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Keto Diet Dangers

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey found that more than one in three U.S. consumers are following a specific diet or eating pattern. Among other common diets like fasting and high-protein, approximately 3 percent of  consumers followed a ketogenic diet — a diet that has been largely popularized by best-selling books, celebrities, and millions of social media posts.


Unfortunately, although the keto diet is supposed to reduce your appetite and help you rapidly lose weight, it comes with a hefty cost. For a whole-food, plant-based diet that helps you reach peak health and ward off heart disease, diabetes, and more without counting calories, schedule an appointment with Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best cardiologist in the Tampa Bay area.


Related: Smoothly Transition to a Plant-Based Diet With These 4 Tips

The “Keto Flu” 

The term “keto flu” is widely used to describe the flu-like symptoms many people experience shortly after starting the keto diet. This phenomenon occurs because your body quickly runs out of stored glucose to burn for energy and has to start using stored fat for fuel, triggering a state of ketosis. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include any of the following:


  • Headaches

  • Irritability

  • Weakness

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting

  • Mood swings

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Bloating

  • Bad breath

  • Constipation


Most of these symptoms typically last from one to two weeks; however, bloating and constipation may persist throughout the diet due to a lack of fiber.

Increased Risk for Chronic Diseases

Fats are broken down into three main categories: unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. When done right, the keto diet should include a fair amount of vegetables and lean sources of animal protein. However, someone misusing the framework of the keto diet may consume 30 or more grams of saturated fat in a day through foods like red meats and dairy products. While these foods are low-carb and will result in weight loss through ketosis, they will also ultimately lead to an increased risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.


Related: How to Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Nutrient Deficiencies 

Because the keto diet restricts several categories of food, including fruits, whole grains, and legumes, you may find that it fails to provide the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium. These nutrient deficiencies can lead to particularly unpleasant symptoms, such as skin disorders, bone pain, severe hair loss, digestive problems, and even dementia.

Kidney Stress

Common staples of the keto diet, such as high-fat animal foods, are also likely to place undue stress on your kidneys, make your urine more acidic, increase your calcium and uric acid levels, and overall make you more susceptible to kidney stones. Additionally, people with kidney disease are actually advised to avoid keto altogether as their weakened kidneys are not able to remove the acid buildup in their blood resulting from these high-fat animal foods. Instead, it is usually recommended that they consume an individualized, low-protein diet as prescribed by their doctor.

Keto Diet vs. Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet

Despite its rapid weightless benefits, the keto diet is ultimately unsustainable and detrimental to your health in a number of other ways. If you’re truly looking to boost your energy levels, prevent chronic diseases, and improve your health, it’s time to talk to the best cardiologist in Tampa about switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet. A whole-food, plant-based diet emphasizes minimally-processed plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts, and, unlike the keto diet, is backed by years of strong scientific evidence that it can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

To consult Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, the best cardiologist in the Tampa Bay area, please call (813) 344-0934 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 


The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC is not responsible nor does the medical practice approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

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