The ketogenic diet encourages its followers to reduce their carbohydrate intake in favor of high-fat, high-protein foods such as meat, eggs, and cheese – which we know are unhealthy. Like other diets, the keto diet promises rapid weight loss, but these diets also come with numerous health risks. Instead of exposing your body to them, it is better to consider switching to a plant-based diet that will help you lose weight and avoid a whole list of health problems!
1. Weight loss or…?
The keto diet promises its followers weight loss under the guise of “metabolic changes” through the process of ketosis, but in reality the weight is lost – at least initially – simply by eating fewer calories and losing muscle mass. Eating fewer calories does help you lose weight, but it should never feel like fasting, and it shouldn’t lead to muscle loss either. Worse, in the long run, many people who try the keto diet re-gain weight and go back to where they started. According to a meta-analysis of studies, after 12 months of a ketogenic diet, the average weight lost was less than one kilogram. And eating whole, plant-based foods, meanwhile, can be a very effective weight loss strategy.
2. Keto flu
Anyone who wants to try the keto diet should know that the body begins to experience serious illness when fat becomes its main source of fuel instead of carbohydrates. The so-called keto flu can last from a week to a month, causing severe cramps, dizziness, upset stomach, constipation, irritation, and insomnia. When eating whole plant foods, these problems do not arise, and on the contrary, such a diet can only improve your well-being.
3. High cholesterol
People who consume significant amounts of meat, eggs, and cheese should be seriously concerned about their cholesterol levels. The ketogenic diet was originally developed for the treatment of children with refractory epilepsy, but even in this group of patients, cholesterol levels became too high due to this diet. An increase in cholesterol levels was also observed in adult patients who used the keto diet for weight loss. A plant-based diet, on the other hand, has been shown in numerous studies to help lower cholesterol levels significantly.
High cholesterol is bad for cardiovascular health. The only surviving population that eats a diet high in animal fat and protein is the Inuit, and they are known to suffer from cardiovascular disease more than the average western population. In a study in type 1 diabetics, those who ate more fat and protein had a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease compared to those who ate more carbohydrates. In comparison, studies have shown that a plant-based diet inhibits the development of coronary heart disease.
Eating animal products increases the risk of death. A meta-analysis of 272 people found that those who ate a low-carbohydrate, protein-rich diet full of animal products had a 216% higher mortality rate than people on other diets. The causes of death were different, but in some cases they were associated with a deficiency of such an element as selenium.
6. Kidney stones
Another serious problem faced by people who consume large amounts of animal products is kidney stones. Animal protein intake is one of the factors that increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are extremely painful and can lead to complications such as urinary obstruction, infection, and kidney failure. However, plant-based diets can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
It is believed that by avoiding carbs on a ketogenic diet, diabetes can be treated, but unfortunately this is not the case. A meta-analysis of studies in people with type 2 diabetes found no difference in diabetes control between those on a low-carbohydrate diet and a high-carbohydrate diet. However, a diet based on whole, plant-based foods prevents and treats type 2 diabetes.
8. And much more…
The ketogenic diet can also cause many other health problems, such as osteoporosis, bone fractures, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, slow growth, and acidosis. A plant-based diet is safe and healthy – except when people are careless about planning their diet.