Debunking keto

Aug 14, 2020

 by Jeff Greer

New research presented by the American College of Cardiology has linked low-carb diets to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib).

The study compared the medical records of almost 14,000 people over 20 years and found that people who get a low percentage of their daily calories from grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables are significantly more at risk of developing AFib.


This condition causes the heart to beat irregularly and puts sufferers at five times the typical risk of stroke and heart attack.

Does your heart rate seem higher than it should be? Or are you working in a lower heart rate zone but your heart rate is higher than it should be? Do you notice that you just dont seem to be as strong as you may have been before keto?

Critics say the keto-type diets usually work only in the short term and can be unhealthy.

For starters, most of the lost weight is water weight, according to Lisa Cimperman, R.D.N., a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Once your body enters ketosis, you also begin to lose muscle, become extremely fatigued, and eventually enter starvation mode. Then it actually becomes even harder to lose weight,” said Cimperman.

One of the central premises of the ketogenic diet is that switching the body's main energy source from carbohydrates to fat is a positive change. In reality, however, this benefit may depend on how active you are.

Biologically, the body prefers to burn carbohydrate for fuel and store fat, especially during periods of physical activity. This is because it spends less energy burning carbs for fuel than it does burning fat," registered dietician Rachel Fine.

If you're supplying the body with inadequate amounts of carbohydrates, physical performance and exercise ability can suffer as the body struggles to maintain energy needs while breaking down fat, explained Fine. This can make you feel sluggish during workouts and can mean the keto diet isn't a good long-term fit.

People with gallbladder problems should avoid eating high amounts of fat for long periods of time.

The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, which is made by the liver. Bile is essential for fat metabolism. A high-fat diet can aggravate existing gallbladder disease (GBD) and may increase a person's risk of developing GBD.

"Especially if your gallbladder has been surgically removed, you may have trouble digesting all the fat you eat on the keto diet. Weight gain, bloating, and other digestive discomforts would be the first signs you would notice with this," said Gittleman.

The symptoms of a poorly functioning gallbladder might not be evident until you increase your fat consumption. If you notice digestive problems after limiting carbs and increasing fat intake, it might be a sign that the keto diet isn't a good fit for you long-term.

Being keto long-term will lead to vitamin deficiencies and adequate Supplementation will be needed.

Whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits like bananas and oranges are rich in B and C vitamins but can be high in carbs. Lower carb, vitamin-rich options include Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, raspberries, and blueberries. If you're determined to stay on the keto diet long-term, you may also want to use vitamin supplements to make sure you're getting everything you need to stay healthy.


A long-term keto diet can have a negative impact on your gut and digestion

Many nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods such as quinoa, beans, lentils, fruit, brown rice, and sweet potatoes are not permitted on a keto diet due to their higher carbohydrate content. For many people, excluding foods higher in fiber can lead to digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea.

Additionally, restricting higher-carb foods like starchy vegetables and whole grains may not promote good gut health.

"Many of the plant-based foods limited on the keto diet are good sources of prebiotic fibers. Prebiotics feed our probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in our gut. This is essential for the health of our microbiome, which has been shown to be heavily involved in supporting our immune system and reducing inflammation," registered dietician Melissa Mitri.


Other experts interviewed had stronger words of caution.

Keto diets should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods,” Francine Blinten, R.D., a certified clinical nutritionist and public health consultant in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, told Healthline. “They have worked successfully on some cancer patients in conjunction with chemotherapy to shrink tumors and to reduce seizures among people suffering from epilepsy.”


In the general population, Blinten said a keto diet should only be considered in extreme cases.“It can do more harm than good. It can damage the heart, which is also a muscle,” she explained.


Anyone with type 2 diabetes can benefit from weight loss and a reduced-carb diet because it will improve insulin sensitivity, Cimperman explained.

“But there are many other ways to do it besides a fad diet that won’t keep weight off long-term,” she said.


Blinten, who has used a keto diet for some cancer patients in specific circumstances, cautioned, “people will do anything to get the weight off.” However, a keto diet will do more harm than good for the majority of patients, especially if they have any underlying kidney or liver issues.


“People are using this for cosmetic reasons, but it’s so extreme that it’s dangerous,” she said.


"But there are tons of research in the Keto diet backing it up"

And there is. Lots of it, but how much of it looks at the long-term effects for overall health and weight management? Most of the research actually looks at epilepsy, which is what the keto diet is really for.

However, a study following children for ten years found the following side effects. High cholesterol, high triglycerides, iron deficiency, and not to mention diarrhoea and vomiting. Is that something you want?

"But I have lost weight and kept it off"

Well done to you, but what is the inside of your body like? Is it healthy? Are you meeting all your nutrient requirements? The keto diet does not have a long-term sustainability, which is why so many nutritionists don’t recommend it. Also, any weight loss plan that promises you quick, immediate weight loss, should be avoided. This is not solving your problem.

What am I saying?

Don’t cut down on what your body needs for the sake of weight loss. I promise you, the damage you do to your body, your organs, it isn’t worth it. If you want to lose weight, there are no magic formulas, no wonder diets to follow. It is a case of eating healthy, cutting out junk food and balancing a healthy diet with exercise.

There is a reason obesity is an illness of this century. Look back hundreds of years ago. Peasants were slim; they ate grains and potatoes and vegetables. Monarchy, lords, ladies, all overweight, because they ate rich, high-fat foods.

You only need common sense to know the keto diet is a bad, bad idea.