Low carb dieting continues to grow in popularity because it gets results. But this growing popularity opens the door to confusion and weight loss challenges we haven’t faced in the past. If you follow a low carb diet but do not lose weight as you expect, one of these low carb food mistakes may be halting your progress. I explain in this post.
Low Carb Food Fails – At-A-Glance
- Recipe Reality. Have a “Buyer Beware” attitude when looking for low carb recipes online. It pays to enter the ingredients into a reliable online nutrition tracker to check that the carb count is correct.
- Not Defeating Your Sweet Tooth. If you continue to feed your sweet tooth with keto-friendly desserts, it will be hard to avoid future temptations.
- Not Planning Ahead. By taking a few minutes to think about the events of tomorrow, you can avoid situations that catch you off guard.
- Too Little Food Intake. Following a low-carb diet lessens hunger and cravings. But, pushing your calorie intake too low can backfire. Listen to your body and satisfy true hunger.
- Choosing Convenience over Consistency. It can be hard to say no to high-carb treats, but consistent effort is the key that unlocks the benefits.
5 Low Carb Food Fails That Prevent Weight Loss [Video]
In this video, you will learn…
- Five low-carb mistakes you may be making that hinder your weight loss progress.
- Real-life examples of some of these mistakes.
- What happens to your body when you eat a low carb diet.
When you follow a low carb, high-fat diet, you get to enjoy many hearty and savory foods. Because animal-based foods are naturally lower in carbohydrates, you can enjoy a good steak dinner and add cheese and creamy ingredients to lower-fat foods like chicken, fish, and vegetables. But, like with any diet, there are some foods that you must avoid. For low carb dieters, these foods include starchy vegetables, like potatoes, and grains, like buns and bread.
These high-carb foods, especially when refined or mixed with fat and salt, have an addictive nature, making them hard to live without. So, it is human nature to seek out low carb solutions. This brings me to my first low carb food fail that I will call recipe reality.
Many amazing food bloggers have come up with innovative and delicious low carb recipes. But, when you are looking for recipes, you want to have a buyer beware mindset. Make sure that you are paying attention to things like the number of servings and the number of carbohydrates being reported.
Let me share an example. Rutabaga is a versatile vegetable that is often touted as a lower carb alternative for potatoes. This fact is true. When we compare 100-gram servings, we see that rutabaga (8.6g of carbs) contains about half of the carbs of a potato (17.5g of carbs).
It also tastes pretty good when fried up like a french fry. However, here are two questions to ask yourself when you are looking at rutabaga fry recipes. What is the serving size, and do you trust the carb count?
Know the weight of key Ingredients
Some recipes do not tell you the weight of the rutabaga. For instance, I picked up the smallest rutabaga at the grocery store. It weighed more than 34 ounces (about 1,000 grams) and therefore had 84 grams of carbohydrates.
One of the top listed rutabaga fry recipes found through a Google search did not specify the size of rutabaga to choose but stated that the recipe served four people. One-fourth of the rutabaga I picked up at the grocery store contains about 24 carbohydrates. However, the recipe reports only 9 carbs per serving, meaning that they likely used a much smaller vegetable.
Check the recipe’s math
Even if the size of the rutabaga is reported, you want to make sure the math works out, and that one serving is what feels natural to eat. For instance, a second recipe listed high on my Google search serves eight and calls for two 24-ounce rutabagas.
According to Cronometer, 48 ounces (1,344g) of rutabaga contains 117 carbs. Since the recipe serves eight, one serving should equal close to 15 grams of total carbohydrates. However, the recipe states that there are only 8 total carb grams per serving.
I am not saying that this information is being reported to deceive people, but there is a buyer beware element when searching for low carb recipes. Also, one serving is approximately 10 fries. It is hard to stop at 10, so your carb and calorie intake can creep up easily.
The bottom line is this. If you’re using an ingredient that you have not used in the past, it pays to trust your source or enter the recipe ingredients into a trustworthy nutrition tracking platform so you can make your own calculations. I prefer Cronometer because their nutrition facts are from the nutritional databases rather than entered and shared by users.
Not Defeating Your Sweet Tooth
The next low carb food fail that can halt your progress is not defeating your sweet tooth. Sugar is a carbohydrate, and it is the first thing to go on any diet. However, sugar is an addictive substance. When you first cut it out of your diet, there is a good chance that you will experience sugar cravings.
Most people find that sugar cravings diminish the longer they are away from sugar and refined carbs. In my opinion, this is one of the rewards of low carb dieting because you no longer feel controlled by junk food.
When you can easily say no to a sweet treat sitting right in front of you, you significantly increase your odds of long-term weight control. However, to get to this point, you’ve got to allow your body and brain time away from sweetness. You cannot do that if you continue to eat keto-friendly sweets.
Certain sweeteners are not easily digested by your body, namely sugar alcohols and allulose. Because of the unique way your body handles these additives, food manufacturers can subtract them from the food’s total carb count. This lower net carb count allows a food to be labeled as keto-friendly.
The challenge is that the treats are still sweet. Keeping these foods in your diet keeps your cravings for sweetness alive. It may feel like you harmlessly satisfy a craving when you eat a keto-friendly dessert or snack. However, doing so can end up sabotaging your diet when faced with future temptations. We celebrate a major holiday, birthday, or special event every month. We celebrate with cookies, cakes, and candies.
If you are keeping your sweet tooth alive by eating keto-friendly sweets, you will need to rely on willpower to say no during these celebrations, which is not only uncomfortable, but also unreliable.
Not Planning Ahead
This ties into the next low carb food fail, which is not planning ahead. The world we live in is not set up for low carb dieting. There is a pizza parlor in every town, and coffee shops don’t make a living by selling black coffee. They make a living by selling sugary cafe lattes.
When you go on a low-carb diet, it pays to plan ahead to make sure you have what you need to feel satisfied. A next-day planning sheet is one of the tools I use in my Freedom Weight Loss Program. By simply asking yourself a few questions in the evening, such as will there be an event tomorrow that serves sweets or desserts, and if so, how can I handle it, you can prevent stepping into a situation that catches you off guard.
Too Little Food Intake
Another food mistake that I see, especially with low carb dieters, is too little food intake. When you reduce the number of carb grams you consume, particularly refined carbs, you stabilize your blood sugar. This is a good thing because it prevents the blood sugar peaks and crashes that drive hunger and cravings.
This hunger control is rewarding and is one reason intermittent fasting works well with a low carb diet. However, it can also become a temptation to push yourself hard and severely limit your food intake in hopes that it will get you to your goal faster. This can backfire, causing you to binge or feel out of control. It can also slow your metabolism if you continue on a severely restrictive diet.
Low carb diets work, but you will be much happier with your results if you look at low-carb dieting as a lifestyle. When you do, you learn how to listen to your body and recognize true physical hunger, which is when your body needs nutrients.
Convenience over Consistency
Another mistake that is easy to fall into is putting convenience over consistency. John Assaraf is a motivational speaker known for asking his audiences if they are interested or committed.
He states that when you are merely interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to doing something, you do it no matter what, even when it is inconvenient.
It is not convenient to say no to the restaurant’s breadbasket and dessert menu. But when you take side steps and give in to temptation, you will be frustrated with your results and find yourself going around the same mountain month after month and year after year.
For many people, consistent effort is the key that unlocks the benefits. When you consistently eat a low carb diet, your body gets the hint and creates the enzymes and metabolic pathways it needs to run on fat efficiently. This is where you want to be because when enough energy is not coming in from your diet, your body easily taps into body fat, giving you the results you want.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
About the Author
Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.