The ketogenic diet is a great way to start a life style change. The benefits include mental clarity, better physique, performance enhancing, disease prevention, and so much more. When starting out you make track your goals so that you can see how they are achieved or mark how they are moving alone. If you start to notice after a month that these goals are not measuring up then you may have made some mistakes along the way.
Sometimes mistakes are made after goals have started to be measured then all of a sudden everything is at a standstill, this is also known as plateauing which is often where mistakes can be made.
Many people will run into common mistakes with the keto diet. That doesn’t mean that the keto diet is right for you, just that things can be changed for better results. Listed below are the twelve most common mistakes made while on the keto diet. This list is to help you check to see if you are making them currently as well as to help you avoid them in the future.
The First and Most Common Mistake
Not eating enough protein is a common mistake when eating a keto diet. There is a myth that eating too much protein can cause a metabolic response that raises levels of blood sugar and kicks you from ketosis. This is false information and is called gluconeogenesis which doesn’t need to be worried about with excess protein.
The first reason you won’t need to worry about gluconeogenesis is because it is always happening during the keto diet. This happens no matter the amount of protein consumed. This happens because even in ketosis the body still needs small amounts of glucose to function properly. If the body creates it, it should be used by the body.
The second reason is because gluconeogenesis only happens in small amount, even if you consume a high protein diet, once you are in ketosis the protein alone is likely not going to kick you from the ketosis state.
Thirdly gluconeogenesis is actually good for the body. Too much glucose can be toxic to the body however too little can cause a severe emergency or even death. Gluconeogenesis prevents hypoglycemia and helps fuel tissues that ketones can’t such as part of the kidneys, and testicles as well as red blood cells.
How to Recover From This Mistake:
- Try getting more protein, or more calories throughout the day. This can help you get your appetite back.
- Use a macro calculator (these can be found online) and calculate your protein and carb requirements that are specific for you. This can ensure you’re getting enough of each.
- Make sure you are getting about a gram of protein per every 2.2 pounds of your body weight. If you exercise a lot, make it about 1.5 grams per every 2 lbs of body weight.
- Don’t think that you’ll fall out of ketosis from too much protein. It’s better to have too much rather than having too little. And if you’re physically active you also need more calories that are healthy.
Common Mistake #2
Lack of vitamins and minerals is another common mistake that can be made while using the keto diet. Not having adequate amounts of micronutrients in your daily caloric intake can cause a long list of ailments. Your vitamins are essential to helping your immune, digestive, circulatory, and many other systems that help your body function properly. Without these vitamins and minerals your body starts to slow down as well as could cause issues such as scurvy. Scurvy was a disease long ago caused by starvation. This type of starvation was caused from not getting the proper nutrients the body needed to strive.
There are many vitamin supplements on the market to help with improving intake. Low carb vegetables are a great way to get these nutrients as well. Most commonly on the keto diet these vegetables consists of leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus.
By taking a multivitamin as well as eating more greens (and some other vegetables that are keto friendly), you can double or triple your vitamin intake while cutting out your carbs.
How to Repair This Mistake:
- By taking a multivitamin as well as eating more greens (and some other vegetables that are keto friendly), you can double or triple your vitamin intake while cutting out your carbs.
- Eat more fatty high protein foods (like organic grass-fed beef, chicken, and some fish) for more fatty acids.
- Try eating more eggs, or incorporate them into your diet in the morning (at least one or two).
- Eat more of the vegetables listed above, as they are high in macronutrients and vitamins.
- Try opting for a keto greens powder if you are having a hard time getting your daily vegetable intake.
Common Mistake #3
Not getting enough electrolytes is a third marker for mistakes that are commonly made with the keto diet. This is considered another micronutrient in the body however it is something that is commonly over looked in the micronutrients.
Electrolytes play a key role in helping the body stay healthy. If you have flu like symptoms or keto flu symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog, nausea, and weakness you probably are lacking electrolytes. The body naturally uses electrolytes daily however these uses are increased when using a keto diet or when activity levels are higher than usual.
When first starting the keto diet the body is burning glucose that has been stocked up. This can cause more frequent urination due to burning glycogen the body also releases stored water. Increased urination is only temporary, but it is always great to maintain electrolyte levels. If consuming adequate water amounts per day you should have decent outputs of urine anyway which can also deplete electrolytes.
How you can fix it:
- Try adding a good electrolyte replacement to your diet. These can come in the form of powders, or even some drinks that are pre-made (remember to get sugar free), such as Propel, Gatorade, or some of those that are made by manufacturers that can be found online.
- See the comment about veggies above. Try to add more to your diet, including some nuts and seeds. With nuts, be sure to follow a guide so you don’t get too many net carbs. Some nuts are extremely high in carbs and don’t have the fiber to counteract them.
- You can add sea salt, which contains natural electrolytes, or even Himalayan salt, which is even healthier as they contain natural compositions of electrolytes calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help your body recover on electrolyte imbalance.
The Fourth Mistake
Forgetting to meal plan is highly ranked on mistakes that happen when following a keto diet. Many people have busy lives which can leave very little time to meal plan for the following week. Because of this, many people suffer themselves, even on the keto diet, because they are not eating enough, or often times they are eating foods that they shouldn’t be eating and sometimes don’t even realize it.
Meal planning is so beneficial to the keto diet. By planning meals ahead you are less likely to take possible unhealthy routes. You are less likely to need to stop for fast food as your meal is filling and healthy. The most important time to meal plan on the keto diet is the beginning when those cravings start to hit. Once this stage has passed you are more likely to have plans for healthy foods when out.
Meal planning isn’t just planning what is in your refrigerator though, it is also making meals and snacks a head of time. When you plan a week out this way you are more likely to hit ketosis and stay in it longer. Meal planning also helps with assuring you gets the right amounts of micronutrients as well as macros per day without going under or over.
How To Meal Plan Properly
- Pick a day or two out of your busy week to go to the grocery store, and then immediately go home and make a scheduled time to make your meals for the next week. If you want to get even further ahead, it is possible to prepare and store your meals for the entire month.
Not calculating your macronutrient correctly is the biggest mistake that can happen. Don’t worry this is a very common mistake as many just don’t understand all that goes into properly calculating macros.
It would be rare for any two people to have the same macro needs; they may be similar however each body is different meaning those needs are as well. It is important for each person to calculate their own macronutrients not just follow someone else’s’ macros. Macronutrient are the proteins, fats, and carbs the body needs, which depends on the lifestyle one has as well as many other factors.
When people hit plateaus it is often because they are not getting the correct amount of fat, protein or carbs. This can lead to caloric counts being off and many need to go back through records and retrace and calculate new figures. When this is done plateaus can easily be overcame and results can resume.
How to Calculate Your Macros
- When it comes to calculating your macros, use a macro calculator.
- Keep track of your findings by entering them into a spreadsheet, or by writing them down so you don’t have to continuously “memorize” or look this up on calculators.
- If you’re losing weight, remember to calculate your macro calculations based on your weight.
- Use an exercise guide for proper protein intake. A person who is extremely physically active (sports or activity nearly every day) is around 1.5-1.6g of protein per 2.2 pounds. A person who only works out moderately should eat 1.2 or 1.3 grams of protein per couple pounds of body weight, and someone who gets little to no exercise would get 1 gram of protein per 2 pound of body weight.
- Try reducing your carbohydrates to 20-50g of total carbs, not just net carbohydrates (this means you will get even less net carbs).
- If you don’t exercise often, stay on the lower part of the spectrum (about 20g of total carbs per day). Those who are physically active can generally burn up to 50g a day easily.
- Healthy fats should be what the remainder of calories are. You have to subtract your protein and carb intake for your total calories allowed in order to figure this number out.
Common Mistake Number Six
Not getting the right amount of sleep one needs can lead to higher stress hormones. Higher cortisol levels can result in unwanted weight gain, more cravings, and disruption of sex hormone productions. Sleeping the right amount each night allows the body adequate amount of time to rest and does the work it needs to while you rest. When you get the proper amount of sleep your body is more energized the following day allowing for proper function during activities as well as allowing for better mental clarity.
How to change this:
- Lower your room temperature to about 67-68 degrees to ensure you sleep better.
- Make sure your room is completely dark.
- Consider using earplugs or earmuffs.
- Sleep with a fan in the room to drown out background noise.
- Stop using electronic devices (televisions, computers, phones or tablets) about an hour before you head to bed.
The keto diet works wonders for anti inflammatory benefits however some of the foods that seem to be good for the keto diet consisting of low carb, high fat can cause inflammation. This often happens when beginners of the keto diet chose processed meats and vegetable oils due to macronutrients fitting within the keto diet. These processed foods are poor quality and should be avoided. These examples of highly processed low carb food can cause inflammation and loss of energy.
How to fix systematic inflammation:
- Use more natural cooking oils, increase eating of foods like avocados, and eat fatty grass-fed meats and fish for more Omega-3 fatty acids.
- The best thing you can do is find any healthy keto-friendly snack instead of caving into your vices when it comes to snacking.
The Eighth Mistake
Using chemical artificial sweeteners is on this list because many people have troubles with finding a decent alternative to sweeten beverages and foods. Often times people think any will work because it isn’t sugar.
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame saccharin and sucralose have been known to cause digestive irritations, inflammation as well as mess with natural digestive bacteria. Many sugar substitutes trigger pathways in the same way sugar and cocaine does. This means that those sweeteners don’t really change much other than the name if they are firing the same responses to the brain. Sweeteners can cause the brain to have more cravings as well as kick the body out of ketosis if it actually made it to ketosis.
What can you do?
Try to cut out or cut down on artificial sweeteners, and keep an eye on your “false sugar” intake.
Your Ninth Life
Not paying attention to hidden carbs is easy to do which is why it makes the list of common mistakes. Hidden carbs are in a lot of consumables. Hidden carbs is another great reason to meal prep. These carbs can be hidden on labels as well as just not in nutrition facts when out to eat or at someone’s home. It is often hard to tell someone you can’t eat something they have made you due to it lacking the nutritional needs for you. Hidden carbs can also be found on labels under different wording.
The best way to fix this?
- When you go out to eat, ask about ingredients. If your waiter can’t answer these questions, be sure that all extra sauces and additions are on the side of your plate instead.
- When you buy products at the store, be sure to read nutrition labels. Some products lie on their labels, but they can’t lie on their nutritional information. Find out how many carbs it has per serving and the fiber too. Calculate the total carbs and net carbs.
- Beware of hidden sugars in foods. A lot of artificial and natural ingredients that are high in sugars will make you go out of ketosis.
- Try to avoid diet products with hidden carbs, such as diet bars, health bars, protein shakes, mixes and bars, products containing peanuts; even bacon is high in hidden carbs, as most hogs that are butchered for bacon are primarily corn fed.
The Tenth Mistake
Not eating enough low carb vegetables happens often as a mistake due to the thought of, vegetables are all healthy. While most vegetables are healthy many don’t fit into the keto diet as health due to starches and sugars. Vegetables provide the body with so many nutrients including micronutrient and fiber. Some people even think they can’t have vegetables with the keto diet because they may think they are all loaded with carbs.
How to eat more vegetables
There are a ton of veggies you can eat that are low in carb. Don’t go for potatoes; instead try to opt for a sweet potato instead, as they are mostly fiber. Just keep sweet potato consumption to a minimum. Other things you should do is avoid vegetables that are in the squash family, as these can contain high amounts of starches and less fiber. As always, leafy vegetables are the best for a keto diet.
The Eleventh Mistake
Worrying too much about ketone levels can cause loss of interest in the keto diet. When first starting out ketones levels may be higher and show up well the way you are testing. It is important to test for ketones also, but worrying too much can cause your body to push you out of ketosis due to the stress that it can bring. Stress activates different levels throughout the body and it becomes a domino effect. Instead of worrying about ketone levels and the state of ketosis, master the things that you can to get to ketosis and stay there.
Also as you start on ketosis it is often easier to see higher levels of ketones due to having more fat to burn and the body hasn’t become used to burning ketones for fuel. Therefore with more circulation of ketones more will be spilled over and be able to be picked up during testing.
Quit Worrying about Ketone Levels
Just simply stop. Start thinking more about your body mass, and your energy levels, and don’t stress over them. Ketosis takes time for some people, and for others, achieving this state can take even longer.
The Twelfth Mistake
Stress is a mistake that often times we feel we cannot help. When stressed as mentioned about cortisol levels rise and effect hormone productions. These changes can cause weight gain. Stress tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol so the body has the energy needed to get away from the stressor. Cortisol releases stored glucose for that energy. The glucose released for that energy causes a rise in blood sugar. When these happen cortisol causes the cells to be less sensitive to insulin. The glucose circulates the blood stream and is used for energy. This entire process is how stress causes the body to kick ketosis.
Ways to relieve stress during keto
- Don’t start exercising more when you first begin your keto diet. Keep your routine as regular as possible.
- Don’t miss out on sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of ketosis.
- Do not try to drastically change your lifestyle outside of your keto diet.
- You can relieve stress by learning to meditate.
- Exercise minimally, but enough to keep your body active with light movements.
- Use breathing exercises, and get enough sleep.
- Don’t forget to have fun. Life is short, so this one’s important.
Unlucky Number 13
When you’re keto dieting it’s very easy to eat too many dairy products.
How to Un-Plateau
Cut all dairy items out of your keto diet. This can help you get back out of a plateau state.
There are many things that can be mistakes during a keto diet. One other thing you should do is not be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes them. You should also not beat yourself up, because someone somewhere has gone through, and made the mistake you made (sometimes a lot more than you will) in order to learn their lessons and avoid side effects of these, or the keto flu.