Like most fad diets, the ketogenic diet, more commonly called “keto,” promises quick weight loss results. Those who promote the diet say it works because seriously cutting back on carbohydrates (the body’s primary source of fuel) puts the body will go into a state of ketosis, in which the body must burn fat instead of carbs for energy. The body is forced into ketosis because the body must begin to break down fat to use energy, instead. Some experts say the diet helps people feel full despite having fewer calories, making it easier to adhere to. However, there are noted drawbacks.
Whether ketosis is harmful is still up for debate, but clinical reviews have down that many significantly overweight individuals on low-carb diets regain some or all of the weight they had lost within a year.
The Potential Side Effects of a Keto Diet
While proponents of the diet cite promising animal studies suggesting keto may have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-fighting benefits, as a weight loss plan it is more controversial. “Going keto” is not a sustainable diet for the vast majority of people, especially for those who do not require a severely carb-restricted diet. Some of the unforeseen side effects and health risks of the keto diet stem from people going overboard with restricting carbs.
Five noteworthy potential side effects of the keto diet include:
- The keto “flu”: Some people report significant gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, fatigue, and lethargy. Some experts estimate about 25% of people who try the keto diet develop these symptoms, especially fatigue. This is said to happen because the body is switching gears from burning carbs to burning fat as its energy source.
- Diarrhea: This could be due to the gallbladder being overloaded with breaking down the dietary fat consumed in a keto diet. It can also be caused by a fiber-deficient diet. It can also be caused by lactose intolerance, if you are consuming dairy.
- Reduced athletic performance: A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that participants on the keto diet performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks compared to another group of individuals who spend four days on a high-carb diet. This may be caused by the body being in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis.
- Decreased metabolism: If you’re shedding pounds successfully on the keto diet, it could actually be muscle mass that you’re losing. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fact, which can affect your metabolism.
- Regaining lost weight: One of the reasons the keto diet is so difficult to sustain is because it is very restrictive. You can forget about eating pizza, pasta, cereal, or sandwiches or drinking beer on the keto diet, and that alone can be maddening in the long-term. Many people, as soon as they give up on cutting out carbs, regain a lot of the weight they lost, if not all. Back-and-forth weight fluctuations can also lead to eating disorders, or worsen an already unhealthy relationship with food.
Before starting any diet, you should consult your doctor to ensure you are a good candidate for it. This is particularly true if you have any chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.
Ready to start talking weight loss? Contact us at Soza Weight Loss today by calling (504) 475-9817 to speak to schedule your appointment with a member of our team.