If your New Year's resolution to hit the gym daily has failed already, you need to keep looking for a weight loss solution - well, the keto diet is not it. The keto diet is nothing more than another fad diet, designed to drop weight quickly... then watch the pounds come back quickly.
Potentially damaging your metabolism, getting ketoacidosis, bad breath, and calcium loss are all reasons why you should never try the keto diet. Originally meant to help epileptic kids, it was never designed for sustainable weight loss. You'll drop pounds quickly as your body is forced to use its emergency fat storage as fuel, but as soon as you start eating carbs again, the weight will come back - especially because a lot of what you'll lose is purely water weight.
Despite celebrity endorsements (or perhaps because of celebrity endorsements), the keto diet is full of hoaxes and myths. You'll find conflicting information everywhere, since there have only been a few small studies on the keto diet and no large-scale studies. While a high-fat diet may seem like a dream come true, you're not going to be living off of Sour Patch Kids and tubs of Duncan Hines frosting. The keto diet is all about healthy fats, so dream on.
Keto Involves Some Pretty Nasty Side Effects
Among the keto diet's side effects are sleepiness, fatigue, body odor, and bad breath. Known as "ketosis breath,"the bad odor comes from high quantities of acetone in the body. When the liver creates energy from fat, the fat produces ketones. Ketones break down into acetones - which, yes, is a lot like nail polish remover.
High-protein diets produce ammonia when the protein is broken down. If you associate ammonia with a cat litter box, this is what your breath and urine could smell like. Fun! Though the bad breath may only be a temporary problem, you can always solve it by coming out of ketosis. Otherwise, brush your teeth, floss, and clean your tongue.
Body odor is caused by ketones, just like bad breath. The detox process can also contribute to body odor. Your large intestine will clean out toxins that have been stuck in fat, and cleaning out the toxins mean that you have to get rid of them somehow: sweat and flatulence. Take salt baths and exercise, or just start eating carbs again.
If You're In Ketosis For Too Long, You Can Damage Your Metabolism
Losing fat sounds great and all, but what if it comes at the cost of damaging your metabolism? Athletic and active women are particularly at risk, because your thyroid cuts down the available energy you have while you work out. So, if you're working out frequently, your body is going to start missing carbs pretty quickly. Carbs=energy, and if your thyroid doesn't have any carbs, your metabolism will suffer.
However, no one can say how long you can be in ketosis without running the risk of adverse side effects like this one. You could be fine for a few months - or only a few days.
The Carb Restriction Is Severe - But You Won't Crave Them
A healthy diet, according to the Institute of Medicine, involves about 130 grams of carbs per day. On the keto diet, you'll be eating more like eight grams a day - about 6% of what is recommended. Anyone who has been on a low-carb diet before knows the desire to binge on a box of donuts or eat an entire bag of chips, but one of the positives of the keto diet is that eating so much fat will curb your cravings for carbs. You'll feel more full in general, helping you maintain ketosis and continue avoiding carbs.
Studies On The Keto Diet Are Few And Far Between
You'll likely read that studies have shown how effective the keto diet is. What those sources are unlikely to mention is that the studies have been small and few in number. One study had only 20 adults; another had 83 adults. Adults in both studies were clinically obese; however, yet another study of 20 adults saw that the keto diet wasn't any better than a non-keto diet when it came to dropping pounds.
The study did find, however, that those on keto had "fouler moods and higher levels of inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer." Needless to say, the jury is out on how effective the keto diet is, or if it's even safe for long-term use.