Every fad diet comes with “too good to be true” promises of quick weight loss and better health. One example is the keto diet, a new diet trend that has gained immediate popularity recently. Unlike other weight loss programs, the keto diet brings a new twist on weight loss by using the body’s fat-burning system to lose substantial weight and gain more energy in just about 10 days.
If you’re not familiar with this new diet trend, dieticians primarily use the ketogenic or “keto” diet to manage the symptoms of epilepsy among children. It involves an extremely low-carb diet to push the body into a state of ketosis, where it has to break down stored fat to generate more energy. While studies show that the diet’s effectiveness is very limited in treating weight gain and extreme obesity, many swore to it as it speeds up weight loss.
Despite the hype, the keto diet is frowned upon by the medical world because of its serious health implications. We cannot blame its advocates though, the continuous rise of obesity cases is always a huge concern, especially in the U.S. People have turned to extreme weight loss programs such as intermittent fasting, a plant-based diet, body contouring treatments, and fitness programs.
But if you’re keen on jumping on this new diet trend, you might want to know its health risks. Here are some complications or side effects you should watch out for when doing a long-term keto diet.
The keto diet promotes poor athletic performance
Some athletes follow the keto diet not only to lose weight but to improve athletic performance. They believe they get better and faster when they’re on a keto diet, but the amount of weight they lose remains uncertain. In a study by the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, experts found that participants perform poorly in high-intensity running and cycling after following the keto diet for four days than those who use a high-carb diet.
When the body is in a state of ketosis, the more likely it will become acidic, which limits the body’s ability to perform at high-intensity levels. Losing pounds is not enough reason to improve performance in sports, but it is also important to consider other factors as well.
Nutrition experts rank the keto diet as the worst diet for 2020
Each year, the US News & World Report publishes a year-end review of the best diet plans. Last 2020, experts rank the Mediterranean diet as the overall best diet with the keto diet ranking as the second-worst. Although the keto diet ranked high for short-term weight loss, experts believe it is very unsustainable. Physicians say that the keto diet impedes the brain’s electrical activity by limiting its access to glucose.
Unless you have problems managing your epilepsy, it is not reasonable to constrain brain activities because it only affects your ability to function. Aside from the brain, the keto diet can also affect our thyroid, liver, and heart.
Researchers are also concerned regarding the food restrictions of the keto diet. It restricts the consumption of some healthy foods, such as grains, yogurt, honey, juices, fruits (i.e., banana, mango, and cashew). Experts never found long-term studies on the impact of keto diet on our health. While keto diet is extremely beneficial for people with cancer, Alzheimer’s, and metabolic problems, its only real benefit is short-term weight loss. So if you want to lose weight and be healthy at the same time, you might as well look elsewhere.
It has no long-term health benefits
Since the keto diet has very strict food requirements, experts believe it is not a sustainable diet plan. Although the keto diet can make you lose weight in a short period, most people regain their weight once they include carbs on their diet again.
Although regaining weight is common for most fad diets, putting our body in a state of ketosis will push the body to gain weight at a faster rate. Because of the changes in weight fluctuations, the keto diet promotes unhealthy relationships with healthy foods and eating disorders, such as binge eating and portion control. People end up consulting a professional counselor or lifestyle coach to overcome food issues.
Keto diet also comes with adverse side effects to our body. During the first few days, people may experience flu-like symptoms, such as muscle cramps, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and dehydration. This is the part where the body loses plenty of sodium, water, and essential minerals, such as magnesium and potassium.
Other side effects may also include low blood sugar, constipation, smelly breath, sleep problems, irritability, and bone injury.
In reality, no diet is good for everyone. The keto diet might be an interesting alternative to promote weight loss, but you must also consider its implications to your overall health. So if you want to lose weight, it is best to consult a doctor or dietician and conduct research.