It may seem like the internet is constantly buzzing about the reported health benefits of the keto diet, but it's important to acknowledge that the diet can have some consequences for your health if it's done incorrectly. To avoid unwanted keto fails, we spoke to experts about fixable keto-diet mistakes to keep in mind if you're serious about giving the diet a try.
There are many scenarios that can cause constipation with the ketogenic diet. Most people assume it’s a fiber issue; but it’s not that simple. You want to compare what you were doing before ketosis and after. Look at the change in vegetable fiber consumption; if you don’t have enough gut bacteria to digest all these vegetables, they will cause bloating, constipation, gas and all kinds of digestive issues. Some people can digest vegetables and others can’t. Some people can’t digest cabbage or cruciferous veggies. So, you might have to switch to less fibrous vegetables, such as various kinds of lettuce, and especially kale and beet greens, for your potassium. Electrolytes greatly help with constipation, too. If you need more support getting electrolytes, try my electrolyte powder. It helps supply the 4,700 mg a day of potassium you need, which is hard to manage without eating loads of vegetables.
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
Some keto cookies or a keto brownie can certainly be delicious, but if you’re looking for a dessert that’s a little more interesting, then you have to try this chocolate chia pudding! I love chia seeds for a number of reasons. They’re high in antioxidants, vitamins such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, Omega-3 ALA, dietary fiber and even protein. So, while this dish feels like a dessert, you’re receiving plenty of necessary nutrients. Enjoy guilty-free!
These avocado bites (made only from freeze-dried avocado pieces and sea salt) are high in fat and have 7 grams of carbs per serving, making it a perfect portable keto-friendly snack. And if its low-carb appeal isn't enough, avocados are also full of fiber and potassium, she says, two nutrients that can be difficult to get enough of on the keto diet. "I recommend eating an avocado per day to most people on the keto diet, and these dried bites are a good way to help reach that goal," she says. Best part? They won't go brown like the avocado sitting on your kitchen counter.
As for branched-chain amino acids, you'll find smart people who swear that they're keto-friendly, and others who don't. One of the BCAAs, valine, can be glucogenic, meaning that it can lead to glucose production and potentially contribute to leaving ketosis behind. But does that mean it will happen? Not necessarily, particularly if you're just an occasional supplement user.
In contrast, multivitamins aren’t a good solution as they are synthetic and lack a lot of nutrients like polyphenols, antioxidants and fiber that green powders and whole food sources provide. And the lack of fats and enzymes make the nutrients they do contain very difficult to process properly. Just because you’re putting something in your body doesn’t mean your body can use it.
"Healthy in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs, SunButter makes for a tasty addition to a keto diet," explains registered dietitian Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D. (Especially since you can't have peanut butter on the keto diet.) The sunflower seeds used in SunButter are also locally grown, roasted, and processed in a dedicated peanut-free and tree nut-free facility, she adds, meaning it's fair game if you have nut allergies.
A third study published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine that surveyed the eating habits of 471,495 Europeans over 22 years found that people whose diets had lower "nutritional quality" (i.e., fewer fresh vegetables, legumes, and nuts) were more likely to develop some of the most common and deadliest forms of cancer, including colon, stomach, lung, liver, and breast cancers.
Eggs have gotten some bad press in the past, but according to Franziska Spritzler, R.D., a certified diabetes educator in Huntington Beach, California, "eating whole eggs has been shown to modify blood cholesterol in a way that actually reduces risk of heart disease and stroke." She adds that eggs are also a great source of choline, which is necessary for brain and liver health.
Note that the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker or crock pot because slow cookers cook at a low temperature and may not heat chicken up to 165F, which is the minimum temperature to destroy any dangerous bacteria and ensure that chicken is fully cooked. So if you’re using a crock pot or slow cooker to make Crack Chicken, make sure to defrost it first!
Saturated fat is not harmful in the context of a low carb diet. This study from Johns Hopkins Medical School confirms this. The ketogenic diet plan is healthier because the higher saturated fat intake increases your HDL cholesterol, and at the same time, a lower carb intake decreases your triglycerides levels. These two factors are the major markers for heart disease, and the closer your triglyceride/HDL ratio is to 1, the healthier your heart. In reality, the cause of heart disease is a chronically high carbohydrate consumption, not a high saturated fat and cholesterol intake. I think the best way to learn this is to get a full blood test before you start a ketogenic diet plan, then do the diet faithfully for 3 months. Then have your blood work checked again. You'll see the difference and discover how much better you feel.
Keto bombs are fat cookies that ketogenic dieters love because they’re healthy, delicious cheat foods that are virtually devoid of carbs. I have plenty of videos on how to make keto bombs, but you have to eat them with a meal, not as a snack. The goal would be to stick to one a day. Go to my YouTube channel under Playlists, then Recipes; or to www.DrBerg.com under Recipes.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and get the un-shelled ones. (I tried to use them for a dessert and couldn’t figure out why it was so crunchy…) Hemp seeds have many amazing benefits – it is rich in GLA, good for digestive health, and can even help reduce sugar cravings. Put a handful in a small container or reusable snack bag for a super-healthy snack.
The best part of low carb eating is that you can still have rich, savory foods – dieting isn’t really a part of the lifestyle. Your body regulates your hunger naturally, so keeping your carbs low is the main concern. Being able to do that while still enjoying roast, fish, and big, healthy salads is what makes low carb so easy to stick with, and keep the weight off for good.
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."
Janie, We haven’t made this recipe in the oven, but yes, we think it would work well! Here’s how we would do it: 1) crisp the bacon on the stovetop; 2) for step 2 in the recipe above, add all ingredients to a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350F until the chicken is fully cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes (the chicken should not be pink in the center, and it should shred easily with a fork); 3) remove and shred the chicken; 4) stir the shredded chicken into the creamy sauce along with the cheddar cheese; 5) top with bacon and scallion and serve. If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes!
This is fantastic! I don’t feel like I’m on a “diet” at all. There’s plenty of food, plenty of protein- (I’m an omnivore- a clean one tho), the juices and snacks are tasty. It’s even surprisingly easy to swallow a spoonful of MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides), it tastes like buttery coconut cream! If that seems strange, one could simply mix it in with the salad or shake it up in the juices. No problem.
Trying to lose weight with exercise and starting a keto diet at the same time can provide fast results for a "multiplier" effect. However, if you haven't exercised in more than 6 months, you should wait to start the keto eating plan. Begin an exercise program first so you are adapting to only one physical change at a time. After 2 weeks of working out 3-4 times per week, you should be ready to start the keto diet.
Keto Smoothies and Shakes — Some of our favorite keto smoothies are the Peanut Butter Caramel Milkshake, Blueberry Banana Bread Smoothie, McKeto Strawberry Milkshake, Cucumber Spinach Smoothie, Blackberry Chocolate Shake, and Keto Tropical Smoothie. Feel free to add your favorite low-carb protein powder to your shake or smoothie to help you meet your protein needs and build muscle.
Bulk buy and cook. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the best of both worlds. Buying your food at bulk (specifically from wholesalers) can reduce the cost per pound tremendously. Plus, you can make ahead food (bulk cook chicken thighs for pre-made meat, or cook entire meals) that are used as leftovers, so you spend less time cooking.