The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet or just keto as become the latest big thing in weight loss plans, touted by celebrities like Jenna Jameson and Halle Berry. This diet involves cutting way back on carbohydrates, to 50 grams a day or less, to help the body achieve a state of ketosis, in which it must burn fat for energy.
Doctors say that the keto diet can be helpful in treating epilepsy. Animal studies have also suggested that the diet may have anti-aging, cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory benefits.
I have some few thins that you should know about the ketogenic diet before you try it as a way to lose weight. You might lose pounds, but you should also watch out for the following side effects or complications.
- The ‘keto flu’
One of the most immediate side effects of the keto diet is the ‘keto flu’, a suite of symptoms that many experiences in the first couple weeks after entering ketosis. Similar to the flu, these symptoms can include fatigue, brain fog, vomiting, dizziness, nausea and stomach pain.
- Can put stress on the kidneys and can give you kidney stones
Some people inflict damage on their kidneys when they switch to the kidney diet because they eat too much meat and don’t drink enough water. This can lead to an increase in uric acid, which is known to cause kidney stones.
People in the early stages of the keto diet are prone to dehydration issues. “A ketogenic diet is known as a water-flushing diet, due to a lessening of inflammation and a reduction of glycogen stores in your muscles and liver,” Dr. Petre says. She suggests preventing dehydration by drinking more water—at least 2.5 liters per day. She also recommends doing so as soon as you begin cutting carbs in preparation for the diet. Dr. Axe adds that you should limit caffeine and alcohol, too. While they may be liquids, they aren’t necessarily hydrating. Plus, alcohol adds carbs to your day.
When the body goes into that state of ketosis which we mentioned earlier, it starts to produce things called ketones from stored fat, and the body uses these for energy in the absence of glucose. While healthy people typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming, there is a small risk that ketone levels can climb too high, causing a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, where acid levels in the blood reach toxic levels.
5. Nutritional deficiencies
Keto requires eliminating a variety of nutritious, carbohydrate-rich foods from the diet, like wholegrains and certain fruits and vegetables. As a result, research confirms that experiencing risky vitamin and mineral deficiencies is a very real concern for people doing keto.
6. Loss of electrolytes
As ketosis begins, your body will start dumping glycogen, which is an energy source of carbohydrate stored in the muscles and liver. This will increase how often you urinate and can lead to an inevitable loss of electrolytes, Dr. Rahnama says. Electrolytes are essential to cardiac function and normal heart beating. “The loss of electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium will put the dieter at risk of a cardiac arrhythmia,” Dr. Rahnama adds.