Are Keto Diets Safe? [Infographic]

Are Keto Diets Really Safe?

Following up on the earlier post that explored the questions of whether keto diets are healthy or unhealthy, we gathered so much information and feedback that it seemed important to share it. We even created an infographic about the safety of keto diets because it seemed like a good way to communicate some of the most important points.

Are Keto Diets Safe? The Infographic!

First, let’s look at some key facts about the keto diet.

Calories Still Matter

You can read any keto diet forum to find people posting about their failure to lose weight beyond the initial loss of water weight. Dozens of other keto fans will reply that the complainers are probably still eating too many calories a day to lose weight. Avoiding carbohydrates isn’t a free pass to eat unlimited calories and still lose weight, and everybody knows this. Dr. Atkins even posted about it in his book.

If the keto diet has any benefits, proponents say that consuming a lot of protein and fat help their cravings and encourage them to eat less. One has to wonder about the incredible keto diet failure rate if it really works that well.

Health Issues

You might want to read this study published on the National Institute of Health before you decide that a keto diet is safe for pregnant women. Tests performed on pregnant mice found significant differences in embryo’s organ development when the mother ate a keto diet vs. a more standard one.

The Diabetes Council went as far as to say as keto diets are inappropriate for pregnant women, nursing mothers, or people with kidney disease. Typical diabetes diets do limit carbs, but they usually allow more carbohydrates in one meal than typical keto dieters eat all day. Also, concerns have been raised about keto diets and hypothyroidism. Anyway, if you are pregnant or have another medical issue, talk to your doctor before trying a keto diet.

Are You Physically Active?

There have been some notable exceptions, but most people don’t perform as well on a keto diet. Almost everybody endures a sluggish period while they are getting used to this very low-carb diet as well.

One study on keto and physical performance found that it compromised peak performance and endurance slightly. Average participants in this study lost about five pounds, but half of that was muscle. While these may be risks worth taking for weekend warriors, they may matter a lot more to top-level athletes.

Gut Health

What you eat directly influences your gut biome health. A keto diet will absolutely make your digestive ecosystem less diverse. Of course, this may not be true if you manage to eat plenty of fiber. Since lots of high-fiber food, like starchy vegetables, are off limits to keto dieters, this can take some work. You can read what Dr. Kresser has to say on the issue here.

The Keto Diet is Strict and Often Results in Yo-Yo Dieting

People who are relatively healthy and not planning on getting pregnant might consider a keto diet. However, this diet is very strict. Carbs might be restricted to fewer than 20 grams a day. Two slices of bread, one banana, or a potato will cause you to go over. Since carbs hold onto water, eliminating them may help you lose five to ten pounds quickly, but again, that’s just water and not fat.

Then you get stuck, post on a forum, and everybody will tell you that you eat too much. Anyway, yo-yo dieting is a big problem, and when you fall off the wagon, you’ll tend to gain back more weight than you lost in the first place. Realistically, this is one of the biggest safety problems with a keto diet. It might help people lose weight and even balance insulin levels, if they can stick to it. Since most people won’t keep eating this way for the rest of their life, it can cause more problems than it solves.

Summary of Potential Negative Side Effects of a Keto Diet

This summary of possible keto diet negatives doesn’t include those negative side effects that people with health conditions might experience. That’s why it’s important to work with a doctor or professional dietician to manage any serious health condition. These are simply some downsides that reasonably health experience when they decide to follow a very low-carbohydrate diet plan.

The potential negative side effects of a keto diet are listed here:

  • Mental and physical sluggish feelings. While your body adjust its metabolism to a new way of eating, you will probably experience low-energy periods and what many keto dieters experience as brain flog. It gets so bad that some people describe the symptoms as the “keto flu.” These symptoms may go away after a few weeks, but it takes some people longer than others.
  • Changes in blood-lipid profiles: Some folks lower their cholesterol over time, but others find that their numbers actually get worse. Even though these low-carb diets call for eating a lot of fat, the kinds of fat you eat might play some part in the different results studies have found. In any case, you license to eat plenty of fat and protein isn’t the same as a license to eat a lot of saturated fat and processed food.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Keto diet plans may come with advice to add extra supplements for nutrients and fiber. In my opinion, any diet that relies upon supplements to keep people from starving isn’t a great diet plan.
  • Might trigger ketoacidosis in vulnerable people: Most people don’t think that non-diabetics have a big risk of getting sick from changing the PH levels of their body chemistry. On the other hand, the American Diabetes Association says that plenty of type 2 diabetics have not yet been diagnosed. Again, it’s probably a good idea for most people to pass such an extreme diet as the keto diet past their doctor.

Negative Ecological Impact of High-Animal-Food Diets

Yeah, you already know that seven billion human beings can’t go keto. We’re trying hard not to preach, but you may want to read this article in Earth Island and decide if you want to be part of the problem or the solution. Is the keto diet safe for Earth? You have to know the answer to that question is no if you follow the keto diet by relying upon mostly animal-protein.

Of course, vegetarians and even vegans can enjoy a moderate-carbohydrate diet plan that offers them potential health benefits and more variety. Anyway, this discussion of the environmental impact of more keto dieting should really be the topic of its own article.

Is the Keto Diet Safe for You?

Limiting refined carbs, like cinnamon buns, makes sense for people who want to maintain or lose weight. Limiting entire food groups and restricting carbohydrates to unnatural levels at the expense of eating enough fiber hardly seems sensible. Even proponents say it works because — for them — it curbs cravings. Other folks would have their cravings cured better by a big plate of sweet potatoes.

While a keto diet may be relatively safe for some folks, it doesn’t work well for everybody, and for quite a few people, it may be unsafe. The best advise is to get a checkup first from your doctor and ask them about a diet plan that’s right for you.

 

 

 

 

You Might be Fat Because You Don’t Sleep Enough

Does Lack of Sleep Make You Fat?

Insomnia Makes Your FatDoes skipping a few hours with the Sandman make you gain weight? Yes, it probably does. It seems counter-intuitive. After all, if you’re awake, you could engage in activities that actually burn more calories than simply dreaming about doing things. However, that’s not really the way your body works. If you don’t let your body sleep enough, you’re going to experience some unpleasant effects, and one of them is weight gain and associated problems. Learn more about how a lack of sleep can make you fat.

How Sleep Deprivation Makes People Fat

It’s NOT Just Late-Night Snacks

The first explanation for how a lack of sleep can make you gain weight might be the obvious one. Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night and figured a late-night snack is just the ticket to help calm down? If you’re hungry or craving certain kinds of food, maybe you should eat something light.

Some good examples might include a serving of fruit or low-fat protein. In some cases, you might just be thirsty and need a couple of swallows of water. Be wary of drinking too much because that’s likely to cause you to wake up again for an urgent visit to the restroom. The problem is that once you get out of bed and start wandering around your house, the harder time you will probably have getting back to sleep quickly.

The Real Problem: Lack of Sleep Messes Up Your Hormones

You can find plenty of credible studies that find sleep deprivation and disturbances promote weight gain. Conversely, healthier diets and weight loss have even been founded to improve sleep. It’s a win-win situation if you can get your sleep and your healthy lifestyle to work together. With that said, it’s not always easy.

The lack of sleep changes your hormones. Men’s Health pointed out that this may work differently in men and women as well. In a sleep study of both men and women:

  • A hormone that stimulates appetite increased in the men.
  • A hormone that signals brains that people are full or satiated decreased in woman.
  • Either way, enjoy too little sleep for days caused cravings that were just about impossible to ignore.

You Might Not Feel Hungry; But You’re Eating More

You might not even consciously feel hungry, but you’re probably eating more when you lack sleep. In the study reported upon above, the people in the study didn’t say they felt hungry. However, they ate an average of 300 more calories a day. Over time, that 300 calories will add up and start packing on pounds.

That’s why it’s so difficult for people to understand that sleep deprivation is making them gain weight. They don’t feel hungry, but somehow, they’re still getting a message to eat more.

How to Cure the Sleep Deprivation Fat-Gaining Blues

Obviously, your first step is to figure out how you can get enough sleep. Most people need at least seven or eight hours a night. If you skimp once in awhile, you probably won’t suffer many ill effect, but the study found changes after only FOUR days of sleeping less than they should. If you can’t get to sleep, you might even visit your doctor to ask for some help.

If you’ve got to snack at night, stock the fridge with healthy snacks. A handful of grapes or nuts might be good suggestions. An entire pie is not such a great idea. You get the idea. Also, the researchers suggested some moderate exercise because activity can burn calories and may help you get to sleep faster.