Is Keto Unhealthy – Controversy Surrounding LCHF Diets
Some clinicians and nutritionists have expressed concerns pertaining to the elimination of carbs from the diet being both unhealthy and dangerous. The major worries centre around there being a lack of nutrition, since many see this as needing to leave “wholesome” food or meals the way humans have been brought up to consume for generations.
There have been few clinical studies reporting on the adverse effects of long term no-carb or low-carb diets on the constitution and general health. One such study, released by Shape Up America – a non-profit organisation – explores the results of a survey in 2003, wherein they noted that people were inadvertently opening themselves up to health issues due to misunderstandings about low-carb diets. It also revealed that people were more likely to blame carbohydrates as the chief cause of weight gain, as opposed to monitoring calories.
In the published article that has now been taken offline, the founder of Shape Up America, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated that “diets that restrict the consumption of entire food groups — especially essential carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables — are unhealthy and can be dangerous”.
As per some surveys and nutritionist feedback, the consumption of a low carb diet causes, among other things:
- rashes, etc.
Some people also report feeling weak and/or nauseated when restricting carb intake. The sudden deprivation of sugar and comfort food which provides an energy spike to the system also causes irritability among first timers.
On the other hand
Other studies like the one released by the New England Journal of Medicine, however, have shown that low-carb diets resulted in lowered triglyceride levels, provided that the protein and fat sources come from healthier alternatives such as vegetables. The results showed that women that consumed a low-carb high-fat diet were at a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes as opposed to those that followed a high-carb low-fat diet.
While extreme diets and nutrition deprivation can harm metabolism, the ketogenic diet – if done right – provides significant health improvements. As with anything else, the key is moderation and ensuring awareness about food intake. Nutritional requirements are met when fulfilled through natural sources such as vegetables and mixed berries. Greek yoghurt, avocados and MCT oil are amazing sources of healthy fats with several reported benefits.
Understanding macronutrients or macros is Keto 101 and is a cornerstone of the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) mantra. So you might have a spoon of peanut butter or fat bomb, but this can be offset by eating a low-carb meal such as broccoli soup or grilled chicken.
The best way to go about sustainable weight loss is to supplement diet with moderate exercise for a few days a week, depending on your lifestyle. A 30-minute brisk walk will go a long way in helping you with your health/weight goals. Weight training is also an excellent workout – coupled with the keto diet, it’ll help ensure that you do not lose any muscle mass.
The body is programmed to adapt to any situation it is put through. While the initial trudges of a keto diet may seem like a cruel and unusual punishment to some, the benefits far outweigh any initial malaise, and, according to most clinical studies, has a lasting positive impact on health and well being. It is imperative to be prepared for the road that lies ahead when a ketogenic lifestyle is chosen. This can be made much easier with the help of multivitamin supplements and high water intake.
For more information on whether Keto is a good fit for you, read our blog that tries to lay it all out here.