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What Mistakes Should I Avoid Going Low Carb?

  • Category: Ask the Expert
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Brittany Garcia
What Mistakes Should I Avoid Going Low Carb?

Q: What Mistakes Should I Avoid Going Low Carb?

A: It’s getting to be that time of year when our waist lines start to expand as we face holiday meals, parties and there seem to be treats everywhere we look. We resolve to battle the bulge by vowing to go low carb. Low carb diets are all the rage right now—and for good reason. They work. But before you clear out your pantry and hit the meat aisle at the grocery store, here are a few common mistakes to avoid when you start a low carb diet.

1. Eating Too Much Protein

Protein is a very important part to any balanced diet and most people don’t eat enough. The amino acids we get from lean animal foods help our bodies and minds function properly. However, it is possible to eat too much. When you eat more protein than your body needs, those amino acids will be turned into glucose—the very thing you’re trying to avoid. Try to aim for 0.7 - 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.

2. Forgetting About Fat

Eating a low carb diet is an effective way to lose weight. Eating a low fat diet is an effective way to lose weight. But eating a low carb and low fat diet is a big mistake. Be sure to include plenty of foods with healthy fats like almonds, salmon and avocado.

3. Skimping on Veggies

It’s easy to be focused on protein when you’re avoiding carbs. And you may want to avoid fruit due to its high sugar volume. But make room on at least half your plate for vegetables. Try to eat five servings of different color veggies each day.

4. Not Replenishing Sodium

While too much sodium is bad for your heart and causes you to retain water, it’s an important nutrient, especially when you’ve reduced the amount of carbs in your diet. Adding sodium can also help reduce the side effects known as the “low carb flu” that many people feel such as fatigue, constipation, and headaches. An easy and delicious way to replenish sodium is to add a bouillon cube to a cup of hot water and drink it like a soup in a cup.

5. Being Impatient

Like any weight loss plan, seeing the results of a low carb diet takes time. It can take a few days for your body to start to adjust to your new eating habits and start burning body fat instead of the carbs you eat. It can even take several weeks for your body to fully adapt. So hang in there and fully commit to this new way of eating and you’ll start to see results.

If you have questions about whether a low carb diet is right for you, make an appointment with a registered dietician at Marshall’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Department by calling (530) 672-7021.