People ask these questions, is a keto diet dangerous? is ketosis dangerous long-term? Or is ketosis bad or good?
Actually, ketosis can be dangerous for long-term use. It is recommended to follow ketosis for the short-term if possible.
Ketosis in the long-term may not be healthy since, on keto diet, there are some micronutrients that you may lack.
This can lead to micronutrient deficiencies on the long term of keto diet.
However, ketosis is safe and good for faster weight loss. It also improves overall body functions and prevents chronic illnesses.
The problem is that some people fail to understand or differentiate between ketosis and ketoacidosis(1).
Here are the differences.
Difference between Ketosis and ketoacidosis
Ketosis helps burn the harmful excess body fats and calories.
Furthermore, it provides the body with enough ketones, protein, healthy fats, low-carbs, and few calories.
This provides optimal body functions.
On the other hand, ketoacidosis is a condition that only occurs in uncontrolled diabetes(7).
Precisely, it occurs when the body starts breaking down fat at a rate as a result of type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes.
In which the liver processes the fat into ketones that causes the blood to become acidic.
If not controlled, then you can develop ketoacidosis that is very dangerous to your health.
In fact, Ketoacidosis is very dangerous, and it can lead to death.
Common complications of diabetic ketoacidosis include very low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, and swelling of the brain (cerebral edema).
Furthermore, when a person is in ketoacidosis, there is such a high level of ketones produced that can push a person into a heart attack or kidney failure(9).
However, the ketosis on a ketogenic diet is very safe and has several health benefits that you can check in this article.
What is a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diet is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. It has low carbohydrates, and rich in proteins and fats.
In real sense, the body cells use blood sugar for fuel, which comes from carbohydrates. It is the body’s main source of energy.
However, when there is no blood sugar from food, the body starts breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies in a process is called ketosis.
How ketosis works
First, ketosis is a normal metabolic process and is safe and healthy.
Once you get into ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until you start eating carbohydrates again(11).
This process usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
However, note that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.
Actually, people who have metabolic problems tend to gain unhealthy body weight.
In fact, it regulates your body’s metabolism to ensure you reach the normal metabolic process safely.
Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run.
Is keto diet safe or Is a keto diet dangerous?
Actually, there are several studies showing that a ketogenic diet helps in weight loss and reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication.
The reality is the there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
Based on the evidence, weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term.
However, there are more controversy on keto diet effect on cholesterol levels.
Only a few studies show some patients have an increase in cholesterol levels in the beginning, but to see cholesterol fall a few months later.
However, there is no long-term research analyzing its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol.
A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat certain conditions, and may accelerate weight loss. But it is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy.
10 Dangers of keto diet on long-term and short term
The big question,is a keto diet dangerous? is here on point.
Ketosis in the long-term can cause health complications such as certain chronic illnesses.
The following are the common side effects of the long-term keto diet that you need to know.
It can lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Following the keto diet for the long term can lead to micronutrient deficiency.
Studies suggest that the ketogenic diet can lead to dangerous micronutrient deficiencies.
This is due to restrictions on some important foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
For instance, people following keto diet are not allowed to eat most of the fruits and starchy vegetables. Is is one danger of keto diet on long term.
2. Long-term ketosis can affect your athletic and bodybuilding performance
If you’re on the keto diet, your body is burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates.
The result is that the keto diet tends to limit performance during high-intensity workouts, while lower-intensity workouts may be less affected.
Studies shows that following keto diet can lead to low performances since you eat low carbs and calories.
In fact carbs are the main source of energy. Blood sugar food is broken down to generate energy that is used by the body.
3. The rules can cause weight re-gain (yo-yo diet)
You can gain weight after stopping following keto diet since you will back to the normal diet.
Furthermore, weight regain is the typical long-term response to dieting, rather than the exception.
For that matter, after some months or a year, you can re-gain weight and become fat again.
The yo-yo dieting is a cycle of short-term changes in eating and activity. It can lead to only short-term benefits.
After losing weight, appetite increases and your body hangs on to fat. This leads to weight gain, and many dieters end up back where they started or worse.
4. It may also damage blood vessels and lead to arteries’ dysfunctions
Studies show that following keto diet for long term can lead to arteries’ issues(24).
Keto diet may damage blood vessels that may lead to the risk of chronic illnesses.
Actually, blood vessels are vital for the body and play a key role in diabetes helping to transport glucose and insulin.
5. Too much fat can raise chronic disease risks such as kidney stone, and gallbladder problems
Keto diet is high in fats, however, too much fats and salt is shown in various studies to be associated with chronic disease like kidney stone.
Therefore, following keto diet for long term may lead to kidney problems.
Kidney stones are hard collections of salt and minerals often made up of calcium or uric acid.
It forms when your urine contains more crystal, forming substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the fluid in your urine can dilute(27).
At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form
6.Keto diet can also lead to heart rhythm problems on long term
Keto diet may also lead to Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias).
It occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats don’t work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly(28)
7. keto diet could have a negative impact on your gut and digestion
Long term or short-term keto diet can lead to a negative impact on your gut and overall digestion.
It is liked to affect gut bacteria. Keto diet can cause constipation, diarrhea and other stomach disorders(31).
For instance, keto diet can cause stress, anxiety and other issues.
The fact is stress can affect digestion, and what nutrients the intestines absorb.
The intestines have a tight barrier to protect the body from (most) food-related bacteria. Stress can make the intestinal barrier weaker and allow gut bacteria to enter the body.
8. keto flu is a common effect of keto diet
Following a keto diet can lead to keto flu. keto flu is a group of symptoms that may appear two to seven days after starting a ketogenic diet.
It is associated with headache, foggy brain, fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and constipation are just some of the symptoms of this condition.
9. Keto diet may lead to muscle loss
It may lead to muscle loss or muscle atrophy.
It is the loss of skeletal muscle mass that can be caused by immobility, aging, malnutrition like keto, medications, or a wide range of injuries or diseases that impact the musculoskeletal or nervous system.
Actually, the keto diet leads to muscle wasting as it lead to muscles weakening and shrinking.
10. Keto diet can lead to metabolic problems
Another danger of keto diet is that it can lead to a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes(33).
Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition. Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.
Summing It Up
Ketosis is safe and healthy on the short term and not that good in the long-term as it can lead to micronutrient deficiencies.
Therefore, the question of, is a keto diet dangerous? in the long-term? Or is ketosis bad or good?
Don’t confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis occurs in uncontrolled diabetes while ketosis is the normal metabolic process induced by ketogenic diet.