The Case For Ditching Diets Altogether
However, registered dietitian Stephanie Hnatiuk doesnt consider the keto diet more or less dangerous than other restrictive ways of eating.
It can be extremely challenging to stick to the keto diet for longer than a few months, which can lead people to what Hnatiuk calls yo-yo dieting.
A person loses some weight on a diet, is unable to keep up with it and ultimately quits the diet, leading them to regain the weight they lost and often more, she told Global News.
Instead, Hnatiuk encourages her clients to abandon diets altogether.
We need to start thinking about our overall dietary patterns in a more long-term, sustainable way, she said. Avoid the short-term diets, challenges or things that promise a quick fix. Instead, simply make small changes to improve our eating habits.
This can include reducing added sugars, cooking more meals at home and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Putting It All Together Is The Keto Diet Worth It For You
The keto diet is vastly different from the way most of us eat. Not only are you cutting carbs, but you are restricting them to the point that you stimulate sustained ketone production something that you cant do with other popular diets.
As a result of implementing this dietary approach, many rapid changes will occur throughout your body, such as:
- Increased water and mineral excretion
- Hormonal shifts
- Significant changes in blood lipid levels
- Reduced blood sugar levels
Each one comes with potential risks and benefits. In general, as long as you heed our advice on how to remedy the short-term risks and consult your doctor when necessary, the keto diet may be what you need to meet your goals.
Below is a summary of the risks and dangers of a ketogenic diet. Feel free to save it and look back at it if needed.
To help you formulate your keto diet so that it is safe, healthy, and effective, make sure it meets these four criteria:
- It helps you meet your body composition goals.
- It meets your micronutrient needs.
- It improves your overall health and wellbeing.
- It provides you with a dietary approach you can use to sustain your results, health, and well-being for the long term.
If your diet strategy isnt doing these things for you, then its best to make adjustments to your dietary approach until it is optimized for you, your health, and your goals. For more information on how to do this with the keto diet, check out our guide to formulating a healthy keto diet and recipes.
The Benefits Of Going Keto
The good news is, if youre a generally healthy adult, you can probably tolerate the keto diet. Its likely appropriate and safe for almost everyone, says Robert Santos-Prowse, a Clinical Dietitian and the author of The Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that everyone has spent some time in at some point in their lives. It has been proven to be most useful for weight loss and diabetes management, but it could provide benefit for some athletes and also might prove to be useful for many disease states including some cancers and forms of neurodegeneration.
In fact, the diet first gained popularity in the 1920s when it was discovered to have benefits for children suffering from extreme epilepsy. Now, researchers are conducting studies to determine whether it could have benefits for any number of disorders, including the treatment of ALS, Alzheimers disease, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, weight loss, polycystic ovary syndrome, glaucoma, Parkinsons disease, narcolepsy, and some cancers.
In other words, trying the keto diet specifically for weight loss purposes probably wont hurt you , but you should probably have a plan for implementing a well-balanced, more sustainable eating pattern that you can stick to indefinitely once youve achieved the weight loss youre looking for.
Don’t Miss: Fairlife Milk Keto
Is The Keto Diet Safe Health Benefits And Side Effects Explained
Whether youre researching a keto diet for yourself, or want to know how to reply to the questions of a curious coworker or family member, todays guide will help you discover the truth.
Below, well look into health benefits and side effects of the ketogenic diet and everything you need to know.
What To Do With This Information If Youre Considering Keto
If youre still unsure what to make of the keto diet, Caroline Thomason, a northern Virginiabased registered dietitian nutritionist, stresses that keto is not more likely to cause sustainable weight loss than other diets. The reason it works well for some people, she says, is that it creates high feelings of fullness and satisfaction, because of its emphasis on protein and fat. But people on the keto diet often overemphasize foods like dairy, eggs, and red meat, she says. Those foods can all play a role in a healthy diet, Thomason adds, but overdoing them can harm laboratory markers of health. Its important to note that we still need additional research to make more conclusive statements, she says.
Christa Brown, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in New York City, says to bear in mind that the keto diet was designed to be used in clinical settings to treat seizure disorders, not for the everyday dieter. While it will likely lead to short-term weight loss, its in fact muscle loss instead of fat loss, she says. If youre tempted to try the diet, talk with your healthcare team first. Overall, working with a registered dietitian can help you maintain your muscle mass and ensure safe results, Brown says.
Recommended Reading: Ketokarma.com/macros
Hypotension For People Who Are On Blood Pressure Lowering Medication
The current research data suggests that the ketogenic diet can help improve blood pressure. In fact, when researchers compared the effects of a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet and orlistat on blood pressure, they found that the low carb diet was more effective for lowering blood pressure.
Although this is great news for anyone trying to lower their blood pressure, this also means that keto may provoke abnormally low blood pressure in those who are on medication.
It is also important to be mindful of your electrolyte and water intake if you are struggling to control blood pressure levels. As we learned earlier, the keto diet may provoke sodium, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies, which all play a role in regulating blood pressure.
For these reasons, anyone who is taking blood pressure lowering medication should read through this article and discuss their keto diet and blood pressure treatment plan with their doctor before making such a big dietary change.
What About The Other Diets
The popular low-carb diets modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? “They’re everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work,” McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. “But again, we don’t know about the long term,” she says. “And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return.”
Don’t Miss: Does Keto Raise Blood Pressure
Risks Associated With Keto
Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, tells Verywell that keto diets contain the types of foods that are associated with cancer risks.
A keto diet emphasizes the consumption of animal products while limiting many nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. As a result, keto is low in many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Restricting carbohydrates prior to or duringpregnancy is linked with increased risks of birth defects and gestational diabetes, the researchers found. Since 40% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, a low-carbohydrate diet is considered risky for anyone who could become pregnant.
Barnard adds that most human beings are prone to risks associated with a highly restrictive keto diet. If a cat eats meat every day for the cats whole life, shell never get a heart attack, he says. If you eat meat for a week, your cholesterol levels are going to go up in many cases and you may get heart disease.
Final Thoughts: Is The Keto Diet Safe
- When it comes to the question is the keto diet safe?, we have to consider both short-term health improvements associated with the KD, as well as unknowns about potential long-term effects.
- Some people seem to be genetically susceptible to experiencing negative effects of the ketogenic diet if they strictly follow the diet for more than about a year.
- Possible dangers of the keto diet include: experiencing short-term keto flu symptoms, struggling to maintain weight loss, failing to improve insulin sensitivity long-term, and potentially increasing the risk for liver, kidney or heart problems.
- Although there are some disadvantages of the ketogenic diet, the diet also supports health in many ways. Ketogenic diet research articles show it can help safely reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, seizures, PCOS, cancer and more.
Don’t Miss: Get Rid Of Keto Breath
Dangerous Side Effects Of A Keto Diet
- 9 minute read
The keto diet is trending, no doubt about it. Those that have tried it rave about the rapid weight loss.
Obesity continues to be a health problem in the world and runs hand in hand with heart disease, elevated cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure .
But you are here because the diet just sounds too good to be true, you are curious to know is keto dangerous?
Every year there is a new trend that promises quick weight loss, also known as a fad diet.
Fad diets are usually restrictive diets that require modifying the number of carbohydrates, protein, or fat in varying levels.
As a dietitian, talking about a fad diet can be difficult because the goal is always to recommend an individualized plan that is in balance.
Sometimes, dieters in extreme cases completely remove entire food groups from their diet.
Follow a plan that requires calorie counting without considering the nutritional value of foods, generally lacking in moderation and leading to an unhealthy relationship with food.
These diet trends promise rapid weight loss but rarely talk about side effects. With any extreme restriction in a diet, an imbalance is bound to occur.
It’s Advertised As A Weight
In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans often grab attention. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. They are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets.
But a true ketogenic diet is different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. And it’s not the type of diet to try as an experiment.
“The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, nor whether it’s safe,” warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Also Check: Can You Have Corn On Keto
Effects On Diet Quality
Extreme carbohydrate restriction can profoundly affect diet quality, typically curtailing or eliminating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and increasing consumption of animal products. Very-low-carbohydrate diets may lack vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains . Low-carbohydrate diets are often low in thiamin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium . In the absence of multivitamin supplements, individuals on low-carbohydrate diets are at risk of frank nutritional deficiencies . Even when consuming only nutrient-dense foods, a 4:1 ketogenic diet is reported to have multiple micronutrient shortfalls, often lacking in vitamin K, linolenic acid, and water-soluble vitamins excluding vitamin B12 .
Intake of other protective dietary components may also be insufficient, such as phytochemicals , which are not typically included in multivitamins and for which specific intake targets have not been established. Low-carbohydrate diets are also typically high in saturated fat and cholesterol .
Is The Keto Diet Heart
Our skeletal muscles are fueled primarily by glucose, which is a form of sugar derived from the carbohydrates we eat. On the flip side, our hearts derive up to 70% of fuel from fat, says Dr. Tang.
Ketone bodies are an alternative source of fuel that your liver makes from fat. So, if you want to train your body to switch from using glucose to ketones, you must decrease your carb intake and replace with lean protein and unsaturated fat. This is the essence of the keto diet.
For people at risk of developing heart disease, the success of ketos short-term weight loss can be helpful. When following the keto diet, you tend to feel less hungry therefore, aiding in weight loss.
Other benefits of the keto diet include:
- Lowering blood sugar .
- Lowering triglycerides .
While these short-term benefits can make you feel better, the long-term effects of the keto diet remain unclear.
If youre thinking of starting the keto diet, beware of certain side effects, like:
- Nausea and vomiting.
Because there is no consensus on exactly what the diet includes, this leaves the door open to thinking its safe to live on saturated fats and processed foods, says Dr. Tang.
As for heart-health, the jury is still out on whether or not this diet is actually beneficial.
Recommended Reading: Can U Eat Carrots On Keto
Obesity And Weight Management
Ketogenic diets can induce weight loss . In a 2020 meta-analysis of 38 studies lasting 612 months and including 6,499 participants, low-carbohydrate diets, defined here as < 40% of energy from carbohydrate, led to a small weight loss, compared with low-fat diets, defined as < 30% of energy from fat , with considerable variability between individuals and between studies. More than half of included studies met criteria for a general ketogenic diet, as defined in Table 1, for part or all of the low-carbohydrate intervention .
It has been proposed that weight loss on ketogenic diets may be due to reduced appetite , an effect also seen in those following balanced, very-low-energy diets . Since ketosis occurs on both types of diets, though to a lesser degree with very-low-energy diets, it is speculated that ketosis itself may decrease hunger . However, findings from a recent trial by Hall et al. suggest that a low-fat vegan diet may be more effective than a ketogenic diet in suppressing appetite . Energy expenditure has also been shown to increase on a ketogenic diet, at least in short-term studies .
A 2017 meta-analysis of 9 trials echoed these findings. In studies < 12 months long, low-carbohydrate diets were seen to lead to greater weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes relative to normal- or high-carbohydrate control diets . No advantage was seen relative to control diets in studies of longer duration .
The Keto Diet Is Both Extremely Restrictive And Extremely Popular We Help You Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Trying It Out
The alluring promise of the keto diet, potentially filled with as much bacon, butter, eggs, and avocado as you can eat, sounds like the grown-up version of scoring a golden ticket to Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory. I mean, who wouldnt want to chow down on bacon and butter at every meal? Especially if you ended up dropping a few pounds along the way?
The catch, of course, is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And thats exactly what hopeful dieters need to keep in mind when approaching the ketogenic diet . Its not that this high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate approach to eating cant deliver weight loss in a delicious package, but its a restrictive, sometimes complicated affair that isnt sustainable for most people.
You May Like: Splenda And Keto
Misconception #: Keto Causes Ketoacidosis
Ketoacidosis is a rare but serious complication that results from dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar, causing the blood to become acidic. However, when this happens, it affects mostly people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, although it can also be caused by alcoholism and an overactive thyroid.
If you are not diabetic, your risk of developing ketoacidosis is extremely low and shouldnt be a concern.
How To Approach The Keto Diet Safely
In recent years, keto has become a trendy diet for losing weight and managing some other health conditions. However, Barnard suggests that theres usually a better dietary approach than keto.
Carbohydrates arent bad. Grains and beans and fruits and vegetables should be the staples of our diets, he says, adding that plant-based diets can predictably lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Some followers of the keto diet have broken away from the traditionally limiting format in favor of a plant-based or vegan keto diet.
Liz MacDowell, a certified holistic nutrition consultant and author of Vegan Keto,runs the food blog Meat Free Keto. She practices what she calls a quasi-keto diet. Liz adds fruits, vegetables, and beans into her diet, which can be controversial in the keto world. Shes even received backlash for sharing a post on her Instagram about strawberries.
Consuming those micronutrients far outweighs whatever challenge your body now faces to maintain ketosis with those minimal extra grams of carbohydrates, MacDowell tells Verywell. Fruit is not the worst thing. It has sugar but it has so many other positive things in it, so many good phytochemicals and micronutrients.
For anyone looking to add morefreshproduce into their keto routine, Liz emphasizes one important thing: Dont stress.
We have enough stress so we dont need to be stressing about eating one carrot too many or one cherry tomato too many, she says.
Also Check: Is Deli Meat Keto