What Are The Common Pitfalls With A Low Carb Diet and Tips To Help

 In Blog, Nutrition

The popularity on the use of low carbohydrate diets has increased significantly over the past few years. From weight loss to helping address certain health conditions, the way in which people are using this dietary approach is increasing.

Whilst there are many reports on blogs and forums dictating the great successes that many people experience with this way of eating, there also exists a certain number of people reporting a lack of success following a low carbohydrate diet.

Many people can often be quick to discount this as the diet is simply not right for them and so they stop. However, there could in fact be some very simple yet specific reasons that problems may be occurring. For the past 8 years, I have been working at helping individuals implement this way of eating into their lifestyle. Throughout this time, I have seen certain patterns which happen resulting in common pitfalls or mistakes that many people make when they first start.

There is a huge difference between doing a low carbohydrate diet and doing a well formulated low carbohydrate diet. Whilst some may notice the problems with the pitfalls right away, for some it may take a few months to present itself.

Below are three of the most common pitfalls that I see within people trying to implement a low carbohydrate diet that could be impacting your goals:

N.B. If you are looking for help on working out if your low carb diet is right for you, read onto the bottom of the post

  1. Eating low carb means you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight

This is by far the number one common pitfall that I see within my clients who have been trying to implement a low carb diet themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of the messaging on this over the past few years, is that you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight whilst following a low carb diet. In simple terms this quite simply is not the case. Clients who have come to me who have either failed to lose weight or who have been gaining weight, one look at their overall food intake and I can already see the problem. Although this way of eating allows a plethora of amazing food into your diet that once upon a time you restricted (such as cream, cheese, nuts and seeds etc.), consuming too much can certainly derail your efforts at reaching your goals.

Tip: If one of your main goals is that of weight loss and you aren’t seeing the results, look at the overall amount that you are eating

  1. A low carb diet is all just about eating meat

For many this may seem a little silly but surprisingly a lot of people still believe that a low carb diet is all about eating the biggest piece of steak topped with some butter. There is still a common misconception that eating a low carbohydrate way automatically means that you eat no carbohydrates. I am a firm believer that as part of a well formulated low carbohydrate diet, there should be included a good amount of non-starchy vegetables as well. Not only does this add variety to meal times, it also offers certain nutrients specific to these foods. Likewise the fibre content contained within non starchy veg can help to contribute and promote a good gut health environment. Poor gut health and an over growth of bad bacteria has been shown to impact heavily on someone’s ability to lose weight. Sometimes no matter how good your diet is, if your gut is lacking in enough good bacteria then you can consistently struggle to lose weight.

Tip: Be sure to look and work out what low starchy veggie and low sugar fruits work for you. Do not fear vegetables!

  1. That there is a one size for all approach

This for me is one of my greatest bug bares when it comes to pitfalls. Whilst it is great to have standard guidelines on the principles of what a low carbohydrate diet should look like, having set amounts and levels that will equate to everyone just does not work. In nutrition, the amount of food intake is often based as a percentage of the total calories we eat in a day, i.e. 50% of our total calories should come from fat. But a lot of the time this is just meaningless without the context. It may give you some levels to work towards but it does not tell you how to make that level up, i.e. if you are told to eat 100g of fat, would it matter what sources you got that from? Is there a certain split between saturated to unsaturated fat you should be eating?

The same question can exist for protein and carbs and what I have found in my practice, the answer is that it will completely depend on the person. Looking at what your friend or spouse is doing and trying to replicate it for you could be a reason that the diet isn’t working. Each of us are made up in different and unique ways, what we eat should therefore be unique to you. Likewise, our bodies change over time, where we were ten years ago is not where we may be today. Always look at revising your nutrition intake to match what stage of life your body is at.

Tip: If you do anything else, start out using the low carb guidelines as a template and then listen to your body and adapt accordingly.

If you have been struggling with some of these common pitfalls and are serious about getting your nutrition intake right for you, then please contact me to see how I can help.