The Keto diet (or a ketogenic diet) has become highly popular because it’s super effective when done correctly.
Benefits include weight loss, reduced risk of cancers, heart disease and other diseases, and tons of other overall health boosts.
However, it’s also far more structured than many other diets, so beginners often have a hard time seeing results.
7 Reasons You Are Failing at the Ketogenic Diet (and what you can do about it)
If you’re thinking of trying a ketogenic diet, avoid these common Keto diet mistakes and you’ll see real results, fast:
1. Not drinking enough water
Part of following your new Keto diet will involve massively reducing carbohydrate intake. But carbohydrates help to hold water and sodium in your body, keeping you hydrated. So a quick reduction in carbs means that dehydration is a common side effect of beginning a Keto diet.
Maintaining a healthy level of hydration is important for kidney health and mitigating common Keto side effects. Plus, it’ll help curb your appetite and cravings.
For those who are not used to keeping regularly hydrated throughout the day, try the following tips:
- Always have a bottle of water to hand
- Keep track of your daily water intake
- Set an alarm on your phone at regular intervals to remind you to drink water
- Add some lemon and lime slices to make it more refreshing
2. Doing too much too soon
Your first dive into Keto can be a massive change for your routine, your habits, and your body. Many people fail the first time around because the drastic changes and side effects are too much for them.
Try easing yourself into a ketogenic diet initially before trying to achieve full ketosis. You will get your body used to the change gradually and will likely have far more success in the long term.
It’s also important to check with your doctor before embarking on a Keto diet, especially if you have an existing condition. For example, people with Type 2 diabetes should not undertake a ketogenic diet.
3. Sticking to the same workout routines
While working out on the Keto diet is safe, a common mistake people make is keeping up the same high intensity of exercise they had before.
During ketosis, you are drastically changing the nutritional make-up of the fuel you consume, so it’s expected that this will have an impact on the level and intensity of the activity you undertake.
However, it is safe to work out on keto. Just keep the following in mind:
- Try low-intensity cardio workouts
- Continue lifting weights but reduce the number of reps
- Avoid high-intensity HIIT workouts or circuit training
- Make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your body
- Stop if you feel faint or dizzy
As your body gets used to ketosis and your energy levels balance out, you can adjust your workout routine and increase activity.
4. Eating “hidden” carbs
Contrary to popular belief, the Keto diet is not carb-free. A small amount (maximum 20g) of daily carbohydrates should be incorporated into your diet.
A common Keto diet mistake that people make is consuming “hidden” carbs.
They cut out bread, pasta, and other obvious sources, but they forget that many fruits, vegetables, and nuts also contain carbs and continue consuming them freely.
Lowering carbs to the recommended amount is imperative to achieving ketosis, which is the whole point of a Keto diet. Here are some foods that have “hidden” carbs. You can still consume them, but make sure to take their carbohydrate content into account:
- Berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
- Brazil nuts
This is not a complete list of fruit, vegetables, and nuts that contain carbohydrates. Be sure to do your research to avoid accidental extra carb intake on your Keto diet.
5. Ignoring micronutrient intake
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that our body needs to stay healthy and functioning at optimal levels. They impact everything from your immune system to your brain function.
On keto diets, you are cutting out or reducing a lot of foods. So it can sometimes be easier to fall into a micronutrient imbalance.
Some common micronutrient deficiencies that can occur on a ketogenic diet include:
- B Vitamins
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
The main reason this happens is that people trying Keto fail to vary their diet. They eat the same foods repeatedly because they know those foods are acceptable for Keto, but the lack of variation means they are missing out on vital nutrients.
It’s vital to do your research and ensure your Keto diet is varied enough for you to take in the correct amount of micronutrients and maintain your overall health.
6. Too much protein
While Keto is low-carb, that does not necessarily mean it’s high protein. On a ketogenic diet, protein should generally make up around 20% of your daily calorie intake. A common Keto diet mistake is taking in too much protein. But why is this a problem?
Many scientists believe that overconsumption of protein can knock your body out of ketosis through a process called gluconeogenesis. This means that the excess protein you have consumed, some of the amino acids will convert to glucose. Since the aim of a ketogenic diet is to have your body burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, this can be detrimental to your ketosis state.
For this reason, it’s important to prioritize a moderate protein intake on Keto.
7. Having cheat meals
Ketosis is a delicate balance. It takes time to achieve in the first place and then can easily be reversed. Achieving and maintaining ketosis is entirely dependent on the correct Keto diet.
So, unlike other diets, “cheat meals” are pretty much out of the question to maintain ketosis. One cheat meal can knock your body out of ketosis, which can take several days to regain. A common keto diet mistake is having weekly cheat meals as you might do with other types of diets.
While the Keto diet might feel like a daunting challenge at first, following these tips to avoid common Keto diet mistakes will help you see real results from the diet much quicker.