Keto diet mistakes



I often hear people say that they are doing 'keto' to lose weight and whilst dramatically cutting carbs and calories can be a quick way to lose weight, any diet that is not sustainable long term inevitably results in weight gain. The keto diet often gets confused with a low carb diet so when most people say they are on a keto diet quite often they are just following a low carb diet which is quite different to a ketogenic diet.


The keto diet was originally used under medical supervision to treat severe epilepsy mainly in children that do not respond well to seizure medication. The ketogenic diet has since transitioned into a diet to promote fat loss. This is due to the severe restriction in carbohydrates and the high fat intake which puts the body into a state of ketosis meaning because the body is not getting its energy from carbohydrates it has to use fat instead of glucose for fuel. Clinical ketogenic diets usually limit carbs to between 20 to 50g per day, 30g per day being the average. I cup of cooked oats (in water) is approximately 28g of carbohydrates so as you can see the diet is limited!

Protein intake needs to be kept at a level that is high enough to ensure that lean body mass is not lost , but low enough to maintain the body in a state of ketosis. Too much protein can take the body out of ketosis as the amino acids alanine and glutamine found in protein can be converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis, thereby taking the body out of ketosis.



Following a strict keto diet therefore has limitations as if it is not very carefully balanced, the body may not even be in the fat burning keto stage. Consuming too much fat in the diet can also mean that if someone was following a keto diet for weight loss they may not actually lose weight if they do not get their fat requirements right. If they are consuming an excess of calories via fat and not burning them off they will not lose weight. I have known some people to actually put on weight on a keto diet for this reason. If they have eaten too much protein they may accidentally take their body out of ketosis, combine that with high fat and weight gain is likely.


Due to the low carbohydrate intake the main concern with a keto diet is the potential detrimental effect on the gut microbiome. The restricted carbohydrate intake limits gut loving fibre and therefore if followed long term this type of diet may be starving the beneficial microbes in the gut that are required for general health and well-being.


Whilst there are some medical uses for keto, in my opinion, it should be carefully monitored and only followed under the advice of a medical professional and dietician that is well trained in this area.

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