5 Common Reasons Your Keto Diet Is Not Working

Studies have long shown the wealth of health benefits associated with low carb diets like the ketogenic diet[1], and how effective it can be for things like weight loss.

While losing excess weight is a valiant goal in and of itself, the keto diet is about more than just that. It’s a lifestyle change for the good of your overall health and wellness. This, as you have probably noticed, is a challenging and sometimes arduous endeavor, but it’s also plenty rewarding.

Blunders will eventually creep into your diet, but it’s important to understand where you’re failing. This article will cover the top five common reasons your ketogenic diet is not working for you and how to get back on the right track.

Ketosis

The premise of the keto diet is to push your body into a healthy state of ketosis. This can only be achieved by having a high concentration of ketone bodies and low blood glucose levels.

This typically happens after a period of fasting or when you restrict your carb intake for roughly 2-3 weeks.

So why exactly does the ketogenic diet promote moving your body into this metabolic state? Simply put, there is an abundance of benefits that come from reaching ketosis, one of the most obvious being increased fat oxidation.

When our bodies constantly consume carbs, we tend to secrete more insulin, which leaves us more prone to storing rather than burning. By keeping a low-carb diet, we are training our bodies to tap into using its own resources.

Additionally, fat molecules contain twice the amount of calories than carbohydrates, and so, will take a longer time to digest. Ketones tend to move more slowly and provide the benefit of long lasting energy.

Top 5 Keto Mistakes You May Be Making

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of ketosis let’s dive into some common reasons why the keto diet isn’t working for you.

1. Too many carbs

We’re going to throw this one out there first, and while it may be the most obvious on the list, it’s one of the biggest blunders keto diet newbies make. While you may certainly be watching and restricting your carbs, it may not be enough to get you into ketosis.

Your daily carb count really varies from person-to-person and can depend on factors like age, height, weight, and activity level. The general rule of thumb is to keep it at around 30-50 grams of NET carbs per day.

The more carbs you cut, the quicker your body will reach ketosis. It can be tedious, especially in the beginning, but start counting those carbs to ensure you aren’t overdoing it.

It’s also very important that you know how to read a nutritional label to count your carbs accurately.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, a great way to keep track of your ketone levels is to test them using a blood meter, urine strips, or breath meter[2].

2. Too much protein

This is another very common mistake people on the ketogenic diet make and could be keeping you from ketosis. People tend to over-consume protein (especially on diets), but your body only requires a certain amount per day.

Additionally, protein is the only macronutrient that cannot be stored for future use. Excess protein your body doesn’t need may be converted into sugar, which, naturally, will hinder your progress on the ketogenic diet.

While some meats are great for the ketogenic diet and rich in fats, which you want, meats contain a large amount of protein and this too should be carefully monitored.

The majority of your diet should consist of plant-based foods rich in fiber and macronutrients, with moderate levels of protein and high fat thrown in to maintain the fat-burning mode of ketosis.

3. Eating the wrong foods

A lot of people don’t realize is that there are plenty of foods that are technically keto-friendly, but this doesn’t mean they are good for you.

Do your best to stay away from highly processed foods, which can come in all shapes and forms. You want to know exactly what you’re putting in your body if you’re going to achieve optimal results.

You also need to be mindful of how you consume these foods, as certain cooking methods and ingredients can affect the nutrition composition. Here are a few examples:

  • Overcooking fat will cause it to go rancid and lead to inflammation
  • Charring your eggs and meats can increase their level of carcinogens
  • Over-boiling your veggies can strip them of their natural fiber as well as other micros. They should always be slightly crunchy or raw, and never too soft or mushy.

4. Not hydrating

Carbs help your body hold onto water. When you begin restricting your carbs, it’s only natural that it will begin flushing the water out at a quicker rate. This is what leads to the initial weight loss experienced by most people first embarking on the keto diet.

To achieve the full range of benefits of ketosis, you want to be sure your body is sufficiently hydrated, so there is never an electrolyte imbalance. This imbalance, along with dehydration, can worsen symptoms of the “keto flu.”

It’s generally recommended that keto dieters have about 10 cups of water per day (this also depends on things like weight and activity level). You should also be monitoring how often you urinate. If it’s very frequently, you want to drink a little less water, so you don’t flush out all of your electrolytes.

5. Not enough micronutrients

While you may feel you’re doing everything right by your ketogenic diet, you may still be lacking in micronutrients. Some of these you should be consuming include magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium. Try eating more greens and veggies to ensure you’re getting enough.

Get Your Diet Back on Track!

Some other obstacles to your keto diet could be too much stress, not tracking your ketone levels, and not tracking your calories.

It can take some time to get fully used all of the restrictions and rules that come along with the keto diet. Try not to get overwhelmed or frustrated with your progress or lack thereof.

The best thing you can do is to stay diligent, positive, and begin tracking things like ketone levels and protein. This will ensure your body is getting what it needs to unlock all of the benefits of the keto diet.

Related:

10 Things Everyone Gets Wrong On The Keto Diet

The Top Four Sweeteners for a Low Carb Keto Diet

Low-Carb Rice Substitutes: Tasty and Healthy Alternatives to Rice

References

[1] Ashwell M. Stevia, Nature’s Zero-Calorie Sustainable Sweetener: A New Player in the Fight Against Obesity. Nutr Today. 2015 May; 50(3): 129–134.

[2] Urbain P, Bertz H. Monitoring for compliance with a ketogenic diet: what is the best time of day to test for urinary ketosis? Nutr Metab. 2016;13:77. doi: 10.1186/s12986-016-0136-4.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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