The first time I heard of the keto diet I was overwhelmed and I thought everybody should try it. The fact that it never eliminated meat out of my diet like how other diets do, made me try it out. But the question still remains; Is the keto diet safe?
The elimination of carbs only and the promise of eating without worry about counting calories or starving yourself excited me. That’s right, but what does it hold in store for you by eliminating one of the major food groups?
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet or keto diet, in short, is a low-carbs, high-fats and medium protein diet. While on the keto diet, you eat less carbohydrate food sources, eat foods that are high in fats and some proteins.
Our bodies turn carbs into glucose that is used to fuel the body for energy. But with the elimination of carbs from the diet, the body reverts to burning fat for energy instead, a process referred to as ketosis. Ketosis a metabolic state in which the body converts fat into energy-releasing ketones in the process.
Benefits of the keto diet.
Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay
The keto diet has health benefits towards weight loss, diabetes management, and many others.
1. The keto diet towards weight loss.
A ketogenic diet is effective for weight t loss since it uses fat for energy. The amazing part is that you lose weight without counting calories or limiting your food intake.
While on a keto diet, your body will fully depend on burning fat to fuel your body. This is done 24-7 which means that even when you sleep, you will be burning fat.
The keto diet increases fat burning, reduces fat storage in the body and suppresses appetite all this leads to weight loss. Here is an article that talks in detail about the keto diet towards weight loss.
2. Keto diet for diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with high blood sugar. Since the keto diet eliminates carbs which are the main source of glucose or blood sugar, diabetes can be managed with the keto
3. Reduces the risk of certain cancers.
Scientist s suggested a way of treating cancer cells by ‘starving them’. Some cancer cells need a lot of glucose to metabolize and survive. The keto diet is therefore used to treat certain cancer types and slow the growth of tumors.
4. Treatment of epilepsy.
Using the ketogenic diet can reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. The treatment is used mostly on children who haven’t responded to various epilepsy treatments.
5. Used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The keto diet is used to treat and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slowing its progression in the body.
6. Improves acne.
High levels of insulin and related hormones can worsen acne since the keto diet is able to lower insulin levels in the body, it is able to improve your skin.
The bottom line, the keto diet has amazing benefits to the body. Treatment of diseases and weight loss makes keto worth a try but at what cost. This brings back the question, is the keto diet safe?
Is the keto diet for everyone?
When you hear from a person who promotes the keto diet, you will feel it is a must-try. Though it is restrictive on what you eat, it doesn’t restrict how much you eat. The keto diet is used by most people for weight-loss reasons but is it safe for everybody? Can your whole family rely on keto for weight loss? Your questions will be answered below.
Children under the age of 18 years should avoid the keto diet.
Children need all the major food groups in the right amount for proper and healthy growth. Since the keto diet eliminates a major food group, it may cause unhealthy and stunted growth therefore it should be given to children.
People who are underweight.
The keto diet is a weight loss causing diet and if you are already underweight, then keto will just make things worse.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
During pregnancy, the body will need all the major food groups for the proper growth of the baby. Keto diet eliminates carbohydrates from the diet and this makes it unhealthy for both pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
People recovering from surgery.
This type of person will need a balanced diet to fully recover and of which the keto diet is not balanced.
- Type 1 diabetics and diabetics taking medication for their diabetes (other than Metformin)
- People who aren’t sure if the keto diet may affect their prescribed medications. They will need to talk to their doctors first.
- People who are feeling unwell with fever or other common diseases.
- People with a decreased kidney function shouldn’t embark on the keto diet.
- Keto is not recommended to people who are on medication that decrease kidney or liver functions.
The bottom line; the keto diet is not for everyone and before embarking on it, you should first consult your doctor. The elimination of carbs from the diet makes it unsuitable to children and people with special needs which is not the case with other diets.
Keto diet risks. Here is why the keto diet may not be safe.
The keto diet has got many risks and if you use it when you weren’t meant to, the risks can be greater. The fact that it is not a balanced diet as it reduces carbs yet increases fat intake makes it has associated risks.
1. Keto flu.
The keto flu is a collection of symptoms experienced during the first days of trying out the diet. Since the body is not used to burning fat for fuel, it will have these symptoms while adapting to the new diet. Keto flu will cause a lot of symptoms and undesired conditions.
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, headache, irritability, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, poor concentration, stomach pain, muscle soreness, difficulty sleeping, and sugar cravings are some of the symptoms of the keto flu.
These keto flu side effects last for over a week but they may take longer in some people.
2. Faster weight regain.
The keto diet is so restrictive and for this reason, it shouldn’t be practiced for a long period of time. Health experts say it is best done for 30-90 days followed by a more sustainable diet plan. But when people stop the keto diet, they regain the weight as soon as they stop Keto this makes it not worth it since weight is gained much faster when it is stopped.
3. Loss of muscles and decreased metabolism.
Weight loss will occur while on the keto diet but muscle mass may be lost too if you are eating more fat than proteins. And since muscles burn more calories than fat, your metabolism will decrease.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening risk that occurs to people with diabetes r pre-diabetes. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, the keto diet can be dangerous when ketones build up. High levels of ketones can lead to dehydration and change the chemical imbalance in your blood making the blood acidic. This leads to coma or even death.
5. Increased risk of heart diseases.
High-fat diets are known for raising cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol in your blood builds up in the arteries narrowing or blocking them causing atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. Keto diet encourages the consumption of fats in large amounts leaving you vulnerable to heart disease and related diseases that are caused by high cholesterol levels.
6. Nutrient deficiency.
The keto diet is so restrictive where you aren’t allowed to eat various, fruits, vegetables and many other foods. This may lead to a nutrient deficiency when the body lacks important nutrients like magnesium, vitamins and many others. Many diseases and disorders are related to nutrient deficiency.
Should I try the keto diet? / Is the keto diet safe for you?
The keto diet has a lot of health benefits but also the risks involved are quite many. This might leave you with tough choices to choose from.
Keto diet is practiced by many people around the world and it can also be your diet towards weight loss or healing disease. Many people choose keto for weight-loss reasons since it doesn’t involve calorie counting which many people hate or can’t keep up to.
If you have to choose the keto diet, get recipes and a list of foods to eat from a qualified nutritionist. The Diet doctor is a great website that will help you follow a healthy ketogenic diet.
Never choose the keto diet if you are among the people with conditions that don’t favor its use. The risks will be higher and more fatal. It is better to try out other diets or other ways that will help you achieve weight loss.
Choosing a keto diet will depend on you since you have seen the benefits and related risks if you happen to choose the keto diet.
The bottom line.
The ketogenic diet is safe if the foods in the diet are chosen wisely. To get the best out of it, you must be among the group of people who allowed to adapt it. For whatever reason, you choose keto either medical or weight loss, always consult a doctor or experienced nutritionist.
The keto diet risks are quite many making it a diet that you must try after deep research and with advice from a doctor.
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