Continuing our report on the Keto Diet, You should know that I don’t usually spend a whole lot of time arguing with people about fad diets. There are many different approaches to health and weight loss, and not every diet works for everyone.
In fact, I work with patients on a variety of eating plans and we manage to come up with alternatives for people’s choices, restrictions or specific nutritional needs.
That being said, however, from where I sit, a healthy eating plan doesn’t only focus on what you should avoid, but also on what you actually eat.
If you’re intolerant of gluten or dairy, no problem, we can work around it. The same goes for vegetarian, Mediterranean, high carb diets, and then some.
With one major exception – the increasingly popular diet fad called the Ketogenic Diet.
Much like the Paleo Diet, it may have worked for cavemen who had to hunt, climb trees and generally didn’t stop going all day and burned off all the fat in their high-meat diets…but this is 2018. This is the era of the sedentary. The scientific data and statistics don’t lie. We are the generation of couch potatoes.
This Keto Diet can seriously hurt you and lead to irreversible damage to your body and organs.
➡ The expert panel of health professionals and researchers ranking the 2018 Best Diets Reviews, published in World Health And News Report this past January, was particularly concerned for people with liver or kidney conditions, “who should avoid it altogether.”
➡ And, due to the diet’s recommended “cycling” nature, taking breaks and then starting it again, experts also warn that hormones could fluctuate.
In case you haven’t yet heard about it, this is an extremely low-carb, high-fat diet that was developed about 100 years ago as a “metabolic hack” for people with epilepsy.
As mentioned in Part One, it involves consuming about 70-80% of calories from fat, 5-10% from carbohydrates and 10-20% from protein.
- By comparison, a healthier range of fat intake would be 10% on a very low-fat eating plan to about 40% on a Mediterranean-type diet.
- On the carbohydrate side, a more typical range of intake would be about 30% on some plans such as the South Beach diet.
By restricting almost all carbohydrate intake and even limiting protein intake, the Keto Diet forces your liver to start producing substances called ketone bodies to supply the brain and body with the energy it needs to work.
➡ Some of the risks associated with long-term use of this diet are gastrointestinal issues like constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.
➡ Some of the more serious risks from longer-term use of the ketogenic-type diet include hypothyroidism, reduced bone mineral density, kidney stones, and gallstones.
So, while the flag-waving fans of this diet report their successes and enjoy a few minutes of fame, there is a serious scarcity of valid scientific research to back up its claims of blood sugar control, appetite suppression, and mental clarity.
Even less is known about the long-term consequences of following this diet among generally healthy people.
Based on what we know, on what we’ve seen so far for ourselves, the medical community is waving a big red flag.
While you may feel more energetic on the Keto Diet and love how it helps you lose weight (most of it is just water weight, as you know from Part 1).
And, even though you may even have figured out how to manage the bad breath or raging constipation induced by this diet, and have talked yourself into believing these side effects are “manageable,” I urge you to think about the potential impact it may have on your health.
The Risk of Digestive System Cancer: This is a major concern with this diet.
There is strong scientific evidence about which dietary patterns increase the risk of digestive system cancers, including, and especially colon cancer. We also know what it takes to protect these systems.
➡ The ketogenic diet is a textbook example of a high-cancer-risk dietary pattern:
➡ It consists of very large amounts of animal fat in general (red meat in particular) and is very low in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans, and death rates have been sharply increasing among young people ages 20 to 50 in the past 20 years.
- And colon cancer doesn’t just happen to grandparents; it is now affecting their grandchildren as well.
A very low-carb, low-fiber diet that emphasizes fat and animal protein has been scientifically proven to reduce the range and variety of the microbes in your gut – and these changes can happen quickly in response to a dramatic diet change.
The typical Keto Diet will essentially starve many of the health-promoting microbes and selectively nourish other ones which increase your risk of obesity and inflammation.
In other words, important components of your immune system are severely diminished in the guts of people who follow a high-fat, low-fiber diet like Keto.
Your food choices and your primary diet can have consequences beyond the narrow measure of what you see on the scale today,
As a well-learned colleague says, “Following the Ketogenic Diet may be missing the forest for the trees.”