Ketosis Mistakes and How to Prevent Them
Most people think that the ketogenic diet is just “low-carb” which leads them to make many mistakes that prevent them from not reaping all of the benefits of ketosis that they could. What benefits? How about an improved immune system, increased longevity, lower inflammation, effortless weight loss, decreased hunger, reduced risk for disease and more.
Read on to know the top 10 ways that people make mistakes with ketosis and how you can prevent them.
1: Not tracking protein intake
By far the biggest problem with a ketogenic diet is not tracking how much protein you are eating. The far majority of people are simply eating too littleprotein… not too much protein.
Protein can turn into carbs by a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis, meaning “making new carbs.” This then spikes insulin, and reduces ketone levels. HOWEVER in your actual body, this is a really rare process that I only see with myself and patients of mine if we are guzzling tons of liquid protein shakes (like whey). Even though you are eating super low carb, this could make your body switch back and forth between energy systems, which will lead to high levels of fatigue or “low carb flu.”
2: Not tracking carbs
The first rule of ketosis is that you do not eat carbohydrates. The second rule of ketosis is that you do not eat carbohydrates. However, there are carbs in everything and you can’t avoid them entirely. The amount of carbohydrates you can have that will allow you to stay into ketosis will vary per individual.
A single avocado can have enough carbs to kick some people out of ketosis. The key word here is “some” people.
Many factors are at play here to see how much carbohydrate you can tolerate before they kick you out of ketosis. Your metabolic history, lifestyle, types of carbs and more will all affect how you will be able to process and utilize carbs.
How do you track the amount of “hidden” carbs in foods though? The easiest way is to use an application like MyFitnessPal and just punch in every single thing that you are eating. It can be annoying but a couple weeks of work can lead to years of benefits. Do the work.
Just like with protein, the easiest way to check this out is to test your ketone levels. As an easier option here, you can check glucose levels as well to see how much your blood sugar increases after a meal. This should not be more than 15-20 points. The lower blood sugar spike, the better.
You’re not eating enough fat
When you reduce carbs and protein, it is sometimes hard mentally to eat enough fat. We’ve been told all of our lives that eating fat will lead to heart disease and many other health problems, which is simply not true.
If you decrease two main sources of food (carbs and protein) you need to drastically increase another source (fat).
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting enough is again by using an app like MyFitnessPal (no affiliation, seriously), setting calories to where you need, and making sure you are getting 80-85% of those calories from fat. Track, don’t slack.
Not eating enough fat will make you super hungry and can lead to problems like undereating (see below).
This will probably be difficult in the beginning! But if you track early and get a hang of it, then you’ll be able to eyeball easily as you go along.
- Use an app like MyFitnessPal to track how much fat you should be eating in a day
- Aim for 80-85% of total calories from fat initially and adjust later
4: Not eating high enough quality fats
Just because you are in ketosis doesn’t mean you should be sacrificing quality. A huge mistake with most ketogenic diets is the lack of inclusion of high-quality fats. Yes, you can get into ketosis by eating a very low carb diet that’s very high in poor quality foods. No, that type of ketosis is not healthy. Garbage in, garbage out.
Fats are the backbone for making new cells and brain tissue, neurotransmitters, hormones and most bodily functions. This means we should be focused on getting as high of quality fats as possible. Do you want all of those things to be high-quality, or low-quality?
And because the diet you are eating is 80-85% fat, the quality of fats you eat matter even more.
Think of whole, non-processed food choices. This means grass-fed meats, wild fish, cold pressed oils, avocado, nuts, etc. Not frankenfood fats that come in super bright packages like low quality processed cheese and other dairy products, bacon and other low-quality fluorescent non-food items.
- The quality of fat matters even more when you are on a ketogenic diet
- Make sure your fat is coming from a variety of whole food sources with as much omega 3 fats as possible