By Hailey Nicholson, Duke University Hospital Dietetic Intern with the supervision of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center Nutrition Team.
There is no doubt that the keto diet, which is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carbohydrate diet, has recently become one of the most popular weight loss methods in the United States. Many people achieve great success, but some still struggle to meet their weight loss goals.
Here are five of the most common mistakes that can hinder weight loss on the keto diet.
While fat is the highest component of the keto diet, all those calories can add up quickly! Keto diet followers should stay on target by tracking their calorie intake at least two times per week, including one weekday and one weekend day. This will serve as a check-in to ensure caloric intake goals are being met. Keto diet followers should also be mindful of fullness cues during meals and stop eating when they feel full.
Sometimes, people confuse the keto diet for a higher protein and lower fat eating pattern. But it’s the opposite. In keto, fat becomes the body’s primary source of fuel, not protein. Since fat is the most energy-dense and satiating component of the diet, it needs to be consumed in the right quantities so that the diet can work properly. Eating protein is important, but eating too much protein and not enough fat can slow weight loss. The correct ratio varies from person to person but the important part is to avoid doing a low-fat version of the keto diet.
The keto diet should be made up of whole foods with very few processed food items. Many low-carb packaged foods contain higher calories than whole foods, which is counterproductive for weight loss. A recent clinical trial suggests that a highly-processed diet may lead to greater weight gain in comparison to an unprocessed diet with equivalent nutrients. Keto adherents should focus more on naturally low carbohydrate foods such as non-starchy vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds.
When following a keto diet, the body does not store as much water as normal and will excrete more sodium. This poses a greater risk for dehydration so it’s important to stay mindful of daily fluid and salt intake. A recommended total intake of sodium is between 2,500-3,000 milligrams daily. To stay hydrated, keep a reusable water bottle available and take sips throughout the day. Aim for at least 64-100 ounces of total fluid daily.
Before undertaking any new diet or weight-loss program, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Your specific health concerns, medications, and dietary needs should be taken into consideration. Along with weight loss, keto has consistently been shown to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. These are excellent health benefits for many; however, they could prove dangerous to some. To avoid any adverse effects, please consult a healthcare professional.
For many, the keto diet is an effective eating pattern for weight management. Just be sure to avoid these five common keto mistakes.
For more than 50 years, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has been committed to helping individuals achieve a life of health and wellness. With our comprehensive approach to obesity treatment, weight loss and lifestyle change, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center offers medically supervised weight loss services that will give you the tools necessary to help lead an active, fulfilling and healthy life.
For more information about keto and other effective diets and weight loss methods, you can schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian today!
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