Keto Diet: 5 Risks You Should be Aware of

The Keto diet or ketogenic diet is a specific method, or system of eating. In Europe, and America this diet has become very fashionable over recent years with the aim of losing weight. However, this diet actually originates from the beginning of last century, when it was designed to treat diseases such as epilepsy. With all the talk still ongoing about this diet, had you contemplated it? Before you make your decision, check out Keto Diet: 5 Risks You Should be Aware of!

How does the Keto Diet Work?

The main operating principle behind the keto diet is based on reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed, the cells cannot use these as fuel, and, therefore, the metabolism is forced to use fats for energy. The use of fatty acids causes ketone compounds to develop, which are an alternative energy source to hydrates.

In order to obtain the same amount of energy that you would obtain from carbohydrates, a large amount of fats are needed, therefore, it is said to help with weight loss.

Which Foods would I Eat on this Diet?

In order to follow this diet, it is necessary that:

Carbohydrate Intake be Low

Consumption is limited to 10%, avoiding foods such as: cereals, legumes, almost all fruits (except avocado and coconut, some red fruits, lemon, lime and olives), tubers (such as potato), as well as vegetables (except some types of cruciferous, green leafy ones like broccoli, sprouts).

Fats are the Main Component of the Diet

60-70% of the total caloric intake must be made up of fats, with a high proportion of foods coming from animal and vegetable origin (nuts, butters, oils, seeds etc).
It is necessary to point out that alcohol is totally prohibited on the keto diet.

Protein Intake be Moderate

Proteins should make up for 20-30% of the total calorie or energy intake. The foods permitted include those of animal origin: meat, eggs, fish, seafood, dairy. However, plant-based foods such as tempeh, miso, tofu etc can also be used.

Risks of a Ketogenic Diet

1. Ketoacidosis

When the accumulation of ketone bodies occurs, there is a decrease in the pH of the blood, and when this is prolonged over time, it can affect the free flow transport of oxygen in the body.

2. Constipation

By removing the fibre provided by legumes, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

3. Lack of Vitamins, Minerals & other Nutrients

As this diet is not a very varied and balanced one, there is a distinct lack of consumption of fruits and vegetables. This can lead to a deficit of micronutrients therefore, if prolonged over time it would be necessary to resort to supplementation.

4. Bad Breath

Due to the development of ketone bodies.

5. Greater Chance of Getting Sick in the Long Term

Many studies show that following this diet can lead to heart disease, various types of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

In summary, the ketogenic diet was originally designed to treat specific diseases such as refractory epilepsy or rare metabolic diseases. In and of itself, it is not the most balanced diet for weight loss, and if followed, is better suited to the short term, rather than being a ‘permanent diet’.

Have you tried the keto diet? Perhaps you’re on it now? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Maria Sanchez

María Sánchez from Spain, is a Dietitian and Nutritionist. She loves her career, being able to help and teach others, including sharing her knowledge and experience through the writing and publishing of nutrition articles. She believes that nutrition is a very important science in life, and that the correct type of diet can help prevent diseases for which we simply don't have effective cures. Her mission is to educate people on healthy eating to achieve optimum well-being.

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