5 Beginner Common Keto Mistakes
There’s no sign that the Keto lifestyle is going out of style. But if you’re thinking about starting the ultra low-carb ketogenic diet, avoid these common pitfalls to ensure success.
Just how popular is the keto diet? According to the data firm Statista, roughly six percent of Americans at least dabbled with it in 2019. The following year, Bolst Global says that “keto” was the world’s #1 food-related search on Google with nearly 25.5 million searches, unseating previous food-search leaders, Atkins Diet and intermittent fasting.
But before you jump on the keto bandwagon, know this. Although statistics are difficult to come by, it’s highly likely that most people who give keto a crack don’t end up sticking with it for very long.
In light of this, here are 5 of the most common Keto mistakes beginners make.
#1: Diving In The Deep EndWhat would happen if you had a luxury high-performance sports car that required premium fuel and you suddenly switched to regular or even diesel? There’s a good chance your engine would peter out.
Now picture what happens to your body when for all your life, your primary source of fuel was carbohydrates and you abruptly switch to dietary fat. What will happen is that your body will rage against the machine. Abruptly depriving yourself of carbohydrates (limiting net grams of carbs to roughly 25 grams per day) will most certainly guarantee you ending up with a case of the dreaded “keto flu.”
Just as abruptly quitting smoking cold-turkey can lead to nicotine withdrawal, drastically reducing carbs over a short period of time can cause one to feel ill with symptoms that are similar to the regular flu.
For this reason, it’s a smart move to gradually lower your carbohydrate intake over the course of a few weeks. One easy way to eliminate dozens of grams of carbs every day is to replace a regular serving of rice, pasta or bread with Miracle Noodles, which contain less than one gram of net carbohydrates.
#2: Eating Like A Caveman
Sure, eating Paleo is super trendy like keto. And many people combine keto and Paleo, which is an ancestral way of eating, limiting food choices to things that were available only before the advent of agriculture and farming.
But getting in touch too much with your inner caveman can backfire. You see, eating too much protein can kick you out of ketosis, the physiological state in which your body is burning fatty acids called ketone bodies for fuel instead of glucose.While eating a sabertooth tiger or wooly mammoth steak may have provided the only available means of sustenance for our neolithic ancestors, thankfully, we have an abundance of food choices. We don’t need to eat high protein meals for survival. In fact, for optimal health, protein sizes should be kept to 25% of total calories. (Instead of a steak covering most of your dinner plate, limit it to a quarter of the plate.)
Eating meals high in protein can cause an insulin spike and even lead to a big upswing in blood sugar levels. In other words, your body will convert the extra protein into glucose (a process called gluconeogenesis).
Your body prefers to burn glucose for energy. So don’t give it any reason to do so. Keep portion sizes moderate.
#3: Low Fiber
Obviously, if you’re cutting out carbs and keeping protein portions in check, dietary fat will be your main source of calories (up to 80%). But there’s a dietary conundrum with the keto diet. Most health experts agree that eating a high-fiber diet is associated with positive health outcomes.
But the problem with keto is that high-fat foods typically are low in fiber. Adding to the problem is foods that are the highest in fiber are carbohydrates.Legumes and certain grains like oats and quinoa (technically a pseudo-grain, but we’ll let that slide) are examples of high-fiber foods that are verboten on keto!
But there’s plenty of high-fiber keto-friendly foods such as avocado, dark chocolate with no added sugar, chia seeds, flax seeds and most other seeds and nuts.
#4: Missing Antioxidants
Some keto beginners are low-carb zealots and take slashing carb counts to the extreme—at the expense of their own health. Fruits and vegetables are technically carbs and yes, some of them are super high in carbs, making it virtually impossible to stay in ketosis.
But there are plenty of antioxidant-rich, low-carb fruits and vegetables that should not be abstained from. Berries, cruciferous- and dark-leafy green veggies come to mind. Plus, these foods are also high in fiber.
With so many sources of free radical damage we face these days, you have to make sure you’re getting enough antioxidants. Sure, you can take supplements, but there’s no better source than fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
#5: No Cellular Spark
You’ve heard of electrolytes such as magnesium, sodium and potassium, but do you know what they do? They don’t just prevent diarrhea and cramps. They are like spark plugs for your cells. If you’re not getting enough electrolytes, your vitamins and minerals won’t effectively perform their essential tasks.
A common mistake keto beginners make is avoiding high-electrolyte food sources because many of them happen to be higher-carb options. Take legumes for instance. They are rich in magnesium, which muscles and the nervous system need to stay relaxed. But a cup of lentils contains over 20 grams of net carbs. If you eat a cup of lentils, you’d really have to limit the rest of your carb intake for the day to next to nothing.
If you’re eating a moderate serving of fruit or the healthy low-carb veggies mentioned above, you’ll most likely get enough electrolytes. But just to make sure, you may also want to consider taking a trace mineral supplement. Doing so may help ease keto flu symptoms.
In addition to these 5 common beginner keto mistakes, going keto in the beginning can cause a metallic, bad breath. So you may want to invest in mini mouthwash bottles you can take on the go.
Got any other keto tips for beginners? Share them below.