Is Keto Diet fad or Healthy?

Is Keto Diet fad or Healthy?

In the era of digitalization and trends, despite all the hype many fad diet trends don’t last longer. Ketogenic (keto)  diet seems to be an exception to this. It’s been around for longer than any other diet trends. Almost since 100 years, doctors are using keto diet as medical nutrition therapy or diet therapy for epilepsy, especially in children and patients who are not responding well to  only medicine  treatment.  But it was Dr. Atkins who started the use of keto diet as a weight-loss tool. Because of its ability to cause drastic weight-loss in short amount of time, keto diet not only became mainstream but also got lots of glory.  Over the years many other fad diets have also incorporated similar strategies to achieve faster weight loss.

What is a keto diet?

Keto diet is planned in such a way that it will be low in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat. Due to lack of enough carbohydrates in the diet,  body is forced to utilize fat as energy source by generating ketones This process is called as ketosis. Once  ketosis process starts, most of the cells use ketone bodies to generate energy until there is enough carbohydrates in the diet again. This shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy results in weight-loss . Ketosis is  highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones than others.  In addition to other adverse effects, keto diet may cause tiredness in the beginning.  It may also lead to bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.

Is keto diet healthy?

There is an evidence showing that a keto diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat any other health conditions other than epilepsy.

Weight loss is the primary reason  many people opt for the keto diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a keto or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.

A keto diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. There is even more controversy when we consider the effect on cholesterol levels. A few studies show some patients have increase in cholesterol levels in the beginning, only to see cholesterol fall a few months later. However, there is no long-term research analyzing its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol.


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Key takeaways – keto diet review

A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat epilepsy. But, even it causes faster weight-loss, it may not last for longer time.  Keto diet can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to follow diet for longer time. It is also important to remember all the fad diet that causes  rapid weight loss  and weight gains are associated with increased mortality. Instead of going after next diet trend that you could follow only for few weeks to months (that includes a keto diet too), try to embrace change that is sustainable over the long term. A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lots of water seems better choice for a long, healthier life.

Shilpa Devanhalli

Dr. Shilpa Devanhalli, BAMS, MS, RDN, is American board certified registered dietitian nutritionist and winner of the prestigious, “Woman of Promise Award” & “ Amy Rextrew Award” from University of Delaware. Dr. Shilpa is among most qualified experts practicing integrative nutrition therapy in the country and only nutrition specialist to have associate membership from American Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Delaware Dietetic Association.

In current epidemic of chronic diseases and obesogenic environment, Dr. Shilpa has passion for prevention. She believes that every person is unique and requires individualized dietary and lifestyle approach to achieve health. Through blogs, with her philosophy to empower people to get control of their health, Dr. Shilpa constantly appeals her audience to rethink their diets and lifestyles.

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1 Comment
  • My Lib
    Posted at 18:16h, 16 May Reply

    Ketogenic diets are both real and fad. There is real science but most articles and books oversimplify it. Most consumers don’t understand that and remember even less. Any diet without knowledge of the science WILL fail and WILL be dismissed as a fad.

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