Is the Keto Diet Safe?

A lot of people with blood sugar concerns swear by the keto diet. We share a lot of keto-safe recipes. However, the keto diet can have drawbacks. And, for some people, it can be unsafe. We always suggest people speak to their doctor before making any radical change to their health routine, including changing their diet. Using a recipe or committing to an entire diet are vastly different things. Today, we’re looking at the keto diet’s pitfalls. You can decide if you would be interested in discussing it with your doctor or if it’s something you want to steer clear of entirely!

The keto diet is a system of eating where you eat 75 percent of your calories from fat, 20 from protein and only around five from carbohydrates. That puts your body into a state called ketosis, where you have to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel, that makes you lose weight faster. It appeals to people who are looking to lose weight quickly or have blood sugar concerns. However, it can be unpleasant.

It’s definitely a crash diet. While it will almost certainly make you lose weight quickly, it is incredibly hard to follow long-term. It’s highly restrictive. When you go off the diet, you will have a hard time keeping that weight off unless you gradually change your habits to something healthy. This can lead to yo-yo weight loss and gain. Yo-yoing weight has been linked to higher amounts of abdominal fat and medical problems.

Studies have shown that the ability to stick to a diet is more important for long-term success than the type of diet that’s followed,” said Kim Yawitz, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. “Keto is incredibly restrictive and is particularly tough for those who have frequent social engagements or are prone to carb cravings.”

Additionally, when you rapidly change your diet, you often get the “keto flu” — constipation, cramps, fatigue, headache, irritability and nausea. You are likely to be dehydrated and have your electrolytes become unbalanced. While it will pass, it’s unpleasant and could be potentially dangerous. You are also likely to become nutrient deficient and constipated — and that won’t pass without your taking action. Your diet will lack fiber and probably not have as much verity as it did before.

Because of the high amount of fat you eat, the keto diet can pose a risk to people with kidney problems. It can exacerbate the problem so much that a person may require dialysis. It can also lead to kidney stones.

And the excess fat can also be dangerous for people with heart problems. “In practice, many people eat high amounts of saturated fats, which could increase cardiovascular disease risk,” said Dr. Kameswari Maganti, a cardiologist. “We see an increase in lipids, or fats, in the blood of patients on the keto diet within six to eight weeks.”

People like it because it can lower blood sugar. But, when used with blood sugar medications, it can actually make your blood sugar dangerously low. So, that’s another reason why people should speak to a doctor before starting the diet.

When you start to lose weight on keto, you’re mostly losing water weight, then you may also lose muscle. “You’ll lose weight, but it might actually be a lot of muscle,” said Kristen Kizer, Registered dietician, “and because muscle burns more calories than fat, that will affect your metabolism.” And when you regain weight, it’s more likely to be fat than muscle.

There are benefits to the keto diet. Doctors may prescribe it if someone needs to lose weight quickly for a reason. Some doctors use it for cancer patients. It also helps some people with epileptic seizures. But, before you try it, speak to your doctor about the pros and cons of the diet and get their opinion.

There is no “one size fits all” diet that helps everyone! Until scientists discover one, we’ll keep sharing tasty, low-carb recipes every Tuesday, some keto, others not!
September 17, 2020
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