Transitioning to a keto diet is a big lifestyle change. It is a very demanding diet that can require attention to detail, understanding macros, and meal plans that can be tough to abide by. But with many people around the world reporting great results and improved health with the keto diet, you might just want to give it a shot and see if the keto diet is right for you!
The keto diet isn’t meant for any particular group of people, and can be done by anyone who wants to improve their health and lose a little weight while they’re at it. The diet involves cutting out carbs, sugar, and other sources of glucose from your diet almost entirely and replacing a large chunk of your daily food intake with fat.
This is done in order to induce a state known as ketosis, where your body begins to convert stored fat into ketones to use as energy because there isn’t enough glucose in the system to be used as fuel.
Plenty of individuals report seeing great success with the diet and offers a number of health benefits. It’s a diet known for being great for anyone looking to regulate their metabolism, lose weight, lower blood pressure, and increase their daily energy and focus.
It’s also a diet that has been prescribed to those with health conditions and for therapeutic purposes, and is known to reverse symptoms of type 2 diabetes, PCOS, epilepsy, acne, and even help to treat brain cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Is the Keto Diet the Diet for You?
Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well, yes, of course it does! But before you jump in, you have to first ask yourself, is this the best diet choice for you? It might sound like a miracle worker, but that doesn’t mean it works its magic on everyone.
Let’s put it this way: no product, lifestyle, or diet will be the unanimous best option for every single person in the world. There are bound to be plenty of individuals who are exceptions to “rules” and whose bodies work differently from those who can use the keto diet.
Here are some reasons a keto diet may not be the best option for you.
The keto diet may not be right for you if you are a professional athlete or spend several hours a day doing hard, intense exercise and training. Yes, there have been professional athletes that tried the keto diet and found it to be rewarding, but this isn’t the case for everyone.
A ketogenic diet involves consuming limited amounts of protein, and in order to have consume enough for your body to use for workouts without knocking yourself out of ketosis, you’ll need to do some serious calculations and go through a bit of trial and error before finding the perfect amount. This could potentially harm your training.
In addition, the adaptation period your body undergoes while becoming accustomed to a ketogenic diet can jeopardize your training as it involves a dip in energy and physical performance until your body becomes used to burning fats.
You may feel weak and tired due to the lack of carbs in your body. On top of that, if part of your regimen involves building muscle, you may find that it is much more difficult to do on a low carb diet as compared to a moderate carb one, or a low carb high protein diet.
Keto Diet Risk and Health Concerns?
This diet might have serious adverse effects on those with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes mellitus. Yes, we know we said that the keto diet can work wonders for those with type 2 diabetes, but with type 1 diabetes, the line gets a little more blurry because of a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
You will likely have heard of DKA at some point in your keto research, and it might have sounded terrifying to you. But before we continue, let’s make one thing clear: DKA is an incredibly rare condition and the likelihood of you developing DKA if you do not have type 1 diabetes is pretty much not at all.
DKA is mainly caused by a combination of extremely high levels of ketones and blood sugar in the body at the same time, which causes the body to become acidic and alter the way that vital internal organs, including the liver and kidney, function.
It typically occurs in diabetics whose bodies do not produce any insulin at all and can be caused by failing to take enough insulin, having an unbalanced or improper diet, or illness. It can happen very quickly, often in less than 24 hours, and requires immediate treatment.
But here’s the thing: ketosis and ketoacidosis are completely different things. In order for DKA to happen, you need to have a very dangerously high glucose level alongside your ketone production, which is unlikely if you’re on a keto diet, and even less likely if you are taking the proper does of insulin that your body needs.
Misinformation has led many to mix up ketosis and DKA and consider DKA a huge risk, but it is far from that. If you have type 1 diabetes and are curious about the keto diet, you can speak to your doctor about your options. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, then you’re in the clear.
A keto diet may also not be for you if you have thyroid problems. There is a lot of medical research on how the keto diet, or any other low carb diet, can down-regulate the thyroid’s functions.
This doesn’t spell good news because the thyroid regulates the metabolism and is responsible for key body functions like cardiovascular function, fertility, body temperature regulation, and weight maintenance. So if you’re a hyperthyroid, the keto diet may not be your best option.
The same goes for if you have a TSH of above 2.0. You may also want to think twice about the keto diet, or speak to a doctor at length about it, if you have low levels of cortisol or already have issues with hormone imbalance or chronic stress.
In conjunction with potential thyroid issues, some doctors have also noticed that a keto diet can have some damaging effects on certain women’s metabolisms. No research has been done into this area specifically, but it is inferred that because a woman’s endocrine systems are made to be more delicate for the purposes of reproduction, an intense restriction on carbs can cause hormonal and metabolic imbalance to a more serious degree due to ketogenics’ effect on the thyroid.
This doesn’t happen in a lot of women, however, and is more of a general observation made by workers in the medical field. So if you want to give the diet a shot, discuss your concerns with a doctor and have a checkup a couple of months into the diet to make sure that everything is going as planned.
It’s also worth noting that a high fat diet isn’t for everyone. Ketosis is a state that most people can achieve naturally and easily, but some may have issues keeping the diet up.
Some individuals have difficulty metabolizing fat, presenting them with stomach issues and making fats too difficult to digest. If this is the case for you, then your inability to fully metabolize fats can keep you from getting enough energy from their food.
You may also encounter other digestive issues which indicate the keto isn’t the best diet option for you. If you consume dairy as part of the diet and have a negative response to it, you could end up facing digestive problems and inflammation due to an inability to metabolize dairy.
Of course, there are ways around this, and you can exclude dairy from your keto diet, but that would make finding good fats much more difficult. With that being said, excessive dairy isn’t recommended for anyone as it can cause high triglyceride levels.
If you begin the keto diet and may have issues with dairy, then make sure to monitor your bloodwork regularly. Your trig readings should stay under 100 and your trig to HDL ratio should be at 2:1 or lower.
Another situation that might make a keto diet the wrong fit for you is if you have an eating disorder or a tendency towards obsessive eating. The keto diet is a kind that requires a lot of focus and has a lot of rules to follow, and it’s well known that getting into the state of ketosis can be very tricky.
Keeping yourself within the ketosis state is even more difficult and involves calculations where you work out your macros, monitor blood glucose, regularly measure ketone levels, and sometimes calorie count if necessary.
To anyone who isn’t on the keto diet, these can seem like pretty extreme steps, and realistically speaking, they sort of are, but they are vital to sustaining a keto diet and seeing positive results.
It is this strain of rules and protocols to follow that can be attractive to someone with an eating disorder. The keto diet presents itself as a surefire and effective weight loss solution, requires habits and ritual-like steps, and is a new and interesting way of life to someone with disordered eating habits, and the diet can spiral out of control and result in more bad results than good ones.
If you have an eating disorder or are recovering from one, talk to your psychiatrist about whether the keto diet is a good idea for you and, if you’re given the green light, monitor and watch yourself for signs of mental health strain.
Finally, and this goes without saying, the keto diet may not be for you if you don’t have the time for it. There is plenty of calculation, meal prep, and research involved in the keto diet, and the ability to cut down so severely on carbs, which are arguably the easiest and most inexpensive kind of foods, might not be something that everyone can do. If you have to eat out or buy pre-made meals all the time, keto can be a headache.
The fact that you will be cutting out fruit, root vegetables, and nuts – which all offer health benefits in the form of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – means you have to figure out ways to make up for any nutrients you aren’t getting enough of, whether through supplements or by researching better meal plans. All in all, it can be a tricky diet to stick to.
Are Your Dedicated Enough For Keto?
But, you may ask, can’t you just do the parts of the keto diet that you can manage?
Unfortunately, the answer is definitely not. The keto diet is a pretty delicate lifestyle – in order for it to work properly, you have to have everything in order, your meals balanced, and sufficient nutrients in all your food.
Under eating, which is incredibly easy to do in a state of ketosis, can damage the metabolic system, ruin sleep, and weaken your body due to a lack of sufficient vitamins, nutrients, and fuel. This means that if you’re going to go through with a keto diet, you have to be ready to be fully dedicated to it, which can be tough if you’re a busy person.
Of course, anything is possible if you set your mind to it, but the hassle can prove to be too difficult for those with a lot of other commitments to attend to, and in those cases you may be better off simply trying to eat more healthily in general.
Still not sure whether the keto diet is the right choice for you? Not to worry. It can be as easy as speaking to a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician about whether the diet seems like a good fit for you.
If you don’t have pre-existing health conditions and want to give the keto diet a go, then join in on the journey! There are lots of delicious keto recipes, support groups, advice, and more to start you on your way.