A recent comprehensive analysis of the keto diet in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition finds it may not live up to all its popularity.
The review found that keto diets place certain groups, such as pregnant women and people with kidney disease, at risk of adverse health effects.
The review, “Ketogenic Diets and Chronic Disease: Weighing the Benefits Against the Risks” also found that for most people, the possible long-term risks of the keto diet outweigh its benefits.
Those long-term risks include heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The premise of the diet is to eat red and even processed meat but restrict carbohydrate-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. The diet is low in carbohydrates, modest in protein and high in fat.
The goal is to induce ketosis, or the production of ketone bodies that serve as an alternate energy source. It was originally found to be helpful in reducing seizures in individuals with epilepsy who were resistant to epilepsy medications.
Here are a few key findings of the article:
Keto diets may be unsafe for women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant because lower carbohydrate diets are linked to a higher risk of neural tube defects even when women supplement with folic acid.
Higher protein keto diets may promote kidney failure in people with kidney disease.
Keto diets are likely to raise “bad cholesterol” levels for many who go on the diet.
Restricting carbohydrates promotes consumption of cancer-causing foods as well as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The bottom line is a keto diet may help with weight loss in the short-term, but it’s no more effective than other diets that restrict calories.
If you want to lose weight, try a healthy, sustainable eating pattern such as the Mediterranean diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, exercise, socialization, red wine with food and occasional fish or red meat.
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