Why Isn’t Your Low-Carb Diet Working? Little Things You Might Be Doing Wrong (and How to Correct Them)

First they said fat was bad. Then they shifted the blame to carbs. Protein still seems safe — unless you eat way too much — but now high-fat, low-carb diets are a thing?

Study after study proves and disproves what the experts are saying. Are carbs worth worrying about? And what does it mean if you try a popular diet and it doesn’t do anything for you?

Do low-carb diets even work? If you’re on one but it isn’t helping you lose weight, are you making any common diet mistakes that can be corrected? Read on to find out if this type of diet is the right one for you after all.

Do low-carb diets work? Only if you do them right

Fresh spring salad from cucumbers and radish

Fresh spring salad from cucumbers and radish | Stitchik iStock / Getty Images Plus

Let’s be clear about something: Just because your low-carb diet didn’t or isn’t working does not mean low-carb diets in general do not work for weight loss. In fact, research has shown that these diets can promote weight loss under the right conditions.

Low-carb diets have even been shown to decrease your risk of certain chronic health conditions such as heart disease.

However, experts warn that cutting carbs probably won’t end in the results you’re hoping for if you continue to eat excessive amounts of calories, eat unhealthy low-carb foods, and/or remain physically inactive despite changing your eating habits.

But these are only a few of the low-carb diet mistakes that could be causing you to remain at the same weight or even promoting unwanted weight gain.

Low-carb diet mistakes you could be making

You’re still eating too much. You can go low-carb and still consume way more calories than your body needs. Not all low-carb foods are low-calorie. And it’s much easier to overeat when you shoot too low and end up eating fewer carbs (and protein, and fat) than your body needs to sustain itself.

Even if you don’t count calories, start trying to put less on your plate than you think you’re hungry for. It’s very possible you’ll feel full after you clean your plate and won’t have to go back for more.

Eating the “wrong” kind of fat. Fat is not bad. The widely popular ketogenic or keto diet, is actually a high-fat diet that’s supposed to encourage people to eat more nuts, fish, and other healthy fat sources. However, you still have to watch what you eat. Just because fat can be good for you doesn’t mean fatty foods with excess calories necessarily are.

Make sure your fat sources are high in protein and relatively low in calories.

Leaving veggies off your plate. Vegetables are low-carb foods that are essential for any healthy diet — especially if you’re trying to lose weight. They’re high in fiber, which means consuming a serving or two of them will fill you up and discourage you from overeating.

There are a lot of vegetables out there. If you don’t like one — or the way it’s prepared — keep trying different varieties/recipes until you find a combination you enjoy.

Is a low-carb diet right for you?

Keto diet

Keto diet | ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock/Gety Images

Whether you’re thinking of going keto or you just want to eat less sugar, you might be wondering if going low-carb is the best choice for your specific needs.

While it’s impossible to assess your individual health concerns over the internet, most credible experts will tell you that the best diet for you is the one you can stick to.

If giving up grains, potatoes, and other high-carb foods isn’t something you want to do, you don’t have to. It’s possible to lose weight while still enjoying your favorite foods. You just might have to enjoy them in smaller quantities less often.

However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a better handle on your sugar intake and shedding a few pounds through eating a variety of healthy foods and getting physically active. Also: You can eat fewer “unhealthy” carbs without going on a low-carb diet.

If it helps, you can try tackling one food at a time — e.g., making a personal pact to only eat a few servings of cheese three days a week instead of a daily gouda gorge. What? Haven’t we all done that?

Do what you think is best — and healthiest — for you. If the keto bloggers say it’s the best way to lose weight, but you’re not on board, don’t give in to the pressure. Your body, your choice.