A keto diet (low-carb diet) is when the liver produces ketones for use as energy. When a person consumes something which has high carbs, his body will generate insulin and glucose (1).
Glucose is the simplest molecule for the body to convert and utilize as energy so it becomes the main source of energy (2).
On the other hand, insulin is made for processing the glucose in the bloodstream through carrying it around the body. Because the glucose is utilized as a main energy, the fats are not required and are thus stored.
Usually, on an ordinary, higher carb food, the body uses glucose as the primary form of energy. Through reducing the consumption of carbohydrates, the body is brought into a condition called ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process initiated by the body for helping people survive once they take low quantities of food (3).
During the course, the body generates ketones when the fats in the liver are broken-down. The ultimate goal of a well-maintained keto diet is to make the body adapt into this metabolic condition.
People do not do this through calories starvation, but carbohydrate starvation.
Many people make different mistakes when they are in keto diet, which makes the entire process unsuccessful. Such mistakes are discussed as follows:
Failure to Know The Macronutrients Or Being Obsessed Over Macros
Evidently, calories are important, even on a ketogenic diet with low carbs. By eating nutritious meals which have low carbs, high fat content and moderate proteins, one will naturally consume less food. Thus, many people should count calories on a keto diet.
Nevertheless, the fact that a person eats a low-carb diet does not warranty him to lose weight. It aids in keeping an eye on the fat consumption. The closer a person gets to the desired weight, the more significant that becomes.
In addition, one must ensure that he eats adequate quantity of protein to keep satiated and avoid loss of muscle (4). One may find the ideal macronutrients through the use of keto calculator. Generally, one should not be over-obsessed with macros, but rather ensure that the food is keto-friendly.
Overemphasis on Carbs
It is normal that when a person is on a ketogenic diet, the quantity of carbs eaten is reduced. However, eating fewer carbohydrates does not mean that someone will lose weight. Indeed, one can follow a zero-carb diet and consequently gain more weight. Therefore, a very low-carbohydrate does not just lead to loss of fat.
Failure to Eat Enough Protein or Eating a Lot Of Protein
Taking adequate protein is critical (5), particularly for the people attempting to lose weight. Addition of proteins within the required limits could assist an individual in breaking through a long-term plateau.
Once a person takes a high-protein food, his body discharges glucagon that counterbalances insulin and is important for satiety (6).
Nevertheless, that does not indicate that one needs to over-eat proteins. In particular, proteins are an efficient source of fuel and taking a lot of proteins could increase the insulin level (7). Consequently, high levels of insulin may prevent the burning of fat. Besides, not all sources of protein are similar and certain amino acids could lead to higher insulin spikes.
One should not be worried about some additional grams of proteins because consuming a little more proteins will not kick someone out of ketosis (8) as not all extra proteins are converted into glucose through gluconeogenesis.
One should also make sure they includesquality sources of proteins like fatty fish with high omega 3s. However, taking too much protein may interfere with the efforts to attain ketosis because 56 grams of 100 grams of protein may be converted to glucose. Therefore, excessive protein is converted to glucose.
Failure to Eat Enough Fat and Taking the Wrong Types of Fat
When a person is under a ketogenic diet, they control the energy consumption through fat, because carbs and proteins stay more or less constant. Simply, if a person wants to lose body fat, they should eat fewer calories. One must get much of the fats from foods rich in omega 3 such as fatty fish, and meals with high monounsaturated fatty acids like extra virgin olive oil and avocados.
Similarly, one should ensure that they get adequate Vitamin D. Yet, there is the possibility that when one eats fatty fish and meals with high Vitamin D, he may be deficient in this crucial micronutrient (9). Further, one should avoid seed and vegetable oils, as they are very unhealthy and may inhibit the weight loss efforts (10). One should eat saturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and animal fats in addition to fish oil, and monounsaturated fat.
Avoidance of Fiber and Vegetables
It is important to take non-starchy vegetables because they are important for a healthy low-carbohydrate diet (11). Thus, one should not avoid vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, or fruits like berries and avocados. The foods have extremely high contents of micronutrients, low carbs, and may not inhibit one’s efforts to lose weight. So, unless one has food sensitivities to nightshades or other vegetables, they should be included in the diet.
Over-Obsession with Ketone Levels
Taking a ketogenic diet with very low-carbs which has high levels of ketone is not the best effective way of losing weight. Nutritional ketosis is attained once the blood ketones range from 0.5mM and above (12). Values which are above this do not have any extra benefits.
Taking Keto Diet as a Quick Fix and Lack of Commitment
One does not lose weight overnight and low-carb diet is not a quick-solution but rather a lifestyle change. Keeping a keto-diet requires determination and sacrifice because it is not easy. So one should be committed and follow the low-carb diet so as to lose weight.
A Lot of Stress and Inadequate Sleep
Having too much stress will prevent one from losing weight. Circadian rhythm condition or lack of sleep can prevent weight loss. Having less energy will make it hard for one to lose weight. People who are deprived of sleep generate less growth hormone, have reduced metabolism of glucose and exhibit a lower leptin level- the hormone which indicates satiety.
Also, lack of sleep results in a raised ghrelin level- the hormone which notifies the brain when one is hungry. Individuals who sleep for fewer hours are more likely to keep body fat. Thus, to successfully lose weight, one should avoid stress and have sufficient sleep.
Taking a lot of Nuts and Dairy
Nuts have too many calories and can be easily overeaten (13). 100 grams of macadamia nuts comprise more than 700kcl and more than 70 grams of fat, which is half of the energy consumption for many people attempting weight loss. One should also avoid peanuts because even though they have relatively low carbs, they contain phytates and lectins, making them difficult to digest (14).
Besides, overall, legumes have been associated with leaky gut syndrome, PCOS, Hashimoto’s, and IBS (15, 16). Further, dairy containing full fat usually taken during a ketogenic diet are high calorie and can be easily overeaten. Moreover, diary has a certain type of protein which may result in greater insulin spikes compared to meat. Thus, one should avoid high-protein dairy products such as yogurt and cheese and take cream and butter as they have relatively low proteins.
Taking Products Labeled “Low-Carb” And Consuming a Lot of Low-Carb Treats
Basically, one should take real food and avoid foods which have too much deceptive labeling and additives (17). Often these items labeled low-carb have higher carbs than claimed ad have unnecessary additives.
Likewise, though many people like low-carb treats, they are unsuitable for losing weight, especially when someone has just began to follow a low-carb diet and needs to get over sugar addition. Low-carb sweeteners and keto treats may all raise yearnings and appetite and one should reduce or even entirely avoid taking them.
Taking “Bulletproof” Coffee on Daily Basis and Drinking Alcohol
Butter coffee is mainly fat and extremely low in other nutrients. Although Bulletproof Coffee might a good addition to the diet, one ought to get calories from real nutritious meals together with minerals, vitamins and protein. On the other hand, people attempting to lose weight should not take alcohol.
First, alcohol adds calories. While alcohol has no sugar, it is impossible for the body to store it as fat because it has to metabolize it first (18). Consequently, the fat-burning advantage of the ketogenic diet is reduced. Furthermore, alcohol raises dehydration, appetite and overwhelms self-control and these impair weight loss. Finally, alcohol converts in the body to acetate (18) and if one uses a breathalyzer for tracking ketone levels, he might get wrong and exaggeratedly high results.
Taking a Lot of Snacks and Failure to Plan Diet
When one follows a nutritious, ketogenic diet, he should not eat snacks. Unless one has hypoglycemia problems, three main meals or less in a day are enough. Various studies have revealed that planning as well as tracking diet, combined with community support, could significantly enhance weight loss and assist one in attaining his goals (19, 20).
When one plans mealtimes in advance, they will prevent excess snacking and avoid binging incidences. Such does not mean that one will have to track diet always but it may help in avoiding common mistakes, particularly when one is new to the low-carb diet.
Depending Purely on Generic Diet Plans and Wrong Exercising
No diet plan or method of eating is suitable for all. When one has any health condition or struggles to follow a diet plan, they will benefit from the one which is made particularly for their needs, which includes the correct energy consumption, food sensitivities and other preferences. Failure to exercise or over-exercising may be both counterproductive for weight loss on a low-carb diet.
Taking Cheat Meals and Eating Because it's Meal Time
A cheat meal refers to taking anything from the banned foods. Taking cheat meals frequently is not good for the low-carb diet. One should not eat because time has reached to take food. A person should eat when they are hungry and not when the clock says it is time for eating.
Comparing Oneself with Other People and Going It Alone
One should not compare himself with others because people gain and lose weight in different parts at different times.
Thus, the progress of another individual should not affect that of another. Besides, it is better to have a supportive group which has a clear understanding of the struggle, journey and success. It is important to have someone who can help throughout the effort.
Not Taking Salt and Enough Electrolytes
With the low-carb diet, it is important to take salt as the body risks having salt imbalance as a result of sodium release from the body (21). Essentially, such leads to lightheadedness, headaches, nausea and fatigue within the first few days on the keto diet. Thus, one should put adequate salt in all meals. Similarly, electrolytes are of importance and thus one should ensure to have adequate potassium, magnesium and sodium in the diet to avoid lethargy, constipation, fatigue and headaches associated with keto diet (4, 22).
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