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A New Study Suggests the Keto Diet May Actually Be Harmful to Your Health

The keto diet rose to popularity in the early 2000s with the mantra “fat is not the enemy”. But a study covered in the March 2024 issue of Current Problems in Cardiology suggests that the diet – which focuses on foods high in fats and deemed very low in carbohydrates – is neither as effective as previously believed nor healthy in the long-term.

keto diet

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The paper, published by Joanna Popiolek-Kalisz, MD and PhD, found several issues with it. The first was weight-loss related. While many people who followed the diet’s parameters experienced rapid weight loss (typical following any significant shift in your eating habits), it was likely mostly water weight and failed to result in any permanent positive changes within the body.

“The ketogenic diet does not fulfil the criteria of a healthy diet,” Popiolek-Kalisz states in the paper. On the contrary, when it comes to overall heart health, “the low-carb pattern is more beneficial than very low-carbohydrate (including the ketogenic diet)”. Specifically, because of the keto diet’s emphasis on fats, those adhering to it typically have a higher rate of LDL cholesterol, which is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and death.

Low-carb dietary plans include the Atkins diet, the paleo diet, and the South Beach diet. Other studies have noted that the keto diet can lead to major vitamin and mineral deficiencies (as well as a surplus of fat-soluble vitamin K, which is also unhealthy for the heart) and increased kidney stones.

According to the International Food Information Council’s annual study, more than half of Americans follow a diet or a specific eating pattern – but the high-fat keto diet dropped in popularity by 4 per cent this year compared to 2023. That downward trend will likely only continue.

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