Wellness Wednesday Opinion: Veto the keto diet

Bethany Stover

Diet culture has latched onto the concept of going keto as a trendy way to lose weight. Though this style of eating has been around since the caveman era, most medical professionals do not advocate keto as a truly healthy or sustainable way of living.

Keto is not the healthiest way you of eating for the majority of people; unless prescribed by a nutritionist or health care professional.

So what exactly does being ketogenic mean?

The goal of going keto is to alter and keep the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. When following the keto diet, the body will convert stored fat into energy molecules called ketones that breakdown fat into aminos. In simpler terms, ketosis means that the body is extremely limited on sugar and uses fat to produce energy for the body and brain.

The ketogenic diet is a meal plan largely based on the consumption of fats, high amounts of protein, and extremely low carbohydrates. Typically, the keto diet heavily revolves around poultry and meats, nuts, cheeses, avocado, oils and butter, eggs, and other fat sources. Keto stays away from carbs and goes as far as limiting fruits due to their sugar.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 12.16.00 PM.png
Ketogenic diet breakdown of carbs, fats, and proteins. Photo credit: photo credit: Medical Express

The dramatic restriction of carbs and sugar is the purpose of this diet in order to maintain ketosis.

Most of the population would agree that reducing carb and sugar intake is healthy, as foods mainly composed of sugar lead to storing extra fat. However, the keto diet takes this to an extreme and overcompensates with the intake of meat and fatty oils.

What are the dangerous side effects of going keto?

Most fad diets come with negative consequences when individuals rush to lose weight and are uneducated on the diet itself.

According to a study done by University of Chicago Medicine and their trial on the keto diet, it can lead to low-blood pressure, nutrition deficiencies, kidney issues, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, blood clots, extreme changes in mood, lethargy, dizziness and major rebound in weight gain.

Individuals with underlying health conditions or diseases may want to avoid this diet completely as it can contribute to worsening effects.

This lifestyle can also become mentally unhealthy if the person using the diet takes it to the extreme. Keto can be very stressful to maintain, thus may lead to unhealthy behaviors with food in correlation with weight or body image.

What are the medical benefits of being ketogenic?

Nutritionists, doctors, and other medical professionals, may prescribe the ketogenic diet for specific patients diagnosed with a disease.

According to the CDC, keto is mainly prescribed to treat patients suffering from seizures or epilepsy. Other diseases treated by keto diets may include certain cancers, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, and Lyme disease.

Clinical trials show conclusive research and evidence that keto medically benefits the epileptic, however there is no evidence that suggests the average person should aim to be in ketosis for general weight-loss.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 12.44.18 PM.png
Consult a doctor or nutritionist for proper medical advice before going keto Photo credit: photo credit: healthline.com

There are many other ways to maintain a healthy life, build muscle, lose weight, and feel your best. Extreme diets are not always the solution, as it takes a toll on your body mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Keto may be widespread on social media as a trendy and quick way to get in shape, but it is not meant for everyone. Do not trust the media to guide your overall wellness decisions.

If you decide keto is your next diet of choice, be sure to consult with your doctor beforehand to make sure you are not at risk for any major health concerns. Educate yourself on how this way of eating may effect you.