By now, you’ve probably heard at least one friend gush about the wondrous effects of a ketogenic (keto) diet. You might have even tried it yourself, hoping to find a miracle diet for weight loss. But if something felt off as you filled up on bacon and said “no” to vegetables, you’re instincts are right.
Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of information that keto proponents leave out when they’re trying to convince you of its powers, including the fact that following the keto diet can cause long-term adverse health effects, including damaging your organs.
In this article, we’ll explain why you should just say “no” to keto and what options you should try instead to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
What is Keto?
The keto diet includes eating high amounts of animal fats, including cheese, butter, and bacon, and limited amounts of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and beans. Animal fats replace carbohydrates, and the reduction of carbs is supposed to put your body into a state called “ketosis.”
A strict keto diet involves reducing carbs to only 5 – 10 percent of calories and upping your fat intake to 70 – 80 percent. Proponents argue that your body starts burning fat more efficiently during ketosis, resulting in rapid weight loss.
Health Issues Related to Keto
Filling your diet with bacon and cheese might sound good in theory. But there are many issues with adding so much fat to your diet and reducing your overall carbohydrate, including good carbs that come from natural sources like fruits and vegetables.
Erika Wong, MS, RD at California Health & Longevity Institute, explains that “People who follow keto diets long-term may be at a higher risk for nutrient deficiencies (due to the lack of fruits and vegetables), constipation (due to the lack of fiber), liver problems (from consuming such a high-fat diet), bone problems (due to the lack of calcium-containing foods) and heart problems (due to the high amount of animal fat).”
Adding to Wong’s concerns is the recent discovery by scientists that the ketones released during ketosis may cause significant damage to the heart. The researchers discovered a correlation between an increased risk of heart disease and a keto diet. This may be because people often replace healthy carbohydrates with unhealthy fats, resulting in scarring of the heart tissue when their body is in a state of ketosis.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthier. However, replacing healthy foods with animal-based products loaded with fats can cause more damage than good. It’s better to focus on eating a well-balanced diet that includes a balance of healthy fats, healthy carbs, and protein from lean, organic sources.
Find Your Perfect Balance at CHLI
At the California Health & Longevity Institute, we understand that eating healthy can feel complicated and overwhelming. Our nutritionists are available to help you identify which foods will best fuel your body and help you reach your health and wellness goals.
Get started by scheduling a private consultation with a registered dietician today.