It seems like every couple of years a different diet fad takes the world by storm, often touting weight loss and/or a host of health benefits, and the ketogenic “keto” diet is no exception. This latest diet trend has produced quite the buzz in recent years for its potential weight loss benefits, but the verdict seems mixed on just how healthy this diet may be.
The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. This includes eating foods such as meats, cheeses, eggs, fish, and oils, and avoiding foods such as breads, fruits, starchy vegetables, and sugars. Carbohydrates provide our bodies with glucose that gives us energy. By consuming less carbohydrates, our bodies are forced to turn to fats as a source of energy, placing our body in a state of “ketosis.”
While the keto diet has only recently made headlines, it has actually been used for nearly a century as a sort of last medical resort for treating individuals with epilepsy, particularly children. However, while beneficial for these individuals, it may not necessarily benefit those with other health conditions. Further, it is still unknown what the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet are.
In an interview with Plant Based News, Dr. Kim Williams, former President of the American College of Cardiology, claimed that, while it may offer short-term weight loss, the keto diet offers limited health benefits. Furthermore, in a recent study by Seidelmann et al. (2018), researchers found that low-carbohydrate diets that relied on animal proteins and fats were associated with greater risk of death. As Dr. Marcelo Campos, lecturer at Harvard Medical School, describes, the keto diet can include heavy red meat and unhealthy foods that are fatty and processed. Further, the keto diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies given its high-fat diet. Ultimately, Dr. Campos suggests that individuals engage in long-term, sustainable change, consuming a balanced, unprocessed diet as opposed to a short-term diet like the keto diet.
What are your thoughts on the keto diet? Let us know in the comments below!
Belluz, Julia. (2018, June 13). The keto diet, explained. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/2/21/16965122/keto-diet-reset
Campos, Marcelo. (2017, July 27). Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089
Chiorando, Maria. (2018, August 24). ‘No One Should Be Doing Keto Diet’ Says Leading Cardiologist. Retrieved from https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/no-one-should-be-doing-keto-diet-leading-cardiologist
Epilepsy Society. (2016, March). Ketogenic Diet. Retrieved from https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/ketogenic-diet
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. (N.d.). Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/
Seidelmann, S. B., Claggett, B., Cheng, S., Henglin, M., Shah, A., Steffen, L. M., … & Solomon, S. D. (2018). Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health.
WebMD. (2017, February 1). What’s a Ketogenic Diet? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-ketogenic-diet