9 Keto Diet Mistakes You Need to Know
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high fat diet with limited carbs. It’s popularity has increased because it works.
Studies show keto works for weight loss. It suppresses appetite and lowers cholesterol.
It’s easy to get started and see results – especially when you take a 28-day Keto Challenge. But it can be a challenge navigating hurdles that it presents.
If you’re looking to start this diet soon, or if you have started on keto, you can avoid these all too common keto diet mistakes. I want your transition to become fat adapted as smooth as possible
In today’s article I want to share the top 9 keto diet mistakes that are stopping you from hitting your health and weight loss goals.
Maybe you want to lose weight, increase energy, build muscle, boost your brain power, or take control of your hormones.
There might be 9 common keto diet mistakes you might be making that you can easily avoid. Stop sabotaging your efforts by learning about these weight loss mistakes.
I’ve had people tell me, “I just can’t do the keto diet”… “It’s too confusing to keep it up!”, or “I just don’t see any changes doing keto, so it’s not worth it.”
I’m here to tell you, if you correct these 9 keto diet mistakes you won’t be one of those people.
Let’s get started…
Mistake #1 | Not Measuring Macros
Too many people dive into keto thinking their going to eat a pound of bacon in two days, eat cheese and lots of burgers without the bun.
Although this is a noble effort at changing the way you eat, you must to intentional about how much fat, protein, and carbs you’re taking in each day.
Here’s a reminder of macro requirements:
- 70% fats
- 25% protein
- 5% carbs.
If you eat nothing but protein all day, you don’t have a balance (based on the science) of getting yourself into ketosis. It seems counter-intuitive. You’ve been taught to eat less fat, not more.
In the past it was believed fat made you fat. The medical community thought it gave you heart disease. Fats, like was previously thought, does not clog your arteries.
This is a myth.
You CAN eat 70% of fat and fuel your brain and body for optional performance. A lot of your daily calories are coming from fat, and you have to get your protein under control.
Measure your macros with an app. There are plenty of apps to help you record your macros on your phone. One great way to avoid this keto diet mistake is to use ‘My Plate”. Download the app. Put in your information, and record what you eat throughout the day.
There’s even a QR reader to scan food label bar codes that pull up necessary information for the calculations. You’re presented with a pie chart that shows you how much you’re consuming of each macro.
Tracking you macros will support your effort until you become more intuitive about your ratios.
Mistake #2 | Not Measuring Ketones
You need to know if your efforts are resulting in ketosis. It’s easy to make the mistake of just trusting yourself on keto. This diet is scientifically based.
Some of my best friends have said they’ve given up on keto because they eat more fat with no results. I asked them if they were measuring their ketones and they were unaware that that was a thing.
Trust me, measuring ketones is a thing! This is because it’s the proven way to validate you are actually fat adapted. If you never get to ketosis, you’re not living la vida keto.
Measure Your Ketones. You can easily fix this keto diet mistake with a little help. There are three ways you can measure your ketones.
There are three ways you can check for ketones:
These can be purchased at your local drug store or online. They measure acetoacetate. This is excreted through the urine the first few weeks on keto.
All you have to do is pee on the strip and the color of the stick changes. Compare it to the provided chart. If your urine makes the strip purple, you’re in ketosis.
The problem is, your body only excretes acetoacetate in the early stages of become fat adapted. But, is a great way to raise your awareness of your body’s changes.
In the early stages of keto you’ll notice you have ‘keto breath’. This can cause a sweetness or a metallic taste on your breath. The ketonix breath device is a bit expensive. The problem with is that it’s not always accurate. If you blow harder or softer it changes the reading.
How it works:
You can choose from a variety of breath meters online. Some are connected to your computer and tracks your readings (That part is pretty cool) All you do is blow into it and reads Uncap it and blow. It reads the measurement of acetone in your breath.
The problem is you can’t ensure the reading is consistently accurate.
To validate you’re in ketosis, betahydroxybutyrate is measured in the blood. This is my far the most accurate way to measure ketones accurately over time. You don’t need to go to a doctor’s office. I have a Keto Mojo (not an affiliate link) and it keeps me motivated… like a video game.
How it works:
You insert a test strip into the unit. Stick your finger with the provided lancet and put a drip of blood on the test strip. It tells you your exact level of ketones. You can even get glucose measurements with different strips using in the same unit.
This method is an investment. The test strips are about a dollar a piece at the Keto Mojo website (cheaper than else where), so you may want to test yourself less frequently as you become more skilled as a keto-er.
Investing on a blood meter is worthy to help you avoid one of the most detrimental keto mistakes. You will learn how to know if you’re in ketosis or not.
Mistake #3 | Not Getting Enough Fat
One of the most stifling keto diet mistakes is fearing fat. For years, you were made to believe fat was evil. For some people it take a great deal of education and experience to embrace the fact that fat is your friend.
The keto diet is a HIGH fat diet. You will learn to love it over time. It’s healthy for cell membranes, for your mitochondria (responsible for energy), and necessary for optimal brain function. There are many benefits of the keto diet.
Eat more fat to lose more fat.
But, it must be high quality fats. Avoid the mistake too many people make on keto: eating canola oil and vegetable oils. There’s a lot to learn about healthy fat.
Some keto friendly fats include:
- Avocado oil
- Organic, grass fed butter
- Mct Oil
- Grass Fed Beef tallow
Remember: 70-75 % of your intake needs to be fat.
Mistake #4 | Eating Too Much Protein
This keto mistake is easy to make. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has given us the desire for high volumes of meat: bar-b-que, burgers, beef, pork…
We connect the desire to build muscle with eating copious amount of meat protein. I used to think this was true too. But, the ketogenic diet is actually muscle sparing. This means you can use less protein than you normally use.
Too much protein causes an insulin response called gluconeogenisis. Sabotaging your glucose and insulin control efforts.
Too much meat kicks you out of ketosis.
Imagine a deck of cards: the size, shape, and thickness. This is the size of approximately 4 ounces of meat protein you want to eat at a meal. Eating a 24 ounce steak is not keto, so avoid this kind of volume in one sitting.
Take out the guess work of meal prep. Buy a collection of recipes with the macros calculated for you. Following recipes when you first start on keto is one of the best ways to build an understanding of what to cook and how to cook it.
Check this keto recipe collection out, you’ll have recipes for months!
Mistake #5 | Eating Bad Fats
When people first start on the ketogenic diet they think they can eat a pound of bacon, lots of cheese, and eat fried foods.
You have to be careful. Not all fats are created equal. If you fill your fat quota up with bad fats, you may lose weight at the beginning, but you’ll sabotage your health in the long run.
There are different types of fat: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, …
Fats to avoid:
- vegetable oil
- canola oil
- soy bean oil
- peanut oil
- palm oil
These fats are typically higher in Omega 6 fat. They get rancid. This results in oxidation and increased free radicals in your body – the exact OPPOSITE result you try to achieve on the keto diet.
Bad fats are highly inflammatory. Just because it’s called “vegetable” oil doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Chicken wings at your local bar doesn’t care what kind of fat they cook their food in. Many store bought salad dressing are loaded with bad fats. Read those labels.
You can buy keto ingredients all over the web or at your local markets. Some are more expensive than others.
One brand I love is Primal Kitchen (not an affiliate link) . Mark Sisson, it’s owner and creator has put a lot of thought into living a Primal lifestyle and he focuses on high quality food for fuel.
Buying keto mayo from the store is expensive. So Make your own. One of my favorite recipes made with avocado oil is Keto friendly mayo. I make it every week and keep it in the fridge.
- Avocado oil
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Grass fed butter
- Ghee (clarified butter)
Mistake #6 | Eating Too Much Dairy
Getting home and snacking on a piece of cheese seems reasonable. Better than a cookie or a chocolate bar. But you have to cautious about the amount you eat and they kinds you eat.
The same goes for milk. When you drink too much milk, you may find you get phlegm in the back of your throat. This is a sign you shouldn’t be drinking it. Your body is having a negative response you shouldn’t ignore.
Eating too much dairy results in:
- Posty nasal drip
- Irritable bowel
- Weight gain
You can easily avoid the mistake of eating too much dairy. There are alternatives. Shop with these objectives in mind:
Buy raw, grass fed cheese. If you don’t, try avoiding it all together. Rather than milk, experiment with milk alternative like almond milk or coconut milk.
Mistake #7 | Eating Too Many Carbs
It is soooo easy to go over your macro for carbs. They are everywhere. Remember, your goal is 5% carbs. If you reach for a piece of fruit, it’s easy to eat your full allotment of carbs in one sitting in front of a fruit bowl.
Fruits are natural. But they naturally have high levels of sugar. One apple has as much as 25.4 net carbs. While grapes are a good source of potassium, they are load with sugar, almost 26 net carbs per.
Starchy vegetables are also high sources of carbs. They have a higher glycemic index. Peas, squash, and potatoes should be avoided
If you’re try to stay under 20 grams of carbs per day, it’s not going to happen if you load up on fruits high in sugar and vegetables high in starch.
If you’re following the ketogenic diet, make sure to measure your fruit and veggie intake to align with your goals. If you break the seal on high sugar, high carb foods you could end up falling into the sugar cravings trap.
I know how it goes. I’ve been there. Lean on great keto recipe plans.
The best way to avoid the downward sugar spiral is to eat berries are the best fruits you can eat. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are all great alternatives. The sweeter the fruit, the more you want to avoid it.
Stick to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, or cauliflower.
Mistake #8 | Ignoring Your Gut
Constipation is very real for people on the ketogenic diet. You’re getting healthy fats and protein and maybe even some good fiber. But, if your constipated, chances are you need more fiber, and your microbiome needs attention.
Your microbiome needs high fiber vegetables. Make intentional effort to include kale, swiss chard, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, asparagus, and brussels sprouts.
You fill your gut with prebiotics when you eat these and fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi. These are fermented vegetables. That means you’re getting probiotics and prebiotics that help balance your digestive environment.
Prebiotics and probiolics are the combination your gut needs for health. One of the best supplements for the keto diet is bone broth. It’s loaded with collagen. It can be chicken or beef bone broth, boiling bones for 48 hours.
Make it or buy it. Bone broth is way to battle leaky gut that causes toxins to circulate throughout your body. By supplementing with bone broth you’ll reduce inflammation while healing your gut.
Avoiding this keto diet mistake is essential for your long term health!
Mistake #9 | Not Balancing Electrolytes
You might be making the keto mistake of not drinking enough water. Water is necessary, but you can ignore your electrolytes.
Some important electrolytes are:
Magnesium deficiencies cause constipation. And, for one gram of carbs, your body holds three grams of water. On the keto diet you reduce the amount of carbs, so you reduce the amount of water your body holds.
This is a good thing. It reduces inflammation and water retention. But, if you ignore proper hydration, you’ll experience cramps and constipation. Your goal is to hydrate to replenish the water in your system to avoid this mistake.
Increase salt. Not table salt. You want high mineral salts like Himalayan salt or Mediterranean sea salt. Supplement with magnesium and potassium.
You can buy electrolyte drinks or make your own electrolyte drink at home. Check out my Berry Zinger Electrolyte Drink for a yummy way to sty hydrated to avoid this mistake.
Be cautious. If you drink too much water without added electrolytes, you may throw your electrolytes out of balance even more.
How to avoid keto diet mistakes
If you want to avoid these mistakes and be successful on keto be intentional.
- Track your macros
- Measure your ketones
- Eat healthy fats
- Eat minimal protein
- Stay away from unhealthy fats
- Replace dairy with other alternatives
- Stay away from high sugar fruits and starchy veggies
- Take care of your gut and get prebiotics and probiotics
- Intentionally hydrate with your electrolytes in mind