Ketogenic diet or keto diet has numerous benefits or advantages that confer several health benefits and medical applications, especially in the management of epilepsy, metabolic disorders, and by extension, in weight management. However, this diet is not for everyone due to its drawbacks and associated dangers or health-related risks.
Risks: The Drawbacks and Dangers of Ketogenic Diet
1. One of the drawbacks of ketogenic diet is that it is not suitable for individuals with specific diseases. Studies have revealed that this diet contraindicates the treatment of carboxylase deficiency, porphyria, and fat metabolism disorders.
2. People with fat metabolism disorder cannot undergo a keto diet simply because their bodies cannot process fatty acids properly. The diet would force their bodies to use protein as a source of energy, thus resulting in muscle atrophy. In addition, the diet will raise the levels of ketones in their body, thus leading to ketoacidosis that can result further in coma or death.
3. Other short-term negative health effects of keto diet are constipation, low-grade acidosis, and low blood sugar level or hypoglycemia. Take note that these effects are manageable, but prolonged keto diet can lead to more serious health complications.
4. High-grade acidosis due to a prolonged ketogenic diet can lead to the development of kidney stones. The condition demineralizes calcium from the bone then ends up in the kidneys. Also, because of demineralization, the bones become fragile.
5. Other serious health risks of ketogenic diet are susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart failure. These negative health effects stem from the fact that the diet centers on the consumption of food high in fat. Most of the food items are high in saturated fat or bad cholesterol.
6. From the practical point of view, another drawback of ketogenic diet is that it can be expensive to maintain. Food items high in fat but moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates can be expensive. Examples include bacon, avocados, dark chocolate, salmon and other fatty fish, olive oil, and chia seeds.
7. Another limitation of keto diet is that it is hard to track or measure without the assistance of a dietician or the use of suitable tools. It would be challenging for individuals to determine their intake of macronutrients or to be specific, to determine if they are consuming an appropriate amount of fats and restricted levels of proteins and carbohydrates.
This article is derived from two detailed and long-form versions about the science behind the keto diet and its benefits and risks that both appear on Profolus.com authored by Ethan Hoffmann with the titles “Keto 101: The Science Behind Ketogenic Diet” and “Pros and Cons of Ketogenic Diet.”