The Ketogenic diet-commonly known as ‘Keto’ diet- is undoubtedly one of the most popular weight-loss methods of the time. However, this high-fat and low-carb combo might not be a good idea for everyone.
The ideology of the Keto diet revolves around cutting the daily carbohydrates intake to at least 50 grams a day and fill in the portions with increased fat and protein intake. This way, you gain 70-80% of calories from fat, around 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbs. Keto diet drives the human body to the state of ketosis, where the body starts burning fat in place of sugar for energy.
Doctors have found it helpful in treating epilepsy in children and reducing the frequency of seizures. It has been touted as a remedy for infertility too. But as a method for weight loss, it has a controversial place. Many of the keto proponents are of the view that due to the unsustainable nature of the Keto diet, there are many side effects and health risks related to it.
In this article, we have compiled a few potential risks that are associated with the Keto diet for those who want to follow it to lose their weight. We will recommend you not to try it without consulting a doctor or nutritionist.
- Ketogenic diet increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular dysfunction
Some cardiologists have named Keto diet as their worst nightmare. As per the research conducted by the European Society of Cardiology, people who observe low-carb diets have higher risks of dying due to cardiovascular conditions, cancer, diabetes, and heightened cholesterol levels.
Many dieters pair up a low-carb diet with high animal fat portions that lead to the rise in cholesterol levels, and as a result, to poor health outcomes. It is not an excuse to eat bacon and butter only. The right way to do a keto diet is to include a lot of vegetables, herbs, and plant-based fat and protein sources in your plan.
2.The ketogenic diet can cause kidney stones
Another potential side effect of this low-carb and high-fat diet is kidney stones. Increased ratio of meats, especially the processed ones, doubles the risk of arthritis and kidney stones. Animal proteins disturb the uric acid levels that make the urine more acidic and leads to the birth of kidney stones. People with kidney diseases cannot align with the Keto diet at all.
3.It can increase the risk of a lower blood sugar level.
Carbohydrates primarily help in controlling the blood sugar levels. In 2018, the Diabetic Medicine journal published a study in which they inferred that no doubt keto diet controls the HBA1c levels, but it causes hypoglycemia too. Hypoglycemia is a state of a dangerous drop in the blood sugar level. Ketogenic diet omits the consumption of whole grains as well, which are necessary for diabetic patients, particularly for those who are on insulin.
Another drawback of following the keto diet for diabetic patients is that they get exposed to ketoacidosis. When the body starts storing ketones (the byproducts of burned fat) it starts adding more acid to the blood, which damages the liver, brain, and kidney performance. This complication has been reported in the non-diabetic dieters as well. Nausea, dry mouth, dark urine, breathing problems, and bad breath are common symptoms of ketoacidosis.
4.Keto diet leads to the Keto Flu
Normally, the brain consumes glucose to fuel its activity. During the Keto period, it compromises on ketones released by the fats for energy. As a result, kidneys start releasing more electrolytes than usual and cause a fall in insulin level. This whole phenomenon leads to a decrease in body water levels. Result: Keto Flu. The symptoms of Keto Flu are vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, nausea, headache, fatigue, and lethargy. However, the Keto-Flu lasts only for a few days. You can easily combat the effects of keto flu by getting plenty of sleep, drinking a lot of water, organic coffee, or matcha green tea.
5.You regain more than you lose
You cannot follow keto diet plans for a lengthier period as they are very restrictive. The problem is, when people start adding carbs in their meals, they start regaining weight. It happens because of the increase in muscle mass. Avoid over-consumption of food and going over your macros limit when you go off keto.
6.You might complain about bad breath
In the initial days of the keto diet, your breath might smell fruity. It mainly happens because of the keto flu. When in ketosis, our lungs start emitting acetone through our breath, which releases fruity aroma. This condition might last for a few weeks.
7.You might experience some changes in your period cycle
Your periods might become irregular or even stop during the keto diet days. Keto possibly affects the production of follicle-stimulating hormone, progesterone, and estrogen, which results in the disruption of periods. Be alert if your periods disrupt for a longer time. Contact your ob-gyn as this irregularity can increase the risks of depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and sexual dysfunction.
8.Keto diet is equal to nutrient deficiencies.
With the elimination of the starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits from your meals, the consumption of fiber and potassium along with the carbohydrates gets low too. Potassium and fiber are vital nutrients for tuning the electrolyte and blood pressure levels. Nutritionists recommend adding low-carb potassium sources to the keto meals. You can have avocado or spinach. You can also consume chia seeds or flax seeds as they are primary low-carb and high-fiber sources.
The Bottom Line
There are both pros and cons to the keto diet. If you want to experiment with the keto diet to get your curves back, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian first. Inform him about your preexisting conditions and let him design a proper plan for you. It is more crucial to follow this diet the ‘right way’ to avoid any of the above-discussed complications. People with kidney disease or diabetes should avoid this diet.