Low-carb diets are trendy nowadays. For weight loss, most people follow a low-carb or low-fat diet plan. However, mistakes when starting the diet might not lead to the desired results. For example, you might check macros and count calories but not lose weight on the low-carb diet due to mistakes. But you need not worry because we’re here to help you with just the right information you need to make your low-carb diet give you the most effective result.
It takes time for your body to switch from running on carbohydrates to running on fat. The first thing to know is that the key to success is in planning. By failing to prepare and understand the diet, you are preparing not to see the result you hoped for.
Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss
People who gain weight due to poor physical activity or high-calorie consumption of unhealthy food can follow a low-carb diet like the keto diet. A keto diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet that induces a unique mechanism in your body known as ketosis.
Present studies show that the keto diet significantly reduces BMI and body weight and suppresses appetite. It is an excellent way to boost your rate of fat loss. Ketosis starts in your body when you follow a very low to zero carbs and high-fat (good fat) diet for days or weeks. Your liver produces ketones to produce energy. Due to this process, your body utilises stored body fat and the fat you eat in the form of ketones.
The HealthifyMe Note
Sticking to a low-carb diet for weeks results in an effective and healthy fat loss. However, one needs to understand and follow the appropriate rhythm of a low-carb diet to get maximum benefits and avoid any health issues in the long run.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While on Low Carb Diet
1. Obsessing Over the Scale
Weigh yourself once a week or occasionally. If you’re trying to lose weight on a low-carb diet, obsessively weighing yourself is a mistake. Weight loss is different from fat loss. Initial weight loss in a low-carb diet is mostly water loss, not fat. One must not expect rapid weight loss or negative feelings after seeing fewer or no changes on the weighing scale, as fat loss is a gradual but progressive process.
2. Eating Too Many Carbs
According to research on low-carb diets, overall consumption of carbohydrates is 5% to 10% per day. In other words, carbohydrates amount to up to 20 to 50 g per day. However, many people cross this limit of carb consumption. As a result, your body fails to switch metabolic machinery to fat-burning mode. Thus, it becomes challenging to achieve ketosis and lose fat.
The hidden carbs in shellfish, salad dressings, soups, and sauces can sneak into the diet if you aren’t careful. The solution is to read the labels carefully to ensure you’re not exceeding carb limits.
3. Overeating Protein
Protein is essential for good health. However, excess protein does not comply with a low-carb diet. When you take extra protein on a low-carb diet, your body converts protein into glucose to produce excess energy. It disbalances the process. It also makes it difficult to digest protein. According to research, the macros ratio should comprise 30%-35% protein, 55%-60% fat, and 5%-10% carbohydrates.
4. Having Low Fat Diet
Many people who follow a low-carb diet to lose weight are afraid of fat. Fat is the highest calorie macro. According to a USDA study, each gram of carb contains four calories, and each gram of fat contains nine calories. That being said, it does not mean that eating fat will make you gain weight. Instead, people on a low-carb diet should make it fat-rich as it helps them to reach daily calorie requirements. Apart from this, fat helps in ketone formation when following a keto diet. Try to maximise consumption of healthy unsaturated fats to avoid an unnecessary rise in cholesterol levels.
5. Avoiding Salt
People try to avoid salt as they believe that it will increase body fluids and make them feel bloated. However, your insulin levels decrease when you are on a low-carb diet, and the body starts shedding extra fluids and sodium. Salt contains sodium in it which is essential when on a low-carb diet. It helps replenish lost sodium and avoids sodium deficiencies that may result in nausea, muscle weakness, and energy loss. However, do not overconsume salt as it may gain lead to a disbalance of fluids.
6. Repeating Foods
When you follow a low-carb diet, you must have a fixed daily diet plan. It is essential not to have the same food in every meal. For example, certain foods are high in calories, like fatty fish and red meat. These might not contain carbs but are high in protein and fat. Therefore, it increases their overall calories. If you have one food like red meat in most of your daily meals, it may reverse your fat loss process. Such foods might disbalance your daily protein and fat ratio when on a low-carb diet.
7. Not Having Enough Greens
Green vegetables have always been a good vitamin A, K, and E source. They are also high in iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. Also, green vegetables are low in carbs and hence are included in most low-carb diet plans. Having enough vegetables help in healthy digestion and even replenishes certain fluid deficiencies. On the other hand, not having greens in your diet may lead to micronutrient deficiency.
8. Not Having Fibre
Studies have shown that fibre positively affects gut health and prevents constipation, a common problem with low-carb diets. Fibres are used as a part of a detox diet as it flushes out toxins from the body. Whether you are on a low-carb diet or not, fibre should be included in your diet. With careful planning, you can add fibre-rich foods to prevent sluggish digestion after transitioning to keto.
7. Eating Too Many Sweets/Snacks
It is common to crave sweets and beverages while on a low-carb diet. However, it is essential to fight these cravings to reach the goal. Sweets, chocolate, and candies are enough to break your diet rhythm and are more disastrous if you’re on ketosis as they hinder the process leading to guilt and demotivation. You can avoid this by either replacing such food cravings with similar foods low in carbs or rewarding yourself with a small serving of sweet you want at the end of the day. For instance, treat yourself with maybe dark chocolate occasionally. Try not to exceed 150 calories for this meal.
10. Not Exercising
People on a low carb or keto diet often feel tired. It is common in most people as carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body. Your body produces fuel from ketones when on a low-carb or keto diet. These ketones are made in the liver when your body is in ketosis. Exercise can improve the ketosis process by absorbing or burning stored glucose as energy during workouts. It might be tricky to work out when on a low-carb diet, but it is necessary. Try not to avoid activities with a low-carb diet.
The HealthifyMe Note
It is healthy to work out when on a low-carb diet. But it is equally important not to overdo it. Many people try to lose most of their body fat faster by exercising as much as possible. It is not advisable to do so because your body is not very efficient for energy production while on a low-carb diet. If you are following HIIT workouts or lifting too much, it can make you feel less energetic.
A Sample Low Carb Diet Chart You Can Follow
You can follow the mentioned foods but do not make yourself strict with the diet as calorie requirements vary from person to person.
Breakfast: brown bread: 2 slices, low-fat cheese: 1 slice, boiled egg: 1MidMeal: Green vegetables like spinach and low-carb fruitsLunch: Vegetable pulao 50g, soy chunks 30g, high-fat curd 100gEvening: 2 wheat rusk with a cup of tea, as a treat or reward mealDinner: 2 chapatis with cooked spinach
Breakfast: egg white-2, chapatis-2, curry with peas (50g)MidMeal: Boiled black chickpeas 50gLunch: rice 50g, pulses 50g cooked, chicken salad 1 cup(50g)Evening: Low-carb fruits and vegetable saladDinner: wheat upma 1 cup and green beans cooked
Breakfast: 2 chapatis with greek yoghurt 50gMidMeal: Green salad 100gLunch: brown rice 50g with grilled meat 50g and cucumber salad-50g Evening: sprouts 100g Dinner: wheat dosa 1 with bitter gourd (cooked)
Breakfast: vegetable oats with 100g low-fat milkMidMeal: yoghurt with raw green vegetables 100gLunch: 1 chapati with paneer and cucumber saladEvening: boiled chickpeasDinner: chapatis with one bowl of vegetable curry
Breakfast: vegetable poha 1 cup (50g), low-fat milk 100gMidMeal: green veggie salad with fruitsLunch: 1 chapati with cooked beans, fish curry 100gEvening: oatmeal 50g Dinner: 2 chapatis with cooked bottle gourd
Breakfast: brown bread-2 slices, low-fat cheese one slice, boiled egg-1MidMeal: cooked pulses or chickpeas 50g Lunch: 50g rice, soya chunk curry, and curd 50gEvening: 2 biscuits with a cup of teaDinner: 2 chapatis with paneer
Breakfast: 2 chapatis with greek yoghurt 50gMidMeal: Green salad 100gLunch: rice 50g with grilled meat 50g and cucumber salad-50g Evening: sprouts 100g Dinner: wheat dosa 1 with bitter gourd (cooked)
Tips for Low Carb Diet
Try to follow a wide variety of low-carb foods to keep your diet exciting and full of choices. Low-carb foods include lean meat, fish, eggs, leafy vegetables, broccoli, and fruits such as apples, blueberries, and strawberries.Know the exact serving size and carb count in it. Most low-carb diets contain 20-50g of total carb intake daily. Keeping your carb in between this range is essential, so keep track of the carbs you are eating.Prepare your meals. Having processed or low-carb foods on the market filled with additives and preservatives is not advisable. Focus on healthy Keto fats like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Do not go for high-PUFA vegetable oils. Fill your keto plate with low-carb veggies like cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, chard, and lettuce.Dairy can be Keto-friendly but choose high-fat options.
The HealthifyMe Note
Most people can safely start a low-carb diet. There is a common misunderstanding that a low-carb diet requires eating a lot of meat. The good news is you can eat a low-carb diet, irrespective of whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian or anything in between.
If you are following a low-carb diet to promote weight loss, you must pay attention to a few mistakes you must avoid making and keep your routine healthy. Try not to restrict too many carbs and do not exceed its limit. Most people get food cravings when on a low-carb diet, so try not to cheat and stay true by replacing it with some other delicious dish low in carbs. And remember that while low-carb diets like keto are relatively simple, they require commitment and patience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the dangers of a low-carb diet?
A. Low carb diet is considered a healthy practice to lose excess fat and weight. It helps your body achieve ketosis and fasten the fat-burning process. However, there are some complications as a low-carb diet drops your insulin levels, and your body loses too much fluid along with minerals which need to be replenished on time as it may lead to mineral deficiencies such as sodium. Moreover, there is a tendency to over-react and give up, leading to a carbohydrate crash.
Q. Why do low-carb diets fail?
A. There are plenty of reasons for the failure of having a low-carb diet. These reasons may be dietary, habitual or lifestyle. For example, one might struggle to avoid certain foods and get deprived of them. Following other techniques and methods to lose weight in such situations is recommended. On the other hand, if you are on a low-carb diet and have the same food every day, it gets monotonous, and you end up quitting it. People fail the diet when everything doesn’t go perfectly and become impatient.
Q. Can you overeat on a low-carb diet?
A. No, one cannot overeat when on a low-carb diet. Having low-carb meals is necessary and reasonable in moderate amounts, but it doesn’t mean you abuse your daily intake of that food. Just like you can have red meat as a low-carb food but should take it in moderation as it is high in calories, and excess of it may lead to fat gain instead of fat loss.
Q. What are the rules of a low-carb diet?
A.A low-carb diet has the primary goal of achieving ketosis or getting energy from fat. It is because your body’s stored fat gets used up for energy production while on a low-carb diet. A general low-carb diet has a specific macros ratio like 30-35% protein, 60-65% fat, and 5-10% carbohydrates. However, an average person should not exceed 40g daily carb intake. Another rule is to fill at least half of your plate with protein.
Q. How long should you stay on a low-carb diet?
A. Having a low-carb diet for extended durations does not lead to complications if you follow it correctly. However, the ideal time to pursue a low-carb diet is up to 6 months as the maximum limit. It is necessary to quit after six months to get your body in its normal state and give back all the lost fluids and minerals to make it go back to its normal state.
Q. Why am I not losing weight on my low-carb diet?
A.One might fail to lose weight while following a low-carb diet by not following it properly or making inevitable mistakes like having big meals, too many carbs, or too much protein in the diet. In addition, eating a low-carb diet high in inflammatory vegetable oils and low in actual vegetables can slow down the progress.
Q. What is carb creep?
A. When it becomes difficult or boring to follow a strict low-carb diet, a person loses carb track and exceeds daily carbs intake. It makes the diet cycle break known as carb creep. More and more carbohydrates sneak into your daily diet due to carb creep.
Q. Why am I so hungry on a low-carb diet?
A.You frequently feel hungry on a low-carb diet as your body digests carbs faster than protein and fats. As a result, your body feels energy-deprived, and you might get carb food cravings to eliminate hunger. However, most of the time, it is the situation of carb creep.
Q. Why did I gain weight on keto?
A.Overeating any food can cause weight gain. The Keto diet consists of low-carb foods only. But it is not necessary if you limit your carb intake then it will lead to fat loss. Any unburn calorie becomes fat in your body. So the leading cause may be overeating and poor metabolism that makes you gain weight on the keto diet.
Q. Can I eat bacon on a low-carb diet?
A. Yes, bacon is keto-friendly. It is low in carbs and a good source of vitamin B and minerals like phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. A single medium slice of cooked bacon contains 0.1 grams of total carbs.Just try to consume bacon without added sugar as it boosts calories and carbs. However, turkey doesn’t make the best bacon for low-carb diets.