Adverse Reactions To Ketogenic Diets: Caution Advised
As the ketogenic diet gains popularity, it’s important to have a balanced discussion regarding the merits of this diet. Let me emphasize right out of the gate that this is not a diet without merits (excuse the double negative); in fact, it has significant therapeutic potential for some clinical pathologies. However, it is also a diet with inherent risk, as evidenced by the extensive list of adverse reactions reported in the scientific literature—and this has not yet been a thorough enough part of the public discussion on ketogenic diets. The AIP Lecture Series is a 6-week video-based, self-directed online course that will teach you the scientific foundation for the diet and lifestyle tenets of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the first of a series of articles discussing various facets of a ketogenic diet with an inclination toward balancing the discussion of the pros and cons of this high-fat, low-carb, low/moderate-protein diet. My interest in this topic stems from concerns I have over its general applicability and safety, simultaneous with its growing popularity. I feel a moral and social obligation to share what I understand of these diets, from my perspective as a medical researcher. The dangers of a ketogenic diet was, in fact, the topic of my keynote presentation at Paleo F(x) this year (links to video will be provided once available). This series of articles will share the extensive research that I did in preparation for this presentation, including all of the topics covered during my talk as well as several topics that I didn’t have time to discuss (also see the free PDF Literature Review at the bottom of this post). For every anecdotal story of someone who has regained their health with a ketogenic diet, there’s a counterpoint story of someone who derai Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is it safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. What is a ketogenic diet? In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones. Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and Continue reading >>
Side Effects Of A Ketogenic Diet
Tweet Like any significant change to your diet, when starting a ketogenic diet, it is normal to experience one or more side effects as the body adapts to a new way of eating. When going on a ketogenic diet, the body has to switch its fuel source from the glucose in carbohydrate to using its own fat stores, and this can lead to experiencing some of the following side effects: Loss of salts Keto-flu Changes in bowel habits Leg cramps Bad breath Loss of energy Usually these side effects are temporary and can usually be remedied. Loss of salts There are some changes with fluid balance that can typically occur within the first couple of weeks of a ketogenic diet. This happens as the body uses up its stored sugar (glycogen) which releases water into the blood that gets passed out of the body through urine. As fluid is passed out of the body, salts in the body can get depleted too. As a result, you may experience a loss of fluid and salts as you move into and maintain ketosis. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated through the day. Water is the best drink for hydration but tea and coffee are also fine as long as they’re not very milky. Ensure you have enough salt as this can prevent side effects such as headaches and wooziness. You are free to add sea salt to your food and can take salts by drinking vegetable or bone broths and bouillons too. Potassium and magnesium are other important salts. As long as you are eating healthy, natural foods (such as nuts, meat, fish, dairy and a range of vegetables), you shouldn’t have a problem getting enough magnesium and potassium. Keto-flu The first few weeks of transitioning to a ketogenic diet can be challenging for some people. Whereas others adapt to it more easily. Your body may be used to relying mainly on glucose for energy and so Continue reading >>
Keto Os Side Effects And Benefits: Is It Worth It?
Keto OS or — as the company writes it — KETO//OS is an exogenous ketone supplement that promises better mood, strength, energy, sleep, focus, and fat loss. Here is a description of the product directly from the website: “KETO//OS® (Ketone Operating System) is a revolutionary drink mix based on a proprietary ketone energy technology. It delivers advanced macro nutritionals and promotes optimized cellular regeneration, energy and longevity.” With the subtle hints of science and the usage of unnecessarily complicated terminology, this supplement smells a lot like another fat loss supplement scam. Could KETO//OS’s advanced macro nutritional energy technology really improve mood, strength, energy, sleep, focus, and fat loss? Plot twist. Some — but not all — of Pruvit’s claims may be true. Unfortunately, there may be some downsides as well. A Quick Overview of Ketones, Ketosis, and Other Keto Terms Before we jump into the science and side effects of KETO//OS, we must develop a basic understanding of some not-so-common terms. Throughout this article, you will see the words ketosis, ketogenesis, ketones, ketone bodies, and exogenous ketones. They are all related, but also have some significant differences. Ketosis is when our body burns ketones for fuel, and these ketones are created via a process called ketogenesis. For the purposes of this article, ketones and ketone bodies are one in the same (to find out the differences between the two, check out our article on ketones). Ketone bodies are produced by the liver during periods of starvation or carbohydrate restriction. Exogenous ketones are ketone bodies that are not made endogenously (in the body). They are typically ingested in the form of ketone salts, which are the main active ingredients in Keto//OS prod Continue reading >>
The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?
Disclaimer: First things first. Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. As you’ll see below, data exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of ketosis are still scarce, and we don’t yet know the side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. This post talks about the SCIENCE behind ketosis, and is not meant in any way as medical advice. The ketogenic diet is a nutritionist’s nightmare. High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. Drinking coffee with butter? Eating a block of cream cheese? Little to no fruit? To the uninitiated, keto defies all common sense, inviting skeptics to wave it off as an unnatural “bacon-and-steak” fad diet. Yet versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s – potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including head ache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer. With no apparent side effects. Sound too good to be true? I feel ya! Where are these neuroprotective effects coming from? What’s going on in the brain on a ketogenic diet? Ketosis in a nutshell In essence, a ketogenic diet mimics starvation, allowing the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis (key-tow-sis). Normally, human bodies are sugar-driven machines: ingested carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is mainly transported and used as energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue. When deprived of d Continue reading >>
The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, But Is It Safe?
A new twist on extreme weight loss is catching on in some parts of the United States. It’s called the "keto diet." People promoting the diet say it uses the body’s own fat burning system to help people lose significant weight in as little as 10 days. It has also been known to help moderate the symptoms of children with epilepsy, although experts are not quite sure why it works. Proponents say the diet can produce quick weight loss and provide a person with more energy. However, critics say the diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight and in some instances it can be downright dangerous. Read More: What is the “Caveman Diet?” » What Is Ketosis? The “keto” diet is any extremely low- or no-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age. However, many experts say ketosis itself is not necessarily harmful. Some studies, in fact, suggest that a ketogenic diet is safe for significantly overweight or obese people. However, other clinical reviews point out that patients on low-carbohydrate diets regain some of their lost weight within a year. Where It’s Helpful The keto diet was created by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. He claims great success among thousands of users. In his study, more than 19,000 dieters experienced significant, rapid weight loss, few side Continue reading >>
Common Ketosis Side Effects And Treatments
There are many awesome benefits with come with adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet, such as weight loss, decreased cravings, and even possibly reduce diseases risks. That being said, it’s also good to talk about possible ketosis side effects so you know fully what to expect as you start this new health journey. Not everyone experiences side effects when starting a ketogenic diet, and thankfully, those who do don’t usually experience them for very long. It varies with the individual, but just to make sure all your bases are covered, we’re going to breaking down each possible side effect and go over ways to manage and alleviate them if needed. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 1 – Frequent Urination As your body burns through the stored glucose in your liver and muscles within the first day or two of starting a ketogenic diet, you’ll be releasing a lot of water in the process. Plus, your kidneys will start excreting excess sodium as the levels of your circulating insulin drop. Basically, you might notice yourself needing to pee more often throughout the day. But no worries; this side effect of ketosis takes care of itself once your body adjusts and is no longer burning through the extra glycogen. KETOSIS SIDE EFFECT 2 – Dizziness and Drowsiness As the body is getting rid of this excess water, it will also be eliminating minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium too. This can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and fatigued. Thankfully, this is also very avoidable; all it takes is a little preparation beforehand. Focus on eating foods that are rich in potassium, such as: Leafy greens (aim for at least two cups each day!) Broccoli Dairy Meat, poultry, and fish Avocados Add salt to your foods or use salty broth when cooking too. You can also dissolve about a teaspoon of regu Continue reading >>
The Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet
Who should go on a low-carb diet? Low-carbohydrate diets — like the ketogenic diet — are effective for weight loss and improving health. They are also especially helpful for anyone who: Is overweight or obese Is sedentary Has epilepsy Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or endometriosis Is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes Has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Has certain forms of cancer Has cardiovascular disease A typical low-carb diet limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to between 60 and 130 grams, while a ketogenic diet tends to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates. This is done by excluding or limiting most grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables from the diet and replacing them with added fats, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When we eat in this way, our bodies begin to change dramatically — especially for those who habitually eat plenty of carbohydrates with each meal. Not all of these changes, however, are going to be positive. When carbohydrates are restricted, it is stressful for the body because it must find another way to fuel itself. This can cause side effects, like nausea and headaches, that is commonly called the “keto flu”. The lack of carbohydrates will also lead to fluid and mineral loss and hormonal changes that can cause health issues if not addressed. The Most Common Side Effects The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are: Headache Bad breath Weakness Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer (up to two years), no side effects or co Continue reading >>
Following A Ketogenic Diet For 5 Years, The Story Of Glucose Transporter 1 Deficiency Syndrome
T hose of us advocating an ultra-low carb™ diet struggle with the question of the long term effects of following such a prescription. The flak from high-carb (or balanced diet, as they call it) advocates originates in this basic premise: there is no long term research. Their answer to the problem: Stay the course (which we already know is NOT working). The current norm for many controlled nutritional studies is 12 weeks to a year. Clearly, this span of time in relation to the human lifespan is too short. Basing life-long recommendations on such short-lived studies could easily end up being a case of misrepresentation. As for myself, I believe it’s the strategic reintroduction of carbs at specific times that is the healthiest approach—the topics in both Carb Backloading™ and Carb Nite®. Lack of research also allows people to post opinion pieces about supposed effects of long-term ketogenic diets, effects that we don’t actually see in practice. But there’s still the elephant in the room: What really happens with long-term adherence to an ultra-low carb diet? We can look to clinical populations with certain diseases who are enrolled in studies that are generally longer in duration, stronger in design and much stricter with adherence. We must be careful when extrapolating, however—i.e. generalizing the results to the entire population—but it offers good insights and opens up areas of new research. Some of the most important insights into various fields of human study come from looking at diseased or injured populations—looking at such cases literally exploded the field of cognitive research and transformed the science of the mind from speculation to fact. Such research can do the same in the realm of diet and health. A recent work published by Bertoli et Continue reading >>
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Ketogenic Diet Side Effects
Although the adverse effects related to the ketogenic diet are generally less serve than those of anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy, individuals following the diet may experience a number of undesirable effects. Short-Term Side Effects There are several short-term side effects that are most evident at the beginning of therapy, particularly when patients commence the diet with an initial fast. Hypoglycemia is a common side effect in this instance, and noticeable signs may include: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Hunger Confusion, anxiety and/or irritability Tachycardia Lightheadedness and shakiness Sweating and chills Additionally, patients may also experience some constipation and low-grade acidosis. These effects tend to improve when the diet is continued, as the body adapts to the new diet and adjust the ways in which it sources energy. Alteration in Blood Composition As a result of the changes in dietary consumption and the body’s adaptive mechanisms to cope with the reduced carbohydrate intake, there are several changes in the blood composition of individuals following the ketogenic diet. In particular, the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood are commonly higher than what is considered to be normal. More than 60% of patients have raised lipid levels and more than 30% have high levels of cholesterol. If these changes are profound and there is some concern about the health of the child, slight changes to the diet can be made for the individual patient. For example, saturated fat sources can be substituted for polyunsaturated fats. In some cases, it may be necessary to lower the ketogenic ratio and reduce the proportion of fat to carbohydrate and protein in the diet. Long-Term Effects When the ketogenic diet is continued for exte Continue reading >>
Long-term Effects Of A Ketogenic Diet In Obese Patients
Go to: Abstract Although various studies have examined the short-term effects of a ketogenic diet in reducing weight in obese patients, its long-term effects on various physical and biochemical parameters are not known. To determine the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet (consisting of 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g/kg body weight protein, 20% saturated fat, and 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) in obese patients. In the present study, 83 obese patients (39 men and 44 women) with a body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2, and high glucose and cholesterol levels were selected. The body weight, body mass index, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, urea and creatinine levels were determined before and after the administration of the ketogenic diet. Changes in these parameters were monitored after eight, 16 and 24 weeks of treatment. The weight and body mass index of the patients decreased significantly (P<0.0001). The level of total cholesterol decreased from week 1 to week 24. HDL cholesterol levels significantly increased, whereas LDL cholesterol levels significantly decreased after treatment. The level of triglycerides decreased significantly following 24 weeks of treatment. The level of blood glucose significantly decreased. The changes in the level of urea and creatinine were not statistically significant. The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did Continue reading >>
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The 11 Most Common Keto Side Effects
The 11 Most Common Keto Side Effects The ketogenic diet is a powerful new tool to hit the mainstream recently. This style of eating has substantial data behind it showing that it can boost fat-burning, reduce inflammation, boost cognitive performance, and more. What has not been covered quite enough are common keto side effects and how you can avoid them to make the best of this powerful eating style. Although there can be many different side effects that manifest while becoming keto-adapted, many of them stem from similar underlying issues. In this article, I outline what those underlying issues are, their related side effects, and simple strategies to overcome them so you can become keto-adapted as smoothly as possible. Three Primary Causes Although there are a variety of symptoms that can arise during keto adaptation, they mostly manifest from the same three underlying causes. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction, and electrolyte/mineral deficiencies. While these three causes are seemingly different, they are actually all related. When becoming keto-adapted initially, your body has been running on sugar for years. When you suddenly switch to fats, your body has to essentially build the cellular machinery necessary to generate and utilize ketone bodies as a fuel source. This means that instead of generating tons of ketones from the very beginning, most people experience hypoglycemia for a period of time. With hypoglycemia comes a disruption in cortisol signaling which is what accounts for the HPA axis dysfunction. Finally, HPA axis dysfunction leads to an increase in secretion of minerals from the body in the urine. Together these three causes can create all kinds of side effects. Once you understand them, though, a lit Continue reading >>
Is The Keto Diet Safe? 10 Myth-busting Arguments For The Safety Of Ketosis
Is ketosis safe? The truth is that we can’t say for certain that it is 100% safe. Humans don’t understand everything under the branch of nutritional science and probably won’t for a very long time. As an individual, the only thing you can do is take a look at the research yourself and form your own conclusion. Personally, through the reading I’ve done and the experience I’ve had with the Keto diet, I’ve formed my own conclusion that ketosis is safe. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But I could also be right. I’m willing to take that risk in order to follow a diet which could maximize longevity, well being and function. My personal conclusion shouldn’t matter to you though. You need to do your own research and come to your own conclusion. I’ve put together this post to organize all of the issues surrounding the safety of ketosis so that you can make your own decision. In trying to prove something to be safe there are two ways to go about it. Disprove the claims of danger Show evidence which may be correlated with safety This article will dispel the top 10 claims people make in an argument to label ketosis as dangerous. Like I said, the science on ketosis is still quite immature. The following data is not meant to 100% prove or disprove the safety of ketosis. It’s merely the information we have available today which can help us form a nutritional strategy we feel is best for ourselves. I’m not a doctor or a researcher. The following information is material I’ve collected in my attempt to feel confident following a Keto diet indefinitely. Most of it is sourced from doctors or authors although I have also included anecdotal accounts from experiences posted on message boards and Reddit. I know, much of the information here isn’t sourced directly from s Continue reading >>