The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Going Low-Carb

Ditching carbs to lose weight really sucks, but it works, which is why so many people have joined the low-carb craze. If you're cutting carbs to lose a few, just be careful not to make these three mistakes.

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Going Completely Carb-Free

Think of your body as a car and its fuel is carbs. A car won't run without gas, and your body can't function without carbs. Your brain runs on glucose, which comes from carbs, so without it you'll feel tired, foggy-headed, slow-moving, and cranky. Plus, ditching carbs altogether will only make your cravings that much stronger, so when faced with a delivery of office pizza, who could blame you for devouring four slices in a row?

Eating mostly protein and going completely carb-free just isn't a diet you can sustain. Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition says you want to make sure you're eating at least 120 to 130 grams of carbs a day — about 30 to 40 percent of your diet.

Not Eating the Right Carbs

Not all carbs are created equal, so you don't want to slurp down a soda with your Instagram-worthy salad and grab a chocolate chip cookie afterward. Skip the refined and overly processed carbs like white bread, pasta, bagels, and sugary beverages and baked goods, and fuel up on carbs that are also high in fiber — they'll add to the fullness factor. Leslie recommends one-half to one cup of whole grains like quinoa or oatmeal and one to two pieces of fruit each day. That will keep your carbs low enough to lose weight and allow your body to have the energy to function. Plus, they also offer valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs to have a strong immune system.

Not Watching Portions

Low-carb doesn't automatically mean low-calorie, and just because you're not eating spaghetti, rolls, or rice doesn't mean you're not overeating other foods! Watching your portion sizes is still very important when it comes to weight loss, so be sure to monitor how many calories your meals and snacks add up to.