The keto diet, or ketogenic diet, is a very restrictive low-carb, high-fat diet. Keto has some similarities to the Atkins diet as it involves drastically cutting carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, which forces the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Keto offers several health benefits, and there are numerous success stories to corroborate this fact. However, as with everything else, it also comes with certain risks.
It is important to consult a qualified registered nutritionist and understand its effects and limitations before starting this diet:
1. Keto may confound the body
As you might know already, a typical keto diet is a high-fat (75%), moderate-protein (20%), and low-carbohydrate (5%) combination that uses fats instead of carbohydrates to produce energy for your body. The metabolic process called ketosis breaks down ketones produced in the liver from fats, instead of breaking down sugar from carbohydrates. Such a switch in the intake of nutrients might confuse the body. While it is quite difficult to strictly follow this diet for long, this type of nourishment might make you feel hungry more often. This is especially the case in the initial phase of this diet, say for the first 3-4 weeks.
2. Keto flu
Your body takes a couple of weeks to get accustomed to a keto diet, and side effects like vomiting and gastrointestinal disorders like constipation, indigestion, and acidosis are all common. This is because the fiber content from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is cut down drastically. Also, fatigue and lethargy could set in. The condition is called “keto flu” and can disturb everyday routine and unsettle your life in a lot of ways.
3. Sustaining keto is difficult
The keto diet, because it produces energy from the fats you consume, helps you lose weight faster. Also, since the water content from many fruits and vegetables is eliminated from the diet, your body might appear to be less fuller and heavy. It might seem like a good and rapid weight loss option for many, but sustaining this diet meticulously can be cumbersome for most people and might also not be feasible in the long run. The weight loss might be temporary if the diet is not followed strictly, and, on the contrary, an oscillating diet pattern might result in an increase in abdominal fat over time, overriding the very purpose of this diet for weight loss goals.
4. Muscle deterioration
Losing weight could also be associated with losing muscle mass, and as you become older, loss of muscle might result in loss of strength, which could lead to fractured bones more frequently. Reduced metabolic functioning can also be a consequence of a long-term keto diet.
5. Taxes the kidneys
The kidneys might be overworked when you are on a keto diet. Additionally, if you increase the consumption of meat and fish, calcium and uric acid levels could shoot up significantly and make the urine acidic. This increases the risk of developing kidney stones and gout.
6. Rob you of the joy of food
If you like socializing and love to meet friends and relatives over food, following a strict keto diet might isolate you. For some people, the restrictive nature of following this diet might also deny the joy of eating. Both of these factors could result in mental issues.