8 Mistakes To Avoid If You’re Doing A Ketogenic Diet - Men's Health Magazine Australia

8 Mistakes To Avoid If You’re Doing A Ketogenic Diet

Everything you need to know.

1. Cyclic keto

Regimented refeeds and “cheat days” have potentially detrimental effects, both physical and psychological. Studies from keto pioneers Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Stephen Phinney suggest that a single high- carbohydrate meal can knock a novice out of ketosis for up to a week. (FYI, after a carb indulgence, I’ve noticed I can return to nutritional ketosis blood values— 0.5 mmol/L or higher— after a single 18-hour fast.) Deliberate carb cycling can also spike appetite hormones, destabilise fat metabolism, promote insulin resistance, and lead to muscle catabolism, as the body gets confused about which fuel substrates to prioritise. Carb cycling can also foster an unhealthy relationship with food, where you suppress intuition and foster a binge mentality where you go crazy on hot fudge sundae weekends just because you can.

2. Dirty keto

Don’t get me started. No matter how many calories you burn with impressive workouts, there is never any rationale or justification for consuming nutrient-deficient processed food, especially under the guise of following keto. Focus on making the best possible choice in every category of food you eat: grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, and organic produce (insist on organic when you consume the skin instead of peeling it). For anything that’s been wrapped or packaged, read labels carefully to make sure there are no harmful additives. Many seemingly healthy “energy” snacks, meats, nuts, jerkys, and condiments are laden with sugar, preservatives, and toxic industrial oils. Make a habit of asking waiters to have the kitchen cook your meal in butter instead of vegetable oil.

3. Incomplete keto

Many keto enthusiasts “try” keto and bomb out after 3 weeks, concluding that keto is too difficult or not right for them. Instead, pick a low-stress time of life, start when you are fully prepared, and resolve to complete a minimum 6-week stint of nutritional ketosis. Be vigilant against the common pitfalls by dialing in your minerals and electrolytes, toning down your exercise energy output (and life stress levels) for the first few weeks, and snacking on high- fat foods as needed.

4. Keto in a can (or bottle, or wrapper)

If you are enticed into a regimented keto program centred around a ketone supplement product, be wary. While many ketone supplement providers dispense sound information and product use guidelines, sometimes the focus can drift into product sales instead of a simple, sensible, sustainable, and affordable long-term dietary transformation based on real foods. Folks, keto is not SlimFast, it’s re-awakening your human genetic hard-wiring to elegantly manufacture and burn internal fuel sources.

5. Peer pressure keto

Proceed at your own pace, enjoy the journey, and don’t compare your results to others. Realise that transforming your physique is a by-product of the more important health, disease protection, and longevity benefits of keto. I get tons of emails from people complaining about lack of “results” (i.e., rapid fat reduction) with keto.

In the next breath, they admit that they feel great, have stable appetite, energy, mood, and cognitive focus. I call those results! And yes, once you have built a respectable level of metabolic flexibility, you can absolutely expect to achieve targeted fat reduction goals with precision and efficiency.

6. Quick keto

If you are preparing for bikini season and see an offering like, “Seven- Day Keto Blast,” run screaming in the opposite direction. A keto crash course might be better named a Seven- Day Stress Hormone Bath— you’ll make the sugar you need from fight- or- flight mechanisms instead of magically shifting over to ketones. It’s best to view keto as a patiently acquired skill that you can use as a tool to hone metabolic flexibility for the rest of your life.

7. Suffering keto

You may have heard of the term “keto flu,” often described as an inevitable consequence of the ketogenic diet, and something to endure with awesome willpower if you are a worth-while human being. I hereby and forever more call bullshit on the keto flu. The keto flu is an indication that you have a flawed approach, whether from poor preparation, overly stressful exercise patterns during a significant dietary transformation, deficient sodium intake, pre-existing leaky gut, thyroid dysfunction, or adrenal burnout conditions, or perhaps even a keto that’s a little dirty instead of nutrient dense.

If your keto efforts make you feel cranky, edgy, stressed, and fatigued, spend some extra time in basic mode of ditching offensive modern foods and emphasising nutritious foods, and don’t stress about your carb intake levels. If you are eating in an ancestral aligned pattern, your carbohydrate intake won’t be more than 150 grams a day, and you can try cutting back further into keto levels when you are ready. The awesome sensations of never feeling hungry and enjoying stable energy and mood without food cannot be faked; metabolic flexibility is a skill that requires hard work. Nowhere does it say that suffering is a necessary steppingstone to metabolic flexibility.

8. Underprepared keto

If you don’t yet feel absolutely comfortable and productive for 16 hours without food (e.g., 8 p.m. to 12 noon), you’re not ready for keto. Spend more time in Reset mode to hone your skills. Realise that both wheat and sugar have physically addictive properties — they trigger a dopamine burst and stimulate opioid receptors in the brain. As you likely realize, this makes you want more and more when you start indulging, and makes it difficult for you to completely rewire away from carbohydrate dependency. I hear from many struggling keto aspirants who reveal they were “pretty good” about ditching grains and sugars out of the gate. This simply doesn’t cut it when we are talking about rewiring decades of carbohydrate addiction; it’s essential to commit to zero tolerance so that ensuing steps will be easier.

The great thing about a keto-zone approach is that keto enthusiasts can coexist peacefully whether we’re fasting until noon or powering down six-egg omelettes as a morning custom. Again, back to the 80 percent concept: If your movement, exercise, sleep, and mindset are healthy, and you are consuming colourful, nutrient- dense foods and eliminating processed junk, your carb count — often touted as the end-all by over caffeinated, overly simplistic promoters — actually becomes some-thing of minimal significance. Of course, there is no justification to ever consume nutrient- deficient refined carbs and oils, even for athletes who burn them off. Beyond that, if you are inclined to enjoy a sweet potato now and then, we can still be friends and you can still keep your Keto Club Card— especially if you make fasting a regular practice.

The day that you ditch the foods that cause inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation and start emphasising the longevity superfoods and super supplements, you start rewinding your biological clock. The good news about making dietary changes is that you get immediate validation that you are on the right track, because you experience a stable mood, appetite, and energy level right away. Running some before and after blood tests is also a fantastic strategy, especially if you have any hesitation about any elements of the ancestral and keto message that are still disputed by conventional wisdom, such as the idea of ditching grains and eating more fat.

This is an edited extract from Keto for Life by Mark Sisson published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 AU.

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