Keto diet is booming today, is extremely popular for the goal of weight loss and also being claimed as a super healthy diet bringing numerous benefits. Thousands of people are trying to follow the ketogenic diet, because it promises all the benefits of vegetarian diet caused by high consumption of vegetables and fruit, and yet it allows lots of meat and animal fat. One of the stated benefits of the ketogenic diet is the low level of sugar, which is suggested to protect from diabetes.
However, the keto diet can also be dangerous, as recent studies show. According to expectations, this diet stimulates ketosis, which is the state of the body burning only fats for energy. With low carbs, the body can burn only fats, and the fans of the diet believe this is a healthier condition than burning sugars. And yet, the excess of fats in blood combined with low sugars can result in ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous health condition.
What Is Ketoacidosis
Ketosis is the process of burning fatty acids for energy in the situation when there is a low level of sugars in the blood. Ketosis is not dangerous, even considering the fact that fat is not the best energy source, especially for the human brain.
Ketoacidosis, however, is not a fat-burning mode; this is a dangerous health condition that can result in severe damage for health, and in particular unaddressed cases, even result in death.
When fats are digested by the body, they are broken into fatty acids. Those fatty acids are burned as a source of energy when the body lacks carbs which are a preferred resource. However, when the level of fatty acids exceeds a certain limit (everybody has their own limit in this aspect), the acids in the body disbalance the pH, as the alkaline levels do not match the acids.
The first symptoms are headache, nausea, weakness, vomiting, low or high temperature, pain in joints, etc. The symptoms are very similar to flu, and the proponents of the keto diet call ketoacidosis “keto flu”, which is totally incorrect and misleading. Usual flu is a virus in the first place, and it can be managed with the help of immunity and medicine. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a self-imposed health condition, and it cannot be managed with the help of immunity. The only way to manage it is to balance the pH by adding alkaline products to the diet.
Ironically, ketosis for weight loss should be stimulated by a small number of carbs, because the process relates to carbs in many ways. Constant limitation in carbs brings forth lack of energy, and can also result in imbalanced pH and ketoacidosis.
The recent studies show that the ketogenic diet can be dangerous for healthy people because it is hard to control and track the levels of sugars and fatty acids in the blood all the time. One can slip into ketoacidosis and mistake it for flu, without addressing the cause properly. So, before following a ketogenic diet for the sake of weight loss, make sure to visit your doctor. As for the keto diet for the sake of health, this goal seems highly doubtful now.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca