5 Sneaky Low Carb Diet Mistakes

Article posted in: Nutrition
low carb mistakes

South Beach Diet is a low carb, high-protein diet. It works by retraining your body to burn fat (instead of carbohydrates) for fuel. If you’re leery about whether a low carb diet really works, there are dozens of studies that prove its overall effectiveness, as well as its ability to improve cardiovascular health. But there are a few low carb mistakes that you can make while on a low carb diet, which is why we recommend adhering to our specific guidelines.

While following our low carb approach is simple, it’s also easy to make a few simple low carb mistakes that can unknowingly hinder your weight loss results. To avoid making these low carb mistakes, we have created a list of some simple yet prevalent slip-ups that you may have fallen victim of without even knowing.

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Here are five low carb mistakes that you might be making:

1. Eating NO Carbs

no carbs

Soda, white bread, chips and sweets are loaded with refined carbs and sugars that burn off quickly, cause our blood sugar to spike and plummet, and leave us wanting more food. While it may seem like a good idea to stop the vicious weight-gaining cycle by simply eating no carbs, eating a diet of only meat, fish, poultry, eggs and fats like olive oil (which are devoid of carbohydrates) is not sustainable. Your body needs the fiber, nutrients and carbs from vegetables, healthy fats, dairy products, beans and legumes and whole-grains. Even fruit—which can be quite high in carbohydrates—provides the body with valuable energy and essential vitamins.

2. Eating Too Many or Too Few Carbs

too many carbs

Carbs are fuel. Even if you avoid refined carbs (pizza and donuts) and only eat complex carbs (whole-wheat bread and pasta), you can still eat too many carbohydrates for your body to burn, which means you won’t lose weight. Alternately, too few carbs can affect the muscles and brain, which need some glucose to function efficiently, according to Harvard Health.

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of non-starchy vegetables (like leafy greens and broccoli) and lean proteins (like chicken breast, fish and eggs) is what doctors and nutritionists recommend—and it’s the foundation of the South Beach Diet. You’ll also eat healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, whole grains, dairy, beans and legumes, non-starchy vegetables (like sweet potatoes and turnips) and fruit in moderation because your body needs the health benefits from each food group.

3. Eating Too Much of the Wrong Protein

bad protein

Most Americans eat twice as much protein as their bodies actually need. So if you decide to eat a block of cheese or an entire T-bone steak to make up for the carbs you’re not eating, it could lead to kidney disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis or even cancer. Not to mention you can be at risk of clogged arteries and heart disease because you’re likely consuming too many unhealthy fats from choosing the wrong types of protein—think regular bacon, fried chicken and rib-eye. High protein intake is okay when you are choosing the right kinds of protein that benefit your body—think turkey bacon, skinless chicken breast and sirloins!

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4. Eating Hidden Carbs

hidden carbs

Let’s say you just ate a piece of grilled salmon with a side of cauliflower for lunch. Bravo! You fueled your body with lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, complex carbs and plenty of vitamin C. A a few hours later though, you need some coffee, so you go to Starbucks for a 16-oz Caffé Mocha. With that single decision, you just consumed 44 grams of carbohydrates and 35 grams of sugar. Now, your blood sugar is up—your body quickly uses that blood sugar, and it drops just as quickly as it went up, causing you to crash and crave even more refined carbs and sugar to get your energy up again. Coffees, yogurts, condiments, sauces and salad dressings are loaded with hidden sugars and carbs. The USDA recommends that we consume no more than 10% of our daily calories from sugar. So, before you buy or order, check the ingredients or ask for the complete nutrition facts—not just the calorie count.

5. Not Staying the Course

going off course

During your weight loss phase on the South Beach Diet, you will avoid refined carbs and limit grains, fruits and beans. You’ll cut out sugary drinks like soda and limit alcohol. Why the restrictions? You need to remedy insulin-resistance issues that were brought on by eating too many sugary (highly refined) carbs. By restricting sugar and all eating less carbs, your body begins to burn its fat storage for fuel and retrains itself to run on healthy, nutritious foods.

If you begin a low carb diet because you’re going to a class reunion next weekend and want to lose weight quickly, you’ll be disappointed. After you reboot you’ll start to lose weight, but it will be a slow process if you don’t also incorporate exercise and drink plenty of water. Bottom line? You can lose weight fast on a low carb diet, but not next weekend fast. (By the way, most diets that do produce those kinds of results aren’t healthy, says the Mayo Clinic, nor will you keep the weight off long-term.) If you start your low carb diet a month or two before that reunion, however, you’ll knock them dead.