In recent years, countless people around the world have successfully lost weight using some of the best low carb diets. Some of these diets include the Keto Diet, the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet.
However, there is a very common problem that has plagued many novice dieters: Why am I not losing weight on a low-carb diet?
To answer this question you need to understand how a low-carb diet works.
Let’s look at the ketogenic diet as an example.
By strictly controlling carbohydrate intake (20-50g of carbs a day), your body will switch from using sugar as an energy source to using fat as fuel, that is, from sugar metabolism to fat metabolism.
During this process, your liver breaks down fats into ketone bodies, which then enter the bloodstream and are transported to various organs throughout the body. Ketone bodies replace sugar to create energy for the normal functioning of the brain and body.
Since there are not enough carbohydrates to convert into glucose, your blood sugar and insulin levels will remain stable. The direct benefit of this is that you will not feel hungry throughout the day. In addition, the fat stored in the body will be burned off quickly.
If you follow the keto diet or any kind of low-carb diet correctly, you should see a good result of weight loss.
However, if you follow a low-carb diet for a while and still do not achieve the desired effect or find yourself even gaining weight, you may need to see what you have done wrong.
I have summarized some of the mistakes that people often make when practicing low-carb diets. Avoiding them will help you lose weight faster.
1. Your body is not in ketosis:
The keto diet strictly controls the intake of carbohydrates. When your body does not have enough glycogen to “generate the power”, it will start to use stored fat for energy in order to survive.
At this point, your body enters a natural metabolic state called ketosis and you will start to lose weight. In general, this conversion takes at least two or three days or maybe even a week.
If you do not strictly follow the standard of the ketogenic diet during this period, it will be difficult for you to enter ketosis and you will not see the expected results.
(1) How to get into ketosis?
It is not easy to switch from a high-carb, low-fat diet to a ketogenic diet, especially at the beginning. If you can’t control your carbs intake, it will affect your weight loss results.
Therefore, the process of losing weight is actually the process of practicing self-control and self-discipline.
Once you decide to lose weight through a low-carb diet, you must say goodbye to your previous lifestyle. Only in this way can you see the results easier and faster.
The following tips can help you get into ketosis as soon as possible:
- Strictly limit carbohydrate intake: The main sources of carbs are green leafy vegetables, low-carb nuts and low-carb fruits.
- Eat more healthy fats: In the early stages of a keto diet, your body needs your help to adapt to the new metabolism and start burning fat. Coconut oil and MCT oil can speed up the rate of entering ketosis.
- Eat enough protein: The right amount of protein can not only increase satiety but also help you avoid muscle loss during weight loss.
- Proper exercise: Maintaining proper physical activity can increase blood ketone levels.
- Intermittent fasting: The combination of a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting will help you get into ketosis faster to accelerate fat burning.
If you want to know what to eat on a low-carb diet, please refer to 50 Best Foods To Eat On A Low Carb Diet.
(2) How to know if your body is in ketosis?
When you enter ketosis, your body will experience some reactions, such as:
- bad breath (a fruity taste in your mouth)
- loss of appetite
- being more focused
- having more energy
- weight loss
One accurate method is to test the ketone level through test strips or small instruments.
The common ones are:
2. You eat too much fat:
In the early stages of the ketogenic diet, in order to make your body transition to a fat metabolism model as soon as possible, you need to strictly control carbohydrate intake and eat a lot of fat.
However, when your body enters ketosis and starts to burn fat, if you still eat the same amount of fat, your body will get energy from external fat instead of using the fat that is stored in your body.
In addition, the calorie content per gram of fat is twice that of protein or carbohydrates, so you may eat too many calories by accident.
Therefore, after confirming that you have entered ketosis, you should appropriately reduce your fat intake and increase the amount of green leafy vegetables.
With weight loss, the daily calorie requirement must be adjusted. A person weighing 200 kg and a person weighing 150 kg should not eat the same calories, right?
Tip: Drinking plenty of water can help break down fat.
3. You eat too little:
Many people eat very few calories in order to lose weight.
In the first few days of dieting, you may actually lose a few pounds, but once you get back to your normal diet your weight will rebound or even go higher. This is because dieting can cause metabolic disorders.
Dieting makes your body think you are starving, so it activates a self-protection mode to reduce the metabolic rate, thereby maintaining the normal physiological functions of organs.
The correct approach is to ensure the daily calories your body needs and focus on the quality of the food, not the quantity. Focus on high-quality fat and protein, while eating more leafy vegetables to ensure balanced nutrition.
4. You eat too much protein:
There is a common misunderstanding that the ketogenic diet is a high-protein diet. In fact, it is a moderate-protein diet. Protein should only account for 15-20% of your daily dietary calories.
If you eat more protein than the body needs, your body can turn its amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into glucose (blood sugar) through a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis.
Your body will first use glucose instead of burning fat as fuel. As a result, it may cause weight gain. [*]
The basic protein intake recommended by most official nutrition organizations is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Men who are sedentary or have little activity need 56 grams of protein a day.
- Women who are sedentary or have little activity need 46 grams of protein a day.
See the table below for specific data:
|Infant and child|
|0-6 months||9.1 g.|
|6-12 months||11 g|
|1-3 years old||13 g|
|4-8 years old||19 g|
|9-13 years old||34 g|
|14-18 years old||52 g|
|19 –70 years old||56 g|
|9–13 years old||34 g|
|14–70 years old||46 g|
|..During pregnancy and breastfeeding|
Daily activities are directly proportional to protein intake:
- People with moderate activity level need 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- Active people need 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
5. You may eat too many invisible carbs:
You may ask: “If I don’t eat staple foods like rice and noodles, why do I still eat too many carbs?”
Actually, there are many hidden carbohydrates in our daily diet. Items, such as milk, starchy vegetables, most fruits and nuts, certain sweeteners and even MSG used in cooking. The amount of carbohydrates (or sugar) in various sauces can also be very high.
These add up easily to make you lose the ketosis effect and stop fat burning.
- 12 Healthy Fats For Ketogenic Diet And Low-carb Diet
- The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Guide for Weight Loss
- 50 Best Foods To Eat On A Low Carb Diet
6. You are intolerant or allergic to certain foods:
Although it is generally not life-threatening, intolerance or allergies to certain foods can disrupt the balance of intestinal flora, affect intestinal health and cause inflammation. There is a professional term called “leaky gut syndrome”.
Leaky gut syndrome is the fuse that leads to diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
7. You have leptin resistance or insulin resistance:
If you strictly follow the ketogenic or any other low-carb diet for a while but are still unable to lose weight, then you may be suffering from leptin resistance or insulin resistance.
When you eat a high-carb diet for a long time, the pancreas will continuously secrete insulin to control blood sugar and deliver nutrients to the cells.
Over time, the cells will become resistant to insulin and no longer accept its help to absorb glucose in the blood.
These cells cannot get a normal supply of nutrients and will send wrong signals to your brain, making the brain think that your body is starving. Then, it sends out the “hungry feeling” command again to allow you to continue eating.
Those excess calories will be converted into fat.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells. It plays a very important role in regulating body weight.
When you have enough fat reserves for energy supply, leptin will tell the brain that you don’t need to add extra calories (eating).
Leptin resistance is similar to insulin resistance, long-term unhealthy diet or having an unhealthy lifestyle and can lead to hyperleptinemia, making it less effective in controlling appetite. [*]
8. Other reasons:
There are some other reasons that can affect the effectiveness of weight loss.
- Too little activity: Inactive people generally have a slower metabolism
- Eat often: Even if you are following a very low-carb diet, frequently eating will cause you to accumulate carbohydrates and calories.
- Poor sleep: Sleep quality also affects weight. People who suffer from insomnia usually have leptin resistance issues. ( Refer to number 7)
- Too much stress: Stress can increase the level of cortisol in the body. Long-term high levels of cortisol can lead to overeating and weight gain.[*]
- How Does A Lack Of Sleep Cause Weight Gain
- Tips To Get Good Night’s Sleep Naturally, To Better Lose Weight
Many people have successfully lost weight and improved their health through a low-carb diet.
However, some people find that the weight loss effect is not so obvious, or have found that their weight has even increased. There are many reasons for this.
Excessive calorie intake, lack of activity, chronic stress, lack of sleep and underlying health problems can all have a negative impact on weight loss.
If you encounter the same problem, don’t give up. Instead, stick to a correct and healthy diet. Also, ensure proper exercise and adequate sleep, and try intermittent fasting according to your own schedule. You will soon see the results.