Risks Associated With Keto
Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, tells Verywell that keto diets contain the types of foods that are associated with cancer risks.
A keto diet emphasizes the consumption of animal products while limiting many nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. As a result, keto is low in many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Restricting carbohydrates prior to or duringpregnancy is linked with increased risks of birth defects and gestational diabetes, the researchers found. Since 40% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, a low-carbohydrate diet is considered risky for anyone who could become pregnant.
Barnard adds that most human beings are prone to risks associated with a highly restrictive keto diet. If a cat eats meat every day for the cats whole life, shell never get a heart attack, he says. If you eat meat for a week, your cholesterol levels are going to go up in many cases and you may get heart disease.
How Does The Keto Diet Work
Here are the basics of keto: The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar that comes from carbohydrates , the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.
Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:
- It requires that you deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day .
- It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
- Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.
Keto Can Put Stress On The Kidneys And Possibly Give You Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are a well-noted potential side effect of the ketogenic diet. ResearchJournal of Child Neurology observed that among children following the keto diet as a treatment for epilepsy, 13 out of 195 subjects developed kidney stones. Children supplementing with potassium citrate in the study noticed a decreased likelihood of kidney stones. Speak with your healthcare practitioner about supplementing if kidney stones are a concern.
If youre going to do keto, theres a better and a worse way to do it, says Yawitz. Loading your plate with meats, and especially processed meats, may increase your risk for kidney stones and gout, which is a painful type of arthritis. High intake of animal proteins makes your urine more acidic and increases calcium and uric acid levels. This combination makes you more susceptible to kidney stones, while high uric acid can increase your risk for gout, adds Yawitz.
And the ketogenic diet can be dangerous for people with kidney disease, as people with kidney disease need to follow an individualized diet as prescribed by their doctor. According to Davita Kidney Care, people with kidney disease often need to consume a low-protein diet, which may not align with the type of keto youre following.
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What Is The Keto Diet And How Does It Work
A ketogenic diet is one which enables the body to produce ketones. Restricting carbohydrate intake and eating only moderate amounts of protein enables the liver to produce ketones from fat, and they are used as a source of fuel for the body, and especially the brain.
The brain consumes huge amounts of energy, and it can only run on glucose or ketones. Instead of running on glucose from carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet enables your body to use its fat as fuel. Low insulin levels increase the rate of fat burning and make it easier for your body to access fat stores as fuel. When ketones are being produced, the body is in a metabolic state of ketosis. The ultimate goal of the keto diet is to achieve ketosis.
Dr Gustin says, Being in a state of ketosis isnt a magic bullet. Ketosis can be a great tool to help you achieve better health, but its not a shortcut. People make so many mistakes when they are on the keto diet and this makes the diet dangerous. Common mistakes as identified by Dr Gustin include:
- Opting for food quantity as opposed to food quality
- Forgetting that health is a whole body approach
- People get fixated on what they can and cant eat and become lazy and
- Thinking being in ketosis means your healthy.
Can You Eat Oatmeal On Keto Plans
Many people claim that you cannot eat oatmeal while sticking to a keto diet, but it depends on the type of meal plan that you choose.
One cup of cooked oats has 21 net grams of carbs, which may be low enough to fit in your carb count for the day. Oats can also help you manage sugar cravings. For example, when you turn oats into oatmeal, you get a filling meal that can help you avoid sugary snacks. Though generally, oatmeal is usually better for those on a low-carb diet than those on a keto diet.
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Is A Ketogenic Diet Healthy
We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
Weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.
A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. There is even more controversy when we consider the effect on cholesterol levels. A few studies show some patients have increase in cholesterol levels in the beginning, only to see cholesterol fall a few months later. However, there is no long-term research analyzing its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol.
Is Chicken Skin Keto Friendly
Chicken skin is keto-friendly because it is rich in fat, has moderate protein, and basically has no carbohydrates.
Lets first define what ketogenic diets and low carbohydrate diets are, and what it takes for a food item to be considered keto or low-carb.
A ketogenic diet is a diet composed mostly of fats, with moderate protein and low carbohydrates. A typical ketogenic diet would consist of 5560% fat, 3035% protein, and 510% carbohydrates .
You might be thinking that 510% carbs seems like enough, but in a 2,000-calorie per day standard diet, that translates to half a bun of bread to one whole.
Chicken skin is composed primarily of protein and fat, which makes it keto-friendly. An uncooked chicken skin that weighs 4 ounces contains 10.8 g of protein, 49.9 g of fat, and barely any carbohydrates .
Many people actually incorporate chicken skin into their keto diet. In fact, chicken skin is now made into keto chips for those who want a quick keto snack.
What about chicken skin used in cooked chicken dishes? This is also keto-friendly as you will see in this table:
|Type of Chicken Skin|
|Chicken skin chips|
Chicken skin can be made into other keto dishes such as salads, soup, or gribenes and schmaltz. It can also be used to make bone broth, added to chicken sausage, or rendered to make cooking fat.
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The Ketogenic Diet As A Medical Treatment
Evidence suggests that a ketogenic diet, under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian, is useful for children with epilepsy who continue to have seizures while on antiepileptic drugs. There is growing interest in its use in cancer, particularly in brain cancer, although more studies are needed on humans before this can be recommended.
For people who have type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic diet may improve blood sugar control in the short term. However, the long-term effects are not known, particularly on cholesterol levels, which increased in some studies.
Can You Eat Oatmeal On Keto
Whether you can or cannot eat anything while following a ketogenic diet boils down to how bad do you need to fit something into your diet.
There are no foods that are or are not inherently off-limits, meaning, foods are neither keto or not keto.
Ketosis is a metabolic state achieved through the reduction or elimination of carbohydrates. Therefore, as long as you stay under your carbohydrate threshold, whatever that may be for you, youll achieve and remain in a state of ketosis.
Some foods are more keto friendly than others because they have low or no carbohydrates.
Most people stay between 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, which you might think of as your daily budget. How you choose to spend that budget is entirely up to you, but some foods arent worth blowing your entire budget on.
At least most of the time.
Youre better off using your carbohydrates are more nutritious and filling sources such as fibrous vegetables, which will keep you more satiate and provide additional micronutrients.
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What Everyone Should Do Before They Attempt The Keto Diet
The bottom line? If youre thinking about trying the ketogenic diet, run it by your doctor first regardless of any preexisting health conditions. And consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to find a nutrition professional who can work with you to create a meal plan you can stick to. People with kidney disease or a history of disordered eating should avoid the diet, and people with type 1 diabetes may want to avoid it, as well. If you have risk factors for heart disease, youll want to speak with your doctor before considering the diet.
Pros Of A Ketogenic Diet
- Weight lossYou can lose a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time with the ketogenic diet. You can also do it with more energy & less discomfort since youre using your own fat.
- Improved mental functionKetones are an alternative source of fuel for the brain. Some studies suggest that they may help improve memory and cognition.
- Reduced risk of heart diseaseHigh intake of fat and low intake of carbohydrates can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improved athletic performanceMany endurance athletes use this diet to increase their endurance and improve their athletic performance.
- Relief from certain diseasesThe ketogenic diet can help to treat or manage certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers, epilepsy, and Parkinsons.
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Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is a ketogenic diet safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss.
Keto Could Cause Your Blood Sodium To Dip
When you start the keto diet, you lose sodium and other electrolytes in the urine due to reductions in insulin, says Yawitz. This is a major contributor to symptoms of keto flu. So its important to replenish sodium through the diet, especially if you exercise or sweat a lot. This can help ward off more serious side effects that are seen with long-term sodium deficiencies, says Yawitz. These include lethargy and confusion and in extreme cases, seizures, coma, and death, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Why Keto Diet Is Bad
The keto diet could cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease. Strict diets like keto could also cause social isolation or disordered eating. Keto is not safe for those with any conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid or gallbladder.
The Keto Diet Can Have A Negative Impact On Bone Health And Muscle Mass
A 2017 study published in Epilepsy Research looked specifically at 29 children following the keto diet to improve their epilepsy symptoms. At the end of the six-month trial, 68% displayed lower bone density levels. A 2020 study published in Frontiers in Endocrinology compared the bone density of elite walkers who followed the keto diet to those who followed a higher-carb diet. The keto dieters displayed higher levels of bone breakdown than those eating a higher-carb diet.
The keto diet can also cause muscle loss, especially in older individuals, Carla Prado, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, told AARP. She explained that those on a keto diet often don’t consume enough protein to maintain their muscle mass, let alone build more of it. The keto diet only allows 15 percent of calories to come from protein, and older people especially need more protein than younger individuals to maintain and build muscle. Speaking to Everyday Health, Edwina Clark, RD, said that some studies show that people who follow the keto diet lose muscle mass even if they continue their resistance training regimen. Prado says that trading muscle mass for a lean physique simply isn’t worth it.
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How The Keto Diet Affects Dental Health
Over the last few years, the keto diet has grown in popularity. Its similar to the Atkins diet, but whereas the Atkins diet slowly adds carbohydrates back, the keto diet keeps carbs at a minimum. This allows your body to stay in a state of ketosis, which is when your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. Many individuals have had great success with the keto diet. But you shouldnt start a diet without doing your research.
What you eat and when doesnt just affect your body and physical health it also affects your oral health. Its important to take into consideration how the keto diet affects dental health.
What Is Ketosis
Ketosis is a metabolic adaptation to allow the body to survive in a period of famine. Your body will break down ketone bodies, a type of fuel the liver produces from fat, instead of sugar or glucose from carbohydrates.
To achieve ketosis, the diet requires you eat 75 percent of your calories from fat, compared to 20-35 percent normally. It also requires 5 percent of calories from carbohydrates, about 20-50 grams per day, and 15 percent of calories from protein. Kleinman said it takes about 72 hours for ketosis to kick in. Its really an all or nothing diet, Kleinman said.
People following the keto diet should be eating foods like fatty fish, eggs, dairy, meat, butter, oils, nuts, seeds and low-carb vegetables. Fat bombs like unsweetened chocolate or coconut oil can help people reach their daily goals for fat intake. Keto-compliant foods like red meats and nuts can be costly, Kleinman said. Keto-branded products like keto coffee and other supplemental products are also both costly and unnecessary.
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What Do You Eat
Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.
Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet like nuts , seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils , lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens , cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Is The Keto Diet Right For Me
While you may see some short-term results, like weight loss, Oikarinen recommended a more balanced approach for long-term weight loss.
All foods fit into a healthy diet, Oikarinen said. Moderation and finding ways to eat the foods you love without overeating is the key.
As always, talk to your provider or a dietitian if youre looking to change your diet.
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How To Approach The Keto Diet Safely
In recent years, keto has become a trendy diet for losing weight and managing some other health conditions. However, Barnard suggests that theres usually a better dietary approach than keto.
Carbohydrates arent bad. Grains and beans and fruits and vegetables should be the staples of our diets, he says, adding that plant-based diets can predictably lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Some followers of the keto diet have broken away from the traditionally limiting format in favor of a plant-based or vegan keto diet.
Liz MacDowell, a certified holistic nutrition consultant and author of Vegan Keto,runs the food blog Meat Free Keto. She practices what she calls a quasi-keto diet. Liz adds fruits, vegetables, and beans into her diet, which can be controversial in the keto world. Shes even received backlash for sharing a post on her Instagram about strawberries.
Consuming those micronutrients far outweighs whatever challenge your body now faces to maintain ketosis with those minimal extra grams of carbohydrates, MacDowell tells Verywell. Fruit is not the worst thing. It has sugar but it has so many other positive things in it, so many good phytochemicals and micronutrients.
For anyone looking to add morefreshproduce into their keto routine, Liz emphasizes one important thing: Dont stress.
We have enough stress so we dont need to be stressing about eating one carrot too many or one cherry tomato too many, she says.