In a world that seems to treat carbs as the ultimate enemies of health and beauty, the popularity of low-carb diets that emphasize the intake of protein and healthy fats is not surprising. But many of those dieting attempts will not be successful simply because it’s so easy to get a low-carb diet wrong if you don’t know the fundamentals.
There are mistakes that can hinder your progress, cause adverse effects and you will want to avoid them at all costs. And if you’re already willing to put in the effort, why not make sure that you will reap maximum metabolic benefits from your low-carb diet?
Most common low carb dieting mistakes
Here are the most common low-carb dieting mistakes and how to prevent them.
Not Going Low Enough
As a general rule, for a diet to be low-carb, the carb intake needs to be anywhere less than 100-150 grams per day. This can yield amazing results, but biologically speaking, it probably won’t be not low enough for your body to enter ketosis, which usually requires a carb intake of 50 grams per day or less.
Any of those cuts is easier said than done, considering how heavily the modern Western diet relies on all kinds of sugars for flavoring processed foods. Carbs tend to creep up from everywhere, and it can be really hard to maintain the upper limit. Therefore to make it work, you should make sure to eat only natural, unprocessed foods, and stay on top of your calorie calculations.
Relying Too Much On Protein
Given that carbs are out, most people would focus on improving the protein sources in their diet, and for a good reason. Protein is a crucial nutrient found in literally every body part and tissue that is involved in countless physiological processes that make our bodies tick. High protein intake is related to accelerated fat burning and weight loss, improved athleticism, increased energy levels, increased feelings of fullness.
But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and it’s typical for low-carb dieters, especially first timers, to begin relying too much on it. Again, this will prevent your body from going into ketosis, because all of that excess protein that you eat will be transformed into glucose.
The best low-carb diets are actually moderate in protein and high in fat. A good range to aim for is 0.7-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.5-2.0 grams per kg).
Making Fat Your Enemy
Protein and fiber is not all you have left after taking carbs out of the equation. Remember fats, the foundational element of a healthy which the body cannot make itself ? Yes, they are crucial, not only for the functioning of bodily processes such as the absorption of vitamins and hormone production, but also for maintaining a healthy weight.
Eliminating quality sources of fat from our lives can wreck havoc in our bodies, instead of supporting our health, as it was once believed. In fact, science has long shown that there is no reason to fear fat – as long as we’re talking for healthy fats like omega-3 instead of toxic trans fats.
And when you’re on low-carb diet, you can’t depend solely upon protein for your dietary needs. A fat intake around 70% of total calories should be a good choice.
Low On Sodium
Low-carb diets work by reducing insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity. A part of insulin’s job in your bodies is to basically tell your fat cells to store fat and your kidneys to retain sodium.
As the insulin levels go down, the body starts excreting excess sodium, as well as excess water. That’s the reason why bloating disappears in the first couple of days of low-carb dieting. But this can be problematic, because low sodium levels can cause various issues in the organism. Sodium is both an electrolyte and mineral, so it helps keep the water and electrolyte balance of the body and supports nerve health.
Chronically low sodium levels can cause fatigue, headaches, constipation, nausea, confusion, and even seizures and coma. To avoid this issue, regularly supplement your diet with sodium. If you’re not a fan of table salt, there are many more creative ways to add some saltiness to your daily menu.
Why a low carb diet ?
Low-carb diets might just save the world. The reduction of carb intake has proven to be effective for everything from burning visceral belly fat to improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels and protecting cardiovascular health, and new evidence just keeps piling up every day.
If you’re ready to go low-carb, congratulations to you!
You’re half-way there – now just make sure to make smart choices about your new dietary formula that will prevent the above mentioned mistakes from keeping you from your goals.
Remember that your body will keep on burning carbs until you teach it otherwise through discipline. Once it learns that carbs are no longer available, it will shift to burning fat sooner or later.
The transition won’t be a smooth ride, though. It can take a few days for your body to adapt to the shift, during which you might find yourself suffering from the “keto flu”. This means that you will feel mildly unwell for a few days while your body adjusts, then return to normal. It’s crucial that you don’t quit your diet during this period – stay calm and patient and stick to your regime.