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16 low-carb diet mistakes you should never make

You’re on a low-carb diet but weight loss has stalled and you’re getting frustrated. These common mistakes might be sabotaging your health, energy, sleep – and weight-loss success.

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Not eating enough
Not eating enough
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You’re on a low-carb diet but weight loss has stalled and you’re getting frustrated. These common mistakes might be sabotaging your health, energy, sleep – and weight-loss success.

Cutting back on carb-rich foods typically means you’re eliminating some staples of your usual diet (bread, pasta, rice, cereal). This equates to eating less than you might normally, and therefore taking in fewer kilojoules. In addition, protein and fat are more satisfying and filling than carbs, so you’ll feel less hungry. Combine feeling fuller with eating less overall and you could end up not eating enough. Do a quick calculation of the calories you’re taking in and make sure you aren’t going below 1200 calories. You don’t want to go into starvation mode and lose precious muscle mass – that would slow down your metabolism, which would undermine your efforts. Calculating kilojoules not your strong point? This equation will help turn estimates into firm information about what you're eating.

 

Trying to go low carb and low fat
Trying to go low carb and low fat
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In an effort to lose weight more quickly, you might layer a low-carb diet on top of a low-fat diet. That’s a big mistake. Not only will your diet be bland and boring, but you’ll struggle to eat enough calories. You need fat as an alternative energy source for the carbs you’re skipping. In other words, don’t cut out even more foods or nutrients – or you’ll be headed for failure. Reach your weight target with these tips on how to include low-carb food. 
 

Eating too much unhealthy fat
Eating too much unhealthy fat
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All the bacon, sausage, cream, lard, butter, and cheese you could ever want? If that’s your idea of a healthy low-carb diet, it might sound too good to be true – because it is. While you are technically allowed to enjoy all of these foods that are packed with unhealthy saturated fat, you don’t want to make them the backbone of your diet. You won’t lose weight and keep it off in the long run by eating blocks of cheese and bacon all day long. So just how bad is saturated fat for us? It's something experts are now debating. Read this to help guide your opinion about the risks.
 
Use these foods judiciously as flavour enhancers, to increase your enjoyment of your meals, but make sure you’re emphasising heart-healthy fats from foods such as oily fish, avocados, olive oil, chia seeds, and macadamia nuts. When researchers analysed current studies on heart health, they found that swapping out some saturated fats for unsaturated fats can lower the risk of heart attack by 14 per cent.
 

Eating too much processed meat
Eating too much processed meat
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Processed meats include deli meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. These treats often contain nitrates and nitrites – preservatives that are linked to a higher risk of stomach cancer. Focus on eating minimally-processed meats like fresh chicken, fish, and beef; when you do want processed meat, look for versions that are free of nitrates and nitrites. Whatever plan you’re on, sticking to fresh, unprocessed foods – as close to their natural state as possible – will be healthier. A little less carbs and a little more fat make these keto dinners right on point. Find more information about the keto and other trendings diets here.
 

Eating the same meals over and over
Eating the same meals over and over
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Chicken and salad. Repeat 200 times. Blah. No wonder you got bored with your low-carb diet and can never look at a chicken salad again. One of the keys to success is keeping meals interesting. Get creative in the kitchen and try some new recipes. Some of low carb recipes might include an Eggplant Lasagna or a Thai Coconut Red Curry Chicken. Try this deliciously trim steamed fish with ginger and sesame.
 

Not eating enough vegetables
Not eating enough vegetables
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Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, peppers, kale, asparagus, and more should be the foundation of every diet, including low-carb diets. They’re packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals, and disease-fighting and anti-aging antioxidants and phytochemicals.
 
Vegetables can be great substitutes for higher carb grains. Try subbing in zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) for pasta in your recipes and riced or pureed cauliflower instead of rice or mashed potatoes. Check out why vegetables are so good for us
 

Not counting net carbs
Not counting net carbs
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Limiting your total carbs instead of your net carbs could be causing you to eliminate some healthy, satisfying foods. Net carbs are the total carbs in a food minus the fibre. Looking at carbs this way helps you pinpoint the carbs that can that raise your blood sugar. And while two tablespoons of chia seeds have 10 grams of carbs – making them seem like a higher carb option – all of the seed’s carbohydrates are actually in the form of fibre; this is why chia seeds are a great choice for people on a low-carb diet.
 

Not getting enough fibre
Not getting enough fibre
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When you’re focusing on protein and fat, you can miss out on fibre. You need 20 to 35 grams a day for digestive health and to help prevent colorectal cancer. Eat a variety of vegetables and be sure to include fibre-rich options such as asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes. Avocados are a fantastic healthy-fat choice because they’re also rich in fibre.
 
Including low carb, fibre-packed seeds such as chia, hemp, and flax in your diet will boost fibre along with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. You may also want to add in some bran or psyllium as a fibre supplement. Talk to your doctor first to make sure it won’t interact with any medications or supplements you’re already taking.
 

Thinking low carb means zero carb
Thinking low carb means zero carb
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You’re determined to succeed, so you eliminate all carbs – and now you feel weak and exhausted. If you feel lousy after a couple of weeks on your new low-carb plan, it could be a sign you cut too many carbs. Some low carb diets allow 20 grams of carbohydrates a day; others let you eat double that or more. Try increasing your carb intake by eating nutrient-dense foods that contain carbs such as berries. Some people do better with small amounts of starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, corn, or peas, especially if you’re quite active. I’ve seen many clients succeed at weight loss by reducing carbs and focusing on nutrient-dense carbs rather than cutting out carbs completely.
 

Expecting the dramatic weight loss to continue
Expecting the dramatic weight loss to continue
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In the first two weeks of low-carb eating, you may drop a lot of pounds in a hurry – that’s a big reason the plan is so popular. But don’t expect rapid weight loss to continue, says nutritionist and certified diabetes educator Franziska Spritzler.
 
Depending on your initial weight, you may lose up to 4.5 kilograms when you start – but a lot of that will be water weight. Your body stores glucose (sugar) in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver. When you cut back on carbs dramatically, your body releases stored glycogen, along with water. For every gram of glycogen that is released, two grams of water are released, both of which you’ll excrete in urine.
 
Once your body adapts, your weight loss will slow down – but the losses will be mainly fat rather than water. Keep this in mind to avoid feeling discouraged, advises Spritzler. Weight loss goals can often encounter roadblocks. Try these strategies to help navigate your way around 8 common diet obstacles.
 

Doing intense workouts your first week
Doing intense workouts your first week
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As your body adapts in the first week or two of your low-carb diet, you probably feel weaker, have lower energy, and even feel light-headed. It’s not a good time to go on a cycling trip or try a Crossfit class. It takes time for your body to switch over to using fat as a fuel source rather than primarily carbohydrates. Make sure you’re getting enough rest and do lighter exercises such as walking and yoga until you start feeling more energized. There are many ways to exercise – and excuses for failing to do the amount your weight loss target needs. Try these strategies for overcoming that anti-exercise voice in your head.
 

Eating too many calories
Eating too many kilojoules
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Although it’s easy to eat too little on a low-carb diet, overeating can occur as well. Many low-carb foods are also kilojoule-dense and easy to snack on. Nuts and cheese are the most common culprits. For example, a cup of macadamia nuts is 962 calories, leaving little room in your day for other foods and nutrients. A cup of shredded cheddar cheese has 460 calories – and you add easily add that much when sprinkling it over your eggs, vegetables, and low-carb pizza.
 
Think of these foods as toppings to add flavour and nutrients to your meals and snacks rather than foods you can eat by the bowlful.
 

Drinking alcohol
Drinking alcohol
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There are some types of alcohol that are lower in carbs, such as vodka and tequila. But while you can have some alcohol on a low carb diet, be aware that it will slow down your weight loss. Alcohol not only adds empty kilojoules (zero nutrition), it also gets processed by your body ahead of other kilojoules. Hormones and blood sugar levels can get thrown off, and alcohol can negatively impact your sleep. Beyond that, alcohol famously lowers inhibitions, so it could lead to you going off your diet or eating more than you planned. If your weight loss has stalled, take a look at your booze intake. Read this to learn how alcohol is a big contributor to a big belly. 
 

Not getting enough sodium
Not getting enough sodium
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You’re used to hearing that you need to cut down on salt, so why is not getting enough a concern? When your body starts burning fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates, your kidneys will dump more water and sodium. That means you’ll look less bloated – and if you had high blood pressure, it could come down a bit. But sometimes you lose too much sodium and you’ll end up feeling dizzy, fatigued, and headachy.
 
Talk to your doctor if you’ve been told to limit sodium. If you get the green light, try adding some salt to your cooking, as well as having some broth each day. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
 

Believing low-carb food labels
Believing low-carb food labels
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You’ve loaded up on low-carb bread and cereal and you’re wondering why your weight loss has stalled. Even if a food says it’s a lower carb option on the package, you still need to look at the Nutrition Facts. The food could be lower than the typical version, but still have more carbs than you want. Don’t believe any blanket statements or claims that are on the front of the package or on a restaurant menu. Check out these other secrets food manufacturers would prefer you did NOT know.
 

Too many low-carb shakes, bars, and processed food
Too many low-carb shakes, bars, and processed food
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With the increasing popularity of carb-restricted diets, dozens of new bars, shakes, treats, and other products are available. However, says Spritzler, many of them contain questionable ingredients and misleading information about their “net carb” content. For instance, one of the most common sweeteners used in sugar-free products is maltitol, which your body can only partially digest. Another common ingredient in low-carb products is a processed fibre known as isomaltooligosaccharides (IMOs).
 
Unlike the fibre found in whole foods, IMOs can be partially absorbed by your body and may raise blood sugar levels, research suggests. Because food manufacturers subtract the carbs from sorbitol and IMOs when calculating “net carb” values, the amount you’re truly getting is unknown, says Spritzler. When it comes to achieving a healthy low-carb lifestyle, it’s always best to stick with whole foods rather than packaged or processed items. Make your own sugar-free smoothies with plain Greek yogurt, almond butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. For a treat, have a couple of squares of dark chocolate (85 per cent cocoa or higher) or ½ cup of berries topped with real whipped cream and chopped walnuts.
 
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Source: RD.com
 



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