22 Keto Mistakes That Vegetarians Should Avoid For Sustainable Weight Loss
Vegetarian Keto mistakes are extremely common among dieters who embrace the plant-based lifestyle because weight loss without meat is one of the hardest to succeed at.
The variety of food restrictions that are included under the vegetarian umbrella – Lacto Ovo vegetarians (no meat, poultry, fish or seafood), Pescatarian (no meat or poultry), Lacto Vegetarian (no meat, poultry, eggs, fish or seafood), Vegan (no protein of animal origin) etc. – create even more confusion as most Keto nutritionists and experts do not understand Vegetarian Keto well enough to offer proven solutions that can help this group achieve the same results that animal protein eaters seem to achieve so effortlessly on Ketogenic diets.
In this article, we’re going to highlight 22 most common Keto mistakes that people should be aware of at the very beginning of their Vegetarian Keto Diet to make sure they are not accidentally repeating them.
So let’s begin with some of the most important ones, and work our way down the list.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 1: Not Getting Enough Protein
This is one of the biggest problems that Vegetarians eating Keto face when they are trying to do it on their own.
They modify and reduce their daily food consumption for weight loss, and imagine they are getting enough protein to meet all their Ketogenic diet needs.
Plant proteins are not as digestible and bioavailable as animal proteins. The sequence of amino acids isn’t complete with all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. To achieve a complete amino acid profile, therefore, vegetarians have to include a variety of plant proteins in their diet.
It is difficult to calculate how much protein the body actually absorbs from a sample amount of 100g of vegetarian food. The best resource we have to make an educated guess about this is what is known as the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) – a grading system that was accepted by the FDA and World Health Organization in 1993 as the “preferred `best’ method to determine protein quality”.
Here’s a simple protein comparison chart that makes it easier to understand:
So, how to make sure you’re getting enough of the right mix of plant proteins? Here are some ideas:
• High in protein.
• Contains all 9 amino acids.
• Rich source of magnesium, manganese, copper and fiber.
• Relatively low in carbohydrates. (A ¼ cup serving of nutritional yeast contains 5g total carbohydrates, 8g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 0.5g total fat.)
• Easy to include in Vegan and Vegetarian Keto diets as a flavoring agent or as an alternative to cheese.
• Made by extracting the protein component of ground, dried peas.
• Has all 9 essential amino acids.
• A great source of iron for vegetarians.
• Helps to keep you feeling fuller between meals.
The nutrient-rich, superfood seeds of Sacha Inchi (plukenetia volubilis, also known as Sacha peanut or Inca peanut) is a great protein supplement for vegetarian and vegan diets.
The tryptophan content in Sacha Inchi also elevates levels of Serotonin (happy hormone) that, in turn, curbs food cravings.
This nutrient dense food is made from fermented soybeans and has a high concentration of protein and other key nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. As it is made from fermented soybeans rather than processed soy products like tofu or soy milk, tempeh also offers additional benefits like improved digestion and a stronger immune system.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 2: Not Noticing The Hidden Carbs
Hidden carbohydrates can be your worst enemy if you’re on a Vegetarian Keto diet.
While you may be able to stick to a strict low carb diet for a while, eventually those hidden net carbs will add up and kick you out of Ketosis, the metabolic state that promotes weight loss.
So what are hidden carbs that interrupts losing weight?
Hidden carbs are any carbohydrate intake that’s not listed on a food label.
This includes carbohydrates that are “hidden” in foods like sauces, dressings and marinades, as well as carbs that are naturally present in foods like fruits and vegetables.
And while you may be able to get away with eating some hidden carbs in low carb diets here and there, if you’re eating them on a regular basis, they can quickly add up and stop your fat loss rate in its tracks.
Some of the most common hidden carbs to watch out on a Keto Diet for include:
Sauces And Dressings
• Be sure to read the label on store bought sauces and dressings, or make your own at home.
• It’s hard to believe that certain healthy vegetables (like carrots, beets and parsnips) can actually derail your attempt to lose weight because of their high net carb contribution.
Milk And Yogurt
• Both contain natural sugars that can quickly add up if you’re consuming a lot of it. (Opt for unsweetened versions or full-fat Greek yogurt instead.)
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 3: Overeating Fatty Foods
While eating a moderate amount of healthy fats is necessary to promote satiety and help your body absorb essential nutrients, consuming a high fat diet can actually hinder your weight loss efforts on Veg Keto.
When you eat more fat than your body needs, your liver starts converting some of that excess fat into ketones. However, if you’re already in a state of Ketosis (meaning your body is using ketones for energy), adding more ketones from dietary fat isn’t going to help you lose weight any faster. In fact, it could even stall your weight loss progress.
So how much fat should you be eating on a plant-based Keto diet? While there’s no hard and fast rule, most people following a Keto diet aim for around 70-80% of their daily calories from fat. This leaves room for 20-30% of calories from protein and 5-10% from carbohydrates.
If you find that you’re not losing weight or noticing weight gain despite eating a moderate amount of healthy fats, it’s worth cutting back on your fat intake slightly and increasing your protein intake. This will help your body to better utilize the fat you are eating, leading to more efficient weight loss.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 4: Forgetting To Drink Enough Water
Hydration is particularly important when doing a Keto Diet. Be sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day and add electrolytes if you’re feeling fatigued.
Taking supplemental electrolytes may also help reduce Keto influenza (Keto Flu) symptoms and help prevent the symptoms of nausea.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 5: Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is high in carbs and can quickly derail your ketogenic diet plans if you’re not careful. An occasional glass or two per week may not knock you out of Ketosis, but it can impede your weight loss rate.
When you drink alcohol, the liver springs into action to flush out the ethanol in alcohol (which it regards as toxin), and metabolism of fat is no longer a top priority any longer.
Plus, a common Keto complaint is that the diet can make hangover symptoms much worse, and lower your guard against delicious, non-Keto foods (especially in a party setting when there’s a lot of it!)
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 6: Ignoring Recommendation On Calories
When you’re trying to burn fat and lose weight, cutting calories is often part of the equation. We have become so calorie conscious as a society that even when we’re following a particular kind of weight loss regimen, we’ll try to eat fewer calories than the amount recommended, thinking we will lose more weight that way.
But when doing a Ketogenic diet, you have to get enough calories to support your weight loss goals. Otherwise, your body will start breaking down muscle for energy (which is one of the biggest concerns for vegetarian dieters).
The number of calories you need to eat depends on your age, gender, activity level, and weight. However, a general guideline is to consume at least 1,200 calories per day.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 7: Skipping Meals
Skipping meals is another thing Vegetarian Keto beginners do to be in a state of calorie deficit. It can be tempting to skip meals or go long periods of time without eating, but this can lead to nutrient deficiencies and make it more difficult to stick to your diet. In the early stages of a Keto diet, when your body still hasn’t gotten used to its new regimen, skipping meals can also result in eating too much, binge eating or revenge feasting on carbs that will make you feel pretty guilty afterwards.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 8: Not Consuming Enough Fiber
In the process of avoiding carbs, many Vegetarian Keto dieters fail to realize that they need sufficient amounts of fiber in their daily meals as well for healthy weight loss.
It is important to understand the difference between starchy vegetables (like potatoes, beets and corn) and non-starchy ones (like red cabbage and broccoli), and be careful while choosing what vegetables you avoid.
Probiotics (bacteria that maintain a good gut microbiota, which has been linked with everything from improved digestion to a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes) feed on fiber. Fibrous foods also relieve constipation and curb overeating by making you feel full faster.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 9: Depending Too Much On Processed Foods
When fastidiously counting your calories and being constantly aware of your limited net carb allowance per day on a Keto Diet, processed foods that claim to be no-carb or low-carb seem like a Keto dieter’s dream come true. You may tell yourself that if they fit your daily macros (and you’ll probably make very sure they do!) they’re perfectly okay.
Check any social media and you’ll also see that you’re not alone. `Fast food hacks’ is a topic that is most enthusiastically discussed and commented on in Keto groups.
Be very wary of being carried away by common Keto hacks and tips that circulate freely on the internet, spreading confusion and misinformation.
Innumerable studies have already found that insulin resistance (which results in increased fat stores in the body) is directly related to inflammation. And inflammation is often caused by chemical molecules and other foreign agents entering the body and triggering a negative cellular reaction – via things like processed foods.
The best way to avoid processed food temptations is simple: visit the source as infrequently as possible. Try to do your grocery shopping in bulk and certainly never go to the store hungry.
Don’t trust labels on face value either. Suspect every `low carb’, `healthy’ and `natural’ item that catches your eye and stick to single-ingredient Keto-friendly foods as much as possible.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 10: Letting Boredom Set In
Our palates have gotten so used to a cornucopia of textures and flavors, it is impractical (and a very common Keto mistake!) to expect that as soon as you get on a Keto diet, you will not care if the food you eat everyday doesn’t seem interesting. The initial excitement of watching your body fat melt away is a honeymoon phase that will not last long, and you have to introduce plenty of variety in your diet to make sure you don’t get bored as the weeks go by.
(Check out this short page on E180 Keto Foods to see how flavors, textures and mouthfeel can make or break your resolve to stay on course with your Vegetarian Keto diet plan.)
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 11: Not Having A Keto Weight Loss Coach
If you have tried to lose weight on a low carb diet and have been unsuccessful, you may want to consider going to a Keto diet clinic. There are several advantages of doing this instead of continuing to follow the same weight loss regimen that has not worked for you in the past.
Metabolic patterns differ from people to people and what may work for others, may not work for you. Qualified diet coaches who specialize in the Ketogenic method of weight loss will be able to provide you with personalized attention and design a plan specifically for your metabolic profile, based on your current weight, body type and lifestyle.
They will also help you troubleshoot any weight loss plateaus and other issues (such as too much protein or too little protein) that may arise and be the support structure you need if you’re struggling to make the transition to a Keto Diet or if you have questions about the best way to follow the diet.
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Check out this link if you’re looking for the best-reviewed weight loss program for Vegetarians and Vegans in the Greater Seattle area.
Vegetarian Keto Mistake # 12: Not Tracking Your Food Intake
A very common question we get from new clients at our Keto weight loss clinic is: “Do I need to track everything I eat?”
Yes. You do. And here are some reasons why your chances of failure increase dramatically if you’re not using a food tracking app or journal to help you out.
• It is impossible to eyeball your meals and guess at your daily Keto diet macros.
• Keeping a record makes you aware of what foods may be causing unexpected health issues (like bloating and diarrhea, for example) and switch them out for something else.
• You cannot optimize your Vegetarian Keto meal plan if you have no idea how much you have been eating or what every day. Too much protein, not sufficient protein, too much monounsaturated fat, too much diary, milk sugar, artificial sweeteners, diet sodas and sugar substitutes, inflammatory foods…
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 13: Not Taking Time To Prepare
Prepping is what helps you stay strong when you’re hungry but have neither the time nor the ingredients to fix a proper meal. It’s a perfect opportunity for sneaky carb cravings and self-serving excuses to cloud your judgment and lead you astray.
Keto is not a forgiving diet plan, so it is wise to shop for groceries and stock your pantry in advance. Keep a weekly timetable of your daily Ketogenic diet meals, so there is no room for a mental debate about what you’re going to eat at a time when you’re most hungry.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 14: Cheating On Your Diet
Cheating is not encouraged on a veggie Keto Diet, but it is a common Keto mistake and it is understood. If you have succumbed to the guilty pleasure of ice-creams or cheesecake or pizza or whatever, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just try to get back on track with nutritional Ketosis as soon as possible and don’t let cheat meals derail your progress.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 15: Not Learning New Recipes
A Ketogenic diet calls for a huge change in your normal food habits. But while you may not be able to eat all your favorite things, you CAN prepare alternative versions if you make the commitment to learn new Keto recipes. Keto pancakes for example. Or Keto ice-cream or Keto cheesecake.
New recipes will quickly prove that a Keto lifestyle is very doable with alternatives that may not be the exact thing you crave but something close enough to satisfy you in the moment. Then the moment passes and you’re back on track again. Without ever breaking your diet!
Vegetarian Keto Mistake # 16: Not Getting Adequate Sleep
Some dieters, especially Vegetarian Keto beginners, report broken sleep or lack of sleep since they went low-carb. This is primarily due to the fact that before Keto, the brain used glucose (from carbs) for fuel, and now needs time to re-regulate enzymes and adjust to fat/ketones replacing the free supply of glucose as fuel source.
The good news is, this period of insomnia usually cures itself. Studies have shown that adenosine activity is increased in the body when you replace your ordinary diet with Keto, which relaxes the nervous system and promotes good sleep.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 17: Not Preparing For `Keto Flu’
Keto flu, also known as the `low carb flu’ is a common side-effect experienced by people starting a Ketogenic diet. This temporary condition (involving fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, brain fog and irritability) is often caused by the body having difficulty adjusting to low carbs as it may be used to getting its energy from a high carb intake in the past.
To avoid the dreaded Keto flu as a beginner, it is important to make gradual changes over time.
Incorporate electrolyte rich whole foods and high fat foods like avocado, coconut oil, leafy greens and coconut water into your routine. Include plenty of healthy fats in your diet like nuts, olive oil, and full fat dairy products.
Supplementing with MCT oil is also a great way to ease into the Ketogenic lifestyle without triggering unwanted side effects like Keto flu. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of fat that can be extremely beneficial on the Ketogenic diet because they are easily processed by the body and converted into Ketone bodies for use as fuel.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 18: Eating Out Too Often
No matter how Keto-friendly a restaurant may proclaim some of their dishes to be, you can never really be 100% sure of what’s exactly in it. Or what will unbalance your daily macros. So while an occasional meal out should not disturb your diet, you run the risk of slow progress or no progress in reducing body weight if your lifestyle involves a lot of traveling or is very dependent on eating out.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 19: Not Cooking At Home
Cooking at home is one of the best ways to save money and eat right on a Keto regimen. If you’re not used to cooking, it can be challenging to get started. But there are plenty of resources available to help you, including vegetarian Keto cookbooks and online recipes.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 20: Getting Too Attached To The Scale
The weighing scale is a helpful tool for tracking body weight, but it shouldn’t be the only measure of success. This is because too many factors affect the number you see at any given time on the scale – such as normal weight fluctuations, muscle mass gains, gastric emptying, hormonal changes etc.
Be sure to also track how you feel, how your clothes fit, and your energy levels get a more complete picture.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 21: Not Seeking Support
Whether you have a family or you live alone, Keto can be a pretty lonely journey. Do not expect others to understand, much less commiserate with you when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. The support structure you sorely need right now is out there, among other Keto dieters who are on the same journey as well.
Seek them out. It is easy to find a Vegetarian Keto weight loss group on Facebook whatever social media platform you’re on. Take your questions and concerns there. Help others if you have a tip or an insight to share. Soon, you’ll find you have a Keto tribe who’s cheering you on and rooting for your success.
Vegetarian Keto Mistakes # 22: Letting Life Events Get In The Way
This is a major concern that few Keto beginners plan for. A family wedding, a vacation, a major change at the office, relocating etc, are all events that cannot always be foreseen in the future. They come upon you, and you try to adjust the best way we can.
One of the first things to be dropped as “too much trouble” during such events is the diet. You think you can always pick up where you left off when the unexpected situation has passed.
This is not always true. Losing sight of the goal for an extended period of time sets back many things – your resolution to stick to the diet for example.
You come back with your commitment much weakened, and have to restart certain practices in your food intake and your mental state to quickly get back on the horse and push on.
Did we cover every Vegetarian Keto mistake that has been reported by beginner dieters? Probably not. But you are now aware of all the major pitfalls one can expect during the early days of their Keto journey. Plus, you can also read our Vegetarian Keto Diet Guide to get more easy-to-follow pointers and tips.
Think of the vegetarian Keto experience as a lifestyle – and not as a diet that you do for a few weeks or months, and then revert back to your old habits once you reach your goal weight.
Numerous studies have revealed the health advantages of being on a low carbohydrate diet to reduce risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s – the list of chronic conditions that can be managed with a low carb lifestyle grows every day. That alone should tell you that embracing the low carb lifestyle is an investment for your future.
Make the commitment at the start of your journey with the right mindset, knowledge of what to expect and advance prepping and meal planning to keep you steady on the track of success.
Best of luck!