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Keto Diet: A Recent Paper on Why the Risks May Outweigh the Benefits

by Marianne Navada
Keto diet harmful

A recent paper analyzing the weight-loss and health benefits of the keto diet concludes that “given often-temporary improvements, unfavorable effects on dietary intake, and inadequate data demonstrating long-term safety, for most individuals, the risks of ketogenic diets may outweigh the benefits.” 

The researchers analyze various studies of the keto diet, from weight-loss to treating diseases. The paper breaks down the effects of the diet on specific conditions, such as Alzheimers, kidney health, epilepsy, to name a few.

Keto Diet: FAQ

Missing Vitamins and Nutrients 

As a consequences of restricting carbohydrate-intake, people who follow the keto diet end up curtailing “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes”. As a result, the diet usually lacks fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins (A, E, B6, and K) and other nutrients. 

A low-carb and high-fat diet increases the consumption of animal products and foods that are usually high in saturated fat and cholesterol. 

On Weight-Loss 

Studies show initial weight-loss. However, “low-carbohydrate diets appear no more effective than other diets.”

Although studies show that it can control appetite, “low-fat, plant-based diets may control appetite better than ketogenic diets.”

On Cancer 

Currently, studies on the subject have a limited sample size, lack of long-term studies, and lack of “consistent survival benefit”. However, “food components typical of ketogenic diet, such as red and processed meats, are linked to increase cancer risk. Moreover, the diet by its nature restricts whole grains, fruits, and certain vegetables. Studies link these foods to “lower risk of both cancer and all-cause mortality”.

The authors conclude that “ketogenetic diets have low long-term tolerability, and are not sustainable for many individuals.”

“Current evidence suggests that for most individuals, the risk of such diets outweigh the benefits.” 

About Ketogenetic Diet

What Is the Keto Diet? 

The term “ketogenic diet” generally refers to a diet low in carbohydrate, modest in protein, and high in fat.

How Does It Work?

The diet aims to “induce ketosis”, a process in which the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. As a result, the body instead burns fat. This process produces ketone, which the body uses for energy. 

Dietary Guidelines

Typically, a keto diet follows the 4:1 or 3:1 weight ratio of dietary fat: protein and carbohydrates. The diet is generally medically supervised and started in the 1920s to treat epilepsy.

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