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The keto diet involves high-fat, low-carb consumption. Restrictions on some fruits and vegetables, sugar, and most carbs can be a challenge for some looking to try the keto diet. Here are the most common reasons why people fall off the keto plan and how you can stick to it when the going gets tough.
The ketogenic—keto—diet is an ultra-low-carb eating style that promises weight loss, steady blood sugar, and greater energy. However, it’s not all rosy due to restrictions on some fruits and vegetables, all sugar, and most carbs. Here, reasons why people fall off the keto plan and what you can do when the going gets tough.
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The keto diet will be unlike almost any other diet you’ve tried. That’s why going into this eating style without helpful strategies, plans, and ideas for making day-to-day food decisions easier can backfire.
“It’s a lot more involved than cutting out bread and pasta,” says Mary Weidner, cofounder of Strongr Fastr, a keto meal-planning app. “It requires planning and tracking just how many carbs you’re eating. Make no mistake, it takes effort and work—more so than other diets—and this can be overwhelming.”
Fix: Put in the prep work. “Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail,” says Lisa Davis, PhD, PA-C, CNS, the chief nutrition officer for Terra’s Kitchen, a food delivery service that caters to many different types of eating plans. “Meal prepping is crucial in achieving ketosis because the macros are so specific.” Before you begin prepping, make sure you check out the hidden dangers of a keto diet.
You eat too much protein m01229/Flickr
Yes, you read that right. While meat-lovers may approach the plan with gusto, digging into the steaks, burgers, bacon, pork tenderloin, and sausage—which are all keto-approved foods—too much can be a bad thing.
“Contrary to popular belief, a ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet,” says Brett Osborn, board-certified neurosurgeon, anti-aging physician, and nutrition advisor to BPI Sports. “In fact, protein should make up only 15 to 30 percent of your daily calories. Otherwise, ketone production will stall.”
“Excess protein interferes with ketosis, and people who focus too much on protein may not achieve a ketogenic state,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet and the upcoming book Jumpstart Ketosis. “Remember, keto is mostly fat, low to moderate protein, and almost no carbs.”
Fix: Track your protein, carbs, fat, and more so you get a better picture of what you’re eating in a day. Then, try to plan your meals and snacks to better align with your high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb goals.
You eat too many calories Africa Studio/Shutterstock
In the first few weeks of a keto diet, it’s not uncommon for you to drop several pounds quickly. That’s a great morale boost and incentive to keep going. However, you may soon find the scale stalling if you are not in ketosis and are eating too much.
“Some people may experience a complete stall in weight loss, or perhaps even a slight regain of some of that initial weight loss,” says Wes Shoemaker, who runs the YouTube channel called Highfalutin’ Low Carb. “This is when it’s important to keep track of carbohydrate intake as well as caloric intake.”
“Eating more than you need will make you gain weight,” Mancinelli says. “This is true even if you’re eating a ketogenic diet. A common mistake people make is they think if they switch to eating keto, all the fat will just melt away. That may happen—but it won’t if you consistently overeat.”
Fix:Newcomers to keto who experience this transitional phase may give up, simply thinking that keto doesn’t work for them, Shoemaker says. “The best advice is to give it time. Carefully track your food intake, and more importantly weigh and measure your portion sizes,” he says. “Many of us have over-inflated ideas of what reasonable portion sizes look like.”
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