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  • Writer's pictureRani

A Deep Dive into Keto's Risks and Concerns

Starting a new diet should be a thoughtful decision based on research and truth. Social media bombards us with conflicting dietary advice, making it crucial to approach fad diets cautiously due to potential risks. Trying a diet without careful consideration may lead to unintended harm, requiring considerable recovery time. The aim is to provide reliable insights for those seeking clarity in their dietary choices.

If you're considering trying keto, this post is a must-read to make informed decisions about your health and well-being. In a world saturated with diet advice on social media, resist the temptation to follow trends blindly. Before delving into the ketogenic diet, understand its potential risks and assess if it aligns with your needs. This post will delve into the darker aspects of keto, covering its impact on breast cancer, nutrient deficiencies, gut health, cardiovascular risks, and bone health.

Is Just Trying It Harmless?

The prevailing notion is that trying out a diet like keto won't hurt – if you don't like it, stop, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. The ketogenic diet involves high animal fat consumption, and the repercussions can be severe, as we'll delve into.

Breast Cancer and Keto: A Dangerous Duo

Research indicates a potential link between high animal fat intake, common in the ketogenic diet, and an increased risk of mortality among breast cancer survivors and potentially play a role in its development in the first place through oxidative stress, hormone disruption, or inflammation. Saturated fat, a staple in keto, may even elevate the risk of dying from breast cancer by 50%. Official guidelines for breast cancer survivors advocate a diet opposite to keto, emphasizing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes while being low in saturated fats.

Moreover, the shift from glucose to ketones as the brain's preferred fuel, observed as far back as 1967, has implications for cancer. Ketones have been found to fuel the growth of human breast cancer and drive metastases, doubling tumour growth.

Nutrient Deficiencies: A Silent Consequence of Keto

One significant concern with ketogenic diets is the risk of nutrient deficiencies (1). Studies have shown inadequate intake of 17 micronutrients—vitamins and minerals—with some assessments estimating that meeting daily nutrient requirements on keto would necessitate consuming over 37,000 calories daily (1,2). This nutritional vacuity is especially alarming in children, with reported cases of scurvy and even death from selenium deficiency (3,4).

Gut Health on the Line: Microbial Consequences

Keto diets, notorious for causing constipation, also impact our gut microbiome (5). The reduction in richness and diversity of gut flora can occur within 24 hours of adopting a high-fat, low-fiber diet (6). This shift in the microbiome composition can lead to various negative consequences, including weight gain, increased leaky gut, and pro-inflammatory changes (7).

Cardiovascular Risks: Beyond Weight Loss

Contrary to expectations, low-carb diets, especially those rich in animal-based fats, have been associated with higher all-cause mortality and increased risks of cardiovascular diseases (8,9). Cholesterol, a key player in heart health, responds differently to keto diets, with impaired artery function noted within three hours of consuming a high-saturated fat meal (10).

Even with a dozen pounds of weight loss, artery function worsens on a ketogenic diet instead of getting better—which appears to be the case with low-carb diets in general (11).

Bone Health and the Keto Quandary

For children placed on ketogenic diets, bone health is a serious concern. Growth stunting, kidney stones, and bone fractures are common side effects (12,13,14). The acidic nature of ketones is implicated in a steady rate of bone loss, posing additional risks to overall skeletal health.

A Grim Reality: The Pancreatitis Incident

Highlighting the gravity of potential consequences, a nine-year-old girl experienced a cascade of health issues on keto, including osteoporosis, bone fractures, kidney stones, and pancreatitis, leading to her tragic demise (15). Pancreatitis, triggered by excess fat in the blood, underscores the critical need for caution and informed decision-making.

Therefore, the decision to place children on keto diets is carefully weighed against the potential risks. It is a thoughtful consideration and a medical decision, not a spontaneous choice.

In the face of alluring diet trends and conflicting advice, the key is to make informed choices about what's right for your body. The ketogenic diet, while holding promises for some, carries substantial risks that cannot be overlooked. Before embarking on any dietary journey, consult with healthcare professionals, consider individual health needs, and be wary of potential pitfalls lurking behind the seemingly enticing promises of quick fixes. Your health is a lifelong journey; make choices and ensure sustainability and well-being.

Key Considerations: Keep in mind that the keto diet should only be pursued under medical supervision for specific conditions like epilepsy. It was never intended as a fad or a universally healthy diet. Please consider consulting your nutritionist. health care professionals and doctors before starting any extreme diets.




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