means that you are not drinking enough water. You want it to be light or pale yellow.
You’re having too many “cheat meals.”
Unfortunately, on a keto diet, you can’t really have a cheat meal like you may be able to do on other diets.
This is because a cheat meal will typically be high in carbs. This will take you out of ketosis and then you will have to start all over again to get your body back into it.
You can try having low-carb versions of your favorite meal, such as cauliflower crust pizza. Or, if you want to order it from your local pizza store, choose thin crust over thick or deep pan. This way, you can indulge, while still staying as low-carb as possible.
Another way to have a cheat meal on the ketogenic diet is to actually make the meal worthwhile. Don’t just mindlessly snack, but really just eat something that you’re craving and enjoy every bite of it.
Then, you can get back to your keto diet stronger than ever.
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