Today we’re continuing our series today on the ketogenic diet myths, mistakes and how to set up a ketogenic diet properly.
In case you missed it in Part 1 we discussed what a true ketogenic diet is, and some of the common myths about keto diets that people continue to believe, you can read Part 1 HERE.
In Part 2 today we’re covering the 5 common ketogenic diet mistakes that people make that will make them feel poorly or eventually give up on keto.
Let’s take a closer look at what these top 5 mistakes are, and learn how you can avoid them when structuring your own keto diet.
1. Thinking Keto (or any diet) Is The Only Way:
For people who are at higher levels of body fat, and switch to a ketogenic diet they’re likely to see large drops on the scale very quickly due to water weight being lost.
It can be very encouraging for someone who struggles with weight loss to see a big drop on the scale, but it can also be equally frustrating when scale weight doesn’t continue to drop as fast.
Keto diets can be used for fat loss, but just like any other diet that works you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose body fat.
The reality is Keto may work for you, but it may not and either of those is totally fine because there are a multitude of diet that work and it’s about finding what works best for you as an individual.
An old client of mine used a ketogenic diet to drop 60lbs in 6 months to get ready for his wedding.
He was extremely diligent though and worked his ass off daily to lose that weight, and we were constantly checking in and making sure things were moving in the right direction and make any necessary changes.
Don’t approach keto as a quick fix though or any diet for that matter. To truly follow a keto diet it can be restrictive, and require you to be diligent but if you get results it can be worth it.
2. Not Tracking Your Food At All
None of you probably want to walk around with a food scale and constantly be on my fitness pal tracking your food day in day out, and I don’t want that for you either.
However when you can only eat 30-50 gram of carbs a day, and need to keep your fat intake much higher than your protein, this is where tracking can be a benefit.
Especially for people who have either been stalled in their fat loss journey or have eaten a higher carb lower fat diet for a long period of time using tracking helps them to have a guide to follow.
As humans we just have poor portion and calorie awareness and lack the basic skills to eyeball food portions until we’ve trained that skill.
When tracking your food for two weeks you’re likely to see some trends emerge and realize a few areas you can improve to get the most out of your ketogenic diet.
Maybe your protein is getting a little higher than it should, or you have some sneaky carbs putting you over the 30-50 gram range.
If fat loss is your goal make sure you’re eating in a calorie deficit, but not starving yourself either as ketone can have appetite suppressing effects.
Unless you track and can see the real numbers you would have no idea what your mistakes are and could be putting all the work in but not seeing the results you’re after.
As Peter Drucker the author of the book The Effective Executive said “What gets measured, get managed” and this whole heartedly applies to your diet and nutrition.
3. Not Eating Enough Fat
When you eat a real ketogenic diet you’re dropping carbohydrates very low usually only about 5-10% of your total calories and by doing so you’re removing one of the main fuel sources for the body.
That gap in fuel from carbohydrate removal needs to be filled with another energy producing macronutrient, and on a ketogenic diet those calories need to come from dietary fat.
If you’ve been lead to believe that dietary fat is bad for your health, embracing a higher fat diet can can be difficult. Especially for someone who is switching from a higher carb lower fat diet.
If you don’t eat enough dietary fat while keeping carbs really low on a keto diet you’ll end up feeling burned out and fatigued.
When you don’t give the body enough of the energy producing macros for a long enough period of time you’re putting a lot of stress on your adrenal glands to release more stress hormones for the purpose of energy mobilization.
An overabundance of stress hormones can make any kind of fat loss more difficult, and the water retention from a stressed state can mask body composition changes in the mirror and weight changes on the scale.
4. Not getting enough salt and electrolytes
When you’re eating a keto diet making sure you’re getting enough salt and electrolytes is crucial to making sure you stay hydrated and avoid keto flu.
In the absence of carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet your body will flush more water and electrolytes because carbohydrates help to pull water into the muscles.
To stay healthy the cells in your body need to maintain a certain balance of fluids inside and outside of the cells. That fluid balance inside and outside of your cells is controlled by electrolytes.
When you lose lots of water on a keto diet and create electrolyte imbalances it can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches and make you feel light headed.
This is why many people get keto flu, which can be avoided by drinking enough water, re-balancing electrolytes, and with a sufficient amount of dietary fat and calories.
5. Not Eating Enough Fiber
On a ketogenic diet you’ll need to make sure to have your carbs, protein and fats in the right portions and getting plenty of water and electrolytes is crucial too.
However just because this diet is high fat, and lower carbs doesn’t mean that you should neglect non starchy vegetables and fiber.
When people go on a ketogenic diet the main focus is to keep carbs very low and fat very high, and as a result they often neglect the intake of vegetables and focus on sources of fat and meat instead.
If you go on a ketogenic diet and neglect vegetables and fiber you can end up constipated and with some digestive issues.
Some of the constipation issues can also be traced back to dehydration and a lack of having electrolytes to hold water in the body.
Given the fact that fiber has been touted for years as something that helps with digestion, cholesterol and has significant health and longevity benefits it’s important to eat your veggies no matter what diet you’re on.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to fiber intake is to consume 10-15 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories that you eat. So if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day you should be eating 20-30 grams of fiber each day.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series where we’ll discuss how to set a ketogenic diet properly, and avoid the mistakes we covered above.