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The Dangers of the Keto Diet

For some, the keto diet works wonders: helping them drop a dress size or two and generally allowing them to feel better in their clothes - and about themselves in general.

But what is the keto diet exactly - and are there any dangers associated with it? We look at the diet here on the Chemist.co.uk blog and talk you through a few things you should know.

The ketogenic diet—also known as keto —is one of the biggest trends in weight loss at the moment. There are plenty of celebs who swear by it, with Halle Berry being just one.

How does the keto diet work?

Bad news for those who love carbs: the keto diet involves reducing them to just 50g per day - or even less. What this does is help the body achieve a state of ketosis, which means it has to burn fat for energy, instead of sugar. So far, so technical.

But it can actually come with some health benefits in the right person, with doctors suggesting that it could be helpful when it comes to treating epilepsy. "It's unclear exactly why, but something about a ketogenic state seems to reduce the frequency of seizures." according to Health.com.

Are there any risks associated with going 'keto'?

Yes - and many health experts warn against trying a keto diet. Aside from the fact that the diet is pretty much unsustainable long-term, the Health.com article suggests that if it's not done 'the right way', it can be the opposite of healthy.

Sickness and Flu

If you're not a big fan of the flu (actually, who is?!), look away now. The reason is this: keto can cause a kind of flu of its own. Quoted in the Health.com article, nutritionist Kristen Kizer, says: “Some people report that when they start ketosis, they just feel sick. There can sometimes be vomit, gastrointestinal distress, a lot of fatigue, and lethargy.”

These symptoms are characterised as 'keto flu' and can disappear within a few days. That said, around a quarter of people who try the diet are said to experience such symptoms, so it's worth asking yourself: 'is it really worth trying keto?'

By drinking plenty of water, you can minimise the effects of keto - as will getting lots of sleep.

But there are more risks to going keto, which include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced athletic performance
  • Ketoacidosis - a condition which can come about as a result of ketosis. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should avoid the keto diet, since you have to be mindful of your blood sugar and glucose levels.
  • Weight regain - the keto diet is restrictive, which means anyone following the diet may easily rebound later down the line, putting all the weight they lost back on, almost as soon as they introduce carbs back to their diet
  • Decreased metabolism - a reduction in muscle mass as a result of the keto diet can mean a decrease in metabolism.
  • An increase in cholestrol
  • An increased risk of diabetes.

If you've decided to try this low-carb diet regardless of the risks (and swapping your spaghetti with courgetti), consider that you may want to supplement your meals with some vitamins and minerals.

Designed to support your immune system, magnesium is a great choice for anyone trying the diet. Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids are also thought to be beneficial.

Have you tried the keto diet? Please make sure you are well aware of the risks before you give it a go.

Until next time...

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the products mentioned, do not consume them. Always check with your doctor before trying a new medication or regime, and if irritation or allergy occurs stop using the product or medication immediately. The tips listed in this article are meant to be suggestions and should not be substitutes for medical advice.

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