Popularized by the Atkins diet about 15 years ago, low-carb diets have been shown to be far more effective for weight loss, improved metabolism, and reducing the risk of diabetes and other ailments. Unfortunately, adhering to this diet and avoiding stumbling blocks aren’t always easy. To increase your chance for awesome low-carb diet results, avoid these common mistakes.

Too Much Protein

When you lower your carb intake, you have to get more nutrients from one of the other macros groups: fat and protein. However, many low-carb dieters eat too much protein, which can lead to a condition called gluconeogenesis.

That mouthful of a word is when your body turns excess protein into glucose by using amino acids, the building blocks of muscle. When this happens, you can experience an increase in body fat percentage and a loss of muscle mass, which are the very things you’re looking to avoid in a low-carb diet.

While you may experience this for a few weeks as a result of switching to a low-carb diet, make sure to limit your intake of proteins either way to about 0.7 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of weight.

Going No-Carb

Limiting carbs has been shown to melt fat and shed pounds quickly, but are there any problems with a zero carb diet? Carbs are your primary source of energy, and when you shut them off altogether, you may not get the results you expected.

Zero-carb diets can push you closer toward your goal weight more quickly, but cutting carbs or reintroducing carbs later can cause difficulty, energy loss, or weight gain. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a superb diet. Just be aware that you may have to make some adjustments to bring carbs back into your diet or eliminate them altogether.

Zero Planning

Switching to a low-carb diet is a lengthy process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Unfortunately, you might not get that memo and fall victim to your lack of planning. When you don’t have meals prepared, don’t go grocery shopping, or don’t know what to eat, your first step might consist of ordering in or hitting the drive-thru.

When that happens, it derails all your progress and saps your motivation. With proper planning, it doesn’t have to happen. Make sure to craft a detailed grocery list and stick to it. If you have time, create several days worth of meals on a Sunday so you aren’t scrounging around for food when you’re lacking time. This will help you stay on task without succumbing to your cravings.

Letting Carbs Sneak Back In

After weeks or months of a successful low-carb diet, you’re finally starting to believe in your lifestyle change. However, this can often lead you to negligent experimentation. You start eating bread, throwing sugar in your coffee or tea, and having a side of pasta.

This is the start of a slippery slope that will lead you back to square one if you aren’t careful. Make sure that a one-time indulgence doesn’t become a routine.

Low-carb diets are a fantastic way to increase your vitality and overall health, but it also requires constant monitoring and a change in lifestyle. Awareness of these potential pitfalls is half the battle, but once you’re on track, you can experience the mind-blowing benefits of this healthy diet.

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