keto diet

Short-term gains, long-term risks: Why the keto diet is a sham

The ketogenic diet or keto diet, as most self-proclaimed fitness influencers call it, has to be one the largest shams of the 21st century. It rose in popularity following endorsement by best-selling books, celebrities, and certain health experts who swear by it. The consumers also have a hand in creating this myth by mindlessly buying into it without any fact-checking.

But this is not to say that that ketogenic diet is downright nonsense. It is an effective diet plan used by diabetic people to control their sugar levels and also in the treatment of epilepsy. The problem that most nutritionists have with the keto diet is that it purports the wrong idea of what a healthy diet looks like.

What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is predominantly based on getting calories from fat and not carbohydrates. It was initially created by Dr. Rusel Wilder in 1921 as a treatment for seizures. By altering the source of calories, the keto diet is able to reduce epileptic fits in children and is still in use today.

High-fat foods like butter, oils, meat, fish, eggs, and cheese are included in the keto diet. By reducing carbohydrate intake, the body will then have to break down the fats stored in the body for fuel. This state is known as ketosis and it is high that every keto dieter is chasing.

Is the keto diet a sham?
To be perfectly honest, yes. The keto diet that most people claim to follow has nothing to do with the concept that first went into creating it. It has become a fad diet, propagated through social media and delivering unrealistic diet plans for millions around the globe.

In fact, it is so bad that the keto diet has been ranked as the worst diet in 2022 by experts!

The diet scored very low in all categories including ones like how easy it is to follow, how safe it is, and its potential for preventing and managing both diabetes and heart disease. The only exception was its ability to induce short-term weight loss for which it scored a 3.7 out of 5.

One of the major reasons why the keto diet is a sham is because most people are not even following it! It is surprising how people will blindly rush into a fad simply because it is a growing trend without bothering to do some research. A little bit of homework should tell anyone that most people are actually following a modified keto diet that is nowhere as effective.

The clincher is that the modified keto diet is similar to the Atkins diet which also calls for a reduction in carbohydrate intake but in stages. The impact of the Atkins diet is similar to the keto diet but easier to follow.

Additionally, the keto diet is linked to constipation, fatigue, and an increase in LDL cholesterol particles (the ones responsible for heart diseases). The avoidance of carbohydrates can cause health issues in the long run like kidney stones, hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), and hyperproteinemia.

Is the keto diet recommended?
When done correctly, the keto diet actually helps treat and prevent chronic conditions and also boosts well-being of the practitioner. However, like in many things, it is advisable to take existing medical conditions and fitness into consideration before adopting it.

When it comes to planning diet charts, professional advice can go a long way in ensuring your safety. It also keeps you grounded and keeps your expectations real. Most health professionals recommend a dietary pattern instead of diet plans.

“To achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, or optimize diabetes or heart disease risk factors, we should not be focusing on a ‘diet’,” quips Alice Lichtenstein, director and senior scientist at Tuft’s University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory. “We should be focusing on dietary patterns, making changes in current practices that can be sustained lifelong.”

Daniel is our UK-based freelance Editor. As part of our quest towards credible news, Doctor's Clinic Blog India affiliates with individuals from other parts of the world to provide an in-depth focus on essential topics. Daniel received his degree from the University of Sheffield, and since then, worked to multiple sites as a freelance contributor and editor.

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