One of the simplest ways to get lean fast is to cut carbohydrate intake in favour of high-protein. It is important to stick with whole foods and get the right ratio of protein, carbs and fat, as this will accelerate fat loss and preserve muscle mass, to optimising body composition.
Eating more protein and fat is also an efficient way to improve health and decrease risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. However, there are many mistakes one can make on reduced carb diets that have profoundly negative effects including hindered fat loss, massive hormone imbalances and chronic inflammation.
1. Your carb intake is simply too high for fat loss
If your goal is ketosis, where the body runs on fat versus glucose, carb intake needs to be below 50 grams a day. You should avoid all refined carbs and get your 50 grams from vegetables and select fruits, such as berries and other low-carb fruits. Aim to eliminate all grains - whole and processed.
2. Eating too much protein if your goal is ketosis
Higher protein diets are ideal for reducing body fat because they improve satiety, reduce hunger, and preserve lean body mass when losing weight. However, if you eat more protein than needed, some of the amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose. This will reduce the body’s ability to burn fat and may hinder fat loss, particularly if your goal is ketosis.
Lower your protein intake in favour of low-carb vegetables and fats. Be sure to eat high-quality protein from animal and seafood sources so that you get the greatest amino acid intake per calorie.
4. Chronic inflammation from high intake of protein and too few fruits and vegetables.
People who eat a lot of protein have been found to have greater lean muscle mass and less body fat. But there’s a negative effect of eating more protein and reducing carbs. Studies have shown that healthy people with more lean mass had more oxidative stress and inflammation. This is likely caused by corresponding low fruit and vegetable intake, which leads to poor blood antioxidant capacity.
For those who eat very low-carb diets, and plenty of protein, make sure to fill every serving of protein with a rich variety of veggies that are packed with nutrients but lower in carbs.
5. High-saturated fat foods such as butter or coconut oil
Saturated fat and cholesterol have been vindicated from being primary causes of heart disease in recent studies.
In addition, eating reasonable amounts of saturated fat as part of a diet that reduces carbohydrates can enhance the immune system and provide vitamins A, D, E, and K in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. However, we often think that if something is marginally healthy, we can eat as much as possible. It’s been suggested that having a high intake of fat can elevate blood lipids that increase heart disease risk. Therefore, be cautious about how much fat you’re eating, track your diet and analyse it regularly.
6. Going overboard with “beneficial” fats
Fish oil is another amazing fat, but that doesn’t mean you should take extremely large quantities of it.
Because people were eating huge amount of omega-6 fats, it was thought that the best solution was to balance it with a high intake of omega-3-filled fish oil. However, recent evidence indicates that this isn’t the best idea.
A better solution is to reduce your omega-6 fat intake by avoiding vegetable and seed oils and all refined foods. Opt for animal fats, which are low in omega-6s, when cooking because they aren’t easily oxidised. You can boost omega-3 intake by eating a variety of seafood.
7. Blood sugar abnormalities despite low-carb intake
Low-carb can significantly improve blood sugar tolerance and insulin health in people with insulin resistance and diabetes.
In the long-term, very low-carb eating can cause metabolic hormones, insulin and leptin to become imbalanced. The absence of insulin release due to massive, chronic carb restriction leads to no leptin release, and leptin is a hormone that blunts hunger.
This is the reason that some form of carb cycling can be beneficial. Eating carbs every so often, such as having a refeed day, keeps the cells sensitive to insulin and the brain responsive to leptin so that you don’t experience deranged hunger.