Watch out for these common mistakes that could slow down your progress on a keto diet. The good news is that it’s never too late to make changes. Read the mistakes below.
1. You’re not in ketosis.
A big reason for low-carbohydrate diet weight loss stalls is getting kicked out of ketosis. Not staying within your macro ratio can prevent glycogen depletion and ketone production. To reach and maintain ketosis, your macro ratio should be:
- 55% to 60% of calories from fat
- 30% to 35% of calories from protein
- 5% to 10% of calories from carbohydrates
The best way to tell whether you’re in ketosis is to test your ketone levels using a blood ketone meter. Your blood ketones should be at 0.5 to 3 mmol/l.
2. Eating too much protein and carbs.
You already know that too many carbs will increase blood sugar, stop ketosis, and cause weight gain. If you want to maximize your body’s fat-burning potential, track your total carbs and not your net carbs. Also, stay at the lower end of your carb allowance for the day.
What about protein? Why is too much of it bad for ketosis? Protein intake should be kept at a moderate amount. That means 30% to 35% of your daily calories. This should be enough to maintain lean body mass and function.
Going overboard with protein leads to glucose production from non-carb sources via gluconeogenesis.
3. Not getting enough exercise.
When you exercise, your liver breaks down its glycogen stores to release glucose and keep your muscles working. So yes, exercise can put you in ketosis faster.
Evidence shows that being sedentary for long periods increases the amount of fat deposited around your internal organs. Moreover, it raises your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.
4. Drinking too much alcohol.
Too much alcohol will not only kick you out of ketosis, but it also promotes weight gain in the following ways:
- Alcohol can easily push you over your calorie limit for the day. (Pure alcohol has 7 calories per gram).
- Study shows that it puts your brain in a starvation mode. When you drink alcohol, you are more likely to go hungry and make unhealthy food choices.
- Alcohol intake is associated with a bigger waistline. This is prominent in older individuals who drink alcohol more often and have beer bellies.
Since alcohol is a hot topic, we’ve put together this guide on the best and worst alcoholic drinks when you’re on a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.
Chronic stress on a keto diet may significantly affect your ability to lose weight. It can slow your metabolism and increase deep in the abdomen via increased cortisol levels. Also, stress affects your food choices that lead to weight changes.
In a randomized controlled trial, it was shown that an 8-week stress management program reduced BMI, perceived stress, level of depression, physical activity, and dietary habits in patients.
6. Constant snacking.
Snacking is part of our culture. And while snacking has benefits for many people, doing it more often causes weight gain.
Overdoing snacking even on healthy foods is wrong because it adds extra calories that you may not be able to burn. Rewarding yourself with keto snacks, even those with low net carbs, may also cause you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
Instead, focus on eating a nutrient-dense keto diet meal. Choose filling, unprocessed meals that will help you stay satiated for hours. You can’t eat cured and sugar-glazed bacon every day and expect to not get hungry.
7. Underlying medical condition.
Even when following a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in the best possible way, a small percentage of people don’t lose weight. This can be due to an underlying health condition.
The NHS lists medical reasons such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Medications like insulin and steroids have side effects like increased hunger which leads to weight gain.