A recent analysis published last July arrived at the conclusion that the Keto diet could be harmful to those who adopt it, and raise the risk of chronic disease.
What is a keto diet? The keto diet means consuming very low amounts of carbohydrates and high amounts of fat. Therefore, foods like eggs, meat, fish, dairy, and non-starchy vegetables are encouraged.
In a keto diet, one typically avoids beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables, processed foods, pasta, bread, rice, oats, and cereals.
Consuming a low amount of carbs makes the body enter into a metabolic state called ketosis. This results in the body burning more fat, instead of carbs, for the production of energy.
This diet became most popular among those looking to lose weight faster. However, recent research suggests that this diet comes with a host of health risks.
The latest analysis published by Frontiers in Nutrition in July gives an extensive assessment of the health risks and benefits of a keto diet.
Researchers noted that the diet has some benefits, such as lowering the frequency of seizures for those with drug-resistant epilepsy, but for most people, the ‘risks of such diets outweigh the benefits, the analysis reads.
These diets typically increase the intake of foods linked to chronic disease risk and decreasing intake of foods was found to be protective in epidemiological studies the researchers wrote.
Low-carbohydrate diets usually are low in thiamin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium causing nutritional deficiencies.
“Foods and dietary components that typically increase on ketogenic diets (eg, red meat, processed meat, saturated fat) are linked to an increased risk of [chronic kidney disease], cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, whereas intake of protective foods (eg, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains) typically decreases.”
Another study published in 2018 found that low-carb diets could also lead to a shorter life expectancy. The researchers estimate that they do it on an average of 25 years.
They found that those who obtained around half of their energy from carbs had a lower risk of death than those consuming too few or too many carbs.
The research stated that diets that relied more so on animal-based protein like beef, chicken, pork, and lamb are linked with higher mortality rates and the opposite was true for diets that prioritized plant-based proteins and fats.
“These data also provide further evidence that animal-based low carbohydrate diets should be discouraged,” the study reads.
“Alternatively, when restricting carbohydrate intake, replacement of carbohydrates with predominantly plant-based fats and proteins could be considered as a long-term approach to promote healthy ageing.”