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Why the keto diet may not be all it's cracked up to be

Why the keto diet may not be all it's cracked up to be

WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?

Short for the ‘ketogenic diet’, the keto diet is an extremely low-carb and high fat diet. The rapid weight loss it causes has made it one of the most popular diets in the world for several years.  The name comes from ketosis, which is when the body enters a state of burning fat instead of carbohydrates.

However, the diet appears to be losing popularity. It was placed quite low on the rankings of the 2019 best overall diet and new research suggests it’s not as healthy as we used to think.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF THE KETO DIET?

Increased blood pressure. A new study from Georgia, U.S. found that rats placed on the diet for a month experienced increased blood pressure. The rats gained 36 percent of their calories from fat, compared to 7.5 percent on a regular diet.

Missing out nutrients. Eliminating high-carb foods risks avoiding certain fruits and vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots, bananas) which are a good source of fibre and essential nutrients. Restricting food groups can also create an unhealthy relationship with food.

Reduced hydration. The ketogenic diet can cause dehydration which puts people at risk of losing the important electrolytes magnesium, calcium and potassium. For this reason, it’s important to drink plenty of water whilst on the diet.

‘Keto flu’.  These are side effects of your body entering ketosis and may include tiredness, dizziness, poor sleep, constipation and difficulty with exercise.

BUT IT HELPS ME LOSE WEIGHT! SHOULD I CARRY ON WITH IT?

The short-term effects of the keto diet involve rapid weight loss.  Hence its popularity. But experts are uncertain how keto affects the whole body over a longer period of time. If you’re concerned, it might be worth trying a different diet.

WHAT OTHER DIETS ARE RECOMMENDED INSTEAD?

The increasingly popular DASH diet is definitely worth a try. It could help lower blood pressure and boosts heart health, and has been voted the best overall diet by U.S News for 8 years running.

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet is another winner. Plus, it’s delicious and easy to eat Med-style. This easy vegetarian lasagne is brimming with healthy veg, and the deliciously nutritious avocado can feature more regularly in your diet.

Whatever diet you choose, combine it with regular gym workouts – that’s something you can’t ever go wrong with!

 

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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