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Dangers of the Keto Diet Debunked

Dangers of the Keto Diet Debunked

Currently, the keto diet is getting popular all over the world among the weight loss community. It gained popularity for one big feature: low carbohydrates. This diet can provide you around 25 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keto’s high-fat foods make changes to your body so it burns fat instead of carbohydrates to produce energy.

As this diet got popular, it was surrounded by many myths. Some people criticized the idea saying that the keto diet is not good for your health as it’s a type of craze triggered by the desire to shed those extra pounds as soon as possible.

Some say, “this diet can’t be sustainable or healthy”. “How can a diet that is rich in fat help you shed weight” Since it includes foods that are rich in fat, the diet may increase your risk of heart attack. Apart from this, the diet may lead to poor intake of minerals, in addition to cause ketoacidosis and the electrolyte imbalance in your body, they say.

Unlike the myths and misconceptions, the ketogenic diet is backed by a well-established history of helping in the treatment of various diseases. For instance, according to many studies, the diet may help people with epilepsy in kids in particular. The research studies were done in the 1900s. recently, the diet has been proved to help deal with type-2 diabetes. Actually, the low-fat content of this diet reduces the need for insulin by keeping the blood sugar levels under control.

Since there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the keto diet, it may be hard for a novice to make the right choice. To make things easier, we have made an attempt to clear the fog and reach the truth. In the form of this article, we have attempted to offer information so that you can make the right decision. Given below is a description of some common myths that we have debunked to help you get on the right path.

 

“If I eat so much fat, won’t I get heart disease?”

Generally, people think that everything that contains fat is bad for your cardiac health, which is not true. It’s important to keep in mind that fats are divided into several groups, such as saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat.

As far as the risk of heart disease is concerned, not all fats can be considered bad for your cardiac health.

According to the general concept, eating foods that are rich in fat may raise your risk of heart disease as fat triggers the cholesterol levels in your body. And too much cholesterol may block your arteries leading to a higher risk of heart attack.

The role of a keto diet is to make your body burn fat instead of carbs in order to produce the required energy. In the case of non-keto diets, your body burns carbohydrates to provide your body with the energy it needs to perform routine activities. Foods that contain a good deal of fat include eggs, cream, butter, fish, oils, cheese, and meats, to name but a few.

Let’s discuss different types so you can know which type of fats are good and which types are bad for your health.

 

Saturated Fats

Saturated fat is the first type of fats. Usually, this type of fat is found in various animal oils and products, such as olive oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, and coconut oil. People thought that saturated fat was one of the leading causes of heart disease. This opinion was based on the epidemiological studies. However, the recent researches have proved that saturated fats have an opposite effect on your body.

According to a recent, comprehensive study, people who consume saturated fat have a lower risk of death because of heart disease. In other words, saturated fat is not bad for your heart health.

So, we can conclude that consuming saturated fat with an intention to get energy won’t increase your risk of heart disease.

 

Unsaturated Fats

Avocados are a rich source of “good fats”, aka the unsaturated fats. As the name suggests, unsaturated fats are good for your cardiac health. Often, plant-based foods can be consumed to get enough of unsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fats are further divided into two types: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. The former is found abundantly in seeds, nuts, flaxseed oils, avocados and the later is found in fish and walnuts.

If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease and prevent insulin resistance, experts suggest that you go for unsaturated fats instead of the saturated ones.

According to a recent study, experts claim that replacing a carbohydrate-rich diet with a diet that’s rich in unsaturated fats may reduce your likelihood of having high blood pressure, high lipid levels and cholesterol levels. In other words, you can maintain good health by consuming a diet that is rich good fats.


Trans Fats

Trans fats are bad for your health. Vegetable oils are a common source of trans fats. In part, trans fats are hydrogenated via heating. Aside from vegetable oils, they are found in different types of processed foods, such as baked goods, snacks, and margarine. All of these foods are a no-no if you want to adopt the keto diet.

Here is an interesting fact: partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) are the main source of trans fats in junk food. According to FDA, artificial trans fats are not safe for your health. So, it’s better to stay away from them.

 

Cholesterol

The cholesterol production happens in your liver. And you need enough of cholesterol to lead a healthy life. Some people think that eating foods that are rich in cholesterol can increase your cholesterol level. As a result, your risk of a heart attack goes up. This is far from the truth.

In the keto diet, you can include a lot of cholesterol-rich foods, such as meat, eggs, and butter. Just like fats, there are two types of cholesterol: HDL or “Good cholesterol” and LDL or “bad cholesterol”. The LDL can clog your arteries, which means your risk of a heart attack will go up. On the other hand, HDL can help you clear your blood arteries saving you from cardiac problems.

According to experts, there is not enough evidence to prove the relationship between blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol. Apart from this, the effect of dietary cholesterol on the blood cholesterol of a person is not the same. Some individuals get severely affected to the cholesterol while others don’t get affected at all. Some individuals experience a considerable rise or fall in their blood cholesterol levels based on the amount of cholesterol they have consumed.

As far as the keto diet and cholesterol is concerned, experts suggest that the consumers should take into account the ratio of HDL and LDL intake. It’s better if you consume a good deal of polyunsaturated fats and avoid LDL as much as possible. Apart from this, since trans fats and the saturated fats may raise your LDL levels, expert suggest that you exclude such foods from your diet.

If you are getting started with the keto diet, it’s important that you monitor your blood biomarkers. This will help you make sure that the diet is not increasing your risk of heart disease.

 

“You’ll get fat eating all that fat!”

Generally, a diet rich in fat may lead to weight gain.

One of the most common misconceptions about the keto diet is that the keto-foods may lead to weight gain.

We think so because we have heard and read so much about the relationship between low-fat diet and weight loss. In other words, we believe that low-fat foods are good for weight loss and high-fat foods are good for weight gain.

The truth is that not all of the foods containing fat may cause weight gain. Let’s explain it further so you can get a better understanding of the matter.

 

Metabolism

The consumption of proteins and carbohydrates raises the level of insulin in your blood. This hormone helps your cells absorb different types of nutrients like glucose. As a result, your body begins converting glucose into energy. The excess amount of glucose is saved in the form of glycogen or it may also be converted into fat for storage in the fat cells.

There is no link between fat consumption and insulin levels. When you eat fat, it gets into your bloodstream through your guts. In your blood, it circulates in the form of lipoproteins. As far as the energy in your body is concerned, fat is one of the top sources. As a matter of fact, most of the fat found in our diet helps us stay alive.

If you consume a fat-rich diet, the excess fat is stored as body fat or transformed into fatty acids in your liver. Although fats, carbohydrates, and proteins may go through a different process of metabolism, the excess energy is stored in the form of fat in your body.

 

Dietary Fat Takes Too Long To Turn Into Body Fat

When consumed, dietary fat won’t turn into body fat right away. The same is the case with fat, proteins, and carbohydrates.

It’s also important to note that diets low in calories or carbohydrates are more satiating than mixed diets, which means the overall consumption of calories is cut down for weight loss.

Most people feel more satisfied after eating a keto-friendly meal, which may lead to weight loss. However, there is not enough evidence to claim that keto is an ideal diet for weight loss. So, keto doesn’t have any proven significance as for as losing weight is concerned.

 

“The keto diet causes changes in electrolytes and water levels”

During the first few days of your keto diet, if you drink enough water, it may help balance the electrolyte levels in your body.

According to research studies, eating a keto diet can cause a significant change in the water and electrolyte balance in your body, especially over the first few weeks.

Reducing your intake of carbohydrates will reduce the amount of glycogen stored in your liver. As far as the ration of water to glycogen goes, the amount of water stored is three times higher than the amount of glycogen. Your body will continue to lose water as the amount of glycogen goes down in your liver.

Keto Sickness or Keto Flu

Waters helps your body function properly. As the excess water leaves your body in the form of urine, your body loses a good deal of important minerals as well.

The imbalance of electrolyte may cause different types of side effects, such as low energy, brain fog, constipation, and muscle cramps, just to name a few. This phenomenon is known as the keto flu.

Most people suffer from keto flu as their body gets used to the new low-carb diet. However, there is nothing to worry about. You can take a couple of steps to get rid of the symptoms.

However, it’s important to note that having an electrolyte imbalance for a long-term is not a good idea. To prevent the electrolyte imbalance, make sure you consume enough of whole foods rich in nutrients. For instance, you may eat leafy greens, broccoli, avocados, nuts, and salmon. These things contain sodium, calcium potassium and magnesium.

If you are suffering from electrolyte imbalance or dehydration, you may feel uncomfortable or inconvenient. But the good news is that you can easily resolve this issue.

 

 

“The keto diet is bad for athletes and people doing workouts.”

If you are on a keto diet and play a sport or do exercise on a regular basis, know that your body will use fat more efficiently. However, your body needs to benefit from the fat stores to achieve this purpose.

 

Diet and Exercise

Typically, when you follow an intense training routine, your body tends to burn more carbohydrates instead of fat. As a matter of fact, athletes need to eat a diet that is rich in carbohydrates to meet their energy needs.

According to a study that involved athletes on the keto diet, researchers found that the athletes hit the highest fat burning at around 70% of maximum intensity. Unlike the athletes on a non-keto diet, these athletes didn’t need to burn as many carbohydrates.

As far as the theory goes, athletes can get a lot of health benefits from the fat stored in their body. This can help them burn less energy during workouts as they have more strength.

However, we don’t have any solid evidence to prove that the keto diet can improve your endurance. However, taking HVMN ketones can hone your endurance as your body can benefit from the fats, carbs, and ketones.

 

Carbohydrates as Fuel

During high-intensity workouts, carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for your body. The keto diet is the ideal choice for you if you perform endurance sports, such as cycling, running, or marathon.

Aside from this, if you do more intense cardio, such as football, hockey or sprinting, you may need even more of carbohydrates. Here, it’s important to note that you may experience a considerable reduction in your energy when doing intense workouts on a keto diet, but keep in mind that the reduced intake of carbohydrates won’t be dangerous to you. In other words, it won’t cause any damage to your physical or mental health.

 

Muscle Catabolism

The term “catabolism” refers to the breakdown of your muscle tissue. Some people think that they may suffer from muscle catabolism if they adopt a keto diet, which is not true.

Researchers have no evidence to support the idea that athletes may have muscle catabolism if they eat calories on the ketogenic diet. According to a meta-analysis, researchers conducted a study on a few low-carb diets. They found that the diet triggered weight loss and helped with muscle maintenance as well. And the keto diet offered better results than the carb-rich diets.

We still need long-term studies to prove the point. However, based on the existing literature, we can say that the keto diet can protect you from muscle protein catabolism provided the diet contains enough of protein.

If you want to gain muscle size or strength, the keto diet may not be the best diet to switch to.

 

“Keto diet causes a nuitritional deficiency.”

No matter what diet you have chosen, make sure you maintain balance. Your keto diet should have a lot of nutrient-rich foods.

Ketogenic diet skeptics have another concern: they think that the diet won’t provide them with enough essential macronutrients. They are worried that eating a fat-based diet and relying on animal sources for protein means losing macronutrients found in fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, and high-carb grains.

Some people claim that the keto diet won’t provide enough fiber, and sticking to this diet for a long-term may cause constipation. This is not true.

Keto-Friendly and Nutrient-rich

You can opt for a number of low-carb, nutrient-rich foods. And the good news is that you can make them part of your keto diet for regular consumption.

Some good choices include leafy greens, berries, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Grains do contain vitamins and minerals but the amount is small. You can get all these minerals and vitamins from other sources, such as dairy products and meats. Apart from this, compounds like tannis and phytates in grains may hamper the bioavailability of many minerals.

If you stick to a good keto diet, it may even provide you with a greater amount of nutrients than any other standard American diet. By a good keto diet, we mean a diet that leaves out processed carbs, soda, refined flour, and candy. All of these things are bad for your health.

In other words, a good keto diet should have a lot of unprocessed, whole foods so that you don’t suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

 

 

“The keto diet causes dangerous ketoacidosis”

There is a huge difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. So, you don’t want to get confused. In short, the keto diet won’t trigger ketoacidosis.

 

Ketosis

In the ketosis state, you will have around 0.5 mM of ketones in your blood. You can achieve easily if you stick to your diet or fast for a few days. Another way is to consume ketone supplements, such as HVMN ketone. However, if you stick to the natural methods, it will be a lot better.

If you hit ketosis by fasting for 41 days, your ketone levels may plateau at around 8 mM. On the other hand, during ketoacidosis, the ketone level will be a lot lower. Ideally, a keto diet should lead to ketone levels that are within a safe range.

 

Ketoacidosis

Generally, this condition is reported in patients with type-1 diabetes. These patients have dangerously high blood sugar and ketone levels. Usually, these levels are greater than 20 mM.

One of the most common factors that lead to ketoacidosis is the shortage of insulin in the body. What happens is that the cells fail to get glucose from the blood in order for energy use. Plus, the body can’t release fats either.

If you have even a minuscule amount of insulin secretion, you won’t hit this state of metabolic.

The moment you have dangerously high levels of ketones, your blood has an overproduction of acid, your life is at stake. Aside from this, you are at a high risk of many other diseases, such as pneumonia and overactive thyroid. It may also psychological issues, which may cause you to adopt negative habits like drug abuse and alcoholism.

In short, the ketogenic diet is not directly responsible for causing ketoacidosis.

 

 

“The keto diet causes hormonal imbalance”

Not every individual shows the same hormonal response to the keto diet. However, if you take care, you can maintain your hormonal balance.

As far as the keto diet is concerned, hormonal imbalance is one of the most controversial topics. Scientists have mixed opinion about it based on the research studies they have done so far. The discrepancy in the results is the result of the cohorts studied and the dietary protocols implemented.

 

Cortisol

According to most people, the keto diet may have a great impact on the hormones in your body, especially the cortisol hormone. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” as it plays a great in breaking down the protein and fat in your body to produce glucose. Moreover, it’s responsible for the stress response in your body as well. Apart from this, cortisol regulates sleep, blood pressure regulation, and wakefulness.

If you have dangerously high cortisol levels, you may be at the risk of heart disease. Can the keto diet increase your risk of heart disease? Actually, it depends on a number of factors. If you be careful, you don’t have to worry about any health risks.

A shortage of sodium in your body, while you are on the keto diet, may cause your adrenal gland to emit hormones that may have an impact on the water balance in your body. Just like other hormones, cortisol is also released.

If you have a diet that provides your body with enough sodium, you don’t have to worry about the water balance. Enough sodium in your body means stable levels of cortisol. According to some studies, the cortisol levels in the bodies of the participants went up with the passage of time as they consumed a keto diet that didn’t provide enough sodium.

In another study, researchers found no impact on the cortisol levels. The participants consumed the keto diet for 6 weeks. Not many research studies have done to find out the relationship between cortisol and the keto diet, which means that the doctors and scientists don’t have a lot of concerns about the effect of the ketogenic diet on cortisol levels.

 

Thyroid Function

Another common concern about the keto diet is the effect of this low-carb diet on the thyroid function.

In your body, the thyroid hormones perform a number of functions, such as controlling the muscles, digestion, and the metabolic rate, just to name a few. The keto diet is said to reduce the thyroid in your body. Based on this association, we can say that the diet hampers the function of the thyroid.

We don’t have any solid studies to prove this theory. According to the hypothesis, the sensitivity of your body to T3 may go up because of the keto diet. Similarly, the diet may increase your sensitivity to other hormones as well. As your body gets more sensitive, it may work even better.

Many studies conclude that the lower T3 is beneficial in a way that it helps spare lean muscle. Another hypothesis suggests that lowered T3 is an adaptive mechanism that boosts longevity.

About the metabolism: according to a study that observed the metabolic rates of some keto dieters, the resting metabolic rates of the study participants were not affected despite the fact that they had lower T3.

In fact, many studies have done so far and none of them showed any effect of the keto diet on the thyroid hormones of the participants. So, it’s safe to say that your thyroid will work fine even if you stick to the keto diet for a long-term.

 

 

“Keto diet causes kidney stones and gallstones.”

Often, people think that the keto diet may cause kidney stones as dietary protein has something to do with the gal/kidney stones. This is nothing but a confusion.

Can the Keto diet Cause Kidney Stones?

Basically, kidney stones are formed when your kidneys have deposits of minerals. There are many causes of kidney stones, such as family history, high intake of protein/sodium and dehydration, just to name a few.

If you stick to the right ketogenic diet, you won’t have too much fat, protein or carbs. So, we don’t have any solid evidence that the consumption of a moderate amount of protein on the keto diet may lead to kidney stones.

 

Gallbladder problems

Another misconception is that the keto diet may put you at a higher risk of gallbladder issues.

One of the primary roles of the gallbladder is that it stores bile, and the bile helps with the digestion of fat. Some people believe that eating a good deal of fat is associated with a higher risk of gallstones. These stones are hard deposits of bile and cholesterol in the gallbladder.

However, it’s important to note that your body produces most of the cholesterol. It doesn’t come from the diet you consume.

Gallstones get formed for a number of reasons, such as low-calorie diet, low motility of the gallbladder, body weight, and body chemistry, and none of these are associated with the keto diet.

According to many research studies, those who are on a low-fat diet are at a higher risk of developing gallstones. On the other hand, a high-fat diet can help you keep your gallbladder free of stones.

 

Is the Keto Diet a good choice For You?

So, is the ketogenic diet right for you? To make this decision, make sure you study the facts and information available to bust the common myths. Most of the myths are a result of the confusion, and the confusion is the result of media hype and insufficient facts.

Most of the dangers or risks are nothing but minor inconveniences that you can overcome if you be careful while planning your diet and lifestyle. The fact of the matter is that most of these problems are associated with other calorie-restricted diets as well.

Long story short, it’s important that you consult a doctor for any health-related lifestyle changes. You may want to feel confident adopting a carefully-formulated keto diet. It should contain whole foods and enough electrolyte consumption. This will help you avoid the dangers that you could have suffered otherwise.

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