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Keto Diet: Good Idea, Bad Idea, or Even Sustainable?

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Brandi Goodman

Keto Diet

Though most people call it keto, the ketogenic diet is the actual name. It’s one of many diet options that people rely on. It focuses on high fats and low carbs and is a meal plan intended to help people lose weight.

The diet was used as early as the 1920s for epilepsy, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when it became a viable option for weight loss.

But the keto diet that so many refer to today seemed to take over the world in 2015 as celebrities touted its benefits and people everywhere vowed to give it a try due to its seemingly fast results. So let’s chew on that, shall we?

What Is the Keto Diet?

Keto is a very restrictive diet. It’s one of the high-fat diets that encourages the consumption of meat, fat, olive oil, and protein. It discourages eating carbohydrates. This is meant to put your body into ketosis, a state in which it uses fat for fuel rather than the carbs it usually metabolizes first. This approach can help your body burn off excess fat and slim down.

Foods You Can and Cannot Eat While on Keto

Knowing to eat fat and limit carbs isn’t enough to follow the keto plan appropriately. It’s ideal to have a full list of foods in mind that you can and cannot eat so you can ensure you’re following it properly. On the keto diet, you can eat foods such as fish, poultry, grass-fed animals, eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt, high-fat or non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, and dark chocolate.

You should avoid eating potatoes, corn, winter squash, pasta, honey, cereal, and rice. You want to limit anything that is refined, be it white bread or tortillas, and any beer and mixed drinks. You should also skip soda, juice, most condiments, glazed meats, and low-fat margarine.

Is the Keto Diet Popular or Has It Fallen Out of Favor?

Although more and more people are realizing that keto is not an ideal long-term solution, it is still very much popular for its fast weight loss. Millions of people still follow the diet and swear by its benefits.

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

If used short-term, the keto diet is a safe solution. However, it’s best to speak with your doctor and ensure it’s the right option for you. You may experience a common side effect, known as the keto flu. This can include feelings of constipation, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and low energy that makes it difficult to exercise. These experiences can last anywhere from a few days to a full month as you continue the diet. If these feelings subside within a few days, it may be safe for you to carry on with your plan. If it surpasses this timeframe, it may not be a suitable solution for your body.

What Are the Dangers Attached to the Keto Diet?

Because this low-carb diet encourages eating high amounts of saturated fats, there are some dangers. For some, the risk of heart disease is minimized because inflammation within the body is reduced. However, the type of fat you’re eating can lead to an increase in bad cholesterol, which can lead to serious consequences for your heart over time. Some additional risk factors to consider include problems for people with pancreas issues, thyroid troubles, and poor liver health. These groups of people should avoid the keto diet and instead follow a plan detailed by their primary care physician.

Is the Keto Diet Good for Specific People?

The keto diet does offer some health benefits, rendering it a suitable solution for certain people. This diet has been used for epilepsy since the 1920s. Because the brain relies on fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates, fewer neurons fire. It can limit seizures.

Keto also helps to reduce blood sugars. This could prove beneficial for type 2 diabetics. However, there is the possibility that your blood sugar level could drop too low, which is also dangerous. That is why it is best to only follow the diet at the behest of your doctor. It requires close monitoring of your health and symptoms.

What Kind of Results Are Typical of the Keto Diet?

Many people prefer the keto diet because they want the typical results of quick weight loss. Some dieters have noticed a several-pound loss in the first week alone. It is also common to experience decreased levels of hunger since you are being satiated with high-fat foods and proteins that keep you full for longer. Plus, you may experience improved blood sugar levels and more energy.

Is the Keto Diet Sustainable?

One of the major dilemmas with the keto diet is that it isn’t sustainable forever. Eventually, those carbohydrate cravings are going to kick in, and the high-fat diet you’re consuming is going to get tiring. Most doctors do not recommend remaining on the keto diet for more than six months at a time. They want you to give your body a break and consume some carbs to help fuel your body the way it's meant to be fueled.

Should Teens Use the Keto Diet?

Teenagers are discouraged from trying the keto diet. It has the potential to stunt growth and cause nutritional deficiencies. Teens need a more balanced diet and should focus on healthy eating rather than restrictive eating.

Famous People Who Used the Keto Diet

Countless famous faces have detailed their use of the keto diet. “Jersey Shore” star Vinny Guadagnino even referred to himself as the “Keto Guido.” He said he lost approximately 50 pounds after cutting carbs and following this lifestyle. Actress Vanessa Hudgens used the diet to drop 20 pounds for a role, while Melissa McCarthy credited her 75-pound drop on keto and martial arts.

Halle Berry has also benefited from keto, though she relies on the diet to help manage her type 2 diabetes. Kourtney Kardashian uses the diet once in a while as a means to detox and cut sugar cravings, while her sister, Kim Kardashian, uses a keto-adjacent plan known as Atkins 40. Sports stars, such as LeBron James and Tim Tebow, have also used the diet as a means to improve performance and energy levels.

Combine Keto and Chiropractic

If you are going to participate in the keto diet, just be sure you’re following all the recommendations of your doctor. Plus, a diet alone will not be enough to help you maintain your well-being. Pair your keto diet, or any meal plan you’re enjoying, with chiropractic care. The Joint Chiropractic can offer an adjustment that will help your body reach and retain optimal range of motion and flexibility to aid your ability to maximize your exercise routine. Exercise and healthy eating together are ideal for true wellness and health.

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