When you first start a low-carb diet, you are aware of every bite of food that goes in your mouth. But we are creatures of habit, and because of that, it is easy to drop into mindless eating habits that allow a few extra carbs to creep into your day as your diet progresses.
If your low carb or keto diet has hit a plateau, you’ll want to check your diet for carb creep. I explain what I mean in this blog post and the simple ways you can avoid it.
Carb Creep – At-A-Glance
- Carb Creep is the tendency, over time, to allow extra carbohydrates to sneak into your diet. This could stall weight loss if left unchecked.
- Solution #1: Track Your Carb Intake. Recording your food intake may be enough to avoid carb creep.
- Solution #2: Count Total Carbs, Not Net Carbs. This prevents excess intake of “keto-friendly” snacks with questionable ingredients.
- Solution #3: Measure. Measuring portion sizes will bring things back into perspective.
- Solution #4: Cook at Home. This allows you to avoid added sugar hidden in restaurant foods.
Low Carb Fail: Do You Suffer from Carb Creep? [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The definition of carb creep.
- How easy it is for your amount of daily carbohydrates to increase.
- Four ways to avoid this tendency.
What is Carb Creep?
“Carb Creep” is the tendency, over time, to allow extra carbohydrates to sneak into your diet.
If you’ve been on a low-carb diet for a while, it’s easy to start loosening the rules and mindlessly pop a few “healthy” low-carb treats in your mouth that you wouldn’t have done at the start of your diet.
You might find yourself saying things like, “A little bit of this shouldn’t hurt.” as you pop a dark chocolate or a scoop of peanut butter into your mouth. But those little treats can add up without us being consciously aware, and before you know it, your total carb intake for the day has crept up to a point where it is interfering with fat burning.
If your weight loss has stalled, carb creep is one of the first things to look for. Here are a few simple ways to tighten up your diet and get it under control.
Solution #1: Track Your Carb Intake
First, track your carbohydrate intake. Simply take a few days to track or write down how many grams of carbohydrates are contained in each of the foods you eat.
While this can feel like a chore, if carb creep is happening, it will not take long for you to uncover it.
Solution #2: Count Total Carbs, Not Net Carbs
Second, ensure that when tracking your carb intake, you are tracking total carbs, not net carbs.
By doing this, you avoid what is, in my opinion, the most common low carb fail, which is relying on packaged keto snacks.
The growing popularity of low carb and keto diets has led to an onslaught of “keto-friendly” products. These foods may be low in net carbs but can be high in total carbs. And this is where it gets tricky.
Food manufacturers can manipulate ingredients to reduce the net carb content of packaged foods. However, these “keto-friendly” items do not always deliver the metabolic free-ride they promise. They are often refined and sweetened, leading to an increase in insulin and cravings, making it harder to lose weight.
Now, with all this said, I realize that there are times when we need a snack to bridge the gap between meals. When this happens, there are many convenient and hunger-satisfying options without sketchy ingredients that can stall weight loss.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post where I built a keto snack pyramid, highlighting the best snack choices. You can follow the link if you’d like to download the keto snack pyramid.
Solution #3: Measure
Life is busy, and it is easy to get complacent when you’ve been dieting for a while. So, there might be a few little extras that you carefully measured at the start of your diet that you now just eyeball.
If your weight loss is progressing as you’d like, it’s fine to continue eyeballing portion sizes. However, if your weight has plateaued – go back to measuring. Just think of it as bringing things back into perspective. This is especially true with add-in items, like condiments.
For instance, a serving of regular ketchup is one tablespoon. It contains about four grams of carbohydrates.
Will a serving of ketchup be enough to wreck your progress? Likely not. But, are you using just one tablespoon? A couple of squirts of ketchup on a hamburger patty can easily creep your carb intake up to the point that impacts the effectiveness of your low carb diet.
There are better condiment options. For instance, you can buy no-sugar-added ketchup with just one carb per tablespoon. That is a step in the right direction, but it still requires vigilance.
For instance, I can’t say that I’ve seen no-sugar-added ketchup at a restaurant, so don’t order a burger without a bun only to take away the advantage by squirting 15 grams of carby ketchup on top.
Of course, you avoid the restaurant problem altogether by cooking at home.
Solution #4: Cook at Home
Cooking your own food makes it much easier to avoid “carb creep.” When you follow a recipe, you measure the ingredients; so you know what’s in your food. A restaurant may have the same meal that you prepare at home, but you don’t have control over what they put in the food to make it restaurant-worthy.
While it doesn’t always seem fair, sugar makes things tasty, and restaurants rely on people loving the taste of their food. So, keto dieters, beware. If you eat out often and your weight loss has stalled, cooking at home for a couple of weeks may be enough to get the scale moving again.
Low-carb diets work because they rob your body of easy-to-burn carbohydrates, forcing it to burn fat for fuel. But, even if you’ve been low carb for a long time, your body never stops seeing carbs as an easy energy source.
If you allow your carb intake to creep up, your body will use that readily available energy, leaving the harder-to-extract energy from body fat for another day. So the moral of the story is that sometimes, the solution to stalled weight loss is simply tightening your plan.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!