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.
It’s inevitable that blunders will 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 the how to get back on the right track.
What it is and Why You Should Strive for It
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 a carbohydrate, and so, will take a longer time to digest. Ketones tend to move more slowly and provide the benefit of long lasting energy.
Top Five Mistakes You May Be Making
Now that you have a more solid understanding of the importance of ketosis in the ketogenic diet, let’s dive into some common reasons why your keto diet is not 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 enough to get you into ketosis.
The daily carb count you should be sticking to really varies from person-to-person, and can depend on factors like age, height, weight, and activity level, but 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 in order to count your carbs accurately.
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
What a lot of people on the ketogenic diet don’t realize is that there are plenty of foods that are technically keto-friendly, but this doesn’t necessarily 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 want to achieve optimal results.
You also need to be mindful of the way in which 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, and so 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 also 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 that you’re doing everything right by your ketogenic diet, it’s possible that you’re still lacking in micronutrients. Some of these you should be consuming enough of 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 hindrances to your keto diet could be too much stress, which can stop you from achieving ketosis, 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, but try not get too 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 to ensure your body is getting what it needs to unlock all of the benefits of the keto diet.
 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.
 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.