A ketogenic diet can help you lose initially undue weight faster than traditional dieting. At least, studies show that. Many of its supporters claim that the transition to a diet very low in carbohydrates increases their energy and helps them think more clearly. In many cases, this trendy diet style can bring huge benefits, provided, however, that you know how to do it correctly. There are many pitfalls you can fall in and through which the ketogenic diet may fail.
Here are three common mistakes that most people make when starting their adventure with the ketogenic diet.
In some cases, the first days of the keto diet resemble the flu. Headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation may happen.
Why is this happening? Your body is moving in the direction of ketosis when carbohydrates intake is below about 50 grams per day. The cells of your body adapt to the new main source of energy (from carbohydrate to fat/ketone bodies). When you suddenly change the type of ‘fuel’, to which we have become accustomed, you may experience a period of drowsiness and worse well-being.
Changing to a diet with low carbohydrates intake may also cause the more you go to the toilet. Especially in the first week of the diet your body gets rid of large amounts of stored water because it breaks down glycogen in the muscles and liver. Thus losing a large number of salts and minerals, and so the person expelling large amounts of liquids can be dehydrated and have a deficiency of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.
Take care of the transitional period, which will allow the body to the appropriate adaptations. Take care also about adequate hydration. Try to replenish lost electrolytes, eating a lot of foods rich in potassium and magnesium. You can also support the electrolytes.
Do you think that the ketogenic diet is based on eating large amounts of protein? This is a mistake! Keto relies heavily on obtaining energy from fat. About 20% of Energy should be derived from protein, and therefore is similar to a standard balanced diet. Moderate ketogenic diet takes into account up to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. The remaining part is complemented by calories from fats.
In other words, our goal is not to fill the entire plate with steak or chicken. At every meal aim for a portion of the protein, a glass of non-starchy vegetables (such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli or cauliflower) and a portion or two of healthy fats (such as a tablespoon of olive oil or avocado).
If after a few days of using the ketogenic diet you suddenly feel bloating and bowel problems, you probably forgot about dietary fibres! Many people focus on fat, forgetting the fibres.
Since many foods rich in fibre, such as whole grains, beans and fruits, usually contain a lot of carbohydrates, you need to find other ways of getting enough fibre. Eat as many vegetables with high fibre content within the limits of carbohydrate intake as possible. Reach for vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and artichokes. Reach also for the avocado. This is one of the few sources of fat, which also contains fibre. And remember to drink a lot of water.
Avocados are incredibly healthy.
3.5 ounces (100 grams), or about one-half of a medium avocado, contain 9 grams of carbs.
However, 7 of these are fiber, so its net carb count is only 2 grams (25).
In addition, avocados may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
In one study, when people consumed a diet high in avocados, they experienced a 22% decrease in "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an 11% increase in "good" HDL cholesterol (28Trusted Source).
In fact, coconut oil has been used to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer's disease and other disorders of the brain and nervous system (38Trusted Source).
Coconut oil may help adults lose weight and belly fat. In a study, men who ate 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day lost 1 inch, on average, from their waistlines without making any other dietary changes (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).
Nuts and seeds are healthy,
Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression and other chronic diseases (51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source).
All nuts and seeds are low in carbs, the amount varies quite a bit among the different types.
Here are the carb counts for 1 ounce.
Almonds: 3 grams net carbs (6 grams total carbs)
Cashews: 8 grams net carbs (9 grams total carbs)
Macadamia nuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
Pistachios: 5 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
Walnuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
Flaxseeds: 0 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
Pumpkin seeds: 4 grams net carbs (5 grams total carbs)
Sesame seeds: 3 grams net carbs (7 grams total carbs)
Coffee and tea are incredibly healthy, carb-free drinks.
They contain caffeine, which increases your metabolism and may improve your physical performance, alertness and mood (83, 84, 85Trusted Source).
What's more, coffee and tea drinkers have been shown to have a significantly reduced risk of diabetes. In fact, those with the highest coffee and tea intakes have the lowest risk of developing diabetes (86Trusted Source, 87Trusted Source).
Dark chocolate and cocoa are delicious resources of antioxidants.
In fact, cocoa has been called a "super fruit," because it provides at least as much antioxidant activity as any other fruit, including blueberries and acai berries.
Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia