How To Get the Most Out of a Low Carb Diet

Photo of author

( — June 29, 2013) Portland, OR — The popularity of the low-carb diet has sky rocketed in the past few years. It has been the subject of many studies and has been used by thousands of people. However, data suggests that chances of success are improved by avoiding these mistakes.

1. Consuming Too Many Carbs

There are those that say anything under 100-150 grams per day constitutes low-carb. But that is a whole lot less than the Standard American Diet (SAD). Yeah, that is sad…

Many would see excellent results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods.

But that is still to much to really achieve ketosis, with plenty of ketones flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy.

The optimal range varies but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis.

That’s not a whole lot of carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries.

So to get into ketosis and reap the full metabolic benefits of low-carb, going under 50 grams of carbs per day may be required.

2. Packing In the Protein

Protein is an important macronutrient, which most people don’t get enough of. It improves satiety (feeling full) and increases fat burning compared to other macronutrients.

So in general, more protein should lead to weight loss and improved body composition.

However, low-carb dieters who eat a lot of lean animal foods usually end up eating too much of it. When you eat more protein than your body needs, some of the amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis.

This is a problem for those on very low-carb, ketogenic diets, and prevents them from going into full-blown ketosis.

A “well-formulated” low-carb diet should be low-carb, high-fat and moderate protein.

Shoot for 1.5 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.7 – 0.9 grams per pound.

To sum it up, protein turns into glucose through gluconeogenesis and too much protein consumption prevents you from getting into ketosis.

3. Fear of Fat

Most people get the majority of their calories from dietary carbohydrates, and mainly from sugars and grains.

However, when you remove this energy source from the diet, you need to replace it with something or you will starve.

So people reason that if low-carb is a good idea, then low-fat AND low-carb is even better.

This is a big no-no.

The needed energy must come from somewhere and if you don’t eat carbs, then you MUST compensate by adding fat. Failure to do so makes you hungry, feel like crap and eventually give up on the plan.

There’s no reason to fear fat, as long as you choose healthy fats like saturated, monounsaturated and Omega-3s while keeping the vegetable oils to a minimum and eliminating trans fats.

During a low-carb diet plan, you should be consumining 70% of total calories as good fats.

To get that much fat, you must choose fatty cuts of meat and liberally add healthy fats like butter, coconut and olive oil to your meals.

So a low-carb diet must be high in fat, otherwise you won’t be getting enough energy to sustain yourself.

4. Selling Sodium Short

A low-carb diet means is a reduction in insulin levels. Insulin has many functions in the body, such as telling fat cells to store fat. But another thing that insulin does is to tell the kidneys to hold on to sodium.

On a low-carb diet, your insulin levels go down and your body starts shedding excess sodium and water along with it. This is why people shed their bloat soon after starting low-carb eating.

However, sodium is an important electrolyte in your body and if you dump to much you can run into problems.

Many of the side effects i.e. lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches and even constipation, are caused by too little sodium.

So you should simply add more sodium to your diet. You can best do that by using a good quality sea-salt.

5. Not Being Patient

Your body prefers to burn carbs. So if they’re always available, that’s what your body chooses to use for energy.

If you drastically cut back on carbohydrates, the body needs to find an alternate energy source… fat, which either comes from your diet or your body fat stores.

This switch to “burn fat” instead of “burn carbs” can take a few days. During that time you may feel a little under the weather. This is called the “low carb flu” and happens to most people.

This process varies from 3-4 days, but can take several weeks. Not much incentive!

It’s important to be patient and be strict on your diet in the beginning so that this metabolic adaptation can take place.

A low-carb diet is potentially the easiest way to solve health problems, like obesity and type II diabetes.

However, just cutting back on carbs isn’t enough to see real results.


Author: Google+ Jan Johansen