People everywhere are after that keto ticket to weight loss. Unfortunately, we see far too many people jumping on the wrong train.
Since the ketogenic diet is a relatively new field of nutritional study, people tend to circulate misinformation that leads to some common and potentially serious keto mistakes.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
This dietary change triggers weight loss by switching the body's main fuel source to fat rather than carbohydrates, thus promoting ketone body formation. Essentially, you're tricking your body into thinking it is starving so that it burns fat for energy.
How Do I know if I'm In Ketosis?
Ketosis signs include:
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Change in the breath that can smell fruity or acetone-like (sugar-free gum works to combat any unpleasant smell)
- Keto flu (followed by increased energy and clarity)
- Keto sweating
The good news is, initial unpleasant signs of ketosis taper off once your body adjusts to the change. For instance, keto flu can cause fatigue and body aches. But if you avoid the mistakes below, then you won't have to suffer for long.
7 Common Keto Mistakes
People sometimes interpret keto reactions in ways that not only hinder them from long-term weight loss, but also send them in a dangerous direction.
Let's take a look at 7 of the most common keto mistakes and the potential harm they can cause.
1. Not Balancing Protein Properly
You need protein in high enough amounts to maintain muscle mass. With that said, restrict your high-quality protein consumption to between .65 and 1g per kilogram of body weight.
Too little and your body will break down muscle for fuel. Over time, this may cause you to suffer from:
- A drop in blood pressure and heart rate
- Liver problems
Too much, and your body will drift out of ketosis due to a spike in blood glucose levels. For the long haul, this can result in:
- Bad breath
- Weight gain (due to the rise in glucose)
- Kidney stones
- Kidney damage (your kidneys filter protein from the blood)
Stay within the suggested protein limits to stay on the safe side.
2. Cutting Fruits & Vegetables Out Completely
Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to diet. Although the carnivore diet has been gaining popularity and can help some people reduce inflammation, it's not the best diet for everyone.
Unless you're doing an elimination diet, going keto and maintaining a balance of fruits and veggies along with your protein is generally a good thing. Because fruits and vegetables tend to have lots of carbohydrates, some people on keto avoid them completely. That can be a big mistake.
Yes, fruits and vegetables add to your carb count. But even though you're on a carb cutting diet, you'll still want to incorporate as many vitamin-packed foods into your meals as possible. And to avoid fruits and vegetables completely means eliminating some of the most nutrient-dense foods available to you. Of course, too many carbs can send you out of ketosis, so choose your options carefully.
Here are some Keto-friendly fruits and vegetables with their carbs per serving include:
- Spinach (1g)
- Avocado (2g)
- Asparagus (2g)
- Zucchini (3g)
- Cauliflower (5g)
- Watermelon (7.55g)
Completely cutting these healthy carbs out of your diet can lead to serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies, like scurvy from lack of vitamin C. Also, fruits and vegetables provide fiber to your diet, and lack of fiber can cause constipation and other health problems.
Check out some of these keto-friendly side dishes for tasty ways to add in vegetables.
3. Skipping Fat
People tend to follow the logic that to lose fat, they need to cut out fat. However, you need to throw this idea out the window. A key part of the keto diet is increasing your healthy fat intake.
This does not mean you should deep fry everything. Choose quality fat sources like:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Red meat (I'm personally a fan of Bison Ribeyes)
Fats provide you with 9kcals per gram. So, not eating enough fats from nutritious sources will make it difficult for you to take in enough calories.
In the short term, this seems great as it increases weight loss. However, it will also deplete your energy and make you start craving carbs, making it super difficult for you to remain in ketosis.
4. Not Catching Enough Zzzs
The keto diet creates changes in your boy that make it difficult to sleep. Carbohydrates improve the effectiveness of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you feel sleepy, so cutting them out can make sleep harder to come by.
However, skipping out on the proper amount of sleep leads to reduced mental clarity, anxiety, obesity, and chronic disease in the long run. Science suggests that sleeping less leads to ore impulse eating, which can sabotage your diet.
To sleep better, design your room so it's relaxing, turn off electronics at night and read a book before bed, and create a relaxing ritual for bedtime.
5. Not Hydrating
The keto diet can cause dehydration if you're not careful because keto sweating leads to increased water loss. Dehydration causes:
- Lowered metabolism
- Headaches & dizziness
- Dry skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
And all of these things can lead to more serious consequences. However, drinking too much water should be avoided as well. Over-hydration can lead to electrolyte imbalances that, unless replaced, can cause problems from muscle cramps to arrhythmias. Rule of thumb: Drink more than you did before your diet and do not let yourself feel thirsty. If you overdo it - replenish your electrolytes with sea salt and sources like potassium.
6. Forgetting Fermented Foods
Skipping out on fermented foods during the keto diet can lead to constipation. That's because the diet naturally cuts down your fiber intake. Fortunately, fermented foods work to improve your gut health and help things go more smoothly for you.
Some great fermented food sources include:
- Sour kraut
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Fruit chutney
Bonus benefit: Fermentation lowers the carb count of foods!
7. Winging It
People who eat on the fly without planning often fall off the keto wagon. Meal Prepping will help you stay on track and avoid impulse eating. It will also ensure that you do not fall short of your macros or overdo anything.
How to get started is simple: Devote one to two days a week to prepping your meals. Pick which days you're going to do it and stick to the schedule. Measure out your portions to meet your goals. Find containers that make it easy to do that (I would recommend stainless steel containers with plastic lids).
Also if you do not meal prep, you may fall into a pattern of just grabbing the same food you know you can eat off the top of your head. Planning your meal ahead of time allows you the opportunity to look through your week's meals and make sure you get a variety of foods to meet your micronutrient needs as well.
You Can Feel Great Losing Weight
Over the long haul, the keto diet will help you lose excess fat and maintain a healthy weight. It is up to you to change your lifestyle when you start the diet. Just remember to avoid these keto mistakes so you stay on track and feel good.
Check out Keto Collagen Cacao (our Keto-Friendly daily protein mix) to help you on your keto journey.