Many of us feel this incessant need to stay ‘in shape’. To do so, some of us adopt strategies like intense and dedicated workout sessions accompanied with strict diets, and the rest are just those infuriating, lucky women who are naturally blessed with thin bodies and don’t need to do much work for it.
The new fad today is the Ketogenic Diet or the Keto Diet, for short. It’s widely propagated by many women for the quick weight loss results it gives us, but little do we know about the actual dangers that accompany this uncompromising diet.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet. It involves reducing your carb intake drastically and replacing the carbs in your daily meals with fats. Our body usually burns carbohydrates from our foods first, then fats and last, proteins. However in the Keto Diet, the body ends up burning fats first as there is no carb intake thus producing an acid called ketones which becomes your body’s main energy source. This diet puts your body in a state of Ketosis which shifts your metabolism and relies on fats for energy hence, burning fats at a faster rate and resulting in rapid weight loss.
So if this is a diet you would like to explore, you must be aware of the negatives too:
5 dangers of the Keto Diet include:
- Nutrient Deficiency: One of the most common phrases we have grown up hearing is ‘Too much of anything is bad for you’. Well, this phrase also has an underlying takeaway which is ‘cutting out something completely is also bad for you’. It’s always important to have a balanced diet, and cutting out carbs means a diet without any fruits, wholegrains or starchy vegetables. It’s a diet lacking fibres! This ends up causing restricted bowel movements and constipation.
- Dehydration: When you suddenly cut out carbs from your diet, the brain has to make a hurried switch from using glucose for energy to using ketones. At the same time, the kidney releases more electrolytes in response to lower insulin levels. Additionally, a lower carbohydrate intake results in decrease in total body water. The consequence is what is commonly known as the ‘keto flu’; nausea, fatigue, headaches.
- Irregular Periods: The Keto Diet may cause irregular periods or a complete pause on your cycle. This actually happens due to the rapid weight loss and the drops in gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, oestrogen, and progesterone. As we know, irregular periods are a warning sign. It can lower chances of conceiving and even affect your moods.
- Diarrhoea: Funny enough, this diet can not only cause constipation but also diarrhoea. In the early days of following this diet, our bodies may find it difficult to digest excessive fats thus causing diarrhoea.
- Kidney Stones: Following a non-vegetarian keto diet would result in a plate loaded with meats which would potentially give way to kidney stones and gout. The Keto Diet is known to add stress to the kidneys so if you do have a kidney disease, it is probably not a wise option for you.
Of course, like every other thing, there are also a few benefits to following this diet – an obvious one being weight loss and others include improving acne, heart and brain functioning. However, we must be careful of the dangers and substitute or find solutions to these downfalls to make sure we are the healthiest versions of ourselves.
Prioritising health over vanity should be our new motto!
By Anushka Shah