Is the ketogenic diet is healthy? First, I want you to understand what the ketogenic diet is. It is basically a very low carbohydrate, fat based diet. Usually about five percent (5%) of your calories coming from carbs, twenty percent (20%) from protein, and seventy-five percent (75%) from fat. The idea is that you are going to get your energy from fats.
It takes a lot of energy for your cells to actually use fat as an energy source. And, because it it takes so much more energy and so much more cellular resources, fat energy is very wasteful. You get more toxins from it. And that causes you to go into something called ketoacidosis which you can measure by checking ketones in your urine, using a urine dipstick. That is how you measure whether or not you are burning fat.
Beware the Keto Flu
The problem is it can be a little bit toxic, so there are side effects to the ketogenic diet. The number one issue with the ketogenic diet is what is called the keto flu. You feel fatigued, weak, you have muscle aches, that’s because of the toxins and the electrolyte imbalances that occur when you are burning fat. It can be caused by dehydration as well, as a lot of water weight is lost right away.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
The number two issue with a ketogenic diet is possible severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The majority of your vitamin and minerals come from vegetables and fruits. Now, you do get fat soluble vitamins from meats and fats but you may have water soluble vitamin deficiencies and mineral deficiencies. Mineral deficiencies cause the most issues – including kidney stones.
You can also develop some bone loss as your body is robbing from your bones it’s composite calcium, phosphorus, and boron. Your body needs many different minerals in order to fuel resources within the cells. It is really important if you do follow a ketogenic diet to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement because you are not going to be getting enough minerals and vitamins from that diet. The ketogenic diet is really a short-term diet, it is not a long-term life plan.
Number three, and this is a big issue for a lot of people, gastrointestinal distress from the ketogenic diet. You get fiber from fruits and vegetables. In the keto diet you’re limiting your carbohydrates to five percent (5%) of your diet, so you are not going to be eating enough fruits and vegetables to get enough fiber. You are going to have to take some kind of fiber supplement, like psyllium or a soluble fiber like oat bran, or flax seeds, to prevent constipation.
You may also notice some maldigestion. We are really not meant to eat that much fat, so the pancreas is not setup to make enough lipase, which is fat dissolving pancreatic enzymes. It takes awhile for your pancreas to make enough lipase to try to break down that fat, so the fat just kind of sits there causing quite a bit of maldigestion. You can also get some malabsorption. It takes awhile for your body to get used to a ketogenic diet.
And, if you have had your gallbladder removed, it is not a good idea for you to go on a ketogenic diet. It will be very difficult for you to produce enough bile acids to break up that fat. Without enough bile, pancreatic enzymes cannot break up dietary fat.
I see the ketogenic diet as really a very short-term weight loss program. It’s only meant for people who can handle that high fat load. In conventional medicine, the ketogenic diet is only recommended for children with severe epilepsy. It does help mitigate the seizures by putting these children on super high fat diets.
Try the Insulin Resistant Diet for Long Term Dietary Needs
For weight loss, I think a much healthier diet would be my insulin resistant diet, which is more of a thirty percent (30%) fat, thirty percent (30%) protein, and forty percent (40%) carbohydrate. It allows your body to get the vitamins and minerals that you need from vegetables, as well as some fruits, and get enough fiber so that your bowels are functioning normally. If you’d like access to my insulin resistant diet or need more help understanding how your diet affects your hormones, please sign up for May free Harmony Reboot Training.
Research Reference: Postprandial Hyperglycemia Stimulates Neuroglial Plasticity in Hypothalamic POMC Neurons after a Balanced Meal. Analysis of Western diet, palmitate and BMAL1 regulation of neuropeptide Y expression in the murine hypothalamus and BMAL1 knockout cell models, Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain, Exercise protects against high-fat diet-induced hypothalamic inflammation
*Statements not reviewed by the FDA.