Is a ketogenic diet dangerous long-term?
Recently, the ketogenic diet has become a very popular phenomenon. This regimen move you towards entering the state of ketosis, which, in result, helps you lose weight very efficiently.
Ketosis is a state where your body is running primarily on fat, rather than on sugars, contained in carbohydrates. Ketogenesis is a biochemical process when fats are broken down into ketones.
Ketones or ketone bodies are usually thought of as an alternate “clean” fuel source instead of glucose. Ketones are also used to power most of the tissues in our body, along with the brain.
Following a high-fat, low-carb (HFLC) diet can be a solid strategy for rapid weight loss, blood sugar control, and decreasing inflammation.
Although even the most ardent opponents admit some ketogenic diet health benefits, there is a lot of confusion around this diet because of thoughts that ketosis is a dangerous, unnatural state that is not safe for a long term run.
So with this article, we’d like to clear up the most common misunderstandings and confusions about doing the keto diet long-term
We’ll show you why entering ketosis state can be entirely natural, and might even be the preferred state for humans, compared to having our bodies always running off of carbohydrate.
Is the ketogenic diet dangerous or safe long-term are fundamental questions, especially if you’re already eating the ketogenic way or you’re contemplating starting the keto diet.
In this article, we will thoroughly analyze all the concerns about the ketogenic way of eating people may have.
Below you can find the complete list of concerns people have about doing the ketogenic diet on a long term:
- Is the keto diet harmful to your intestinal flora?
- Can Keto diet provoke fatty liver?
- “Keto crotch”. True or myth?
- Atrial fibrillation if you eat low carb?
- Does the Keto diet cause Kidney Stones?
- Can Diabetics Eat Keto?
- Is Ketosis Safe Long Term?
- Does the ketogenic diet create deficiencies?
- Is the keto diet safe for someone with high cholesterol
Is Keto Diet Harmful To Your Intestinal Flora?
The first concerns people have about starting the ketogenic diet is that it leads to a complete lack of prebiotic fiber that can mess with your gut bacteria.
Prebiotic fiber is a physiologically functional substance or a complex of substances that provide a beneficial effect on the digestive health of the human body as a result of increasing the biological activity of intestinal microflora.
The assumption that a keto diet can cause harm to your microflora is valid only if you don’t eat a nutritious whole-food ketogenic diet.
If you want a prebiotic fiber in your keto diet, you can get it from the products listed below, which are all keto-friendly.
Keto Friendly Products Rich In Prebiotic Fiber:
- chia seeds,
- dairy products, such as
- plain natural yogurt with bifidobacterium
- Dandelion Greens
- Chicory Root
Any combination of those foods will give you all the prebiotic fiber that your gut bacteria may need.
Can Keto Diet Provoke Fatty Liver?
Practicing physicians who have followed some of their patients who had been doing keto for 3 years or more have mentioned that their ALT, AST and GGT levels go back to normal. So they reversed their fatty liver disease.
We also recommend eating more low carb vegetables on a ketogenic diet to prevent fatty liver disease.
So as we mentioned earlier, nutritious whole food ketogenic diet will reverse the fatty liver back to normal.
“Keto Crotch” on the Keto Diet. Is it True or Myth?
“Keto crotch” refers to a temporary change in vaginal odor in women going on a ketogenic diet.
Some nutritionists even say that a ketogenic way of eating can change the pH of the vaginal flora and as a result may cause bacterial vaginosis.
Bad breath or changes in body odor are not uncommon concerns, but those are experienced early in the adaptation phase and are not long-term or ongoing issues. When compared to struggling with obesity and metabolic dysfunction, dealing briefly with body odor changes is much easier.
Dr. Ken Berry, in his YouTube video on the subject, also confirmed that he treats a lot less vaginal and bladder infections in his patients on low carb diets.
It is important to mention that some women admitted that in their keto journey they experienced a less than pleasant odor emanating from their vagina, which lasted a few weeks, and went away on its own.
Atrial Fibrillation If You Eat Low Carb?
This statement is based on a study looking at the lowest carbohydrate intake and health.
The headlines of this study determined those who ate a “low carb” diet were at higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
However, the lowest carbohydrate intake determined in that study was less than 40% of the participants’ diet they’ve been eating and we all know that’s not even close to low carb.
At 40% carbs, our bodies are still burning carbs and glucose for fuel. So what happens to the fat? It gets stored. Or worse, it gets oxidized and stored. Either way, the combined high-carb, to a high-fat diet is the one that is most prone to health problems.
So yes, high-carb diet will increase your risk of having the atrial fibrillation, but a low carb whole food ketogenic way of eating will decrease your risk of atrial fibrillation.
The study has brought up some fascinating evidence. It appears that when carbohydrate intake is reduced in the diet, there are benefits when this is replaced with plant-origin fat and protein food sources but not when replaced with animal-origin sources such as meats.
We think this is good food for thought.
So the bottom line is that you should eat more low carb leafy vegetables, healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein to stay healthy and lose weight at the same time.
Does Keto Diet Cause Kidney Stones?
The rumor you may have heard that the ketogenic diet or high protein diet or a high fatty meat diet increases your risk of kidney stones.
What causes kidney stones and what you can do to prevent it.
There are multiple different types of kidney stones, but there are 3 most common types which make about 98% of them all.
By far the most common are the calcium-based ones, especially the calcium oxalate stones.
The second most common is the uric acid stone that’s more common in men. It consists of uric acid that makes up about 7 to 8% of them all.
And then struvite stones are much more common in women. They come from repetitive bladder and kidney infections.
So let’s talk about the true causes of kidney stones and how to prevent them.
First off, it’s the food that we eat. Very often we ingest foods that have inflammatory qualities. They are typically processed and contain lots of vegetable oils and processed carbs and sugar.
Those things inflame the kidneys and everything else.
Also, a lack of magnesium in your diet may cause a problem with kidney stones.
You don’t necessarily have to take a magnesium supplement. There are multiple ketogenic foods rich in this nutrient.
Magnesium can be obtained from nuts and seeds, for instance, from walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans or pistachios. All these products are in the keto menu.
The average Western society citizen is magnesium depleted. Same goes for potassium.
Supplementing with potassium citrate can drastically decrease the likelihood of calcium and uric acid stones.
Potassium citrate attaches to calcium in the urine, preventing the formation of mineral crystals that can develop into kidney stones.
Potassium citrate also prevents the urine from becoming too acidic. This helps prevent uric acid or cystine kidney stones from forming.
Being too low neither one of these electrolytes can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
Also, a significant promoter of kidney stone formation is dehydration and calcium supplementation.
Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of fresh lemon juice diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk.
The Bottom Line
Summing up all the above, by losing the weight, drinking more water, getting rid of sugar and getting plenty of magnesium and potassium by eating plenty of green vegetables, nuts, and seeds you’ll slash your risk of ever forming a kidney stone straight away.
And these recommendations can be easily accomplished on the ketogenic way of eating.
Can Diabetics Eat Keto Long-Term?
The ketogenic diet is one healthful eating plan that may help people with diabetes. Research has shown that people undertaking a ketogenic diet show an improvement in blood sugar level management. They have also been shown to experience noticeable weight loss.
Although the ketogenic diet may be a viable treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes, it does has a potential side effect related to kidney stones, when it comes to longer terms.
But as we mentioned earlier this could be easily prevented by supplementing with magnesium, potassium, drinking plenty of water and ½ cup of fresh lemon juice every day.
Is Ketosis Safe Long-Term?
Foremost you should keep in mind that Western society has been demonizing fat for over 60 years.
In 1955 at the World Health Organization in Geneva, an influential researcher named Ancel Keys offered his lipid hypothesis, which claimed dietary fat raised cholesterol, subsequently increasing heart disease.
The American Heart Association quickly embraced Keys’s hypothesis, warning that butter, eggs, meat, and other saturated fat-rich foods contributed to heart disease and emphasizing a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease.
From that time on people think fat burning is dangerous compared to burning sugar for energy.
Sugar fuel sets you up for high insulin and out of the illnesses or diseases why people die, i.e., heart disease, Alzheimer’s, kidney problems, cancer, stroke, all those relates to high insulin – not ketones.
Sugar also give a lot of byproducts in the whole metabolic pathway.
Ketones are the best fuel for your brain
There are pretty much no downsides to running your body in ketosis. It’s actually the best fuel for the brain.
Your brain will run on glucose, but if you drop the glucose down and run it on ketones, you’ll give it much cleaner fuel.
It’s like running your body on electric fuel versus sugar which is a dirty fuel because you have the highs and lows of the blood sugar levels.
So your brain loves the ketones, and that’s why ketosis is used in problems with epileptic seizures because the brain chills out when feeding it with the “clean” type of fuel.
People lose a significant amount of weight, have better thinking, concentration, focus when they go in ketosis and especially long-term.
There are no long-term negative effects about ketosis especially if you eat nutritious whole-food ketogenic way.
In fact, ketones are the original fuels our bodies ran for tens of thousands of years.
When your body runs on ketones, you’re converting fat. Our body uses fat not just for fuel, it also uses it to replace body parts: cellular membranes, brain tissue, nerve tissue, hormones are all made from fat.
There is no essential carbohydrate you need, there’s no essential glucose you need, and on the contrary, there are essential fatty acids without which a human body could not live.
Does Ketogenic Diet Create Deficiencies?
Ketogenic diet requires different nutrients intake, B vitamins, more minerals and electrolytes.
As long as you have enough vegetable, nuts, and seeds along with adding more essential electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium you’ll be fine.
Does Ketogenic Diet Raise Your Cholesterol?
Is the keto diet safe for someone with high cholesterol?
First and foremost you should take into account that your body makes a massive amount of cholesterol every single day.
And it does so for a reason because it acts as a precursor for hormones. Cholesterol helps to repair the tissue especially when you get older. It’s also a building block for stress hormones.
Our bodies make the amount of cholesterol that would equal one pound butter or 300 strips of bacon or 14 eggs a day.
So if cholesterol is so bad why does your body make so much?
Furthermore, the present study shows that the long-term ketogenic diet significantly decreases the level of LDL cholesterol and blood glucose.
Doing a ketogenic diet for a long-term does not produce any significant side effects. Therefore, the present study above confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a more extended period of time.
So let’s cover some key points.
Ketosis is the only way to be healthy long term. Our only recommendation is to eat a nutritious whole food ketogenic way, add more low carb vegetables and essential electrolytes.
By doing so, you’ll feel and look much better.
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If you have any questions or another opinion about safeness of doing the keto long-term, please share it in the comment section below.
We wish you good luck on your keto path and take care.