We’re sure you’re aware that your health depends a lot upon what you eat. Back in the days, individuals who were diagnosed with diabetes would have to swallow countless medicines and take it easy on the sugar. However, that didn’t make much of a difference. People weren’t getting better. Hence, when low carb diets were introduced, they became popular among people with diabetes and hypertension. Why? Because they are blood sugar friendly.
But low carb diets are also immensely popular for losing weight because they limit intake of a vital source of calories. However, we should be careful when going on a low carb diet because going too low on carbohydrates for a long duration can deprive your body of vital energy and you may end up developing a nutrition related health problem. In fact, you may also end up gaining even more fat once you are off low carb diet, which is difficult to sustain anyway. And to compound the problem are low carb diet mistakes which are sneaky and now well known.
What is a low carb diet and who is it for?
Let us begin by explaining what low carb is. It is meant to limit your carb intake. For this diet to be successful the lesser the intake of carbs the better. If you may ask which foods contain carbs then it is anything sugary.
According to US Government Dietary Guidelines, 45 to 65 percent of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Based on a 2000 calories diet, this comes to between 900 (225 grams) to 1300 (325 grams) calories. Therefore, any diet that has less than 225 grams of carbohydrates in a day is technically a low carb diet. Based on how strict the diet is, it can be called extremely low carb diet if the carbohydrates are between 20 to 70g a day.
People who are trying to lose weight or maintain it find this diet to be effective as you refrain from starving yourself. This diet is recommended to people who are diabetics as well.
The low carb diet wasn’t as popular as it is nowadays. Certain myths about it that made people assume it was not good for one’s health or that it was difficult to keep up with. But then again, you cannot expect instant results. Anything needs to be given time, effort, and consistency. Most importantly, don’t start a low carb diet without medical supervision.
Here is a classification of low carb diets:
|Type||Carbs in grams (2000 daily calories diet)|
|High carb diet||
|Normal carb diet||225 -325 g/day|
|Moderately low carb diet||150-225 g/day|
|Extremely low carb diet||< 70 g/day|
|Based on Meta Analysis by Kirk JK|
How does this diet make you lose weight?
While carbs and proteins provide 4 calories per gram, carbs are digested quicker than fats and protein, therefore, you end up eating more in a day which leads to weight gain.
When you are minimizing your carbs intake, the levels of insulin in your body drop. This causes your body to burn fat to provide you with the energy needed. Hence, your weight drops because you lose fat in the body.
However, if you do not follow the diet properly, you may end up making low carb diet mistakes.
Low carb diet mistakes
People tend to make a lot of mistakes while on a low carb diet. It leads to annoyance and discouragement if they do not see any differences. Instead of getting frustrated, you need to identify the actual problem. In case you cannot, following are some mistakes you might be guilty of and will need to avoid so that your weight loss can be consistent.
Compensate for low carb count
While on a low carb diet, you’re unintentionally on a low-fat diet as well. First of all, the majority of people on this diet decrease the number of carbs they’ve been consuming. However, they forget to or are not aware that the intake of fats needs to be increased. This leads to your body feeling like it is devoid of energy.
You begin to crave and hence the process of keeping up with this diet becomes difficult to handle. To understand this better, we will put it this way for you. So, your body gets the energy it needs from calories. Three nutrients are the source of most calories i.e. carbs, fats, and proteins. Protein is utilized to build and repair things in your body and is used as energy in the last resort. Therefore, that leaves carbs and fats to be burned for energy.
So, if you are minimizing your carbs and not eating enough fats then you will not be able to witness the expected results because your body will go into starvation mode and start saving most of the calories as fat.
Manage your cravings
Mistake number two; your brain is asking you to cheat. Even if you have been consuming plenty of fat and keeping the carbs low, the transition to becoming a goof fat burner will take time and effort. Dependent on how much adjustment you make to your diet, you can encounter several tough days when you are feeling low on energy and craving for carbs. The trap is that consuming carbs will make you feel better immediately.
For instance, you have been on a low carb diet for a week and you see your friend eating a donut. She offers it to you too and you decide to eat it. After consuming one, you feel like the energy came back to you like whoosh. What you do not realize is that you’ve taken a step back in your transition towards becoming a good fat burner.
One of the most common low carb diet mistakes is that you forget to do your research on carbs and are probably consuming hidden carbs in products you use every day. The majority of the time, carbohydrates get away without being identified. Some examples of products with hidden sugars can be sweet teas, flavored coffee, peanut butter, bread, potatoes, low-fat yogurt, or salad dressing.
Read labels perfectly
There is something called “Net carbs” and “Total carbs”. Net carbs are what is absorbed by the body. They are easy to calculate. To find out net carb, you need to subtract total carbohydrates from the fiber. Whereas, total carbs are all the different types of food that you will find in any given food such as starches, sugar, and fiber.
So, counting net carbs is not always straightforward or authentic. As many products have net carbs listed on the back, however, they tend to be misleading. If you are counting net carbs and not total carbs then there is a chance that you are consuming more carbohydrates than you are supposed to.
The most basic low carb diet mistake is not planning. If you do not plan, you plan to fail. When you do not plan for what you are going to consume in a day then you might encounter several cravings. You might even give in to your cravings.
How to avoid the mistakes made while on a low carb diet?
Mistakes are bound to happen. What matters is what you learn from them and if you have the willpower to eliminate them. So, if you want the hunger to go away, you need to be strict. The process of slipping makes you think that maybe eating an apple wouldn’t hurt, right?
An apple is approximately 20g of carbohydrates therefore if you’re maintaining 20g carbs a day (which we do not advise because it will be an extreme form of dieting which we do not endorse) then one apple would be the days limit. Consequently, you will not be able to benefit from vegetables, vitamins, and minerals.
Since individuals calculate their intake of carbohydrates and a few foods are safe, however, they could be trigger foods for you. Let’s take nuts for an example. Having a handful of nuts might sound harmless because that’s only 5g of carbs but because nuts make you want to munch on more then that’s you taking in more than you’re supposed to. It could be an honest mistake, really. But it can upset your control and hence your diet. Which is why strictness and control are critical.
You must train your body into becoming a better fat burner. Now you’re probably wondering how you can coach your body to do that. It’s simple. You eat more fat to burn, of course remaining within the overall moderation.
Another precaution you can take is to count the total carbs. It is way simpler and more straightforward than keeping track of your net carbs. Total carbs are a sum of all the carbs you consume in a day. It is easier to keep a day-to-day track.
We understand that it’s hard to steer clear from all the sugary items present everywhere. Watching people eat them is even harder. We also know it’s easier said than done. However, focusing on the bigger picture is important. Imagine this – one day you want to look at yourself and say that you have accomplished this goal you have worked so hard on. Sounds satisfying right? It isn’t impossible to achieve. It is a must to keep track of what you are eating – jot it down in a journal or download apps.
With a little control, the right guidance and by avoiding low-carb diet mistakes, you will be able to reach your goals. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Stumbling upon obstacles is completely okay.