While the diet industry flaunts a seemingly unstoppable keto craze, nutrition and health experts are throwing flags. Some experts agree that a strict ketogenic diet can lead to short-term weight loss but rarely do they encourage the extreme low-carb lifestyle.
Here are a few reasons why you might reconsider trying the keto diet. As always, consult your doctor before starting a new diet.
It misses major food groups
A scientifically well-rounded eating pattern includes four to five main food groups: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and sometimes dairy. Though cutting back on refined carbs is a solid call, Chloe Schweinshaut, a licensed dietitian nutritionist says, “we know that the cornerstone of any healthy diet is lots of colors from produce, and by trying to restrict your carbohydrates to such a low number, you are going to miss out on all the beneficial properties that those phytonutrients provide.”
It can carry health risks
Proponents of keto praise the diet for its weight-loss potential in the short-term. However, it’s the long-term health effects that experts are concerned about. Kelli Gray-Meisner, a registered dietitian nutritionist, says, “ketogenic diets are still in the infancy stage of research. The benefits and risks cannot be fully known at this time.” Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietitian adds, “You need to eat a variety of plant foods with resistant starch and fiber to feed beneficial bacteria in the gut that protect against colon cancer, bolster the immune system, and promote a better mood.” High amounts of saturated and trans fats in the diet can also increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, cancers, and more.
It prioritizes weight over health
The non-diet movement is gaining serious speed thanks to its positive effects on both mental and physical health. Non-diet dietitians are making a point to prioritize body cues surrounding food and hunger rather than the number on a scale. “Restrictive diets, like keto, further disconnect us from our body’s internal cues and instincts about food,” says licensed nutritionist Amanda Lambrechts. Lisa Andrews, the owner of Sound Bites Nutrition adds that keto often elicits a cycle of “diet, cheat, repent, repeat.” At its extreme, “the keto diet can make disordered eating worse and create an unhealthy relationship with food,” says Jennifer Barr, a master of public health and registered dietitian.
It can be socially isolating
According to Vanessa Heatwole, a registered dietitian nutritionist, “the isolating aspect of the keto diet is something not many people talk about before embarking on that journey. Registered dietitian nutritionist Maria Adams suggests considering the social implications before trying a new diet. She says, “Think about how it will affect your home and family life when you can’t eat the same food as your kids or significant other and suddenly have all these rules and restrictions to follow all the time.”
It might not be sustainable for you
Research continues to bring the dangers of weight cycling and chronic dieting to center stage. Instead, focusing on small healthy changes can lead to lifelong sustainable health habits. “When choosing any eating plan, consider how sustainable it feels. If the plans invite feelings of stress or deprivation, it’s not going to work out in the long run,” says Jackie Durand, a certified dietitian nutritionist. “Rather than waste time with restricting diets, find something that works with your life, rather than against it.”
xx, The FabFitFun Team