#Health and Hygiene

5 Major Side Effects of Keto Diet

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The ketogenic diet has been gaining a lot of prominence in the recent years. The diet which was originally meant for epilepsy patients now holds a lot of expectations for people at large. From causing weight loss, to remedying infertility, the keto diet has a list of advantages that might be too good to be true. In addition to that, there are many major side effects associated with this diet. The diet is associated with subjecting your body to a state of ketosis by consuming a low-carb, high-fat diet. This means that the body is forced to metabolise fats in place of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the amount of ketone bodies in the body. According to a review published in August 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the keto diet decreases the amount of carbohydrates in your diet to less than 50 grams per day. 

Many health journals claim that the keto diet is quite controversial, and isn’t easy to follow. According to a review published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology, only 45 per cent of the participants were able to adhere to the diet. In addition to this, the diet has its own set of risks which everyone should be aware of.

Here’s a list of side effects you ought to know before going for a ketogenic diet.

1. Causes What Is Known As ‘Keto Flu’ 

When you switch over to a keto diet, you will experience the onset of a keto flu. The body starts reacting while it is adapting to the low carbohydrate content. Your body burns carbohydrates to produce glucose, but it is suddenly forced to switch gears by burning ketones instead. You might experience symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, headache, constipation, nausea, etc. This might last for about a week or three-four weeks in some cases. 

2. Keto Diet Can Cause Dehydration, Thereby Affecting The Kidneys 

A keto diet causes loss of water as glucose isn’t produced within the body. The burning of glucose itself releases water, but the same doesn’t happen when ketone bodies are used as fuel. As a result the kidneys start developing kidney stones and gout. Following a keto diet usually involves a lot of consumption of meat and processed meats which tend to increase the acidity if the urine. Such a diet also leads to increase in calcium and uric acid levels that are suitable for kidney stone formation. Also, electrolytes like sodium, potassium have the potential to cause irregularities in the heartbeat too. 

3. Plummets Blood Sugar Levels 

Carbohydrates help in balancing out blood sugar levels in the body, but the same doesn’t happen in the case of a keto diet. Dietician Angie Asche, RD, says she is “hesitant to recommend a ketogenic diet for individuals with type 1 diabetes.” This also applies for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is because very low amounts of sugar levels or hypoglycemia can be quite dangerous for people suffering from diabetes. If a diabetic patient follows a keto diet, they might have to quit eating certain foods that might actually cure diabetes. 

4. Makes The Body Prone To Nutritional Deficiencies 

A pure ketogenic diet is almost devoid of whole grains, low-carb vegetables and sugary fruits. In a bid to avoid carbohydrates, a person tends to miss out on fibre, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that come alongwith these foods. This in turn might weaken the body’s general functioning and might lead to other complications related to nutrient deficiencies. 

5. Muscles Loss Might Occur 

Muscle loss is something which is still being explored by researchers and no conclusive results have come up as yet. However, scientists feel that proteins alone are sufficient for building up muscles. Carbohydrates too are needed for the this function. In leading to fat loss, a keto diet might also be pivotal in leading to muscle loss. Moreover, muscles are some of the most important parts of the body that are mostly in the active state. Most of the energy is provided via breakdown of carbohydrates, so a keto diet might weaken muscle functioning. 

Pic Credit: eatright.org. This article combines publicly available info on keto. It’s not independently verified by a doctor. 

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