The keto diet is all the rage lately. Celebs like Gweneth Paltrow and the Kardashians have sung praise about the purported benefits, restaurant menus now offer “keto options”, and there are Pinterest boards dedicated to keto recipes.
Just because it’s popular, however, doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for everyone. In fact, there are many dangers to the keto diet that are seldom spoken about. Despite the alleged benefits of the diet, it’s important to have all the facts before you give it a try. The risks might outweigh rewards, adding the fad diet to a long list of health trends that might be anything but healthy in reality.
To understand a little more about the keto diet, and just why it has the potential to be a dangerous lifestyle for some people, keep reading for a deeper explanation.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet that was originally used as a cure for epilepsy. Though it’s been around since the 1920s for this purpose, it’s only re-emerged as a fad diet in recent years.
With a goal of sending the body into a state of ketosis, followers of the diet aim to get 75% of their daily intake from fats, 20% from proteins, and 5% from carbs. “Ketosis is a metabolic adaptation to allow the body to survive in a period of famine,” U Chicago Medicine reports. The idea behind the diet based on the fact that this state will force your system to break down “ketone bodies, a type of fuel the liver produces from fat, instead of sugar or glucose from carbohydrates.”
Though the diet might result in weight loss in the short term, there are many long-term risks to consider before giving it a go.
Risks of Following a Keto Diet
— Muscle Loss: “Studies suggest that people on the ketogenic diet lose muscle even when they continue resistance training,” dietician Edwina Clark told Health.com. While muscle is important for athletic performance, muscle strength also prevents falls and other bodily injuries as we age.
— Kidney and Liver Problems: It is not uncommon for the keto diet to trigger other problems in certain people. Especially for those who turn heavily toward meat while on the diet, kidney stones are a common side effect. Similarly, keto diets might be linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease due to the high amounts of fat consumed.
— Nutrient deficiencies: Because carbs are severely reduced on a keto diet, this means fewer fruits and vegetables on your plate. You might miss out on important nutrients, and you will likely be consuming far less fibre as well.
— Constipation and Diarrhea: Following a keto diet might sound great in theory, but this is one side effect that you don’t want to experience. In addition to a low fibre intake, the high levels of fat consumed while on a keto diet might make things difficult for your digestive system.
Before trying any new diet, always consider your options and speak to a healthcare professional.