A ketogenic diet that promotes consuming high levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates is a fantastic way to release excess body fat and boost health quickly.
However, despite the general efficacy of a keto diet. Followers of the protocol may not experience success due to making a few common mistakes.
How to Modify Your Keto Diet
It's necessary to eat a significant amount of fat on a ketogenic diet. However, you can also alter the parameters of the ketogenic diet to accommodate your needs.
Pregnant or breastfeeding on keto: Although many choose to limit net carbs to 20 grams a day, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to increase their carb and fat macros to accommodate themselves and baby.
An athlete, powerlifter, or someone very physically active: Those who are athletes or otherwise highly physically active may need more overall calories, including more protein and carbs.
A high-protein diet for those looking to lean out or build muscle: Similar to those who are athletes or very physically active, those seeking to develop more lean muscle or eliminate excess fat may want to increase protein intake to promote muscle growth and improve recovery.
- A cyclical ketogenic diet for those needing carb-based energy revolving around their activity and fitness schedule: Those who engage in high-intensity fitness, and need a back-up boost of short-term energy, consuming clean whole foods, and more fat or carbs, can aid in performance.
There are a few items to consider when eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. The following are some critical points to mind and avoid to prevent a weight-loss plateau on a keto diet:
#1 - Overeating Diary
Some can eat an ounce of cheese and go on with their day and others, not so much. Although dairy is generally a low or no-carb food, its also high in calories and incredibly delicious, making it easy to put a dent in your caloric budget quickly without eating a physically large portion.
Some can't tolerate dairy, which can prove problematic. But for those without a dairy intolerance, eating a lot of cheese can also easily allow you to eat more calories than you need in a day, creating a caloric surplus.
Pull back and eat around an ounce of cheese a couple of times a week if you notice a weight-loss stall, and consider replacing your coffee creamer and milk to non-dairy options to see how your body and the scale responds.
#2 - Using Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar is off-limits on a ketogenic diet, but that doesn't mean that sweetness is eliminated from the low-carb, high-fat meal plan. However, certain sweeteners are better than others.
Artificial sweeteners like Equal, Splenda, and Sweet'N Low are free of sugar, and technically within the right macronutrient range for someone on keto.
However, the noted artificial sweeteners contain chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, and these products may even spike sugar cravings—causing you to overeat.
Fortunately, there are several sugar alternatives available that are free of harmful chemicals and ideal to consume if working to maintain ketosis.
Here are some keto-friendly sugar alternatives to use to stay on track:
- Monk fruit (e.g., Lakanto)
- Erythritol (e.g., Swerve)
#3 - Not Using a Keto Meal Plan
Starting a ketogenic diet is an exciting time and a tasty endeavor. There are endless mouth-watering recipes to fawn over online and experiment with at home.
However, targeted results require focused and intentional efforts. Although choosing to ditch the refined sugars and carbs is a perfect start to achieve ketosis and weight loss, a customized meal plan is ideal.
We've helped thousands release the excess weight with the use of our customized keto meal plans. Whether a carnivore or a vegetarian, our personalized quiz can craft a plan that works well for you.
Please take a minute and check out our brief quiz to receive your personalized meal plan and get on the road to rapid fat loss today.
#4 - Eating Inflammatory Foods
Keeping the carbs low is generally an ideal approach when seeking to reduce inflammation. However, certain foods, like dairy, for some, may still produce an inflammatory response in the body.
Here are some low-carb, yet inflammatory, food options to avoid or limit while eating a ketogenic diet:
- Deli or processed meats that contain nitrates and nitrites (e.g., sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meat, and beef jerky, et al.). Opt for organic and sugar-free varieties of these foods
- Reduced-fat dairy (go for full-fat options)
- Artificial trans fats (e.g., margarine, soybean oil, vegetable shortening, safflower oil, sunflower oil, et al.)
- Low-sugar alcohol (e.g., vodka, gin, etc.)
- Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) - a flavor enhancer that is often found in many soup mixes, fast food, and some deli meats, etc.)
- Casein, found in dairy products, can cause joint inflammation
- Artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame, Equal, Splenda, etc.)
Instead of the aforementioned low-carb fare, opt for the following foods on keto to promote health and reduce free radicals:
- Grass-fed beef
- Fatty fish and seafood (e.g., salmon, mackerel, sardines, oysters, crab, lobster, et al.)
- Dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, et al.)
- MCT oil
- Keto-friendly meal replacement shakes (r.e., Keto Slimming Shake)
- Zucchini and squash
- Grass-fed butter
- Low-carb nuts (e.g., pili, almonds, pecans, etc.)
- Nori, kelp, and other low-carb sea veggies
- Low-glycemic fruit (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.)
- Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds
- Whole-fat, organic, dairy
- Dairy-free milk (e.g., almond, hemp, macadamia, etc.)
#5 - Only Counting Net Carbs
Everyone's net carb threshold will vary. Some can eat 50 grams of net carbs and release weight, while others need to reduce net carbs to 20 net carbs or less to release body fat.
If you notice that the scale is at a standstill or even climbing in numbers lately, it may be time to count all carbs consumed and reduce your total carb consumption to less than 30 grams a day.
Also, your activity level, age, and gender can all influence the number of carbs you can consume and remain in fat-burning mode. Each of us has a unique set of factors that contribute to or detract from our weight-loss efforts.
Again, using a customized meal plan can come in very handy during weight loss because all the work is done for you, no need to fret over calculating carbs or other macros.
Of course, we need to mind our macros, but it is also essential to take the types of food eaten, your activity level, and other lifestyle factors into consideration, in addition to counting net carbs.
#6 - Not Drinking Enough Water
Drinking water throughout the day is beneficial in general but becomes especially important when on a ketogenic diet. Our bodies release an increased amount of fluid, vitamins, and minerals when carbs and refined sugars are nixed.
As a result of the body's increased release of fluid and nutrients on keto, we must keep a close eye on staying hydrated and make an effort to replenish electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals throughout the day.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is the usual recommendation, but each person's hydration needs may vary. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise the daily fluid intake of about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and approximately 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Plus, there are beverages like bone broth and coconut water that offer the overlapping benefits of hydration and electrolyte replenishment.
Adding such drinks to your keto lifestyle is helpful as you transition to the diet and on an on-going basis while living a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle.
#7 - Only Focusing on Food
A change in diet that eliminates carbs and refined sugars will usually result in low-effort weight loss. But many people get to a point where they choose to integrate fitness and increased physical activity into their lifestyle as a means of accelerating weight-loss results.
Also, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and making time for additional self-care, as needed, all play a vital role in weight loss.
Placing a focus on food as well as moving from viewing keto as a diet to adopting a well-rounded approach to an active, balanced, low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic lifestyle is imperative.
Plus, even if your macros are in line and you're increasing your physical activity throughout the week, your emotional health and your relationship with food, especially when in distressing periods, can also play a significant role in your keto journey.
Also, weight loss is a coveted and typical result of eating a ketogenic diet, but eating a low-carb, high-fat diet is about so much more than the number on the scale.
Bask in the benefit of increased energy, mental sharpness, and improved endurance, along with effortless weight loss on keto and follow our advice to dodge the common errors made by well-intentioned people.
Live a lifestyle, Don’t Limit Your Macros
A ketogenic style of eating is technically a diet, but those of us familiar with the protocol quickly realize that keto is a lifestyle.
The advice noted above will help you avoid many common traps that discourage some who try the ketogenic diet. The approach to our relationship with food is possibly different from what you're used to, but there are many health benefits to gain, and the food is downright amazing.
The best macronutrient target for each person following a keto diet will vary based on several factors we mentioned above, like gender, activity level, and age.
Keto is a fantastic approach to nutrition because it is a very flexible diet, even in the framework of limiting carbs and sugar.
Enjoy a wide variety of healthy fats, especially during the initial period on a ketogenic diet, and don't fixate on macros at the start.
Have fun with this new high-fat lifestyle and experience the drastic and impressive changes your body experiences as it adjusts to your natural appetite level and weight, without any extreme effort on your part.
- Disalvo, E. A. (2015). Membrane Hydration The Role of Water in the Structure and Function of Biological Membranes. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
- Bell, J. D., Margen, S., & Calloway, D. H. (1969). Ketosis, weight loss, uric acid, and nitrogen balance in obese women fed single nutrients at low caloric levels. Metabolism, 18(3), 193–208. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(69)90039-0
- Thornton, S. N. (2016). Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. Frontiers in Nutrition, 3. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2016.00018
- Seppa, N. (2012). Body & brain: Weight loss may cut cancer risk: Shedding pounds reduced inflammation in women. Science News, 181(11), 16–16. doi: 10.1002/scin.5591811117
- Jacob, J. (2017). Artificial Sweeteners, Glucose Intolerance, and Gut Microbiota. RSSDI Update–2015, 176–176. doi: 10.5005/jp/books/12963_36
- Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies. (2016). Oxford Medicine Online. doi: 10.1093/med/9780190497996.001.0001
- Ritz, P., & Berrut, G. (2005). The Importance of Good Hydration for Day-to-Day Health. Nutrition Reviews, 63. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2005.tb00155.x