Is the Keto Diet Right for You?

You’ve probably seen it all over social media, and even maybe discussed it with friends, but what is the Keto diet? Here are a few things to know before deciding if it’s for you.

Avocado, fish, nuts, Keto diet food, is the Keto Diet right for you?


What is Keto?

A Ketogenic diet (keto) is a diet wherein participants eat a diet rich in fats and proteins, while either completely removing or extensively reducing carbohydrates (carbs). In an average diet, the body relies on the breakdown of sugars (glucose) from the consumption of carbohydrates for energy. In a Keto diet, the body relies on the breakdown of ketone bodies, a product of the breakdown of fat, for energy.

Why is everyone talking about it?

1. Keto can support weight loss by boosting metabolism and reducing appetite.
2. It’s been known to reduce acne as it removes processed and refined carbs.
3. The diet has been found to reduce blood sugar and lower the risk of insulin complications, according to this study.
4. Following the keto diet may improve heart health by lowering cholesterol, however, this is entirely dependent on how a participant follows the diet. Cholesterol is in all animal products, so a person eating a lot of meat on the Keto diet may not reap this benefit.
5. Keto can help improve your Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) symptoms. A study found that a ketogenic diet improved several symptoms of PCOS such as weight, hormone imbalance, and levels of fasting insulin.

Related: How to Eat Better without Hurting Your Wallet

Is Keto for me?

Despite all the hype, Keto has several risks that potential participants should know. These include: nutrient deficiency, confusion, irritability, kidney stones, excess protein in blood, exacerbation of pre-existing liver conditions, and mood swings. A condition known as “keto flu” is also a common side effect, with participants experiencing constipation, fatigue, low blood sugar, nausea, headaches, and a low tolerance of exercise.

Populations who should specifically avoid keto include insulin-dependent diabetics, those with eating disorders or a history of eating disorders, those with kidney disease or pancreatitis, and those who may be pregnant or breastfeeding.
Keto may have its benefits, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Talk to a registered dietitian and your primary care doctor if you may be considering keto, and don’t be afraid to ask questions—they’re there to help.

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