The advantages of going on a ketogenic diet may be one of the most scientifically controversial in terms of who would benefit from this diet. It is popular with specific groups of people, specifically bodybuilders and health-conscious people who do some fasting and or cutting ritual. A keto diet works best for weight loss due to being a high-fat, low-carb diet. It is similar to many other low-carb diets and Atkins.
In the body, when carbohydrate consumption is lower, it puts the body into ketosis. The process of ketosis works in the body to burn fat more efficiently and turns that fat into ketones in the liver and, in turn, can supply mental energy to the brain. Different types of ketogenic diets are meant to change your eating habits, like the standard ketogenic diet. With a targeted ketogenic diet, when you eat is essential and lets the addition of eating carbs possible around workouts. As the title states, this article will discuss the potential risks of a keto diet.
History of the Ketogenic Diet
Physicians may have used the keto diet as far back as 500 BC. It was used as a treatment for epilepsy in different cultures. It is even documented in Hippocratic Opus, “On Sacred Disease,” to prevent disease. In 1911, a scientific study was used to describe fasting as a treatment in epileptic patients. Research of ketones in the 1960s led to the discovery of medium-chain triglycerides produced by ketones and made available in the body through the liver.
The Keto flu is possible because of the lack of carbs in the bloodstream, it will deplete the energy in the form of carbs, and due to the lack of those carbs, your body will eventually release ketones. Because the body isn’t used to using ketones for long-term energy, the result is fatigue, nausea, and constipation. An electrolyte imbalance and dehydration could also cause it. It may take a few weeks to feel better but, it may also be the case of seeing your doctor and getting treatment.
The best foods you can eat have a great variety of vitamins and minerals, and only a few foods have reasonable quantities. When you start eating on a keto diet, it may decrease the average amounts of phosphorus and magnesium you get from foods. It is also worth noting that those two minerals are hard to get even in a well-thought-out diet.
Blood Sugar Issues
One of the possible dangers of going on a keto diet, especially if you do it on your own, is that your blood sugar levels may drop to dangerous levels. It may be due to people who try it for the first time who are not supervised or educated on the proper practices. A ketogenic diet may also be an option that people with diabetes use to manage their diabetes. It is dangerous for type 1 diabetics because of the ketones being used rather than carbs, leading to fatigue and hypoglycemia. The start of confusion and fatigue can also occur.
Damage to Bone Health
The more complex issue that may occur is the loss of bone density and strength due to using ketones for energy. It may affect those who use the ketogenic diet to treat seizures, but it may be a risk because of the loss of bone density and mineral deficiencies; it could make those complications worse.
An occurrence that may happen anytime you change your diet is constipation and diarrhea. Depending on our body type, these complications can occur when we change our usual eating habits. Any over-processed food can cause digestion issues. With a keto diet, the cause may be eating foods with low fiber content and consuming high amounts of fat. The long-term effect in the gut could cause damage to your microbiome in the stomach. A microbiome will hold beneficial bacteria that can help digestion or hinder it. Thus, constipation and diarrhea show up.
Lower Blood Sodium
A drop in blood sodium happens because of dehydration or lower electrolyte consumption, or in some cases both. Lower blood sodium will also happen if you have low amounts of certain essential minerals and vitamins crucial to metabolism, such as magnesium, which most people don’t get enough of.
Risk of Chronic Diseases
What could make a ketogenic diet a risk for most people is the high consumption of fats. Of course, all the other dangers previously mentioned make it possible to develop heart disease or cancer due to the stress of fasting and eating no carbs. Suppose a person supplemented a keto diet with enough low-carb vegetables? The nutrients provided by the vegetables would produce a better outcome. A long-term diet where you’re not eating enough vegetables is not a sustainable habit. Working out with no carbs in the bloodstream and only relying on ketones will lead to permanent damage to your metabolism.
The risk of going on a ketogenic diet for weight loss may be stressful on the body, especially if it is done long-term. If you do start a ketogenic diet, it should be done with the supervision of your doctor. Although fasting is beneficial to the body in some aspects, the ability to do it on any of the ketogenic diets requires each one’s research and make a decision based on both the benefits and downsides.