The ketogenic diet continues to grow in popularity. As research mounts regarding its unparalleled weight loss potential, many are drawn towards the keto diet to earn those results for themselves. But more than other diets, keto can be demanding and some people may plateau, seeing their results grind to a halt. Discover some of the more common conditions that can stunt your progress on the keto diet, and find out what you can do to get back on the road to your fitness goals.
Ketosis and the Varying Degrees of Keto
The foundation of the ketogenic diet is to eat less than 20-50 carbs per day so your liver produces ketones for your body to burn instead of glucose, which comes from sugar. While this concept seems simple enough, there are actually varying degrees of being keto-adapted. For example, keto strips often have eight colors that detail how deep into ketosis you are and keto blood monitors will give you a rating that signifies your ketosis level.
Troubleshooting Your Level of Ketosis
If you’re following the general guidelines of the keto diet and are having trouble getting past the earliest stages of ketosis, your weight loss progress is bound to suffer. If that’s the case for you, then more detailed actions may be required to get your body deeper into keto, or more keto-adapted as it’s often called. Check out these suggestions for maximizing your keto progress and getting deeper into ketosis.
Are You Eating Enough Fats?
Since the keto diet limits you to just veggies, meats, and dairy products, those aren’t merely suggestions. To get into an effective stage of ketosis, it’s crucial that you’re consuming enough fats. An insufficient amount of either macronutrient can jeopardize your weight loss potential, keeping you limited to a low level of ketosis. Overall, it’s a good rule of thumb that about 60-80% of your dietary intake should come from a variety of fats while on keto.
Is Your Protein Intake Moderate?
When you’re on keto, more protein isn’t always better, but insufficient amounts can weaken your ketosis as well. Since the majority of your diet will consist of high-quality fats, protein is an equally important priority, although you don’t need nearly as much protein as fat, however. If you’re sure you’re consuming enough fats but aren’t progressing deep into ketosis, try increasing your protein intake and see if that gets you back in fat-burning mode.
Sidenote: Why is Too Much Protein Bad for Keto?
Aside from the conditions that can develop from excessive protein, the main reason why too much is bad for your progress on keto is that extra protein turns to glucose, which can throw you right out of ketosis.
Are You Being Physically Active Enough?
Although it’s excellent for weight loss, the keto diet is not for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, studies have shown that exercising regularly on the keto diet will significantly increase the rate that your body creates ketones, thereby drawing you deeper into ketosis.
Have You Tried Intermittent Fasting?
The ketogenic diet was actually started in the 1920’s as a diet for epileptic children who had to fast regularly to alleviate their seizures. Now in 2018, fasting has returned as an effective and highly recommended way to increase your level of ketosis. With intermittent fasting, you’re going for 14 or more hours without ingesting any calories and then eating sufficient fats and proteins for the rest of the day. While fasting may not be for everyone, it shouldn’t be underestimated as a powerful way to boost your ketosis levels.
Other Problems that May Interfere with Your Ketosis Levels
While plateauing on your weight loss may be the most common problem that interferes with your progress on keto, it’s definitely not the only one. Check out some of the other issues that are frequently encountered by those who follow the keto diet and learn troubleshooting techniques to avoid them.
Troubleshooting Digestive Problems on Keto
Fats require more energy to digest than any other type of macronutrient, and they make up 60-80% of your dietary intake on keto. If you’re having trouble adapting to the higher intake of fats due to digestive issues, it could cause problems like pain felt beneath the ribs and nausea. Supplementing your diet with the amino acid taurine can help your digestive system. Taurine is instrumental in the production of bile and can help immensely with your digestion problem.
Sidenote: Where Can You Find Taurine?
Since it’s an energy-boosting amino acid, many fitness supplements also contain taurine. This includes pre-workout supplements and fat-burners primarily, and both are typically devoid of calories and keto-friendly. Alternatively, almost all energy drinks including Red Bull and Rockstar contain taurine, so long as you choose a sugarless version that doesn’t threaten your ketosis.
Troubleshooting Heart Palpitations on Keto
One very common side effect that’s frequently encountered on the ketogenic diet is heart palpitations. Essentially, this means your heart is beating too fast, too softly, or irregularly. The causes of this can vary from mineral insufficiency to lack of salt as your body adapts to ketosis. Avoid or minimize heart palpitations by increasing your consumption of mineral-rich foods or supplements. Also, since the frequent urination inherent in early phases of keto deprive you of salt and water, increasing intake of those nutrients can help as well.
Troubleshooting Constipation on Keto
The problem of constipation is most likely due to a lack of fiber. While dairy and meat tend to make up the majority of foods eaten on the keto diet, neither of those food types has sufficient fiber. Since you won’t be eating high-fiber grains when you’re on a keto diet, it’s crucial that you’re consuming enough vegetables to keep your digestive tract healthy. If you begin to feel constipated regularly when on keto, consider increasing your intake of high-fiber vegetables.
10 Vegetables that are High in Fiber
- Lima Beans – 9g of fiber per cup
- Green Peas – 9g of fiber per cup
- Broccoli – 5g of fiber per cup
- Carrots – 5g of fiber per cup
- Spinach – 4g of fiber per cup
- Brussels Sprouts – 4g of fiber per cup
- Asparagus – 4g of fiber per cup
- Okra – 4g of fiber per cup
- Green Beans – 4g of fiber per cup
- White Button Mushrooms – 3g of fiber per cup
Troubleshooting Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
While low blood sugar may not seem like a major concern at first, many of its symptoms can disrupt your life. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can result in headaches, heart irregularity, blurred vision, and in extreme cases even seizures. If you experience any of these symptoms of hypoglycemia, the following three solutions that may benefit you:
– Increase the amount of meals and reduce the time between them
– Drink more water
– Take a mineral supplement that contains Magnesium
Avoiding Common Mistakes for an Effective Keto Experience
When you’re on keto, many factors can determine how effective your diet will be at helping you to achieve your fitness goals. By remembering to eat 60-80% fats, moderate amounts of protein, and a good amount of vegetables for fiber, you’ll avoid many of the most common problems associated with the keto diet. If you drink lots of water, increase salt intake early on, and exercise regularly, you’ll be on the path to safe and healthy fat loss on the keto diet.
Sticking to Keto Even through the Challenges
If you’re serious about your fitness goals, then the keto diet can help you achieve them. By committing to keto and figuring it out, even when you have a side-effect or two, you’ll remain on the path to rapid yet healthy weight loss. When challenges arise, figuring them out rather than turning back can be a life-changing decision – a decision that can lead you to the body you’ve always wanted.