- The ketogenic diet involves consuming high-fat meals while maintaining a low carb diet.
- While it is an effective way to lose weight, experts warn that it also has its dangers.
- Diarrhea, ketoacidosis, and weight regain are some of its health risks.
The ketogenic diet, or keto, is one of the weight-loss strategies that has gained attention. This diet aims to minimize carbohydrate intake to prompt the body to burn fat instead of sugar, achieving a state of ketosis. While it has many health benefits, doctors warn that if it is not done correctly, it will cause more harm.
Here are some of the noted dangers keto diet might cause.
Many people on keto diet claims of experiencing diarrhea. Clinical nutritionist and natural medicine doctor Josh Axe, explains that diarrhea happens because the gallbladder might have been overworking to be able to produce enough bile to digest all the fats in the diet.
According to nutritionist Kristen Kizer, people also experience diarrhea because there is little or no fiber in their diet, or they are consuming too many dairy products.
Ketoacidosis is a condition where the body breaks down fats at a rate faster than usual. The liver then processes that fat into ketones, which makes the blood acidic causing damage to the brain, kidneys, and liver.
So Kizer advises those who have diabetes to consult a physician first before deciding to go on a keto diet.
When starting on a keto diet, you may feel fatigued, intestinally stressed, and lethargic. As explained by Axe, these flu-like symptoms occur because the body is low on sugar and has nothing to burn for energy except fats. You can feel it for a few days, and then it passes away.
Reduced muscle mass and slower metabolism
In keto diet, you will lose weight, but more on the muscle mass and your metabolism might slow down because muscles burn more calories than fats.
And if you decide to discontinue your keto diet and want to regain your previous weight, Kizer warns that it will not be the same as before. You will now regain fat rather than muscle, and you cannot burn as many calories, which can affect your metabolism.
Athletes claim that being on a keto diet has improved their performance in athletics and sports. But one study says otherwise.
One study conducted by Saint Louis University assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics Edward Weiss and company found out that athletes who were on a 4-day keto diet performed worse while doing running and biking than those who are on a 4-day high-carb diet. Weiss further explains that the body cannot perform well when it is in a state of ketosis.
Higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
This health risk is what concerns health experts the most. Keto diets will increase cholesterol levels and pose a higher risk of diabetes.
According to one study discussed at the European Society of Cardiology Congress involving 25,000 patients, those who are following a low-carb diet registered the highest risk for cardiovascular conditions and dying from cancer.
Axe reminds us that whatever diet you are into, the aim is to follow a nutritious diet consisting of vegetables and fats and proteins from plants.
Health experts warn those who want to start on a keto diet to make it a long term plan because if they plan to discontinue it, they will only regain the weight they have lost.