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If you are a Keto beginner then you probably already know that eating carbs needs to be severely restricted on the Keto Diet plan, or maybe you are on keto and not losing weight. If you plan on following the Keto Diet or if you already on the Keto Diet you should be restricting your daily carb consumption to no more than 50 grams of carbs, this equates to roughly five to ten percent of total daily calorie intake. If this total number of daily carbs intake is exceeded then ketosis will not occur, and the process behind what makes the Keto Diet effective will not occur. It is important to note that merely stopping eating bread, pasta, and candy/sweets is not enough to follow the Keto Diet properly, which is why following a detailed dietary plan like the Custom Keto Diet are so important. Below I talk about ten of the most common Keto Diet mistakes that people new to the diet - and those without proper guidance - make. In this beginner-friendly article, I will also discuss some of the most common keto mistakes that beginners make to help you rectify them.
When adjusting to a diet plan that is so different from what you are used to it often takes a period of time to adjust to work out what foods and how much you should be consuming. With on the Keto Diet, you should be eating a lot more fat than what you are probably used to and due to this change in fat intake your body needs time to adjust. In the beginning, a mistake that many people make is to overdo it with high fatty foods too quickly. Is it common for instance for people to completely remove all carbs and replace these with excessively large quantities of whipped cream, coconut oil, and other fats. Doing this will almost certainly lead to rather unpleasant gastric distress: stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea. This is due to the fact that your body hasn't had the chance to increase the enzymes it requires to absorb all this extra fat you're consuming. These intestinal symptoms are the outcome of having a lot of undigested fat moving through your digestion system. The gastric distress can be very unpleasant and prevent some people from adhering to the diet. It is therefore very important to keep close track of the carbs, protein, and fats (macronutrients) you are consuming in the beginning until you get a better understanding for what, and how many macronutrients you can eat. This will also help make sure you are getting just the right amount of fat, and significantly minimise the likelihood of experiencing gastric distress early on.
Another common mistake is conversely the exact opposite: not eating enough fat when people start the Keto Diet. Most of us have been taught that lower fat in our diet will lead to there being less fat in our bodies. I have been told for decades to eat less fat since fat is bad for our health. These pervasive and longstanding messages may make some people more reluctant to eat enough fat when starting the Keto Diet. However, the fact is that excess calories from any source - whether it be carbs, protein, or fats - will be stored as fat in your body. Too many carbs means excessive body fat; too much protein means excessive body fat, too much fat means excessive body fat. The body stores excess calories as fat, where excess calories comes from does not make much difference.
As far as dietary fat being bad for your health, it is now understood that not all fats are created equal. Numerous markers of healthy living and overall health actually improve for people when eating plenty of healthy fats on the Keto Diet. I have described some of these health benefits in my previous article on some of the benefits of the Keto Diet. Unhealthy fats are a different story, which I will talk about more in point 2 below. But the main point is that there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats, the latter are bad for you even in moderation whereas healthy fats are not. So just because they are called “fats” does not automatically mean that they are bad for your health and well-being.
The Keto Diet converts your main energy source from carbs (glucose) to fat (ketones). You still need the same number of calories for maintaining or losing weight, the distinction is that you get the majority of that energy from fat instead of carbs. If you do not eat enough calories, you might feel lethargic due to absence of energy usage. You will also be in danger of not getting sufficient minerals and vitamins.
Fat can be a confusing topic. There is a lot of mixed messaging about what are healthy fats and what are unhealthy fats. The fact is that the jury is still out on lots of fat sources, and sometimes, the answer as to what fats are healthy or unhealthy depends on context. Nevertheless, considering that fat is your main energy source on the Keto Diet plan you are going to be eating a lot of it when on the Keto Diet. Therefore, if you want to do your best and achieve the benefits to your health that the Keto Diet offers it is best to use/eat the best kinds of fats for your health.
Dieticians do not have all the answers but here is a short list of some fats that are known to be healthy, especially in the context of the Keto Diet:
Extra virgin olive oil is a fantastic oil to drizzle on your favourite foods or to use when cooking. It is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty-acids; it is a rich source of essential antioxidants vitamin E and phenols; it helps decrease cardiovascular risk factors such as bad cholesterol (LDL), and it may even help battle cancer and prevent Alzheimer's disease. Due to these factors olive oil should be a staple part of your Keto Diet.
Coconut oil is a unique oil in that it is made up primarily of small and medium-chain saturated fatty acids. Roughly half of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fat that has strong antimicrobial properties. Small and medium-chain fatty acids are used for energy and are absorbed much faster than the long-chain saturated fatty acids found in animals. They likewise increase thermogenesis, which is increased energy expenditure from food and might help in weight loss. Coconut oil might improve your blood lipid profile, minimize inflammation, and supply substantial antioxidants to prevent cellular damage. It might also help in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Avocado Oil is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, including vitamin E, and is an excellent oil to cook with because it can withstand very high temperatures. It is also an abundant source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. In a study in where butter was replaced with avocado oil, inflammation and blood sugar level was improved, source. Comparable to extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen, source.
For other sources of fat on the Keto Diet I have written another article that focusses on foods suitable for the Keto Diet, you can read it here.
As mentioned above, there is much debate about fat, meaning that not everyone agrees which fats are bad for you. Here is a short list of some fats that most dieticians agree that you should reduce or avoid completely.
Trans-fats should be avoided completely, as there is broad consensus in the health science community about their dangers. Trans-fats are mostly found in processed foods, like margarine, cookies, crackers, coffee creamers, fast food, and frozen pizza. Trans-fats are known to increase risk of heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, LDL, and decrease good cholesterol (HDL). Trans-fats are currently banned in 58 countries and the World Health Organization has the goal of elimination trans-fat globally by 2023. If they have not yet been banned in your country make sure to read the ingredients label on your food and look for hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated oil; here is a pdf that contains a list of countries that have banned trans-fats. Fortunately, another benefit of the Keto Diet is that trans-fats are not present (or very, very rarely) in Keto-approved foods. They are certainly absent from the Custom Keto Diet plan.
Processed vegetable oils should be avoided completely; if you are looking at a big plastic container with “Vegetable Oil” written on it it is in your best interest to avoid these in your diet. These oils are extremely susceptible to oxidation and tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids, both attributes can contribute to increased inflammation. These may include several of the following oils: canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soy, and others.
Being hydrated should be a high priority whether you are on a diet or not. When your body is adjusting to the Keto Diet water consumption should be increased. This is due to 2 significant factors:
Water in your body is normally stored with carbs in the form of glycogen. In fact, about three grams of water are stored for every one gram of glucose. Therefore, eating reduced carbs, as in the Keto Diet, means that there is less glycogen storage which in turn means there is less water storage.
Similarly, carb intake causes insulin secretion. Insulin triggers salt retention, which triggers water retention. Therefore, less carb intake means less insulin secretion which in turn means less water retention.
For women it is recommended to drink 2.7 litres (11.5 cups) of water per day; this increases to 3.7 litres (15.5 cups) for men.
As explained in point 3 above, salt is excreted in addition to water when your body is running on ketones for energy due to a lack of insulin secretion. Your sodium requirements are going to be slightly higher on the Keto Diet plan than when on a typical carb-based diet. Furthermore, the Keto Diet requires that you remove numerous kinds of processed foods, which tend to be high in sodium. Eliminating these processed foods is obviously a good thing for your health, however when combined with decreased salt retention it is important that you make sure to include additional salt in your meals to make up for this deficit. Salt is an important electrolyte, and in appropriate amounts it is a vital nutrient to the normal and healthy performance of your body. Too little sodium is called hyponatremia and can trigger lots of flu-like symptoms, such as nausea and throwing up, headache, low energy/fatigue, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, and cramps. A number of these signs are connected with what is commonly called the ‘keto flu’ and frequently occur in the early stages of the keto diet, as I explain here. It is likely that the ‘keto flu’ is associated with electrolyte deficiency. To prevent or decrease the seriousness of ‘keto flu’ you should increase your salt consumption by salting every meal, you might also consider adding sea salt to your water and drinking it throughout the day, drinking broth from bouillon cubes, or taking an electrolyte supplement, such as Dr. Berg's Electrolyte Formula.
Dairy foods like cheese, butter and cream can make a really good and nutritious low-carb, high-fat meal. However, if you are trying to reduce weight on the Keto Diet you still need to be mindful of your calorie intake, and it is very easy to over-eat calories when your diet comprises high-fat dairy products. In addition, many dairy products contain added sugar, so you need to be very careful concerning which dairy products you consume and how much. Reading the ingredients labels of everything you eat or drink should come as second nature to you while on the Keto Diet.
One of the very best features of the Keto Diet is that, if you are following it correctly, you will feel more satiated, less hungry, and have fewer food cravings. Just as with any diet however, if you are doing too much snacking, your daily calorie count will increase unnoticed. Besides too much snacking might get in the way of your weight loss goals. Something else to be mindful of early on in the Keto Diet is that you will likely have extreme cravings for carbs. It will be difficult to resist a sugary treat, but it is important to be strong as these cravings will quickly fade once your body has completely adapted to the Keto Diet. To help you here is a link to a Keto Diet ebook with some recipes that can help with these cravings.
Lack of sleep interferes with cellular repair, immune function, DNA duplication and repair, and it may increase the risk for metabolic conditions, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and cancer. It is therefore important that you get enough sleep as a lack of sleep can negatively interfere with your health and dieting goals. To make things even worse, research suggests that absence of sleep can increase cravings for processed food by reducing activity in the frontal lobe, which handles complex decision-making and executive function, and increases activity in the cortex, the area of the brain that respond to reward. It is recommended to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It can also be beneficial to reduce screen time one to two hours before bedtime as artificial light can interfere with your circadian rhythm. You should also try going to bed at the same time every night as routine can be important, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and not eating directly before attempting to sleep can also be important when trying to get a good night’s sleep. It is very important to keep in mind that some individuals experience impaired sleep early on when starting the Keto Diet. If this is the case for you, follow the guidelines above. For most people, as their body gets used to the Keto Diet, problems getting enough sleep dissipate.
If you are attempting to lose weight it is tempting to weigh yourself often to track your progress. While your weight is very important, there are a few extremely crucial things to keep in mind about the number on the scale.
You are going to lose a lot of weight very quickly in the start of the Keto Diet. This may be rewarding, but it is mainly due to water loss and this can increase your expectations of how quickly you will be able to reach your target weight. Keep in mind, stored carbs retain water as I discussed above in point 3. As your body burns through your carb stores you are going to lose a lot of that water weight too.
The number on the scale is a measurement of your entire body, not just your fat. That includes your bones, organs, fat, water, muscle, and everything else are all being weighed at the same time. Your scales are not able to distinguish between all the different kinds of tissue that comprise your body. If you are working out a lot and building muscle while you are shedding fat, the scale may not give an accurate reading of your weight loss. Losing weight is likely important for you otherwise you will probably not be reading this article on the Keto Diet. However, it is equally important that you increase your muscle mass; but paradoxically increasing muscle mass will add weight to your body. If you want a much better measurement of your progress, try to find a smart scale. You can buy one or see if your local health club or gym has one. This type of scale provides an estimate of your fat mass compared to your lean mass and is a better marker for your progress.
Your bodyweight changes throughout the day so it is important that you remember that it is not beneficial to monitor your weight multiple times a day. Doing that does not offer you any useful information, and it will likely just trigger stress and trigger obsessive habits. It is best practice to weigh yourself at the same time of day, typically first thing in the morning, this routine will give you a more reasonable indication of your weight loss progress. It is crucial that you try not to obsess about your weight. Doing so can cause unhelpful stress and hamper your progress.
Finally, if you really want to track your weight, it is best to only weigh yourself every few weeks or once a month; this should still be at the same time of day, as recommended above. Since bodyweight naturally fluctuates from day-to-day and throughout the day, measuring yourself less frequently than everyday will give you a much better indication of the progress you are making along your weight loss journey. A realistic goal on the Keto Diet is losing between half a kilo (1.1 pound) and one kilo (2.2 pounds) every week.
Vegetables contain carbs meaning that you have to monitor how many vegetables you eat, even lettuce which is commonly considered to be mostly composed of water. If you are not careful or are eating vegetables without limits, you might eat more than the required daily maximum carb limit of 50 grams. As I wrote above, this will stop the ketosis process and you will no longer be following the Keto Diet. Meanwhile, if counting every baby carrot is getting too complicated you might start excluding vegetables from your diet entirely, which would not be advised. It is important to eat vegetables as part of the Keto Diet as these include fibre which can prevent some of the gastric distress mentioned above in point 1. Non-starchy vegetables are essential in the Keto Diet as many of them are low in carbs especially leafy greens, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and asparagus. I have written an article of what foods you can and cannot eat on the Keto Diet, you can read it here.
When the main objective of Keto appears to be to significantly cut carbs, the other requirements of the Diet might seem like an afterthought. Reducing your carb intake is important, but focusing on higher-quality foods when budget allows is just as important to improve your health and well-being. A diet that comprises foods that are high in omega 3 like wild salmon, grass-fed, regional, or organic meats, and snacking on whole foods instead of processed Keto-approved treats. Whether on the Keto Diet or not, it is important to follow a balanced diet plan as best you can by integrating as many nutrient-rich fruits and veggies as you can. Some dietitians do not recommend the Keto Diet because it may lead to nutrient deficiencies, therefore it is important to be mindful of this and ensure that you are eating nutrient-rich, healthy foods. It can help to avoid some of these concerns if you work with a dietician or a carefully set out Keto Diet plan such as the Custom Keto Diet.
In this article I have summarised the most common mistakes that beginners of the Keto Diet make or succumb to. If you are on keto and not losing weight I hope this article has been of help for you. It is important to be aware of these pitfalls as you journey along your new low-carb, high-fat way of life. Probably more importantly it is crucial that you follow a properly developed Keto Diet. As I wrote right at the start of this article I recommend the Custom Keto Diet; it is as an excellent regimen to follow if you are interested in losing weight and living a more healthy lifestyle. As you have made it to the end of this article it suggests that you are interested in the kinds of health benefits the Keto Diet can offer you and your weight loss and overall health and well-being goals. so, if you are not ready to try the Custom Keto Diet, you might like to try some of the free Keto recipes that are in my free ebook. you can download the ebook by clicking this button:
As with any diet it is really crucial that instead of just concentrating on reducing your carb intake, you should take a more holistic view. Make certain to get enough sleep. Stay hydrated. Eat healthy foods. If you follow these tips, you will burn ketones for fuel more effectively, so you can experience all the benefits of the Keto Diet with fewer or hopefully with no disadvantages.