Dangers of the Keto Diet
Dangers of the Keto Diet – Susceptibility to Illness and Disease: While the ketogenic (keto) diet has been around for decades, there are certain risks associated with it. One of them is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about the keto diet.
While there are numerous advantages to adopting a ketogenic lifestyle, there are also certain concerns to consider before beginning a ketogenic diet. Before taking on any new venture, especially one as radical as drastically modifying your daily diet, it is vital to have reasonable expectations.
The keto diet is a very low carbohydrate diet that can help you lose weight quickly—but it also has some unfavourable side effects.
A typical keto diet consists mostly of fat, with a small amount of protein and extremely few carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide the majority of the energy needed by the body in the form of glucose. With such a low carbohydrate and glucose intake, the body begins to use glycogen, which is glucose stored in the liver and muscles. This is the body’s initial energy source. When glycogen stores are low, the body turns to fat storage for energy, which is why the keto diet is so popular for weight loss.
This is known as ketosis, and it is the metabolic process by which ketones are turned to energy. While ketosis is normal and extremely effective at burning fat quickly, there are a few ways for the keto diet to go wrong.
Susceptibility to illness and disease
One of the early drawbacks of the keto diet is the prohibition of a high proportion of healthy carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables. This eliminates a substantial percentage of your daily vitamin, mineral, and fibre intake. Everybody function necessitates the consumption of vitamins and minerals. Your immunity will be compromised if you do not take fruits and vegetables, and you will become ill more frequently. You will then fight the illness. A varied diet of fruits and vegetables also helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. As a result, rather than focusing solely on weight loss, it is prudent to examine total health (1). On a ketogenic diet, vegetables grown above ground are permitted. Examples include broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, sprouts, and cauliflower.
If you don’t eat fruits and vegetables, you’re also lacking in fibre. Meat and dairy products have no fibre. Fibre is essential for the maintenance of good gut bacteria, which is linked to both mental and physical well-being. It also keeps your digestion going and prevents constipation. Constipation is annoying at best and agonising at worst. Drinking plenty of fluids or taking medications can help with constipation. The most effective strategy, however, is to consume fibre-rich fruits and vegetables. (2)
Ketogenic diets are rich in dairy products such as cheese and cream, as well as meats such as bacon and sausages, poultry, and game. When high-fat meals are consumed on a regular basis on the keto diet, they are usually high in saturated fat and cholesterol. In the long run, this could lead to catastrophic diseases including cancer and heart disease as a result of clogged arteries (3). Is it really worth it to commit suicide in order to be thin? It is vital not to follow a strict keto diet for an extended period of time and to keep track of your blood fat levels.
If your budget allows it, buy meat from grass-fed, organically raised animals. This meat is of high grade and contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for our health. Meat from animals confined indoors and fed grain rather than grass contains antibiotics and hormones. These are fed to the animals and eventually wind up in the meat and milk. As a result, these have the potential to be harmful to human health (4). Limit your intake of processed meats such as sausages, bacon, corned beef, chicken nuggets, and cold cuts. These are salted and contain preservatives. Furthermore, they have been linked to the development of health issues such as cancer. (5)
The Keto Flu
Keto flu is a common adverse effect of this diet strategy. The most commonly reported flu-like symptoms are headache, fatigue, and nausea. Muscular weakness, achiness, and cramping are other typical symptoms, as are fear, worry, sorrow, acne, diarrhoea, constipation, and an overall feeling of tiredness. The keto flu is caused by the body’s switch from glucose to ketones as an energy source. The adaption process causes symptoms (6).
Those who support the keto diet recommend that if you have these symptoms, you drink plenty of water and relax until they pass. This is correct; nevertheless, switching to ketones after years of ingesting glucose may take many weeks (7).
The keto diet, as previously established, relies on ketones for energy. Excess glucose can be stored on a usual diet, but excess ketones cannot. They must be excreted by the body, which is why they are found in urine. As a result, you’ll need to pee much more frequently on a keto diet, which can lead to a lack of water in the body, known as dehydration. Fatigue, headaches, and irritability are all symptoms of dehydration. Because thirst is a clear sign of dehydration, it is best to listen to your body and drink plenty of water (8).
Stones in the Kidney
Kidney stones are an unfavourable side effect of the keto diet; however, you may decide it is worth the risk given that they affect approximately 8% of people and increase with age (9). If kidney stones are not removed, they might cause irreversible kidney damage (10).
Constipation is the inverse of diarrhoea, which is also a possible side effect of the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is very high in fat. When we ingest fat, our liver produces bile to help the fat break down. A regular diet has little effect on bile; nevertheless, eating too many lipids leads in an excess of bile. Because bile is a laxative, this may cause diarrhoea (11).
Food is not entirely broken down when you have diarrhoea because it moves too fast through the intestines. In addition to being unpleasant, it may be humiliating. The nutrients taken are not absorbed into the body if food passes too fast through the digestive tract. This should not be a problem in the short term, but it can lead to dehydration and other health issues in the long run (12).
Another unfavourable side effect of the keto diet is halitosis. As such, there is little risk, but be warned: you may lose friends! The good news is that this period is just temporary as your body learns to burn fat rather than carbs. The best way to combat it is to drink plenty of water and practise good oral care (13).
Many people follow keto diets in order to lose weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is one of the negative outcomes of this type of diet. Obesity is detrimental since it is linked to a number of chronic health issues, such as heart disease and cancer. The reason for this is that when we ingest a lot of saturated fats, our livers become overworked and start turning any extra calories to fat instead of using alternative energy sources. Because fat contains more calories per gramme than carbohydrates, it is vital, as with any diet, not to overeat (14).
Insulin resistance is the outcome of a high-fat diet. This happens when cells become blind to the presence of insulin in the bloodstream. When we eat, insulin is released into the bloodstream, allowing cells to absorb the glucose needed for energy. Excess fat obstructs this process, resulting in insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes (15). Diabetes has long-term consequences such as vision problems that can lead to blindness and nerve damage that can lead to limb amputation (16).
Inadequate Mental Health
Finally, a high-fat diet increases the risk of stress, anxiety, and depression. Fat is inflammatory, and its long-term impact on the brain causes a variety of debilitating mental health issues. Not to mention that the diet is highly limited, which can lead to depression simply by eating the same foods over and over (17).
It is crucial to seek medical advice before beginning the keto diet, especially if you have any health concerns. At the very least, try eating this way for a short while. There are other strategies for losing weight that is, perhaps, far less harmful.
- Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Major Chronic Disease https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/96/21/1577/2521033?login=true
- Constipation on Ketogenic Diet: Causes and Remedies https://www.ketovale.com/constipation-on-keto/
- Fats, Cholesterol, And Chronic Diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235018/
- Antibiotic exposure and risk of weight gain and obesity: protocol for a systematic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571496/
- Healthy Eating: The Dangers of Processed Meat https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/processed_meat_dangers_healthy_eating
- Consumer Reports of “Keto Flu” Associated with the Ketogenic Diet https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.00020/full?
- The impact of keto-adaptation on exercise performance and the role of metabolic-regulating cytokines https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/110/3/562/5539226
- Clinical Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.00914.x
- Incidence and Characteristics of Kidney Stones in Patients on Ketogenic Diet: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34070285/
- Kidney stones https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-stones/
- Researchers find new treatment for constipation https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101500.htm
- Effect of high fat-diet and obesity on gastrointestinal motility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890396/
- 5 easy tricks to stop keto bad breath https://dentalhealth.oxyfresh.com/dental-health/5-easy-tricks-to-stop-keto-diet-bad-breath/
- Reasons for not losing weight on a keto diet https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326484
- Deleterious effects of lard-enriched diet on tissues fatty acids composition and hypothalamic insulin actions https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26525379/
- Complications of diabetes https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications
- Diet-Derived Fatty Acids, Brain Inflammation, and Mental Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448040/
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