The Top Mistakes Made on the Keto Diet and How to Avoid Them
Whenever people give up or fail on a keto diet, I usually know why.
Nearly all folks that fail make the same mistakes.
But with some awareness and proper planning, you can overcome these common pitfalls.
Use this article as a step-by-step guide to conquer those common keto mistakes.
So instead of your diet ending in frustration and failure, it’ll end with weight loss, mental clarity, increased energy levels, and lots of smiles.
What is the Keto diet?
The main goal of the keto diet is to enter a fat-burning state known as ketosis. Ketosis has been known to have lots of health benefits.
But how do get into ketosis? Your body is used to using sugars/carbs as its primary source of energy. So by greatly reducing carbs on the keto diet, your body is forced to find another source of energy.
Your body ends up burning fats as its main source of fuel when in ketosis. And what’s great is that fat is a more stable, long-lasting energy source. Not to mention that often keto dieters end up losing some weight, too.
What foods are allowed on a keto diet? As you just learned, you’ll be eating very limited carbohydrates. You’ll supplement those calories with a moderate amount of protein and lots of healthy fats.
- Foods to EAT: leafy greens, other low-carb vegetables like broccoli or asparagus, meat, eggs, seafood, organs (like liver), avocados, olives, and oils/fats like ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil.
- Foods to AVOID: all grains like corn, wheat, oats, or barley, legumes such as beans, peas, or lentils, processed vegetable oils, high-carb veggies like sweet potatoes or butternut squash, artificial sweeteners, and fruits high in sugars such as bananas, dates, or mango.
How does a keto diet benefit your health? There are four main benefits that many keto dieters experience.
1) Keto can help you lose weight.
There are many scientific studies which back this up. Take a look at this one.
In this study researchers compared a group of people on a diet very similar to keto (although it wasn’t labeled as a keto diet, it was low-carb and high-fat) with another group on a conventional diet (restricted calories with a ratio of 60% of calories from carbs, 25% from fat, and 15% from protein).
The low-carb dieters lost significantly more weight than the conventional dieters after 6 months!
2) Keto can reduce overeating.
Keto doesn’t reduce overeating by creating a bunch of restrictions on how many calories you’re allowed to eat.
The keto diet itself affects your hunger hormones and often results in a lack of feeling hungry.
If you’re still skeptical, then check out the results of this study The researchers followed dieters on an eating plan similar to keto. Those dieters were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted as long as they stuck to the low-carb, high-fat regimen.
Over time, the dieters reduced their food intake without consciously trying to.
And beyond the scientific evidence presented above, keto dieters have shared thousands of anecdotes about feeling less hungry while eating keto.
3) Keto can reduce your risk of heart disease.
This is probably counter-intuitive to everything you’ve learned.
You were most likely taught that eating a high-fat diet would increase your risk of heart disease.
But there’s scientific evidence that shows that the numerous health benefits to the keto diet can reduce your risk of heart disease.
It showed that the keto diet could improve your cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, and even reduce triglyceride levels.
4) Keto can boost your energy.
Folks report feeling more focused, energetic and clear-headed. A common theme is that most people no longer experience that mid-afternoon sleepiness, brain fog, and lethargy that they used to.
What Are The Top Mistakes Made on The Keto Diet? And How Do You Avoid Them?
These are the top four mistakes that keto dieters make… and with a couple of tips and a bit of planning, you can avoid them!
1 - Not preparing for keto flu.
When you first switch to the keto diet, it’s a shock to your body. Your body isn’t used to limiting its carb intake. Nor is it used to having to use fat as its main source of energy.
As a result, you might find yourself experiencing some flu-like symptoms for the first 5-7 days that you start your keto diet.
Don’t let that worry you - these symptoms are actually a good sign because it’s proof that your body is trying to adapt to burn more fat. And if you use some of the tips below to help mitigate keto flu symptoms then this temporary discomfort will disappear pretty quick.
How to avoid this mistake:
When you first start keto, try your best to clear your schedule as you’ll be more tired than usual.
What’s just as important as rest is drinking lots of fluids and eating foods rich in magnesium, potassium, and sodium. This helps fight dehydration by replenishing your electrolytes.
A great option is to drink lots of bone broth.
Another way to fight keto flu is to slowly decrease your carb intake when you first start your keto diet. Although we recommend sticking to under 25g of carbs once you are fully on keto, making the leap from your current carb intake to 25g in one day can overwhelm your body.
So consider starting your keto diet at less than 50g of carbs on the first day and then reducing your carbs by 5g per day. This will allow your body some time to adapt. And after just 5 days you’ll be under the 25g of carbs per day.
2 - Focusing JUST on limiting carbs (not nutrient-dense foods).
This is the biggest long-term keto mistake I see.
Some people focus entirely on the number of carbs they eat - they opt for low-carb energy bars, tv dinners, and diet sodas.
Yes, that person may be in ketosis because they’re carb intake is so low, but there’s way more to a keto diet to ensure long-lasting health and wellness.
Think about it like this: keto is a low-carb diet, but eating low-carb isn’t the only important thing.
Focus on filling your diet with high-quality whole foods. If you always plan meals around integrating as many whole foods as possible (vegetables, meats, and non-processed cooking oils), then you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
How to avoid this mistake:
Start with whole foods: if every meal contains only whole foods (vegetables, eggs, meats, non-processed oils, low-carb fruits, etc) then you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Also consider adding more nutrient dense foods to your diet that you’ve probably never eaten before, like: organ meats, fermented foods (such as kimchi and sauerkraut), or bone broth.
No matter what you do, stay away from low-carb, processed junk food!
A great option for keto snacks are Primal Noms Mug Cakes
3 - Obsessing over high ketone levels.
Many keto diets spend too much time and energy focusing on their ketone levels.
There’s a lot of different guidance out there on what ketone levels you should be aiming for, how to measure them, and how often to measure them. It can be overwhelming.
I used to be that way too at the beginning of my keto diet. It caused more stress than benefit.
But I had a sort of epiphany one day:
If you’re doing the keto diet to feel better and lose weight, then focus on those things.
If you’re sleeping better, more energized, and steadily losing a little weight each month, then who cares about ketone levels!
Measuring your ketone levels isn’t essential for a successful keto diet.
How to avoid this mistake:
If measuring your ketone levels has been stressing you out, then I recommend you stop measuring your ketones completely for the next couple of weeks.
Instead, focus on how you feel and the results you’re seeing. Are you feeling more energetic, more positive, more focused, and you’re losing weight?
Then your keto diet is going well and you don’t need to measure your ketone levels!
If you’re not feeling better or losing weight, then measuring your ketone levels can give you insights on if you need to make a modification to your macros.
4 - Thinking that food is the cure-all to improving health
By following a keto diet, the low inflammatory foods that help you enter fat-burning ketosis can quickly improve your health.
But food is only one aspect of improving your health.
If you’re incredibly stressed out, rarely sleep, have relationship problems, and haven’t exercised in 6 months, then don’t expect to reach optimal health by just changing what you eat.
Other aspects of self-care just as important (if not more important). Make sure your lifestyle is as healthy as your diet.
How to avoid this mistake:
This isn’t new to you. I’m sure you’ve known that you should be doing all these things for a while!
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, try meditating to manage your stress levels, get outside and exercise, and laugh and spend time with the people you love.
Combining a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet will give you the best results.
3 Tips For Anyone Starting A Keto Diet
If you’re just getting started on a keto diet, or thinking about starting a keto diet soon, consider using these useful tips.
1 - Clear out non-keto food from your fridge and pantry and then restock your house with keto-approved foods and ingredients.
And with a bunch of keto ingredients readily available, you’ll be less tempted to break your diet.
2 - Initially focus on making sure your daily carb intake is under 25g and eat as much protein and fat as you want.
It’s best to keep things simple to start. You’ll be dealing with some keto flu symptoms and it’s quite difficult to get your macros perfect right when you start your diet.
After a week or so of adapting to your carbs being under 25g, you’ll probably also have naturally figured out your protein and fat ratios.
But if not, you can always tweak your protein/fat ratios later.
3 - Create accountability before you start your keto diet.
Below are my favorite ideas for keeping yourself accountable during your keto journey.
● Use an accountability app such as this one. If you don’t reach your goals, then you have your money on the line.
● Post about your commitment on social media. Tell all your followers that you’re going to stay keto for a certain amount of time. Share your specific goals. After posting that, you won’t want to let people down.
● Persuade a family member, friend, or co-worker to try keto with you. Having someone else that you love and care about going through this journey with you will encourage both of you to stay strong.
Switching to a keto diet is a great way to put you on the path to long-term health and wellness.
And if you follow the tips from this article, you’ll be able to avoid the four common mistakes that cause many keto dieters to fail.
By having a strong start to your diet and implementing some helpful strategies to keep you committed, your diet (and health) is much more likely to be successful!
You’ll quickly find yourself getting into a routine of adding nutrient-dense, delicious foods to your meals. You’ll be scheduling exercise into your weekly calendar. And you’ll be making time for friends and family who mean the most to you.
As a result, you’ll be following the healthiest version of the keto to become your healthiest self.