The keto diet has taken the world by storm over the past few years. It has helped millions of people lose excess weight. Plus, dieters find it easier to lose weight by concentrating on some foods that are supposed to be off-limits.
If you’ve been considering or following the ketogenic diet, we have some potentially concerning news for you. Researchers have found that this diet approach may be linked to some of the most dominant chronic diseases. Before we get to that, let’s go over the basics.
What Is the Keto Diet?
Ketogenic diets are low in carbs, modest in protein, and high in fat. When combined properly, this induces ketosis, a state where ketone bodies are produced as the primary energy source for the body, including neurons and other cells that are unable to metabolize fatty acids directly. Most people test whether they’re in ketosis by measuring their urinary ketone levels.
The classic keto diet has a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of fat to carbs and protein combined. Other varieties allow for more carbs or protein, but they invariably have a daily limit of no more than 50 grams of carbs. Due to the restriction of carbs, fiber, and other essential nutrients, the use of the ketogenic diet should ideally be monitored by a medical professional.
Overall, the keto diet is known as one of the fastest methods for losing weight. Besides this, recent findings have revealed some potential downsides.
Potential Downsides of the Keto Diet
Eating few carbs can affect your overall diet quality. As you eliminate vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and prioritize animal products, you may not take in enough vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. More specifically, low-carb diets are low in vitamins E, A, B6, calcium, thiamin, magnesium, iron, and potassium. A deficiency in these vitamins and minerals can have serious consequences.
In a meta-analysis of 123 studies published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers concluded that fasting and carbs restriction associated with the ketogenic diet can alter the way the body metabolizes fat. For most individuals, the risks might even outweigh the benefits.
The paper further outlines that meat, cheese, oil, and other keto-friendly foods, in the absence of the restricted types, may increase the risk of many chronic diseases. Many keto-friendly foods have been linked to colon cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease. The diet may also have kidney disease and diabetes risks.
On the effects of keto on pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant, there’s a risk of birth defect concerning the neural tube of the spine and brain.
Also, some of the foods associated with this diet may bring on the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
While it’s true that slimming down can be an exciting idea, achieving the goal through the keto diet can have long-term consequences on your health. Those on the keto diet eschew fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes, all of which are foods classified as “protective foods” for their contents of vital antioxidants, minerals, and more.
Do You Really Need Keto?
According to studies, if we weigh the positives and negatives of the ketogenic diet, it may not be the most promising for our health. Long-term health benefits await those who eat a more balanced diet.