The ketogenic diet is definitely the new superstar in the health and weight loss world. It can be very effective in managing weight but it has a lot more perks than merely weight loss. Ketogenic lifestyle brings a whole new set of benefits that you can get from a certain eating style: improved mental performance, better focus, less to no cravings, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, lowered blood pressure and the list goes on.
If this keto is so magical, then where it has been the whole time? Well, it was developed during the 1920’s as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. It turned out to be very effective and has got more and more traction ever since.
7 Signs That The Ketogenic Diet Is Probably Not For You
What is keto diet?
Basically, the keto diet is a very low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat eating style. Normally, your body’s main fuel source is carbs (aka your body is running on glucose). Now as this is what we all are used to, but this is often the reason for diseases and overweight.
The goal of the keto diet, on the other hand, is to cut out the carbs almost entirely and replace them with fat. If your body detects that it doesn’t have enough glucose, it by default stats finding alternative energy sources. For that, your body starts breaking down fats and creating ketone bodies. This is how our bodies have been helping to survive long periods of time without food.
In simple terms, keto diet switches your body from burning carbs as the main source of energy to burning fat. If this happens then your body will hit the state called ketosis and this is when the magic starts to happen. Once you are in ketosis, you can enjoy all the benefits keto diet offers: effective weight management, stable energy levels, fewer cravings, increased mental performance and much more.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to be very effective for weight management and as a natural health booster, but the keto diet is not for everyone. There can be some potential health-based drawbacks which affect especially women because it can disrupt hormonal production and nutritional deficiencies. If you are unsure if you can follow the keto diet, please consult with your doctor.
As with any other significant change in your eating style, there may be some drawbacks that you need to be mindful of. If you find yourself in one of the following situations, then the ketogenic lifestyle may not be the right one for you.
Is the Keto Diet Bad for You?
Keto Diet: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
There has not been done much research on how the keto diet specifically affects the pregnancy. But we know that the side effects of the keto diet can include weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, hydration, constipation. On top of that, it’s no news that during the pregnancy, its vital that women’s organism doesn’t experience any kind of threat of food scarcity. A pregnant and breastfeeding woman often needs to consume more protein and extra fiber – which will help to support fetal growth and development of the baby. It also provides essential minerals and vitamins. A woman’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding period needs more nutrition that cannot be naturally acquired from the keto diet menu. This is why the keto diet is not suitable for pregnant women.
Can Keto Cause Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is often the consequence of long suffered stress factors. Research suggest that adrenal fatigue combined with the keto diet can make the condition even worse, mainly because of the spike in cortisol levels. Some common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are increased irritability, low energy, irregular menstruation, insomnia, depression, anxiety, digestive issues and so on. For example, lean individuals who are on keto and also doing HIIT (high-intensity training) may create a chronic stress that the body is unable to adapt to. The ketogenic diet is just additional stressor for your body and mind (in the beginning) that you don’t need.
Keto: If you have blood sugar issues
When you are starting out with the keto diet, you probably experience low blood sugar. This can be dangerous if you have unstable blood sugar or you are on diabetes medication. Yes, there are lots of research done on a topic how can be managed through low-carb diets, but to be safe, people with a history of diabetes or hypoglycemia should consider ketogenic diet only when being monitored closely by their doctor. This is especially true because often diabetes medication dosages need to be adjusted as the diet is very restrictive.
If you have a history of an eating disorder should you be on the Keto diet?
This might sound self-explanatory but let’s go over this once more. If you have the tendency to eating disorders then you might want to pass this one. It’s mainly because the ketogenic eating style is already very restrictive. For example, there are no so-called cheat days as you might see sometimes in other diets. Some studies even suggest that low carb diets are very effective, but usually up to six months. This is because this is the time frame when people usually give up and fall back into their old eating habits. Noticed that I am referring to keto diet as the ketogenic lifestyle? That is because I see the keto diet as a lifestyle choice, not a crash diet.
If you have a history of gut dysbiosis – Keto
The ketogenic diet can alter gut flora. If you have a history of gut dysbiosis, then you need to be extremely careful when considering the ketogenic diet, because it can reduce the diversity of the gut microbiota. You need prebiotic fiber for a healthy gut and beneficial prebiotic fiber come from carbohydrate sources. As with the keto diet, you will cut out most carb sources, your microbiota can shift to other direction which can, in turn, contribute to digestive problems, skin issues and more. One way to cope with that is to manage your fiber intake during the diet.
Is Keto Good if you are nutrient deficient?
Although to diet is high-fat diet, it’s not uncommon, that the weight loss can occur very rapidly, if the diet is followed properly. If you are already underweight or deficient in nutrients, the keto diet is not recommended. If you lose weight easily, a moderate diet that includes complex carbs and healthy fats and proteins may be a better fit. Although the variety of ketogenic foods is pretty big, it lacks many fiber-rich foods, as you need to eliminate all the grains and starchy vegetables from the daily menu.
Should you be on the keto diet if you have a history of kidney disease?
Following the keto diet, increases the risk of kidney stones. This is an unfortunate side-effect. If you are prone to kidney problems, then it might be smart to keep away from keto. Now, we all might have experienced kidney stones in some time during our lives, does this mean I should never do anything anymore? Definitely no. If you are still interested in managing weight using keto diet, we suggest to consult with your doctor and let them check your urine calcium-creatinine ratio. In this way, you can be sure you are not putting pressure on your kidneys.
Before you dive into keto diet and buy a fridge full of healthy fats, understand that this diet causes disruption to your life. It is a pretty restrictive diet, thankfully it comes with enough positive side-effects that will justify this eating style. Listen to your body and mind and enjoy the process. If you have any conditions described in this article or any other medical conditions, then before you consider the keto diet, consult with your doctor.
Author: Alex Reed
Alex Reed is a health enthusiast, who started Bodyketosis.com with a mission to help you to take charge of your weight and health using the ketogenic lifestyle.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.