If you’re like most people and keep an eye on your nutrition, you’ve heard about or even tried countless ‘diets’ in search of the one that will deliver you to the promised land. Don’t worry, everyone’s been through it. We’ve all tried different kinds of concepts, and mostly failed in our attempts. But there are a few that really do work.
At some point, you may have come across the very popular ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet, more fondly referred to by its short name “Keto,” is a high-fat, low-carb diet designed to shift the body from a normal state to ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body utilizes fat-derived ketones instead of glucose from carbs as its primary energy source (i.e., burn fat instead of carbs). The benefits it offers include rapid weight loss without hunger.
Keto, if done correctly, can help you lose weight effectively.
It’s touted as one of today’s most effective diets by some and disclaimed as a mere fad by others. The sticking point is because a single mistake in practicing the ketogenic diet can take you out of ketosis entirely. It’s also important to note that the body is not designed for extended ketosis, so it’s only recommended in rapid weight loss plans and not as a total lifestyle overhaul.
To fully maximize the benefits of the keto diet, you must be knowledgeable of how it works, as well as the common pitfalls that many fall into.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five common keto mistakes that make it ineffective.
1) Cutting carbs too quickly
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Carbs are notoriously pervasive and irresistible, which is why it is the greatest enemy of those seeking to lose weight, especially in Asian countries like Singapore, where rice is a staple in almost every meal.
This is precisely why you should taper it down instead of cutting it out abruptly unless you have the willpower of steel. Otherwise, you’ll put yourself at the risk of giving in to the urge and rebound binge eating due to the incessant hunger that cutting carbs completely usually brings. Obviously, that is entirely counterproductive to your weight loss goals.
The transition between carb-burning and fat-burning may become a challenge, especially for those who regularly engage in high-intensity training. Usually, these people have a greater carb requirement than normal.
We recommend sticking to the process and gradually cutting carbs from your food intake to give your body time to adjust to the changes. You’ll find it to be a more effortless adjustment, and it will be more beneficial to you in the long run.
2) Eating too much fat
Some people get too excited about the notion of eating fat to lose weight that they lose sight of the basic principle of all weight loss plans: creating a caloric deficit. No matter what diet or eating schedule you try, at the end of the day, the goal is to create a caloric deficit so that the body can utilize its energy stores in the form of fat.
Eating too much fat without moderation can still be an excessive intake of calories. One of the ways people use to see if their diets effectively put them in ketosis is to test the urine for ketones. Still, ketones in the urine can give the false illusion of adequately adhering to the diet, especially as they can show up in the urine in cases of excessive fat in a particular meal plan.
Another downside to eating too much fat, especially animal-based fat, is that you predispose yourself to the risk of high levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Like tapering yourself off carbs, you should be moderating your intake of fat. Remember, too much of anything is bad.
3) Eating too much meat
Conversely, eating too much meat and protein also has detrimental effects on the body.
Meat, especially pork, can be a viable source of fat, but people tend to get carried away and forget that a large portion of meat is protein. There is a bigger portion of each meal allocated for it, but since protein is also a source of calories, overeating meat can actually hinder ketosis.
Animal fats are definitely delicious and probably the best part of the ketogenic diet, but it’s still only one possible fat source. There are also plant-based alternatives with higher and healthier fat content.
Mix up your diet with “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, nuts, and coconuts, and eat animal meat in moderation to maximize the benefits of ketosis.
Of course, you should strive to have a good balance between your protein and fiber intake. Most people, on average, should eat 46-56 grams of protein and 25-35 grams of fiber each day.
4) Not drinking enough water
Usually, sodium and water retention are formidable enemies of people seeking to lose weight, but in ketogenic diets, they are actually factors to pay attention to. Increasing salt and water intake are ironically recommended in this diet.
Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration are very real risks of constant ketosis, and at the risk of sounding too complicated, this is what happens:
Fat breaks down into ketones in ketosis, which then travels in the blood to be picked up and used as fuel by muscles and other organs. Some of these ketones, however, exit through the urine, and the body sends water to go along with the ketones. As is the nature of sodium, it goes wherever water is, and the result is that you excrete excess amounts of your body water and sodium in ketosis.
Keep hydrated by drinking a lot of water, especially if you tend to sweat excessively. If possible, you should supplement your body with the vitamins and minerals, as well as the electrolytes it needs to function properly.
5) Miscalculating your macros
Calculating macronutrients is an essential component of maintaining constant ketosis, and a miscalculation on your part might mean that you won’t reap the full metabolic benefits of the diet.
The standard recommendation is to eat 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. At the very least, you have to make sure that you consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. Otherwise, the excess carbs will shift you right out of ketosis.
There are nine calories per gram of fat and four calories per gram of carbs and protein, so make sure to take that into consideration when planning your meals. Invest in a small food scale─they’re relatively cheap and quite easy to acquire. They’ll help you greatly in your quest for ketogenesis, and they’ll help you track your calories and maintain a caloric deficit.
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