The ketogenic (Keto) diet has gained mainstream popularity, it is touted as a healthy weight loss strategy that has additional health benefits. However, the keto diet is not without controversy. Some medical professionals point out the dangers of the high-fat diet and the lack of research to support its long-term use. While others support the keto diet as a healthy weight loss method with added health benefits. Depending on who you ask or what google hit you click on you could be left confused when deciding, To Keto or Not to Keto? Below I will help you decipher the gauntlet of keto information to help you make your decision based on fact, not fiction.
What is the Keto diet?
The keto diet is a high-fat low carb diet. When followed correctly, it puts the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic switch of fuel where the body converts fats to ketones, instead of using carbohydrates to make glucose. A long story short, your body will use fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. What does a keto diet look like? On the Keto diet, your daily calorie intake will consist of 5% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 70% fats. It’s important to note that you want to eat lean proteins and healthy fats. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. See the examples below.
Is it Safe?
The long term effects of the keto diet are not well known due to limited research. Studies have identified the following short term effects which typically subside in 1 – 2 weeks :
- Decreased Energy
Individuals with certain medical conditions should NEVER initiate a keto diet without first consulting with a medical doctor. These conditions include but are not limited to:
- Liver failure
- Disorders of fat metabolism
- Primary carnitine deficiency
- Carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency
- Carnitine translocase deficiency, porphyrias
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency
What does Medical Research Say?
According to a recent peer-reviewed study, “A recent systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the long-term effects (greater than 1 year) of dietary interventions on weight loss showed no sound evidence for recommending low-fat diets. In fact, low-carbohydrate diets led to significantly greater weight loss compared to low-fat interventions.” Regular check-ups are recommended while on a keto diet to monitor liver function.
Review the study here:/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
To Keto or Not to Keto?
Unfortunately, there is very limited research on the long-term effects of the keto diet. Any diet that involves extreme shifts in macronutrient intakes can be potentially harmful. Everyone has their own unique composition and what’s harmful to one may be healthy for another. For this reason, before starting the Keto diet you should consult your doctor to see how the Keto diet could potentially affect YOU! The decision to Keto or not to Keto is not black and white. After considering the potential health risk or benefits there is the sustainability of the keto diet. Can you commit to this change long term? Weight loss experienced as a result of following a keto diet can return when the diet is not sustained. Before making any decision that affects your health you should consult with your doctor, get the facts from reliable sources and consider its sustainability.
If your doctor gives you the green light, you understand the facts and you’re confident in your ability to sustain the keto diet then the question is answered, to keto! Watch the video below to learn more about the Keto diet and its associated health benefits.
Campos. (2019, July 30). Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you? Retrieved November 02, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089
Dashti, H., Mathew, T., Hussein, T., Asfar, S., Behbahani, A., Khoursheed, M., . . . Al-Zaid, N. (2004). Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Retrieved November 02, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/
Shilpa, & Mohan, V. (2018, September). Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? Retrieved November 02, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251269/