Is “Keto” Dieting Right for You?

Recently I've noticed the "keto diet" has been all over my Instagram and Facebook timeline with my friends and family taking part.  Some have even shared their successes including what it promises which is weight loss!  Since I've been a dietitian I must say it's new to me to see people using the diet for the purpose of weight loss.  Traditionally the Ketogenic Diet has been used for centuries as a treatment for epileptic seizures.  As far as we know the low carbohydrate intake diet uses an alternative source of energy mainly fat thereby suppressing seizure activity.  Once the body is in what's called a state of ketosis, the goal is to keep the body there by intake of a high fat and protein diet.

Over the years I have prescribed and monitors patients on this diet.  It is what I consider a high risk diet due to the fact you are eliminating major nutrients from your diet which your body is not getting.  It's more than just "not eating carbs".  Certain carbohydrate containing foods carry essential vitamins and minerals such as B12, folate, thiamin , and fiber to name a few.  Not to mention staying away from certain fruits and vegetables which have essential vitamins and minerals.  All these nutrients working together through a healthy diet affect your mood, energy levels and even immune function. 

The ketogenic diet is extremely high in fat and protein.  In order to stay in ketosis you must consider consuming saturated fat which can affect your blood pressure and cause fat accumulation around your organs.  In addition depending on your protein intake, it can have a negative effect on your kidneys long term.

Depending on how long you follow the diet you may be depleting your body of some of the essential vitamins and minerals needed to function for long term health.  

Most clients I have on the ketogenic diet are closely monitored by me and their physician and supplementation is often recommended with follow up appointments monthly.  If you are following the ketogenic diet I encourage you to talk with your dietitian and/or physician for monitoring.  

In the meantime, if you're looking to reduce your carb intake for weight loss I recommend cutting out simple carbohydrates from your diet such as doughnuts, cakes, juices (even 100% juice) ice cream, white rices, breads and pastas and replace them with whole grains.  Trust me, you will see a huge difference Because whole grains have more nutrients in them we tend to eat less carbohydrates throughout the day because we feel more full and satisfied.   

Weight loss is just like any other journey.  It's a journey.  Losing weight fast may get you the results you desire on the outside but it can have negative consequences on the inside.  Don't get discouraged you got this!