The keto diet has gained popularity as a low-carb eating plan that can help you lose weight quickly—but its effects on your health go beyond that.
A normal keto diet consists of 80 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and only 5% carbohydrate calories. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, just 100 of those calories come from carbohydrates, including good carbs like fruits and vegetables
When you eat like this, your body enters ketosis, which means it has burned through all of its carbs and must now rely on fat for energy.
True, sticking to a strict high-fat, low-carb diet will help you lose weight, but there may be some other keto diet negative effects you’re not aware of. Some are beneficial, while others may be unpleasant—or even hazardous.
Before you decide to attempt the keto diet for yourself, here’s what you should know about the risks.
You might catch the “Keto Fever”
The keto flu is a real condition. Cutting carbs to the bone and entering ketosis (a state in which your body uses fat for energy) can cause a slew of unpleasant side effects, including headaches, lethargy, muscular aches, nausea, and diarrhea. The adverse effects are a result of your body switching from carbs to fat as its primary source of energy.
You’ll start to feel better once it adjusts to the new fuel source (typically within a week or two).
According to Laura Iu, R.D., a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist certified intuitive eating counsellor based in New York City, you may not be getting enough carbohydrates to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate mood, as well as sleep and appetite—two other factors that can mess with your mood.
Change in Eating Pattern
This chemical builds up when we don’t get the carbohydrates our bodies need, which can amplify cravings and raise the likelihood of developing disordered eating patterns like binge eating, It has nothing to do with a lack of ‘will power,’ but rather with the body’s biochemical response to deprivation
Tendency to Regain Weight
Participants who ate keto dropped roughly 12 pounds in 25 days, according to an Italian study of nearly 20,000 obese people. Researchers point out that there aren’t many studies that look at whether the pounds will remain off in the long run. Most individuals find it difficult to stick to such a rigid diet, and if you go off track, the pounds will quickly pile back on.
Constipation is Common Occurrence
Low-carb eating programmers, such as the ketogenic diet, are known to cause constipation, severely reducing your carb intake means saying goodbye to high-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, and a big proportion of fruits and vegetables.
When you add in the fact that your body is excreting more water, you’ve got a recipe for clogged pipes. Fiber from keto-friendly foods like avocado, nuts, and small servings of non-starchy veggies and berries might help keep things going. Increasing your water consumption can also assist.
Diarrhea is also Expected
When we consume fat-containing foods, our liver produces bile into the digestive tract to aid in the breakdown of the fat. Following a high-fat diet like keto requires the liver to produce more bile—and because bile is a natural laxative, too much of it can soften stool and speed up its passage through your system, resulting in diarrhea.
When your body enters ketosis, it produces ketones, which are waste products. This contains acetone, which is the same chemical found in nail polish remover and which your body produces naturally. Exhaling is one of the ways ketones are expelled from the body, and the breath usually has a particular odor that is separate from the common bad breath experienced when there is a buildup of bacteria in the mouth
Don’t be shocked if you become dehydrated while on the keto diet. Because excreting all that additional water will most likely make you thirsty, make it a point to drink plenty. On a keto diet, there are no hard and fast rules about how much water you should drink. However, attempt to drink enough water so that your urine is clear or pale yellow in color. Increase your intake if it gets any darker.
Hunger might Disappear
When you lose weight, you usually feel hungrier and have to fight more cravings, but this doesn’t always seem to be the case when you go keto. Following a ketogenic diet, people report feeling less hungry and having less of a desire to eat. Experts aren’t sure why, but very low-carb diets are thought to limit the synthesis of hunger hormones like ghrelin.
Glowing Clear Skin
On the keto diet, you may notice a difference in your skin, especially if you were previously addicted to sugar. Consuming a lot of empty carbs has been related to worsening acne, in part because these foods create inflammation and activate the release of hormones that increase the production of pore-clogging oils. Reducing your carb intake could help address these issues and improve your complexion.
It’s no secret that carbs spike and dip your blood sugar, especially processed carbs like sugary cereals, white bread and pasta, and sweet drinks. As a result, it’s understandable that consuming fewer of them can help keep things in check. This can translate to more consistent energy, less brain fog, and less sweet cravings in healthy people.
Helpful in Diabetes
If you have diabetes, better blood sugar control could help you lower your A1C levels—a measure of glucose in the blood—and possibly even lessen your insulin needs. (However, don’t stop taking your medications without first consulting your doctor
One key caveat: Eating keto increases your risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening illness in which fat is broken down too quickly and blood becomes acidic.It’s considerably more prevalent in persons with type 1 diabetes, but if you have type 2 diabetes and are eating keto, talk to your doctor about what you should do to reduce your risk.
Stress on Kidneys
Protein is metabolized by the kidneys, and ingesting too much of the food may have a deleterious impact on renal function. Despite the fact that ketogenic diets are supposed to be considerably higher in fat than protein, many keto eaters make the error of eating a lot of meat. You can end yourself consuming far more protein than you require.
Here’s the catch: there’s no definitive answer for how much protein you should consume before becoming ill. it really relies on how much protein a person consumes vs how much they require, as well as the condition of their kidneys at baseline, That’s why seeing a nutritionist or doctor before going keto can help you customize your diet.
A low-carbohydrate diet has been related to decreased rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as better HDL cholesterol, all of which can lead to a lower risk of heart disease.
However, what you consume may have an impact on your heart health.
Low-carb diets focused primarily on plant sources of fat and protein (such as avocados or almonds) can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. People who ate predominantly animal-based proteins and lipids, however, did not reap the same benefits.
Overconsumption of saturated fat, which is simple to do on a keto diet if you eat a lot of meat, butter, and cheese, can increase your risk of heart disease. If you’re on a ketogenic diet. Your cholesterol levels and heart health should be checked by a doctor on a regular basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the keto diet safe long term?
The ketogenic diet will be investigated as a weight-loss therapy in a future study. The drawbacks: While the research is fascinating, there is little proof that this style of eating is useful — or safe — for anything other than epilepsy in the long run.
How long do keto side effects last?
Keto-adaption may cause some ‘brain fog,’ but this will pass once the body has fully adapted, and some people will notice that they are sharper at this stage. Keto-adaptation is thought to take about four weeks on average; however the adverse effects usually go away sooner.
Keto diet as every diet has ups and down sides to it. You must thoroughly research the effects of this diet on your body in particular before jumping into it. If keto diet suits you overall go for it but if its side effects are more than its benefits do not go for it. Choose carefully.