Is the Keto Diet Healthy in the Long Term?
The ketogenic diet has become exceptionally popular with people looking to lose weight. The diet involves drastically cutting back on carbohydrates and incorporating high fat and moderate protein into your diet. Doing this will put your body into a state called ketosis, where fat is burned for energy instead of carbs.
The ketogenic diet has plenty of evidence backing it up as being an effective weight-loss method. But when it comes to adopting it as a long-term diet, there are some negative effects that may make keto a less desirable option.
Keto is one of the strictest diets out there in the sense that many food options aren’t accessible when following it. Cutting out carbs also cuts you off from a variety of important vitamins that are necessary for staying healthy. These include water-soluble vitamins, including B and C vitamins. Both are necessary for nervous and immune system health, as well as maintaining healthy skin and hair. These vitamins are commonly found in whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits, all food that are rich in carbs, and off-limits for keto.
Athletic ability may decrease
Switching your body’s main energy source from carbs to fats is what makes the keto diet so effective at weight loss, but this can be a downfall if you are a highly active person. Our bodies are biologically predetermined to prefer burning carbs over fats. During heavy exercise, your body may have a tough time keeping up with its need for energy, which can lead to sluggish performance.
High fat intake could affect your health
Keto meals often include foods high in fats, so it’s not uncommon for people to eat high levels of processed meats and saturated fats. Where people go wrong with the keto diet is that often times, the fats consumed are of lesser quality. Saturated and trans fat can raise the bad LDL cholesterol in your body, causing plaque buildup in your arteries. In the short-term, this may not pose too much of a threat, but over a longer period of time, this can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Digestion problems could develop
Quality carbs are packed with nutrients and can be a good source of fiber. When these are cut out of your diet, it can lead to digestive issues, including diminished gut health. These foods are good sources of prebiotics, which in turn help nourish the probiotics found in the gut. Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy gut microbiome contributes to supporting our immune system and reducing inflammation.