Avoid these common keto mistakes when starting your low-carb journey to weight loss. The biggest challenge isn't eating enough fat but reducing carb and protein intake sufficiently to get into and maintain ketosis.
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Common Keto Mistakes
Many people think they’re following a low-carb or keto diet, yet are consuming foods that are tripping them up. Did you know eating too much protein can stop you from entering ketosis?
The problem with eating too much protein is that your body can convert amino acids into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
However, eating too much protein is just one of 5 common keto mistakes people make when starting a keto diet. Learn how to avoid these mistakes, start your keto journey confidently, and achieve the results you're looking for. Good luck!
1. Too Much Protein
To produce ketones, your body needs to enter a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fat and are used as an energy source instead of glucose (sugar). To get into ketosis, you need to consume a diet high in fat but moderate in protein.
When you eat too much protein, your body converts the excess into glucose. This can happen if you consume too many foods like chicken, turkey, and low-fat beef and pork as the mainstay of your meals.
To curb your protein intake, opt for the fattest cuts of meat. Eat chicken with the skin on, and consciously try to reduce your protein intake.
As a general rule, you should keep your protein intake at under 0.9 grams per pound of body weight. So, if you’re a 130-pound woman, you will want to keep your daily protein intake to under 117 grams.
2. Relying on Urine Ketone Sticks
When starting a keto diet, your main goal is to get into the state of ketosis.
So, how do you know if you have achieved that goal? A common way is to use keto urine strips. They effectively tell if you are in ketosis at the beginning of your keto journey.
However, after about a month in ketosis, the kidneys will adapt to and excrete fewer ketones. After that, you will only see a trace amount of ketones in your urine.
Yet, most people continue relying on keto urine strips to let them know if they are staying in ketosis.
This is a mistake – once you are fully keto-adapted, keto urine strips will not accurately depict whether you are in ketosis.
As a result, keto urine strips can kill your enthusiasm just at the point when your body is starting to burn fat.
Once you have adapted to burning fat for energy, your body will rely on a specific ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate as its main fuel source. The problem with keto urine strips is that they don’t measure beta-hydroxybutyrate.
When your body first enters ketosis, it produces another ketone called acetoacetate, which is the ketone body that is measured in urine. As your body adapts to ketosis and ketones become your primary fuel source, acetoacetate converts to beta-hydroxybutyrate.
So, after a while, keto urine strips will no longer turn to the magic purple. This can cause people to stress out and think they're no longer in ketosis.
The bottom line is to stop using keto urine strips after the first month. Just stick to the game plan – a very low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet – and you WILL remain in keto.
3. Not Eating Enough Fat
When something has been ingrained into you your whole life, it can be extremely difficult to think differently. That is the case when it comes to eating fat.
Contrary to what we’ve been taught, dietary fat will not clog your arteries or make you fat. The truth is that eating more fat is one of the best ways to stave off hunger and cravings, especially for carbohydrates, when you are going on a low-carb or keto diet.
To succeed on the keto diet, we all must overcome our fear of fat. Don’t feel guilty about chowing down on fatty cuts of steak. Enjoy that delicious crispy skin that’s covering your roast chicken.
Eat more healthy fats like olive oil, butter, coconut oil, sour cream, cheese, avocados, Greek yogurt, and whipped cream. There is no limit to these foods!
4. Over Eating
Let’s consider the first basic principle of nutrition and losing weight...
To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume each day.
To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn daily.
This principle is known as the Law of Energy Balance.
Now, this law may seem like common sense.
Yet, this is why so many people cannot reach their fat loss goals, even on a low-carb diet like keto.
They are sticking to their high-fat, moderate-carb, and low-fat macronutrient plan, but the fat loss isn’t happening. The reason?
They are ignoring the Law of Energy Balance. Simply put, they are eating too much.
You see, even if you are eating the right foods, your body has no choice but to put on weight if your calorie intake exceeds your output.
Calorie control is the missing ingredient.
A lot of so-called healthy eating experts promote the idea of eating five, six, or even seven times per day.
You really don't need to do that on the keto diet.
When you begin producing ketones and burning body fat for energy, it is easy to feel full and satisfied eating just a few meals daily.
Once your body becomes keto-adapted, you will stop feeling hungry because your body has a readily accessible store of energy in the form of stored body fat.
If you eat beyond your body’s requirements, you will use more of the fat from food than the fat from your body for energy.
You will also be consuming more protein, with the possibility that it may knock you out of ketosis.
To overcome this keto newbie mistake, you must get out of the programmed eating trap (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and really start listening to your body.
That means only eating when you are hungry. Another issue has to do with plate size. We have been conditioned to finish off what’s on our plate.
The problem is that the size of the average dinner plate has gotten one-third bigger in the last thirty years. It’s no surprise that the rate of obesity has skyrocketed during that same time period.
The solution is to use smaller dishes and smaller utensils. It may sound a little goofy, but if you have children, use their bowls, forks, spoons, and cups.
If you eat with smaller utensils, you will eat between 25 and 40% less food – that’s a whole lot of calories!
If you are eating something out of a packet, tip it out and place it on a napkin. That way, you won’t feel like you have to finish the packet.
5. Not Stabilizing Blood Sugar
Most people can relate to controlling their blood sugar with diabetes. Yet, keeping tabs on your blood sugar count is the best way to assess how you're going hormonally on the keto diet.
It is way more effective than using keto urine sticks long term. You can pick up a blood glucose meter at any pharmacy or order one online here.
If you stick to the keto regimen of a low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet, you will show a fasting blood sugar count of between 70 and 80 grams.
As your blood sugar level goes down, your ketone production will increase.
So, what’s the most important thing you need to eliminate to reduce your blood sugar levels? Ironically, it’s not sugar. Grains are the worst offenders in triggering blood sugar.
That is why you MUST eliminate grains from your diet. Remember, there are plenty of low-carb bread recipes to make!
To bring down your blood sugar levels, cut out grains cold turkey.