The keto diet seems straightforward on paper. The eating plan involves switching the body’s energy source from carbohydrates to fat. Someone who follows the keto in theory just needs to cut out carbohydrates and sugars and eat more fat and protein instead.
Unfortunately, this is an oversimplification.
It’s easy to conflict with common mistakes when following the keto diet. Such mistakes can have the opposite effect of what a keto dieter intends to do. Instead of losing weight, gain it instead. To minimize the risk of keto mistakes, learn – and avoid! – these eight common mistakes.
The biggest mistake anyone following a ketogenic diet can make is expecting miracles. The keto diet is just that – a diet. The results of dieting vary for each person. How quickly you begin to feel the benefits of the keto diet will depend on your unique body composition.
You may have a friend who lost 10 pounds in a week after the keto diet. This is great for them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the same will happen to you. Always start the keto diet with your eyes open and prepare to be patient. It can take you a while to see results, so it’s important not to get discouraged.
Try too much too soon
Carbohydrates are all around us and are highly addicting. This means that trying to cut carbohydrates from your diet overnight without warning can send your body into severe deprivation. If you walk too fast, you can expect a bad case of what is known as the “keto flu,” whose symptoms include pain, chills, exhaustion and muscle cramps.
The keto flu is no joke and can last up to two weeks as your body adapts to this new approach to burning fuel. Hence, it is better to start your keto transition slowly and safely. Before going fully ketogenic, cut down on your carbohydrate and sugar intake for a while. Devouring pasta and chocolate for a week and then suddenly changing the taste will put your body in shock. Beware of foods labeled “keto”, they may contain hidden extras. Try to do everything yourself with fresh ingredients, your results will be better.
Don’t plan ahead
Almost all ready-to-eat meals are removed from your menu, so you will need a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry and time to cook or prepare meals. You also need to create a plan and follow what to eat each day to make sure you don’t go over your carbohydrate limit.
While you are in the early days of the keto diet, it is highly recommended that you follow a personalized keto plan from a service like PlanKetogenic. This way, you’ll learn about keto recipes with the exact dimensions of each ingredient to use, depending on your unique macros. Armed with this information, you’ll avoid common keto mistakes that occur while eating spontaneously or while trying to do your own calculations.
Planning is of the essence when embarking on your first ketogenic journey. Having a solid plan of what to eat for each meal is the easiest way to stay on track and not be tempted to graze on anything that catches your eye. You can even prepare your meals in advance for added convenience. After a busy day, you will appreciate your foresight.
Extinction of calorie intake
“Can you eat as much as you want on keto?” is a question that is often asked by people considering this diet. Unfortunately the answer is no. One of the critical keto mistakes to avoid is assuming that this eating plan is free. You still need to watch your calorie intake for the day.
You can get away with more than 2,000 calories a day, especially when you combine the keto diet with regular cardio. But when you are consuming more calories than you are consuming, the extras stick with you even when you are ketogenic.
Also, keep track of what you are eating. Remember, meat intake should be moderate and balance all meals with half a plate of fresh keto-friendly vegetables. Combined with healthy fats, this should be enough to satisfy your appetite without compromising your ketogenic status.
Eat the wrong fats
Perhaps the biggest mistake of keto is taking the “low carb, high fat” policy literally. Not all fat is created equal, and it’s easy to fill a keto meal plan with the wrong ingredients.
Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are great for the keto diet, as are omega-3 fatty acids. These fats provide energy to your body while also providing heart support and helping you lose weight on the keto diet. Avocado, olive oil, and fresh seafood are good sources of these fats. Fortunately, Spain is one of the world’s best places for olive oil (and probably for seafood too!). Here is a place to brush up on the facts about Spanish olive oils.
Unfortunately, many keto dieters make the mistake of consuming saturated fats and triglycerides. A healthy, sustainable keto diet doesn’t mean eating bacon and sausage with every breakfast, loading your kitchen with butter and cheese, and pouring half a pot of cream into your coffee. Do a little research on the variety of fats and what types are included in your ideal keto meals.
Failure to increase sodium
When you go without ready-made meals, you are reducing more than just your carbohydrate and sugar intake. Sodium will also take a nosedive, as this ingredient is often significant in such meals. This is usually considered a negative element of processed foods for good reason – but you still need to replace some of that sodium.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous keto mistakes is not understanding the importance of moderation in all things. You will go from a significant sodium intake to almost none while the sodium left in the body is drained as you enter ketosis. You need to make sure that you add at least two teaspoons to your daily food intake. While you can certainly salt your food at the table, adding salt when cooking will add more flavor to the food.
All of that extra salt you eat can make you thirsty, but that’s arguably for the best. Another major keto mistake is not drinking enough water. Followers of this diet are more likely to fall prey to dehydration as water in the body is typically bound to carbohydrates. Since your remaining carbohydrate resources are burned for fuel, water is lost with them.
Lost fluid must be replaced. Stick to plain water, however – avoid anything that might contain hidden sugars, such as fruit juice. An occasional diet soda is fine – the artificial sweetener aspartame won’t kick you out of ketosis – but keep water your preferred hydration.
Many dieters look forward to a regular “Cheat Day” where they can relax the rules a little. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest keto mistakes anyone can make. Consuming sugar and carbohydrates, even for just a meal, can kick your body out of ketosis. It can take up to three days to return to this earlier state.
During these three days, you eat a lot of fat, but you don’t burn it. Instead, your body absorbs energy from carbohydrates again. As a result, you will likely regain at least some of the weight that you lost during your diet. And you have to go through the transition all over again!
If you’re tempted to take a keto break, there is a healthy way to treat yourself and your taste buds to a gourmet version of a keto-friendly food like Spanish jamón, artisanal cheese, or dark chocolate.