The keto diet is healthy and amazing for weight loss.
The ketogenic diet, more commonly called the keto diet, commonly appears on social media as a quick fix for weight loss. The posts often show before after diet pictures. The keto diet is characterized by a reduction in carbohydrates and a relative increase in the amounts of proteins and fats you consume in order to produce ketosis, stimulating a starvation state.
While the keto diet has been demonstrated to help with certain disorders such as epilepsy, Misbar found that the keto diet’s long term sustainability and safety have not been supported by science. There are at least three reasons to be cautious of the keto diet’s popularity.
The first reason is sustainability. Even though you can eat fatty strips of bacon, the diet can still be hard to stay on. For example, according to the University of Chicago Medicine you can experience what is called the “keto flu” with symptoms like upset stomach, dizziness, decreased energy, and mood swings. According to the Lancet, digestive disorders related to the keto diet are not uncommon. Constipation, vomiting, and abdominal pain occur in 30–50% who try the keto diet.
Second, there are concerns about the keto diet regarding nutritional deficiencies. The keto diet excludes or limits major food groups such as grains, dairy, and certain fruits and vegetables. Many of these foods are full of nutrients such as cancer preventing polyphenols. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk. That’s one reason the American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of these foods every day. Fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and they’re usually low in calories. The American Cancer Society also recommends limiting your consumption of red meat.
The third reason to be cautious of the keto diet is premature death. According to the European Society of Cardiology, low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should be avoided according to a large study of almost 25,000 participants. Compared to study participants with the highest carbohydrate consumption, those with the lowest intake had a 32 percent higher risk of all-cause death over an average 6.4 year follow-up. In addition, risk of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer increased by 51 percent, 50 percent, and 35 percent respectively.
While the keto diet has shown success with short term weight loss and with certain disorders such as epilepsy, it should be avoided until more research can determine the long term safety of the diet.