With the growing popularity of the ketogenic diet, we have more and more information on the Internet. Which is a fantastic thing, but it also brings certain problems. People who are new to this lifestyle quickly get confused and discouraged. That’s why I always state that individual approach to keto or low-carb diet is the best one. What works for me might not work for you. However, there are basic principles, and together with that, there are some common mistakes that might slow down the weight loss process.
Too much protein
At the very beginning of a ketogenic diet, you don’t need to pay close attention to this because reducing carbohydrate intake on its own has numerous benefits. However, after some time, especially as you approach your goal weight, you have to pay more attention to your macronutrients. For that matter, keep in mind that excessive protein intake can stimulate the process of glycogen production. This is not something that happens often, but it can be the reason for hitting the plateau.
Carbs from veggies
One of the common mistakes is not counting carbs from vegetables. Vegetables are crucial, and I always stress that most of your daily carbs should be coming from that source. However, not calculating them into your daily macros simply because they are healthy is a mistake and will kick you out of ketosis. Carbohydrate is carbohydrate, whether it comes from vegetables, dairy products, nuts, or any other food source. If you keep your carbs below 20 grams a day, you will undoubtedly be in the state of ketosis. This is what is popularly called strict keto. There are “less strict” variations such as dirty keto (only counting your macros without paying attention to where they come from), lazy keto (only counting carbs), or simple low-carb high-fat diet (focuses on lowering carb intake, but not keeping it under 20 grams a day).
Insufficient fat intake
We have been taught for decades that fat is bad, and eating it too much will cause health issues. The ketogenic diet is a (more extreme) form of a low-carb high-fat diet. Therefore, low-fat products are a no-go. I cannot stress enough how vital are healthy fats for the healthy and optimal functioning of the body. If you do not eat enough fat, you might feel hungry; your energy levels might be low, you might experience fatigue, etc. Bear in mind – protein is a goal, carbs are a limit, and fat is a lever.
This is a common beginner’s mistake. The first thing to point out here is processed meat like sausages, hams, bacon, and deli products. They often contain sugar, preservatives, gluten, etc. that will add to your carb count.
Seafood (like mussels, oysters, scallops, clams…) contain more carbs, unlike other animal products, so be careful with the amounts. Sugar alcohols are a common issue since people do not read the labels.
Some low-carb sweeteners contain maltodextrin or even dextrose which are definitely not keto-friendly sweeteners. Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, but you must be careful with them.
Not all nuts are really low-carb, and you can easily go over your daily carbs with just a handful of, e.g., pistachios or cashews.
Dairy products should be limited if you hit the plateau. Some cheeses might have up to 5g of carbs per 100g, which is, you have to agree, a bit too much. And finally – avoid store-bought products labeled as “low-carb.” More often than not, they contain some ingredients that are certainly not allowed on any type of low-carb or ketogenic diet.