August 1, 2014

5 Most Common Low-Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

pin it button 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

woman cutting meat 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

by Kris Gunnars
Authority Nutrition

A few months ago, I read a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living.

The authors are two of the world’s leading researchers on low-carb diets.

Dr. Jeff S. Volek is a Registered Dietitian and Dr. Stephen D. Phinney is a medical doctor.

These guys have performed many studies and have treated thousands of patients with a low-carb diet.

According to them, there are many stumbling blocks that people tend to run into, which can lead to adverse effects and suboptimal results.

To get into full-blown ketosis and reap all the metabolic benefits of low-carb, merely cutting back on the carbs isn’t enough.

If you haven’t gotten the results you expected on a low-carb diet, then perhaps you were doing one of these 5 common mistakes.

1. Eating Too Many Carbs

fruits1 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a “low carb diet.”

Some would call anything under 100-150 grams per day low-carb, which is definitely a lot less than the standard Western diet.

A lot of people could get awesome results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods.

But if you want to get into ketosis, with plenty of ketoness flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy, then this level of intake may be excessive.

It could take some self experimentation to figure out your optimal range as this depends on a lot of things, but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis.

This doesn’t leave you with many carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries.

Bottom Line: If you want 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. Eating Too Much Protein

meat 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren’t getting enough of.

It can improve satiety and increase fat burning compared to other macronutrients.

Generally speaking, more protein should lead to weight loss and improved body composition.

However, low-carb dieters who eat a lot of lean animal foods can 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 can become a problem on very low-carb, ketogenic diets and prevent your body from going into full-blown ketosis.

According to Volek and Phinney, a “well-formulated” low-carb diet should be low-carb, high-fat and moderate protein.

A good range to aim for is 1.5 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.7 – 0.9 grams per pound.

Bottom Line: Protein can be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis and excessive protein consumption can prevent you from getting into ketosis.

3. Being Afraid of Eating Fat

olive oil 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

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

When you remove this energy source from the diet, you must replace it with something or you will starve.

Unfortunately, some people believe that because low-carb is a good idea, then low-fat AND low-carb will be even better. This is a big mistake.

You need to get energy from somewhere and if you don’t eat carbs, then you MUST add in fat to compensate. If you don’t, you will get hungry, feel like crap and eventually give up on the plan.

There’s no scientific 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.

Personally, my fat intake hovers comfortably around 50-60% of total calories when I strictly stick to a low-carb plan. According to Volek and Phinney, fat around 70% of total calories may be even better.

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

Bottom Line: A very low-carb diet must be high in fat, otherwise you won’t be getting enough energy to sustain yourself.

4. Not Replenishing Sodium

sea salt 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

One of the main mechanisms behind low-carb diets 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 often get rid of excess bloat within a few days of low-carb eating.

However, sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body and this can become problematic when the kidneys dump too much of it.

This is one of the main reasons people get side effects on low-carb diets… such as lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches and even constipation.

The best way to circumvent this issue is to add more sodium to your diet. You can do this by adding more salt to your foods, but if that doesn’t suffice then you can drink a cup of broth every day.

I personally like adding a bouillon cube into a cup of hot water, then drinking it like a soup in a cup. It actually tastes really good and supplies 2 grams of sodium.

Bottom Line: Low-carb diets lower insulin levels, which makes the kidneys excrete excess sodium from the body. This can lead to a mild sodium deficiency.

5. Not Being Patient

woman who is not losing weight 222x300 5 Most Common Low Carb Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Your body is designed to preferentially burn carbs, if they are available. 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 shift to the other energy source… fat, which either comes from your diet or your body fat stores.

It can take a few days for the body to adapt to burning primarily fat instead of carbs, during which you will probably feel a little under the weather.

This is called the “low carb flu” and happens to most people.

In my experience, this can take about 3-4 days, but full adaptation can take several weeks.

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

Bottom Line: It can take a few days to get past the “low-carb flu” stage and several weeks for full adaptation to a low-carb diet. It is important to be patient.

Take Home Message

I personally believe low-carb diets to be a potential cure for some of the world’s biggest health problems, including obesity and type II diabetes. This is well supported by science.

However, just cutting back on carbs isn’t enough to get optimal results.

Read the full article and comment here: http://authoritynutrition.com/5-most-common-low-carb-mistakes/


0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Salt is Good for You

Salt is Good for You

One of the most pervasive and stupid things that we are currently told to do is to reduce salt intake. This advice has never been based on controlled clinical studies, ever. Yet, as with the cholesterol myth, the dogma that we should all reduce salt intake has become impervious to facts.

Large Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Food Is Superior

Large Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Food Is Superior

A comprehensive new study published this week in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition shows very clearly that how we grow our food has a huge impact. Organic food is superior to its conventional counterparts and is higher in antioxidants and lower in pesticide residues.

Processed Foods Hurt Your Immune System and Gut Health

Processed Foods Hurt Your Immune System and Gut Health

Diets loaded with processed foods are leading to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk of allergic and auto-inflammatory diseases.

A poor diet causes shifts in your body’s microbiome that have lasting effects on your own health and the health of future generations. A mother’s diet may shape her child’s taste preferences in utero, skewing them toward vegetables or sweets, for instance.

There’s evidence that children inherit their microbiome from their mother, and part of this may be “seeded into the unborn fetus while still in the womb;” a father’s diet may also impact his child’s future health. Replacing processed foods with whole and fermented foods is crucial for optimal health.

U.S. Congress: Americans Are Too Stupid For GMO Labeling

U.S. Congress: Americans Are Too Stupid For GMO Labeling

The U.S. continues to be isolated around the world regarding their lax GMO labeling policy. We are losing millions of dollars in exports because countries such as China, Russian, Japan, Korea, and most of Europe will not buy our products if they are contaminated with GMOs.

A recent Congressional meeting, however, concluded that the push to label GMO products in the U.S. was due to the ignorance of the American consumer. One has to wonder where the ignorance actually resides?

Is the Best Honey Really “Local” Honey?

Is the Best Honey Really “Local” Honey?

John Thomas does an excellent job of addressing the common belief that healthy honey has to be “local” honey produced nearby where you live. Considering the fact that most honey bees in the United States today are transported all over the country to pollinate commercial agricultural crops dependent on the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, it is obvious that simply being “local” is not a guarantee of a higher quality product. John investigates the current science on this topic of “local honey,” and discusses what issues are far more important in selecting a high quality honey.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!