We asked India’s leading nutritionists and health experts about the pros and cons of a keto diet. Here’s what they had to say.
1. The keto diet aids weight loss
“The ketogenic diet was originally created as a treatment for epilepsy. As it also leads to weight loss, it has become one of the most famous diets used to lose weight. The keto diet is goal-oriented as far as weight loss is concerned, and is also known to also increase energy levels,” says Kamna Bhandari, Nutritionist and Life Coach.
“Keto diet suppresses the appetite as it is a high fat diet, which reduces carbohydrate cravings and provides steady energy that helps in weight loss. Also, in the state of ketosis, insulin levels drop, which allows the body to burn fat more effectively,” remarks Celebrity Nutritionist Shweta Shah.
“Keto diets are excellent short term diets to lose weight. They help reduce fat, especially visceral fat around the stomach area, which has the added benefit of reducing chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes,” adds Shashi Thadani, Founder of IN2 Nutrition.
2. The keto diet is beneficial for certain health issues
“The ketogenic diet is helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and in the prevention of endometrial and ovarian cancer. The keto diet restricts carbohydrates while focusing on high fats and moderate proteins, which reduces the insulin level, thereby helping patients with PCOS. If the keto diet is undertaken after a complete medical check-up and under supervision of a specialised nutritionist, then it can be a boon for women with PCOS,” states Gynecologist Dr. Amodita Ahuja.
“The ketogenic diet is beneficial for those suffering from certain health issues like epilepsy, type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as it improves the blood sugar level,” adds Nutritionist Neha Sahaya.
1. The keto diet is not sustainable
“The ketogenic diet is not advisable to take up as a lifestyle or even for weight loss, especially in the long term. Firstly, it’s not sustainable, secondly, it’s not balanced as you have to reduce carbs to 5% or less, which leads to nutrient deficiencies, resulting in adverse effects. Additionally, unless monitored closely, it can also cause an increase in cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, uric acid and liver enzymes. Therefore, it’s always best to take a balanced, sustainable approach to weight loss, even if it takes you a little longer!” says Kamna Bhandari.
“I don’t really believe in the keto diet as it’s too stringent, it’s not sustainable and is quite taxing for the liver, kidney and gut. It’s also a very restrictive diet, which can eventually lead to cravings and binge eating once you’re off the diet. Instead, a more natural and less complicated food pattern is the best way to go!” remarks Health Coach, Neha Ranglani.
“The keto diet is believed to be highly restrictive, that’s why it’s not recommended to follow this diet in the long term. In addition, due to unsustainable diet conditions, people tend to regain the weight that they lost as soon as they go back on carbohydrates. Such weight fluctuations can lead to disordered eating and worsening the unhealthy relationship with specific foods. Furthermore, when people switch back to carbohydrates, they are more likely to regain fats instead of lean mass,” adds Ruchi Sharma, Wellness Consultant and Founder, Eat Fit Repeat.
“Keto diet is good for a certain amount of time only. Some of the most essential nutrients are missing from this diet. Additionally, fats are a very important part of our diet, but it also means a lot of calories. So even with the keto diet, portion control must be practiced,” says Seema Jindal Jajodia, founder of Nourish Organics.
2. The keto diet could result in health problems
“When the keto diet is unmonitored, it could cause a number of health issues. Since it eliminates some food groups, it is off balance, which leads to nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, the resulting electrolyte imbalance increases the risk for acute kidney disease. Electrolyte deficiencies may also lead to an increased risk for cardiac arrhythmia and irregular heartbeats. Moreover, the keto diet can result in gastric distress including constipation and hyperacidity, hormonal imbalances leading to irregular periods, and an increase in inflammatory markers,” states Nutritionist Lovneet Batra.
“Using the keto diet for weight loss, especially by those people who yo-yo in their diets, can result in hair loss, abnormal lipid profile and bone demineralisation,” remarks Neha Sahaya.
“Often, people take time to adapt to the keto diet, and in the initial days complain about flu-like symptoms, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps. This is the reason why a lot of people don’t continue the diet. Additionally, if you stay on the keto diet for a long period of time, you could also experience muscle loss,” adds Shweta Shah.
3. The keto diet is not for everyone
“There is no one diet that suits all. Every diet, including the keto diet, will work differently for different people. A diet has to suit you physically and psychologically. If you are going to be emotionally unhappy or extremely stressed about eating a certain way, then the food ingested with that emotion will have a very different impact on your body,” concludes Holistic Fitness Coach Vrinda Mehta.
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