For the past 15-20 years, low carb eating has slowly risen to prominence, starting with the wildly popular Atkins diet and more recently with Keto.
While there are both staunch supporters and leery skeptics of the low carb lifestyle, there’s one thing that’s hard to ignore: the approach is effective in reaching its goal; it often leads to weight loss.
The challenge, however, is making sure it’s done correctly.
I’ve been a low carb eater for quite a while now. I stuck stringently to the Keto diet for over a year; I upped the healthy fats, I rocked the protein, and I carefully counted my carbs, diligently staying under the 20 grams per day.
Due to low energy levels with my crazy workouts, however, I decided to shift away from Keto this past January. Embracing a less restrictive way of low-carb eating, I now keep my carb intake below 100 grams; this allows me to enjoy nutrient-rich carbs while fueling my body with nutritious protein and healthy fats as well.
While on this nutritional journey, I learned a lot of things about low carb eating; I stumbled through several low-carb mistakes along the way, and I quickly discovered what worked and what did not.
And that’s what I’m here to share with you today.
So if you’re considering the low carb lifestyle, whether that’s cutting back on processed carbs or doing a drastic shift to Ketogenic eating, be sure to check out my top 10 common low-carb mistakes to avoid.
Set yourself up for success and fuel your body right!
10 Common Low-Carb Mistakes to Avoid
1. Low Carb Mistake: You Eat Too Much Protein
Too much protein was (and is!) my major challenge as a low carb eater. And this is a subject of debate for many people within the low carb community.
Of course, getting enough protein is incredibly important for a healthy body. It gives you energy, it helps you feel full, and it aids in muscle recovery after intense workouts.
Some studies suggest, however, that when you eat too much protein on a low carb diet, it can negatively impact your weight loss goals.
You see, when you eat more protein than you need, your body turns some of the amino acids into glucose. This is a process known as gluconeogenesis, and it can make it more difficult to lose the extra weight.
As I mentioned, however, there are many differing opinions on how much protein you should eat each day, and this largely depends on your wellness goals and your activity levels.
Personally, protein makes up about 30% of my diet. Be sure to check with your own physician if you would like specific guidance on what will work best for you.
2. Low Carb Mistake: You Don’t Plan Ahead
When you’re just starting out on the low carb lifestyle, meal planning and meal prep are the secrets to success.
Since the standard diet is often quite carbohydrate heavy, shifting to a low carb meal plan usually comes with an adjustment period. Most of us need to revamp our recipes, find new afternoon snacks, and discover what works best for our own personal tastes.
Needless to say, these changes take a bit of extra work. By taking time to prep ahead, you avoid feeling overwhelmed and thwart the temptation to throw in the towel.
3. Low Carb Mistake: You Get In A Food Rut
Similar to planning ahead, it’s key to switch up your meals in order to keep things fresh.
You see, when we follow a new way of eating, it’s easy to fall into a food rut. We eat the same old grilled chicken breast salad day after day because we know it fits within the diet.
Unfortunately, it’s also boring.
And it can leave us ready to abandon our diet and eat all the carbs.
By planning ahead, trying new recipes, and switching things up each week, you keep things fresh and exciting, which makes it so much easier to stick with your goals.
4. Low Carb Mistake: You Rely On Low Carb Processed Foods
With the rising popularity of low carb diets comes a plethora of low carb bars, treats, and pre-packaged foods toting their low carb goodness.
While many of these products are fine in moderation, making them a major part of your diet can prove challenging. With additive sweeteners like Maltitol, and processed fiber like IMOs, both items your body can only partially digest, it can be difficult to know how many carbs you’re actually eating each day.
5. Low Carb Mistake: You Eat A Lot Of Processed Meat
While processed meat like bacon, sausage, deli meat, and hot dogs are quick and convenient (and taste good!), they are often filled with nitrates and nitrites. And studies have shown a connection between processed meat, nitrosamines, and stomach cancer.
If possible, aim for minimally processed meat like fresh chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. And if you do purchase processed meat, aim for a nitrate-free variety.
6. Low Carb Mistake: You Expect To Maintain The Drastic Weight Loss Throughout
When beginning a low carb diet, many people experience a rather quick weight loss over the first few weeks.
Most of this weight loss is due to water weight, however. When you cut back on carbs, your body starts releasing stored glycogen from your muscles and liver along with water. This is what leads to quick weight loss.
Once your body adjusts to the new way of eating, however, this weight loss slows down. Don’t let this discourage you. You’ll still be losing the fat, you’ve just stopped releasing so much water.
7. Low Carb Mistake: You Don’t Eat Enough Carbs
Repeat after me: low carb does not mean no carb.
Here’s the deal, your body needs some carbohydrates to function. So don’t assume that the least amount of carbs is best.
If you find yourself dragging through the day after a few weeks into your plan, you might consider increasing your carb count a bit. Choose nutrient-rich complex carbs like berries and starchier vegetables, for example, to replenish that much-needed energy.
8. Low Carb Mistake: You Fear Fat
It is time our society abandons the “fear of fat” mentality for good.
Eating fat will not make you fat.
Healthy fats help keep you full longer, they can improve brain health, and let’s be honest -they make your food taste awesome!
So start incorporating those heart-healthy fats like avocado, salmon, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, and seeds each day.
9. Low Carb Mistake: You Skip Vegetables
When you look at the food pyramid for a low carb diet, you’ll notice that vegetables are at the base, and for good reason!
These nutrient-dense vegetables are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep you feeling great.
Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, and zucchinis, are all incredible ways to fill up on healthy nutrients throughout your day.
10. Low Carb Mistake: You’re Not Getting Enough Fiber
When you cut out excess carbs, it can feel challenging to get in enough fiber throughout the day. Remember, you should aim for somewhere between 20-35 grams per day for optimal digestive health.
Luckily, by loading up on fiber-rich vegetables, avocados, and seeds like chia and flax, you’ll help boost your fiber intake in no time.
And if you need an extra dose of fiber-filled nutrition, I highly recommend these psyllium husk capsules. I’ve been taking them daily for over a year and absolutely love them.
And there you have it – 10 common low-carb mistakes to avoid as you begin your new eating plan.
Do you want more advice on how to rock your low carb lifestyle? Are you excited to overhaul your nutrition and fuel your body right? Then let’s chat! Click here to find out more about how I can help you reach your biggest health and fitness goals! Let’s do this.