By EWN • 06 September 2021 • 9:00
The keto diet seems uncomplicated on paper. The eating plan involves switching the fuel source of the body from carbohydrates to fat. Somebody following the keto theoreticallyjust needs to cut out carbs and sugar, eating more fat and protein instead.
Sadly, this is an oversimplification.
It’s easy to fall foul of common mistakes when following the keto diet. Such errors can have the opposite effect of what a keto dieter is intending. Instead of losing weight, it will instead be gained. To minimise the risk of keto mistakes, learn – and avoid! – these eight everyday errors.
The biggest mistake that anybody following a ketogenic diet can make is expecting miracles. The keto diet is precisely that – a diet. The results of dieting vary for each person. How quickly you start to feel the benefits of the keto diet depends on your unique body composition.
You may have a friend that lost 10lbs (approx. 4.5kg) in a week following the keto diet. That’s great for them, but it does not necessarily mean that the same will happen for you. Always start the keto diet with your eyes open and prepare to be patient. It may take a while before you see results, so it’s important not to grow disheartened.
Carbohydrates are all around us and are highly addictive. This means attempting to eliminate carbs from your diet overnight, without warning, can put your body into severe withdrawal. If you go too fast, you can expect a bad case of the so-called “keto flu”, the symptoms of which include aches, shivers, exhaustion, and cramping muscles.
Keto flu is no joke, and it can last up to two weeks as your body adjusts to this new approach to burning fuel. As a result, it’s better to ease into your keto transition slowly and surely. Steadily reduce your carb and sugar intake for a while before going fully ketogenic. Gorging on pasta and chocolate for a week, then suddenly changing tack, will plunge your body into shock. Beware of foods labelled ‘keto’, they may contain hidden extras. Try to make everything yourself using fresh ingredients, your results will be better.
Almost all ready-to-eat convenience foods will be struck from your diet, so you’ll need a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry and time to cook or prepare meals. You also need to make and follow a plan of what to eat every day to ensure you don’t go over your carb limit.
While you are in the early days of the keto diet, it’s strongly recommended to follow a personalised keto plan from a service like PlanKetogenic. This way, you get to know keto recipes with the exact measurements of each ingredient to use, depending on your unique macros. Armed with this information, you’ll avoid common keto mistakes that arise when eating ad hoc or trying to do your own calculations.
Planning is vital when you are embarking on your first ketogenic journey. Having a set plan of what to eat for each meal is the easiest way to stay on track and not be tempted to graze on whatever crosses your line of sight. You can even cook your meals ahead of time for extra convenience. After a busy day, you’ll appreciate your forethought.
“Can you eat as much as you want on keto?” is a question often asked by people considering this diet. The answer, unfortunately, is no. One of the critical keto mistakes to avoid is assuming that this eating plan is a free-for-all. You’ll still need to watch your calorie intake for the day.
You mayget away with exceeding 2,000 calories per day, especially if you pair the keto diet with regular cardio. But if you eat more calories than you use, the extras stay with you, even if you’re eating ketogenic.
Also keep an eye on what you’re eating. Remember that meat intake should be moderate and balance all meals with half a plate of fresh keto-friendly vegetables. Combined with healthy fats, this should be enough to sate an appetite without sacrificing ketogenic status.
Perhaps the biggest error of keto is taking the “low carb, high fat” policy too literally. Not all fat is created equal, and it’s easy to load a keto eating plan with the wrong ingredients.
Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are great on the keto diet, as are omega-3 fatty acids. These fats will provide your body with energy while also aiding the heart and assisting in losing weight on the keto diet. Avocado, olive oil and fresh seafood are all great sources of these fats. Luckily, Spain is one of the world’s best places for olive oil (and arguably for seafood as well!) You can brush up the facts about Spanish olive oils here.
But unfortunately, many keto dieters make the mistake of gravitating to saturated fats and triglycerides. A healthy, sustainable keto diet does not mean that you can eat bacon and sausage for every breakfast, load your cooking with butter and cheese, and pour half a pot of cream into your coffee. Do a little research into the variety of fats, and what types are found in your ideal keto meal plans.
When you give up convenience foods, you’ll be reducing more than just your carbohydrate and sugar intake. Sodium will also take a nosedive, as this ingredient is often substantial within such meals. This is usually held up a negative element of processed food, and for a good reason – but you’ll still need to replace some of this sodium.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous keto mistakes is failing to comprehend the importance of moderation in all things. You’ll be going from a sizable sodium intake to almost none, while what sodium remains in the body is drained when entering ketosis. You’ll need to ensure that you add a minimum of two teaspoons to your daily food intake. While you can certainly salt your food at the table, it will add more flavour to the food if you incorporate salt during cooking.
All that extra salt you’re eating may make you thirsty, but that’s arguably for the best. Another significant keto error is failing to drink enough water. Followers of this diet are likelier to fall prey to dehydration, as water in the body is typically bound to carbohydrates. As your remaining carb resources are burned as fuel, water is lost along with them.
Lost fluid needs to be replaced. Stick with plain water, though – avoid anything that may contain hidden sugars, such as fruit juice. An occasionaldiet soda is OK – the artificial sweetener aspartame will not kick you out of ketosis – but maintain water as your hydration of choice.
Many dieters look forward to a periodic “cheat day” when they can relax the rules a little. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest keto mistakes that anybody can make. If you consume sugar and carbohydrates, even if just for one meal, it can knock your body out of ketosis. It can take up to three days to return to this former state.
During those three days, you’ll be consuming plenty of fat but not burning it off. Instead, your body returns to taking energy from carbohydrates. As a result, you will likely regain at least some of the weight you have shed during your dieting. And you’ll have to go through the transition all over again!
If you feel tempted to take a break from keto, one healthful way to treat yourself and your taste buds is to indulge with a gourmet version of a keto-friendly food like Spanish jamón, an artisanal cheese, or dark chocolate.
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