Keto diets can trigger health issues, warn health experts

Namrata Devikar
Monday, 24 December 2018

Dr Prasoona Katreddy, consultant physician, DocOnline, said that transitioning from burning carbohydrates to burning fat takes about two weeks, and therefore at the start of practising keto or related diets, the body is not in ketosis yet.

PUNE: Switching to ketogenic food diets for losing weight is a new trend. However, doctors warn that these types of unregulated dietary habits can lead to numerous health issues.

According to a recent assessment by DocOnline, over 90 per cent of men and women in Pune randomly stop eating carbohydrates without any medical consultation. The study also found that 88 per cent women and 75 per cent men suffered fatigue breakdown while undergoing high-fat diet, highlighting that the radical dietary regimen does not sustain their body type.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which is now growing popular among those who wish to reduce their weight.

The study included 2,500 cases from September to November this year from Pune, who have either practised high-fat diet or are practising it. Out of these, 1,500 are men and 1,000 women.

The study revealed that only three per cent women and five per cent men continued the high-fat diet beyond two weeks. 

Also, 85 per cent men and 92 per cent women witnessed weight gain on returning to regular diet.

The study revealed that if stopped, 10 per cent men and only 17 per cent women would re-start high-fat diet again. 

Also, 50 per cent men and 55 per cent women considered it a risk to continue with high-fat diet programmes.

Commenting on the dietary practices, Dr Prasoona Katreddy, consultant physician, DocOnline, said that transitioning from burning carbohydrates to burning fat takes about two weeks, and therefore at the start of practising keto or related diets, the body is not in ketosis yet.

“That means that the human body is still using stored glucose for fuel rather than ketones and this is not a healthy sign at all,” he said. 

“And because carbohydrate intake is restricted, the amount of stored glucose or energy is limited, which can cause fatigue,” Katreddy further said.

He added that some people experience symptoms such as brain fog, headaches, chills and a sore throat during this transition.

“These symptoms are collectively referred to as ‘the keto flu’ and a large section of people who practise these high-fat diets are not aware of the ill-effects of the risks involved in practising unregulated dietary habits,” said Katreddy.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Syed Abrar Kareem, consultant physician at DocOnline, said there are healthy ways to reduce weight.

“Regular walking or jogging is the simplest and most recommended way to keep weight under check,” Dr Kareem said. 

As a doctor, I would recommend those wanting to reduce weight to lead an active and not a sedentary lifestyle, as this will do a lot of good in the long run. Unregulated dietary practices are too risky to follow,” Dr Kareem further added.

‘NOT FOR WEIGHT LOSS’
- Richa Shukla, Senior Executive Nutritionist at Jehangir Hospital said Keto diet is actually meant for a clinical condition but people have started using it for weight loss. 
- “Before considering this diet for weight loss, one must know the side-effects. When on this diet, the person may experience weakness, headache, irritability, constipation, nausea, vomiting and dehydration,” Shukla said. 
- “As the keto diet is low in fruits, veggies, cereals (grains) and legumes, a person will miss out on fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals which can result in deficiencies of these essential nutrients. Also, these can impact the body in the long run. Moreover, it is definitely not a great long-term diet as it is not a ‘balanced diet’,” Shukla further added.

Related News