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A ketogenic or keto diet is a high-fat, low carbohydrates diet applied for weight loss programs among other healthy lifestyle endeavors. Elevating fat consumption and limiting carbohydrates leads to ketosis.

Many people have followed ketogenic diets over the decades to attain ketosis. Health benefits include reduced triglyceride levels, weight loss, elevated good cholesterol, lower insulin and blood sugar. Research established several health risks related to this diet. Some include keto flu, stress to kidneys, digestive issues, and nutrient deficiency. Some people who follow the keto diet or those desiring are unaware of these risks, which might affect their health and well-being. Therefore, this blog discusses the risks linked to the keto diet and proper mitigation.

It might cause keto flu

Carbohydrate consumption on the ketogenic diet is restricted to less than 50 grams/day, which might shock the body. The moment your body exhausts carbohydrate remnants and utilizes ketones and fat to produce fuel at the beginning of this diet, you might encounter symptoms resembling flu. This includes dizziness, headaches, nausea, constipation, and fatigue because of electrolyte imbalances and dehydration as the body switches to ketosis. Interestingly, individuals who experience this condition recover within countable weeks. Therefore alleviating these symptoms while in keto requires you to maintain hydration, consume foods high in potassium, sodium, and different electrolytes.

It might cause stress to the kidneys

Animal foods rich in fat like meat, cheese, and eggs are common to the ketogenic diet since they have no carbohydrates. Consumption of these foods alone may pose another challenge of  possibly developing kidney stones. This is because high consumption of animal products increases urine and blood acidity levels, eliminating calcium through urine. Some research shows that a ketogenic diet lowers the quantity of citrate released during urination. Provided the citrate binds calcium and hinders kidney stones’ creation, its low amount elevates the chances of contracting them. Furthermore, individuals suffering from CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) are advised to shun keto. This is because the affected kidneys cannot eliminate the acid accumulation in the bloodstream produced by animal foods. Consequently, an acidosis state can be reached, making CKD progression worse. Lower protein foods are prioritized for CKD people, whereas the ketogenic diet advises moderate protein intake.

It might interrupt gut bacteria and cause digestive complications

Because the ketogenic diet limits carbohydrates, meeting daily fiber requirements is easy. Certain sources contain a significant quantity of fiber like whole grains, high carbohydrate fruits, beans, and starchy vegetables, although they supply excess carbohydrates hence removed from the diet. Consequently, the ketogenic diet causes constipation and digestive disorders. A research was conducted on children with epilepsy on this diet. The results established that 65 percent claimed constipation was a usual risk. Researchers show that fiber nourishes bacteria, which benefits the gut. Maintaining a healthy gut improves mental wellness, immunity and reduces inflammation. The ketogenic diet has low carbohydrates with negligible fiber. This might affect gut bacteria though the recent study on this aspect is ambiguous. Foods rich in fiber and keto-friendly include leafy greens, broccoli, coconut, cauliflower, chia, and flax seeds.

Can result in nutrient deficiency

Since the ketogenic diet limits many foods, particularly nutrient-rich fruits, legumes, and whole grains, it might not offer the required minerals and vitamins. Certain studies show that the ketogenic diet lacks sufficient vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. Researchers examined the nutrient profile of staple diets. The results showed that a low carbohydrate consumption pattern such as Atkins, which resembles keto, supplied enough quantities for twelve of 27 vitamins and minerals required from food. Later, it might cause malnutrition. The clinicians who manage individuals following a low-calorie ketogenic diet for shedding weight advise supplementing magnesium, sodium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, psyllium fiber, calcium, vitamins E, C, and B. This diet’s nutritional deficiency is dependent on certain foods consumed. A diet with healthy, low carbohydrate meals like non-starchy greens, nuts, and avocados offer more nutrients than canned keto and meat treats.

This leads to extremely low blood sugar

Low carbohydrate foods such as keto assist in managing blood sugar amounts in diabetic people. Certain studies have established that a ketogenic diet reduces the amounts of hemoglobin A1c, a moderate proportion of blood sugar amounts. Nevertheless, type 1 diabetic folks have greater cycle chances of hypoglycemia or reduced blood sugar characterized by shakiness, sweating, confusion, and fatigue. Hypoglycemia condition results in death or coma if untreated. A research was performed on eleven diabetic adults and following this diet for more than 24 months. The results concluded that the reduced blood sugar middle number activities were nearly one per day. Type 1 diabetic people experience reduced blood sugar after consuming excess insulin while taking bad carbohydrates. Therefore, a ketogenic diet might escalate the risks.

It might cause poor bone health

The ketogenic diet is linked to damaged bone health. Certain studies developed a relationship between bone strength and the ketogenic diet. Bone mineral density losses might cause this as the body adapts to ketosis. Research conducted on 29 infants having epilepsy on a ketogenic diet realized that 68 percent had reduced bone density after following this diet. Moreover, research on thirty schooled walkers established that people on a ketogenic diet for 31/2 weeks showed more blood spots for bone damage than those who consumed foods rich in carbs.


Although the ketogenic diet is related to weight loss and many short-term health benefits, it can cause digestive complications, impaired bone health, nutrient deficiency, and various problems after a long period. Because of these side effects, people living with diabetes, kidney disease, bone or heart ailment, and other health issues should consult the doctor before initiating a ketogenic diet. It is necessary to talk with a dietitian to monitor the nutrient levels and plan a balanced diet while following this diet to minimize the chances of nutrient deficiencies and complications. Every individual should realize these risks before trying the keto diet.

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Ksenia Sobchak, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication: Fashion Journalism, Central Saint Martins Ksenia Sobchak enjoys blogging on fashion, style, lifestyle, love and CBD areas. Prior to becoming a blogger, Ksenia worked for a renowned fashion brand. Ksenia is a contributing author to leading fashion, lifestyle and CBD magazines and blogs. You can bump into Ksenia at her favourite cafe in South Kensington where she has written most blogs. Ksenia is a staunch advocate of CBD and its benefits to people. Ksenia is also on the panel of CBD reviewers at CBD Life Mag and Chill Hempire. Her favourite form of CBD are CBD gummies and CBD tinctures. Ksenia is a regular contributor at leading fashion, lifestyle as well as CBD magazines and blogs.

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