Keto has been a very popular diet trend as of late with thousands of people partaking in the diet and making low-carb recipes with their favorite foods. It has become so popular that there are content creators on Instagram and TikTok whose entire pages are dedicated to creating these recipes. While their aim is to educate their audience about the ease in transition from a regular diet to the keto diet, they often fail to show the negative aspects of the diet.
However, here at Health Fitness Revolution, our goal is to educate you with both the positive and negative aspects of the diet. That way, you, our readers, are getting the full picture of what exactly this diet entails. Of course, when looking at these diets, we also want to highlight the risks involved in pursuing these diets. Not only should we consider how it will affect your physical body, but also your mental health, and we also consider if there are any long-term side effects that you should take note of before following this diet. We would also like to emphasize that although we do not promote diets, we intend to spread helpful information so you can make an informed decision.
The Ketogenic diet, also known as Keto, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is meant to put your body into ketosis. Ketosis is the metabolic state in which your body uses fat and ketones, rather than carbohydrates as its main fuel source. While in ketosis, your body is producing ketones or ketone-bodies, which are made by the liver, at an accelerated rate. This fat is produced not only from the fat that you consume, but also the fat that your body makes. This is one of the main reasons why you lose so much weight whilst on the diet.
Although while sustaining a regular diet, your liver is working to create energy using fats from your body and diet, it is doing so at a slower pace and usually only creates a tiny amount of ketones. However, due to the lack of carbohydrates that you provide your body with while on the keto diet, your liver is forced to up its ketone production in order to produce energy for your body. This can lead to rapid weight loss.
However, while all of these things sound appealing, there are always two sides to a story. People that are looking to pursue keto as a permanent weight loss solution should consider the facts that are often hidden from consumers. Here is our list of pros and cons of pursuing this diet.
The most obvious benefit of pursuing the keto diet is the weight loss involved with the process. As you begin to cut out carbohydrates and simple sugars, your body is forced to use the reserved fat content in your body as its main fuel source.
However, what you might not know is that this low-carb, high-protein/fat diet was used in studies in the 1920s to see its effects on reducing epilepsy in children. Because of the promising results that the researchers found, this is leading current scientists to consider whether or not this diet could be a viable treatment alternative for patients with other neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons. The Keto diet has been recognized as a good alternative to non-surgical pharmacological treatment, which can be easily altered for a more palatable diet.
Another benefit that has been linked to the keto diet is better management of blood sugar levels for Type II Diabetes patients. This is because of the decreased carbohydrate intake. Although there has been no long-term evidence found for reversing Type II Diabetes with this diet, there have been some promising short-term results due to the decreased intake of carbohydrates and increased intake of fats. Additionally, while testing the effects of keto on blood sugar levels, researchers also found that cholesterol levels initially increase, but as a patient continues the keto diet, their cholesterol levels fall to a more manageable level. Even so, there is no definitive research on the long-term effects of how keto would affect cholesterol levels.
There are many scientists and researchers that say that the only viable reason for pursuing the keto diet is to help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. Although there has been some research on the management of diabetes and cholesterol levels, there is no definitive research on the long-term effects to justify partaking in the keto diet for these reasons. While most of the research done is short-term, it seems that there is always a way to reverse these effects after you’ve stopped the diet.
One of the biggest con of partaking in this diet is that it is not sustainable for a long time. Because you lose weight so quickly in such a short period of time, this creates a sense of false security within participants. After they’ve reached their goal weight, most people will abandon the diet and go back to their regular diet. When they go back to their regular diet, it disrupts the ketogenic state that their body was in and reverts back to storing the fat content rather than using it because it now has a better source of energy; carbohydrates. Like any diet, the biggest downfall is how quickly people gain the weight that they’ve lost.
Another potential risk with the diet is ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is when your blood content becomes too acidic because of the increase in fat intake. Ketoacidosis is usually associated with diabetic patients because of the lack of glucose in their bodies, however, with the keto diet, since you are starving your body of carbohydrates, there is no way for your body to produce glucose, which in turn causes your blood to become acidic. This is your body’s way of telling you to eat carbohydrates.
Another devastating side effect of the keto diet is kidney stones. Since this diet requires you to reduce your carbohydrate intake, that also means cutting out certain fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water, and without this water, it is easy for people to become dehydrated. This dehydration is what leads to kidney stones. The increased consumption of protein causes calcium and uric acid to acidify in the blood, which can contribute to a higher level of kidney stones. Therefore, if you have kidney problems already, this diet is not for you. Dehydration can also lead to constipation which is just as serious. If you do plan to pursue this diet, ensure that you keep yourself properly hydrated.
Overall, the keto diet has both pros and cons. However, you should consider every aspect before determining if this diet is right for you. The people that review these diets often either don’t do it for long enough to produce relevant results or they only tell you the positive aspects of the diet. There are plenty of dieticians and nutritionists that give you the clinical aspects of the diet, and this information can help you better understand what exactly this diet entails.