The ketogenic diet is probably the most meticulous and complex eating plans out there. There are so many things that can go wrong. For me and for many others, it has been life-transforming. For some it can turn into a nightmare. That’s because of these common keto mistakes.
To Get into Ketosis
To induce nutritional ketosis, you have to low blood glucose levels and a higher concentration of ketone bodies. The optimal zone is between 0.5 and 3.0 mMol-s.
This happens either after a prolonged period of fasting or by restricting carbohydrate intake for about 2-3 weeks.
#1 Not Restricting Carbs Enough
The most obvious and one of the biggest mistakes on keto is that not restricting carbohydrates enough. How low you need to go depends on the individual and their tolerance, but the general guideline is that it should be at about 30-50 grams of NET carbs.
The lower you go the faster ketosis will be induced. During the initial periods of adaptation, it’s best advised to keep it at less than 20-30 grams.
Just eating low carb doesn’t work. If you’re in this peripheral zone between still burning glucose but not utilizing ketones as effectively, then you’ll never adapt completely. This is the worst place to be because your body will be in a constant energy crisis.
#2 Eating the Wrong Foods the Wrong Way
Another common keto mistakes people make are consuming whatever and eating them the wrong way. Even though some foods might be keto-friendly it doesn’t mean that they’re good for you.
Processed food comes in many shape and form. It’s important to know what you’re putting into your body if you want optimal results.
What not to eat on keto are highly inflammatory vegetable oils, trans fats and processed meat that’s cured in sugar, dextrose and all other possible things that will spike your blood sugar even before you can put them in your mouth.
The way you consume them is equally as important. You have to know how cooking certain ingredients affect their nutrient composition.
- For instance, if you heat fat too much it’ll go rancid and cause inflammation.
- Charring meat and eggs increase the amount of carcinogens in them
- Boiling vegetables soft will remove all the fiber from them and flush out the other micros – they should be slightly raw and crunchy
- You should eat all your foods as least processed and just cooked enough
#3 Too Much Protein
People also tend to eat too much protein on keto. Your body needs only a certain amount of protein per day and it’s the only macronutrient that can’t be stored for future use.
To store protein inside the body, it needs to be converted into glucose first through the liver’s process of gluconeogenesis. Any excess protein the body doesn’t need will be potentially converted into sugar and this can hinder keto-adaptation.
Another issue is people eating too much meat as well.
Consuming too much protein and meat triggers the body’s anabolic mechanisms that support muscle growth and bone density, but in excess, they also promote aging and cancer growth.
For paleo and keto people, it’s very common to be eating a lot of bacon, steak, and eggs. However, charring meat and frying your food also makes it more carcinogenic. Remember, heat and cooking reduce micronutrient density and make it more inflammatory.
The healthiest sources of protein are eggs, wild caught fish and grass fed beef but you shouldn’t overcook them either.
The majority of your plate should still be plant based so you could get all the micronutrients and fiber. About 1/2 of the meal in volume should be some vegetable, 1/3 of it should be some natural protein and the remaining small amount should be a source of healthy fats. However, that small amount of fat comprises most of the calories of the meal.
#4 Not Drinking Enough Water
Carbs make the body hold onto water. Once you ditch them, you’ll also flush out a lot of water. The initial weight loss a lot of people experience is caused by your body removing most of its excess fluids.
Being dehydrated and suffering from an electrolyte imbalance are ketogenic mistakes you don’t want to be making. They will make the symptoms of the “keto flu” a lot more severe than they actually are.
The recommendation of 8 cups of water a day is inadequate when eating low carb. You should drink about 10 cups a day but at the same time pay attention to how often you urinate. If you’re going to the bathroom a lot then dial down on that aqua, my friend, because you’re flushing out all the electrolytes. Instead, add a pinch of sea salt to your water and stir it so that you could absorb them completely.
#5 Not Enough Micronutrients
Other electrolytes and micronutrients you should consume more of are potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Try to eat as many greens and vegetables as you can.
- Potassium – spinach, avocados, salmon, coconut water
- Magnesium – chard, pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, avocados, dark chocolate
- Calcium – kale, sardines, broccoli, bok choy, cheese, raw milk, and kefir. When it comes to dairy then you have to look at how your gut reacts to these products. Dairy consists of casein-protein that may cause bloating, inflammation and acne, so you should still limit your dairy consumption.
- Sodium – add more salt to your food, drink bone broth, bouillon cubes, and pickle juice to prevent fatigue and muscle cramps.
- You can also supplement some of these deficiencies. Check out our Keto Products on Amazon.com
#6 You’re Too Stressed Out
Other mistakes on keto people make is not sleeping enough and being overly stressed out. It can also be the secret thing that stops you from getting into ketosis in the first place.
If there are too many stressors in your life, you’ll release more adrenaline and glucose into your blood stream. This hinders the utilization of ketone bodies and puts a halt to the adaptation process.
Every time you get angry or scream at someone in traffic, you’re raising your blood glucose levels and become a raging sugar burner. No one wants to be around someone like that, especially not ketones.
#7 Working Out the Wrong Way
If you’re like me, then you’re doing the ketogenic diet for purposes other than weight loss. For me, the greatest benefits have to do with the cognitive and longevity aspects of it.
Ketosis is a great performance enhancing tool as well. The problem is that those advantages become apparent only after correct fat adaptation. This takes a long time (several months) and needs to be accompanied by training the right way.
At first, you need to build up your fat burning engine and avoid anaerobic training for the most part. During high intensities, we won’t be able to use ketones for fuel, unless we’ve become extremely well adapted. Until then, we’ll be simply releasing more glucose into the blood stream and will slow down the process altogether.
#8 Not Eating Carbs When Needed
Low carb athletes may also eat the wrong way.
If you’re working out intensely and are burning off a lot of glycogen, then your body needs more glucose. And if it’s not going to get it from food, you’ll suffer poorer performance, potential muscle loss, and higher stress levels.
If you’re training very hard, like 5-6 times per week, then you should also compensate for it by strategically consuming some more carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic dieting works great for bodybuilders and endurance athletes who are preparing for a race or an event
- Targeted ketogenic dieting is better for improving your performance each session by consuming a very small amount of carbs during your hardest workouts.
#9 Not Committing to it Long Term
The biggest keto mistakes would be to quit halfway through and not commit to it as a long term thing.
The ketogenic diet shouldn’t be a quick and easy tool for weight loss, although it’s extremely effective at burning fat.
Instead, it should be a complete change in lifestyle. As your metabolic engine shifts from using glucose to ketones, the quality of your life will improve.
The greatest and most advantageous benefits of ketosis become evident only after several months.
- You’ll regain your energy and vigor, making the fruits of life that much sweeter, even when there’s no fruit eaten on keto.
- You’ll feel amazing all of the time because of your brain has access to premium quality ketone jet fuel.
- You’ll optimize your health and performance, by protecting yourself against inflammation, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease.
- You won’t be obsessed by food. You’ll almost never feel hungry, lose sugar cravings, don’t have to count calories and are constantly satiated. It’s an amazing feeling.
If you think you’re feeling OKAY at the moment, then wait until you get into the deeper stages of ketosis. You’ll then realize what abundant energy actually feels like.