A famous diet globally, the ketogenic diet allows you to lose weight without starving yourself to death. By now, you surely know the keto diet basics, but what about keto risks? Is a low-carb diet plan really that effective? Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about the keto diet risks and which groups of people should avoid it.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
The keto diet food plan only allows eating low-carb foods. These should put your body in a state of ketosis where it burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. This results in significant weight loss as well as a slew of other health benefits that have made the ketogenic diet so popular.
A good keto plan will rely on the 70-25-5% fat-protein-carb ratio. That’s the golden standard for every type of keto diet, although the numbers can be tweaked a bit for up to 5%. Depending on the type of diet, you can focus on one or more macronutrients. For example, the lazy keto diet allows you to focus on the carb count only, while the dirty keto diet allows you to eat anything as long as the golden ratio is maintained.
A basic keto plan includes eggs, full-fat dairy and cheese, grass-fed meat (primarily beef), green veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables. A keto diet shopping list is usually pretty long, which shows that the diet requires careful planning. Preparing your own keto meals is not that hard, even if you’re a beginner. However, if you want to put your body in ketosis, you will have to be disciplined and stick to the menu.
However, rarely anyone speaks about the keto risks or side-effects. Is the popular diet as healthy as everyone says?
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Keto Diet Risks You Need to Be Aware About
Low-carb diets are not for everyone – that’s a known fact. Reducing carbs and increasing fat intake will change how your body works, and we’re not just talking about the ketosis metabolism shift. You will experience side-effects such as energy loss and will have to adapt to the new lifestyle. Experts recommend talking to a doctor before starting any diet, but especially before putting yourself on the ketogenic diet.
You will have to consume fat bombs such as coconut oil to reach your fat goals on this diet. That can be challenging and also hard for people suffering from certain conditions. For example, people on diabetes meds may need to adjust them. Consuming too much of anything can be pretty dangerous, and that goes for heart-healthy fats as well.
Below you can see a list of keto risks you should pay attention to before you start following a keto diet menu plan.
Stress on Your Kidneys
One of the biggest disadvantages of the keto diet is that it puts a lot of stress on your kidneys. The increased intake of animal foods and fats makes your blood and urine more acidic, which means extra work for the kidneys. When you’re following a keto plan, your kidneys will be working almost non-stop to keep your body’s pH in a normal range. All that hard work can be damaging to kidney disease patients and may eventually lead to kidney failure.
Since the keto diet basics state that you can only eat low-carb foods, it can be hard to reach your daily fiber goals. Not enough fiber will lead to digestive problems such as discomfort, constipation, and gut bacteria changes. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut and helps the digestive system run smoothly. A healthy gut is at the core of a healthy body, so make sure to eat high-fiber foods to keep it running properly if you’re on the keto diet.
The restrictive nature of the keto diet can result in nutrient imbalance. Potassium, calcium, and phosphorus deficiencies are among the well-known keto risks. If you’re following a very low-carb keto plan, doctors recommend taking potassium, magnesium, calcium, omega-3, sodium, and vitamins B, C, and D3 supplements. With these, you will restore the balance of nutrients in your body and prevent the risks associated with nutrient deficiencies.
Low Blood Sugar
The ketogenic diet is extremely dangerous for diabetics. A low-carb diet can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels but also makes them very susceptible to bouts of hypoglycemia that can have a dangerous outcome. If you’re a diabetes patient, it would be best to consult your doctor before starting a low-carb diet.
Dangerous for Your Bones
Some studies have noted a link between the ketogenic diet and impaired bone health. According to a 2019 study, the keto diet can compromise the vertebral microstructure of bones in mice, resulting in lower bone density. While more research is definitely required, it would be best to talk to a doctor if you’re already suffering from calcium deficiency or bone issues.
Ever heard of the keto flu? The keto diet basics keep the daily carb allotment between 20 and 50 gr. This may be a big shock to your body. As you deplete the carb stores and your body switches to ketone fuel, you will experience symptoms that resemble the flu. The popular keto flu is a common symptom for all keto dieters in the beginning. You may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, and constipation along with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Those symptoms will eventually go away if you stay hydrated and take proper supplements.
There’s no question that the ketogenic diet is truly effective. It will shift your body’s metabolism and help you lose a lot of weight better than any other diet plan. However, it’s not without risks. If you’re planning to start it, it would be best to talk to a doctor about keto risks and find a way to avoid them even before you start dieting.
If you suffer from a condition such as diabetes, medical advice is a must. While your body might not be able to handle the ketogenic diet, there are plenty of alternatives for losing weight such as hitting a gym.