For those new to keto, it is really easy to make key errors that will render the keto completely ineffective.
A keto diet is not for the faint hearted – you need to be ultra-strict and be able to deal with the initial sugar and carb withdrawal symptoms.
It’s also tough to eat out or pick up foods on the run.
So if you’re new to keto, here are the most common mistakes beginners make and the easy ways to avoid them.
Eating too much protein
A keto diet is not only low carb, it is high fat which means it is also only moderate in protein.
Commonly, those new to the keto fold will simply replace their carbs with extra protein.
Now a low carb diet may lead to weight loss but you will not be in ketosis.
To achieve ketosis you need to keep your carbs at 50 grams or less per day, your protein to just 60-80 grams per day and your total fat intake at up to 100-150 grams per day.
In food terms, this translates into a small serve of protein at each meal, for example 2 eggs and just 100-150 gram of meat, chicken or fish. Any more than this will prevent you from reaching ketosis and reaping the fat burning benefits it offers.
Eating too many meals
The high fat nature of keto means that it is easy to overeat calories.
Snacking on keto tends to mean extra nuts, seeds, avo and specialty keto snacks so constant grazing and snacking can very quickly shoot both your macros and calories out of ketosis.
For this reason, focus your keto plan around 2-3 larger high fat meals each day. This will make it much easier to achieve the macro ratios you need for success.
If you must snack, choose low calorie, low carb foods such as popcorn, vegetables and berries.
Getting your fat amounts wrong
The number one variable that determines keto success is getting enough fat and each meal will need a lot of fat – at least 30-40 grams.
There are only so many foods that can satisfy keto’s fat requirements – oils, butter, cheese, avocado, nuts and fatty meat – which means that, in food terms, you are likely to need one fatty meat meal a day to achieve these ratios.
Think mince, chops, bacon or even a creamy meat curry or carbonara sauce with low carb spaghetti.
Just adding olive oil to your favourite salad won’t cut it, you’ll also need to add the cheese, bacon and olives to top up the fat count.
Not planning your food
The specificity of keto is such that if you don’t prepare, plan and pack your food you will most likely catch yourself out.
Being hungry and without any keto-appropriate meals or snacks is setting yourself up for failure.
With the exception of sushi, steak and green vegetables, few cuisines or pre-made meals tick the high fat, low carb, moderate protein box that allows you to maintain ketosis.
Planning and preparing your food is the key to keto success – especially in the beginning.
Forgetting your fibre
Suddenly shifting your food intake from eating plenty of fruits, whole grains and vegetables and getting plenty of dietary fibre to literally none except the occasional green vegetable will cause havoc with your gut.
Avoid gut disturbance on keto by keeping a close eye on your carb intake and include some low carb fruits such as berries and a range of vegetables in your daily diet.
You have 30-50 grams of carbs to play with on keto, which allows you to include a couple of different coloured vegetables, a little wheat bran and berries if you plan your food well.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet.