Thinking of embracing the keto diet in 2020? Read these 5 downsides first

Updated on:31 December 2019, 12:35pm IST
You might be fascinated by the weight loss stories of people on keto, but it’s not all hunky dory! Check out the five downsides of keto diet.
Team Health Shots
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Keto diet isn’t what your body really wants!. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

The ever-famous ketogenic diet was primarily designed for people with epilepsy. However, the diet has caught the fancy of millions worldwide with celebrities like  Halle Berry vouching for its efficiency in weight loss.

For the unversed, ketogenic diet refers to a high-fat, low-carb diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body starts breaking down fat to use as energy.

A new survey conducted by domestic health and fitness app HealthifyMe has now revealed that the high-fat and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet was one of the most popular dieting trends with Indians in 2019.

While it may have gained momentum over time, it also comes with a whole lot of downsides. Here are five disadvantages of keto diet you can’t afford to ignore: 

1. The keto flu
According to Harvard Medical School’s blog, while several people have decided to opt for the ketogenic diet for weight loss, one of the most well-known complications derived it is the keto flu.

According to the researchers at Harvard, keto flu refers to a group of symptoms that may appear two to seven days after embarking on the diet and may be characterised by headache, foggy brain, fatigue, irritability, nausea, sleeping difficulty, and constipation.

Keto diet can also mess with your sleep cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

However, not much is known about the causes of the symptoms and why keto diet leads to them. The blog, however, adds that you should drink a lot of water during this period as the diet can make you feel severely dehydrated.

Also, read: Can the low-carb keto diet give you great skin? Here’s the real truth

2. Keto lacks fibre
Popular diets like keto and Atkins, amongst others show a decrease in fibre consumption. The fibre in food travels through the body and provides fodder for gut bacteria, which produces short-chain fatty acids that nourish colon cells and have anti-inflammatory properties.

The short-chain fatty acids improve blood glucose regulation in people with diabetes, a study, published in March 2018 in the journal Science, has pointed out.

Also, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, soluble fibres help control blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

A review, published in the journal BMJ, pointed out that those eating 10 grams of fibre daily have a 10% lower risk of colorectal cancer. Since keto lacks fibre, it may, in turn, facilitate the condition.

keto diet for skin
It’s important to keep up with adequate fibre intake. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

3. Keto reduces athletic performance
If you are an athletic person and feel that keto might help you fare better in intense games and physical activities, think again!

A study, first published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in 2018, found that short-term ketogenic diets reduced exercise performance in activities that are heavily dependent on anaerobic energy systems.

4. Ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA is a dangerous problem affecting people with diabetes. It causes fat to break down at an extremely fast rate in the human body. The liver processes the fat into fuel called ketones that in turn cause the blood to become acidic.

A study, published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, found that ketogenic diets like low-carbohydrate, high-fat may induce ketoacidosis. The study also added that lactation might further aggravate the condition and can also trigger ketoacidosis.

5. Keto increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular conditions
A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress by researchers from the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, found that individuals on the lowest-carbohydrate diet (like the ketogenic diet) had the highest risk of overall cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and cancer mortality.

So, make an informed decision before getting on to any weight loss diet.

Also, read: Intermittent fasting was the most Googled diet in 2019. Here’s how it won the 2010s

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We are a varied group of Health Shots writers, bringing you the healthiest scoop on wellness in town.