A recent trend in the dieting world is the ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short. The premise is that by consuming a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, you will force your body to burn fat it has stored for fuel instead of carbs – a process called ketosis. This sounds promising on the surface, but is going keto good for you?
On a practical level, keto diets are extremely restrictive, requiring you to eat fewer than 20-50 grams of carbohydrates a day (for comparison, a single banana has roughly 27 grams of carbohydrates). It’s also restrictive of protein, which is a key nutrient for maintaining your muscles. This means up to 90% of your daily calories have to come from fat. These restrictions can lead a number of side effects, including the following:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Liver and kidney problems
- Low blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Brain fog and mood swings
There are not a lot of long-term studies done on the keto diet’s impact on a human body. Some studies suggest that people on the keto diet will lose weight in the short-term, but long-term, a keto diet is not more effective or lasting than a low-fat diet. (Other studies, however, have shown that the ketogenic diet is beneficial to some people with epilepsy.) If you’re looking to eat more nutritiously, consider talking to a dietitian or licensed nutritionist. They can help you create a balanced diet that’s best for what your body needs.