10 Reasons most people will fail to lose weight on the ketogenic diet
There have been plenty of diets over the years that have risen and fallen in popularity, being championed by various fitness gurus or celebrities from Hollywood and reality television. There are a few that will come to mind - but one you will likely have heard come up a lot in the last few years is the keto diet.
The keto (ketogenic) diet is about living an ultra-low carbohydrate lifestyle, with the benefits being weight loss, steady blood sugar, and more energy. However, the restrictions that are part of the process, which can lead to some major challenges. Here are the top 10 reasons why people fail when they try to follow the diet.
1. No preparation
Mary Weidner, cofounder of Strongr Fastr, a keto meal-planning app, explained that you can't just jump into the diet without thinking it through. "It's a lot more involved than cutting out bread and pasta," she explained to Insider. "It requires planning and tracking just how many carbs you're eating. Make no mistake, it takes effort and work—more so than other diets—and this can be overwhelming."
2. Too many calories
A lot of people will notice that they've dropped several pounds soon into the diet, but this weight loss can later stall (or even be regained) if you're still having too many calories. Kristen Mancinelli, author of The Ketogenic Diet, said:
"Eating more than you need will make you gain weight. This is true even if you're eating a ketogenic diet. A common mistake people make is they think if they switch to eating keto, all the fat will just melt away. That may happen—but it won't if you consistently overeat."
You can avoid this by properly managing your portion sizes, as people often overestimate how much we really need in a meal.
3. Too much protein
Contrary to popular belief, a ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet, in fact, protein should make up only 15 to 30 percent of your daily calories. The diet is mostly fat, with low-to-moderate protein, and almost no carbohydrates. If you track all of these, you can better plan your meals and snacks to align with your goals.
4. Eating keto-approved junk food
As the keto diet has become more popular, there have arisen junk foods that cater for those on it - which can be a problem even though it doesn't break the carb restrictions. "The keto diet trend has brought with it all these recipes for keto junk food and 'fat bombs' sweetened with erythritol and bacon-wrapped snacks," Mancinelli says. "You can easily exceed your daily energy needs if you consume multiple 'fat coffees' and eat these snacks every day."
5. Not enough fat
The keto diet requires extra fat to burn for fuel to stop us relying on carbs, so you need to make sure to be having fat with each meal to obtain enough calories. "You need to get about 80 percent or more of your daily calories from sources of fat," says Josh Axe, doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist. "Plus, not getting enough fat will leave you feeling hungry and groggy, since fat is your body's way of staying energized on the keto diet."
6. Need more veggies
There are ways to include plenty of vegetables in your diet without having a high carb intake, so it's worth making room for some veggies with your meals. "If you skip out on veggies, you're more likely to overeat protein, struggle with constipation, have headaches, and feel generally crummy," Dr. Axe explained.
7. Defeated by the 'keto flu'
Keto flu is a short period a few days after you beging the diet in which you may experience fatigue, headaches, and mood swings. This is your body learning to shift from burning glucose to burning stored fats as its primary energy source. However, it does get better quickly, though many are dissuaded at this point.
8. Not enough water
There are a lot of people out there who don't have enough water each day, but it's especially important for those on the keto diet. Flu-like symptoms are often due to lack of fluids, and you lose extra water while on the keto diet, which means you'll have to drink more to get the same level of hydration.
9. Social engagements
"Grabbing dinner or drinks with friends, employer-paid lunches, dates with the spouse—these are all big failure points for many people," says Brandon Olin, host of The Deskbound Podcast. To deal with this, you need to plan your diet around these events, perhaps making sure to eat before you meet others or studying the menu early to check if it fits your diet.
10. Cheating too often
Adjusting to the diet isn't easy, so it's fair to say you'd have a cheat day now and then. However, cheat days can have a significant effect. Jenni Bourque explained:
"If you are taking a keto cheat day and eating more than the allowed 20 grams of carbs, or if you are doing a keto version that's not as restrictive, and you're not monitoring your ketone levels on a regular basis, you probably weren't in a state of ketosis to begin with. That means you may not be burning the fat fuel as efficiently as you would if you were in true ketosis."
While there are many people who stand by the keto diet, it is something that can be hard to figure out. If you're uncertain, there are some surefire signs that you're body is burning fat while you're on the keto diet.