Even if you’re not following the keto diet currently, consider filing this one away — you never know when you might have an opportunity to help a friend or family member solve problems with their diet!
Mistake: Low protein intake on keto
How to Fix It: Eat 25-35% of daily calories from protein.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, but too often, people neglect their protein intake. Eating more protein won’t kick you out of ketosis and unless you’re using the keto diet to treat a medical condition (such as epilepsy or cancer) it will dramatically improve your results.
Eating about 25-35% of your daily calories from protein (about 150 grams a day for the average adult, or 50 grams of protein per meal) is shown in studies to:
- Boost metabolism
- Enhance fat loss results
- Increase feelings of fullness
- Support muscle mass
- Speed recovery
Mistake: Dirty keto or IIFYM (“If it fits your macros”)
How to Fix It: Eat healthy low-carb whole foods with a focus on healthy fats.
Dirty keto or “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) are diets that use keto macros, but don’t require you to eat healthy whole foods.
This type of keto diet might save you a little money in the short term, or sound appealing if you like KFC, Burger King, etc.
But eating junk food isn’t a sustainable long-term health strategy, even if it’s technically a keto diet. Instead, focus on healthy low-carb foods like meat, seafood, low-carb veggies, limited quantities of fruit, and plenty of healthy fats.
Mistake: Counting calories or undereating (or both)
How to Fix It: Count carbs instead of calories, test ketone levels, and trust the diet.
Unlike most diets, you don’t need to count calories to lose weight on keto. In most cases, reducing carbs and staying in a state of ketosis allows you to feel less hungry and lose weight without worrying about calorie intake.
If you aren’t losing weight or you’ve hit a plateau, double-check that you aren’t eating too many carbs (or hidden carbs in processed food) and consider testing your ketone levels to ensure you’re actually in ketosis.
Mistake: Feeding your sugar addiction with sugar substitutes
How to Fix It: Go cold turkey and avoid all sweeteners for a while.
If you’re a recovering sugar addict (raise your hand), going keto can be tough. Some studies claim sugar is more addictive than cocaine!
Tons of “keto-friendly substitutes” for your favorite sweet treats are just a Google search away, but research suggests that non-sugar sweeteners can still feed those addictive tendencies, and could also result in a sugary relapse.
People who struggle with sugar and other indulgences should probably go “cold turkey” and avoid anything sweet tasting on keto until they’ve developed a healthier relationship with food.