What is the keto diet and is it safe to try?

/ / Uncategorized

The latest fad diet everyone is talking about is the keto diet.  A quick walk down the grocery aisle and you’ll find a bag of chips or cookies labeled as “keto friendly”. It is not uncommon to hear celebrities or influencers boast about their dramatic weight loss on this diet. A typical keto diet consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. How can a diet so high in fat cause weight loss?

Keto, short for ketogenic, is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. The main fuel our bodies use is glucose. We get glucose from the breakdown of carbohydrates we eat every day. When we don’t have access to carbohydrates, our bodies can break down fat stores to be used as fuel. The liver will convert fat stores to ketones. When ketones and the main fuel source our body uses—the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. Prolonged ketosis can lead to significant weight loss. 

After hearing the basics of the diet most people are pretty excited about it. “I get to eat extra butter and still lose weight? Sign me up!” Not so fast… When things seem too good to be true, they most likely are. There are some serious risks associated with the keto diet. 

  • It is hard to stick to the diet: Many keto diets require that your stick to 15-30 grams of carbs per day to remain in ketosis. This is much lower than the standard 230-325 grams in a regular healthy diet. Many people underestimate the number of carbs they eat a day and cannot remain in ketosis long enough for the diet to be effective. 
  • Increased cholesterol: Eating fats, especially saturated fats, causes cholesterol to rise. Specifically, it causes LDL or “bad cholesterol” to rise. This extra cholesterol builds up in the arteries creating plaques. These plaques can build up, restricting blood flow to different parts of the body. Heart attacks occur as a result of plaques in the arteries. 
  • Nutrient deficiencies: The keto diet stresses low carbohydrates. This includes good carbohydrates like nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Prolonged use of the keto diet can deprive your body of necessary micronutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. A diet low in fruits and vegetables also lacks fiber. Without fiber, our digestive tracts can have a hard time clearing waste. This can lead to constipation.

In addition to the health risks, many people gain the weight back after stopping keto. If you are looking for a way to sustain weight loss, the keto diet is likely not for you. Working with a nutritionist or dietician to develop a personal meal plan is a much healthier way to go.

TOP Call Now Button