As we discussed on the previous post, any step away from the Standard American Diet is a step in the right direction. But, if an individual wants to transition to a healthier way of eating, is ketogenic diet the answer? Because our goal should not be to find a diet which can deliver quick weight loss, especially if that weight loss is only for a few months or even several months. Our objective should be long term health and wellness.
A diet as restrictive as the ketogenic diet, which severely limits an essential macronutrient(carbohydrates), is not a sustainable diet. Sooner or later, individuals return to their old habits and diet, and regain the weight. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/keto-diet/reviews
Moreover, there are no studies on pubmed which can show long term efficacy and safety of this diet. Studies have shown that low carb/high fat diet such as a ketogenic diet may be superior in weight loss than a traditional low fat high carb diet at 6 months but at one year, there’s no significant difference in weight loss. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12761365
Long term data about ketogenic diet currently available is primarily from children with epilepsy. The ill effects of this diet in the long term include constipation and other GI disturbances, dyslipidemia, acidosis, stunted growth, and kidney stones. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515147/
The above should not come as a surprise, because we have plenty of data which shows diet high in animal products can make our blood more acidic, which can leach calcium from bones, resulting in osteoporosis and also increase formation of kidney stones. Other ill effects reported in children include pancreatitis, rhythm disturbances in the heart, cardiomyopathy and even sudden death. https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/elsevier/sudden-cardiac-death-in-association-with-the-ketogenic-diet-WK63iPSt2S
Also, the long term effects of eating a diet high in saturated fat and cardiovascular disease has been clearly established. Recent studies funded by the meat and dairy industry have raised questions regarding this association. However, most studies and authorities clearly state replacing saturated fat in the diet with polyunsaturated fat reduces the risk of heart disease. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
And if you considerably reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet, you can even reverse heart disease. Additionally, diets high in animal products and saturated fat lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Recall, this can progress to cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5575379/
Ketogenic diet is particularly dangerous for individuals with Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and individuals prone to developing Type 2 diabetes. Diets high in saturated fat, such as the ketogenic diet interfere with the mechanism by which Insulin escorts glucose molecules from the blood into muscle cells. https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/11/22/how-a-low-carb-diet-is-metabolically-like-being-obese/
So, in the short run diabetics may have very good control of their blood sugar with this diet, but over the long run, this diet is making them more resistant to Insulin, and worsening their diabetes.
After reviewing the literature, for those wishing to improve their health and wellness, it is our conclusion that ketogenic diet is not the answer. And, ours is not a minority opinion. Recent article from US News ranked ketogenic diet dead last in its evaluation of best diets of 2018. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overallLeave a reply