Potential Health Risks From Keto Diet
- For pregnant people, even those who take a folic acid supplement, their babies might develop neural tube defects.
- Since large amounts of protein can put stress on the kidneys, keto may pose greater risks for people who have chronic kidney disease.
- Sustained ketosis in people with Type 1 Diabetes can lead to insulin resistance and other complications.
- Keto can rapidly increase total levels of cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol , which could be especially dangerous for those with high risk of cardiovascular disease.
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What Does The Research Say
Weight loss – A ketogenic diet has become popular as a quick way to lose weight but there are few studies that have evaluated its long term safety and effectiveness. Most of the short term weight loss is due to water loss from decreased glycogen stores and not from the effect of increased metabolism and fat loss.
Appetite – Increased ketone bodies as a result of a ketogenic diet decrease the feeling of hunger and lead to a loss of appetite which contributes to the short-term weight loss.
Chronic disease – As per other weight loss diets, the improved metabolic profile for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is a direct result of the weight loss rather than from the ketogenic diet itself.
Performance – A ketogenic diet does allow the body to burn fat more efficiently during low or moderate intensity exercise. On the other hand, carbohydrates are important because they provide a key fuel for the brain and central nervous system and can support different intensity levels of exercise. At the highest level of exercise, carbohydrates offer advantages over fats as an energy source, since they provide more energy to the body and can increase your exercise capacity.
Side effects – Due to the restrictive, high fat/low fibre make-up of the ketogenic diet, it may result in side effects such as:
Keto Flu Is Not A Fun Experience
One of the reasons people might say the keto diet is bad is the dreaded “keto flu.” Keto dieters often commiserate about experiencing symptoms as their bodies adjust to the diet, but experts say this period of transition is no joke. “When your body first enters ketosis, you may experience a series of side effects termed the ‘keto flu,'” says Jennifer M. Brown, R.D., a faculty associate at Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. “These include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, poor sleep, difficulty with exercise, and constipation, all resulting from extreme restriction of carbohydrates.” While these symptoms usually subside after the body adjusts to relying on fat for fuel, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Is losing weight really worth potentially feeling ill for three weeks?! “Given that low-carb diets have not been shown to have an advantage when it comes to weight loss, I would say these side effects aren’t worth it and are unnecessary,” says Brown.
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Make Certain Your Keto Diet Is Well Formulated
While like any diet, you need to find the right proportion and balance of macronutrients in order for your body to begin burning accumulated fat rather than stored glucose.
The amount of fat you eat when following a keto diet is quite a bit higher than on most other diets. Youll want to aim to consume about 60 to 75% of your calories come from dietary fat and 15 to 30% protein, with the remaining calories for carbs, says Sharon Zarabi, RD, director of the bariatric program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
“There is still some debate on the effects of saturated fats and what constitutes a healthy dose. There has been quite a bit of buzz around grass-fed cows producing cream, dairy, and butter. Ghee has been popular on the market as well, as a clarified form of butter,” Ms. Zarabi says. “It’s really the trans fats that I think people need to understand and the harmful effects on the heart and cholesterol.”
It’s really the trans fats that you’ll want to avoid completely. “Trans fats are highly processed, and heated to a point where they create free radicals in the body, which increase your risk of cancer.,” she says, “Trans fats are found in hydrogenated oils , and these are mostly used in the preparation of processed crackers and packaged foods.”
KETO DIET PLAN
Once youve reached ketosis, you will gain the benefits and be able to take a keto holiday , which is necessary to manage for as long as you need to.
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It’s Also Not Just About Eating Animal Products
Butter. Bacon. Cheese. *Insert heart eyes emoji here.* These are all things you can eat on keto, maybe in larger amounts than if you were following another type of diet. But you don’t have to eat them.
“This assumption that ketogenic diets require animal products is problematic because it sets up a false dichotomy between keto and vegetarianism,” says Catherine Metzgar, Ph.D., R.D., a registered dietitian and nutritional biochemistry expert who works with Virta Health. “It is certainly possible to eat a vegetarian or lactose-free ketogenic diet.” In fact, plenty of her clients do it, she says-it’s just a matter of some careful planning.
May Cause Dangerously Low Blood Sugar
Low carb diets like keto have been shown to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
In particular, some studies suggest that keto may help decrease levels of hemoglobin A1c, a measure of average blood sugar levels .
However, individuals with type 1 diabetes may be at a high risk of more episodes of low blood sugar , which is marked by confusion, shakiness, fatigue, and sweating. Hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death if not treated.
A study in 11 adults with type 1 diabetes who followed a ketogenic diet for over 2 years found that the median number of low blood sugar events was close to 1 per day .
Individuals with type 1 diabetes typically experience low blood sugar if they are taking too much insulin and not consuming enough carbs. Thus, a low carb keto diet may increase the risk.
Theoretically, this could also happen to individuals with type 2 diabetes who are taking insulin medications.
Even though low carb diets have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes, they may also increase your risk of low blood sugar events especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
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The Initial Weight Loss Is Mostly Water
Your kidneys flushing out all that water is also part of the reason people see dramatic scale drops in the beginning of their keto journeys. “I wish people knew that the weight loss they will initially experience on this diet is largely due to water loss,” says Brown. That means you’re most likely not actually losing fat in the first couple of weeks, but instead losing water that will come back in the form of glycogen stores if and when you start eating carbs again.
You Skip The Research
The biggest mistake people make is that they neglect to do any substantial research into the keto diet, says Stephanie Lincoln, founder and CEO of Fire Team Whiskey Health and Fitness in Jacksonville, Florida. They hear about a new fad diet or know someone who has tried it, they do a Google search, read about 10 sentences, then start the plan. Lincoln recommends taking more time to prepare yourself. Otherwise, the diet may be a total failure. Basing your behaviors on what I heard, or a few sentences read on a random article online is not smart for any health-related question, Lincoln says. Do some real research. Read a book or two on the subject. Here are more things you need to know before starting the keto diet.
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Youre Not Eating Enough Fat
The intention of the keto diet is to force the body to run on fat, as opposed to glycogen . When the body reaches this stage, its called ketosis. As a result, you need to be eating a significant amount of fat.
If youre not used to eating a lot of fat, you may find it difficult to hit your required amount. The first 30 days are critical and this step-by-step 28-day keto plan was designed for you to lose weight.
However, general guidelines stipulate 6075 percent of your food should be from fat, 1530 percent from protein, and five to ten percent from carbohydrates. To work out your personalized split, try using an online calculator.
Its a good idea to plan your meals and moderate your fat intake until you can estimate the number of fats in your meals by eyeballing portions.
As you adjust your diet, its a good idea to measure your ketones to ensure youre entering ketosis. Ketosis is a delicate balance, and you can throw yourself out of it unknowingly. If you fall out of ketosis, you could sabotage your entire diet without even knowing it.
Dr. Nick Sudano says that people come to his office daily complaining that keto doesnt work for them. The first question he asks them is whether they measure their ketones, and the answer is almost always no.
Eating Too Much Protein
It’s a natural process by which the body will convert energy from proteins and fats into glucose when glucose is not readily available. In a low-carb or ketogenic diet, gluconeogenesis will occur at varying rates to maintain body function. Our bodies donât need tons of carbs , but we do need glucose.
You could eat a no-carb diet and through gluconeogenesis, your body would convert other substrates into glucose for fuel. This is why carbs make up five percent of your keto macros. In fact, some parts of the body need carbs to survive, such as red blood cells and kidney medulla . Through gluconeogenesis, the body creates and can store extra glucose as glycogen in case its supply becomes too low.
In most diets, where carbs are readily available, gluconeogenesis occurs at a slow rate, since the need for extra glucose is very low. The body runs on glucose and stores excess carbs and protein as fat. Conversely, on the keto diet, the body runs on healthy fats and stores excess carbs and protein as glycogen to be used for muscle recovery or to support the parts of the body which need a steady supply of carbs.
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Not Eating Enough Fats
The modern approach to fats is often one of fear and trepidation, but thats no way to go about the keto diet.
Your body needs fats to replace the lost calories from the carbs youre skipping otherwise, your calorie deficit could end up f*cking with your metabolism and hormone function in the long term.
Consuming fats also lets your body know its OK to burn fats for energy and gets it used to doing so. Its time to get over the lifelong hang-up that fats make you fat.
Youre Having Too Many Cheat Days
This one is a tough reality, but Im just not a fan of cheat days.
Dont get me wrong, I get cravings for carbs just like anyone else, but Ive had some bad experiences with cheat days, especially when I was first starting out with keto.
When I first came to this diet, I didnt have the confidence that I could do it in the long term, I told myself that if I could do it for a whole month, Id get a nice cheat meal, and that became a habit. Four weeks of keto, one day of cheating, and so on.
But what I noticed is that this wasnt sustainable in the long term. It may have been that I was going too heavy on the carbs for my cheat meals, but I was in a constant state of the keto flu, and actually started to gain weight after some time.
Cheat meals have their place, and I wouldnt want to try and discourage anyone from using them as incentives to hit your goals, but you should be careful about how frequently you give yourself them, and how many carbs you put into them. I prefer cheat meals that are a little carby, but still balanced enough to not knock me out of ketosis entirely.
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How Do Keto Diet Pills Work To Help You Lose Weight
The whole factor the keto diet works so well is since ketosis allows your body to shed the saved fat you dont want instead of carbohydrates. But why does the supplement help a lot?
Well, Keto Boost is made from exogenous ketones. When you take a pill, these exogenous ketones are delivered throughout your blood, causing your ketone levels to increase. And a high degree of ketones in the blood is precisely what you require for your body to get in ketosis.
These pills enable you to regularly keep the ketones in your body at a high level, no matter whether you slip up on your carb intake, therefore permitting you to easily get in and also remain in ketosis.
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Does Keto Work It Does When You Work It Properly
If youve been on keto for a while and are finding yourself wondering, Does keto work?, there are a lot of possibilities for where things might be going sideways. Of course, it can be frustrating, but start with this list of suggestions to troubleshoot the problem.
Remember to track your carbohydrates and protein intake, test your ketone levels to see how your meals affect those levels, and know what youre actually consuming to reap all the health benefits this diet has to offer. Use the points above to help you navigate through areas you might need to adjust, and youll be golden in no time.