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3 Risks to Consider When Following the Ketogenic Diet

It seems that every year, there are ten new weight loss programs or diets to try. They can vary greatly in the methods used actually to get the results you want. Some take longer; some have stricter dietary requirements, etc.

One such diet plan is the ketogenic, or “keto” diet. It’s become popular in the last couple of years primarily because it claims to use the body’s own fat burning power for weight loss, and thanks to celebrities. It’s also said to be a great meal plan regimen for anyone suffering of Type 2 Diabetes, because it helps lower blood sugar levels. Other benefits include anti-aging properties, improving brain functions and bowel movement. Many supporters of this lifestyle claim to have more energy that lasts longer.

However, many experts warn of the possible risks of the keto diet, and we’ll look at some here.

1.     Losing Hydration and Muscle Mass

The reason that the keto diet can work so well and so quickly is that a lot of the weight being lost is in the form of “water weight.” Part of this is because ketosis is actually a milder form of ketoacidosis, a condition that affects many persons with Type I diabetes. Ketosis is the presence of ketones in the body, and during ketoacidosis, the levels of ketones become much too high, resulting in danger to the individual, though this is not usually true in the case of the keto diet. It’s sometimes recommended successfully either for very obese persons, or even athletes on a certain training regimen.

However, the loss in water weight can be harmful as it could lead to dehydration problems, and the dieter will also start to lose muscle as well, possibly even leading to a damaged heart. If you’re thinking about going on this diet, keep proper, adequate hydration at the forefront of your mind. Perhaps consider taking a water bottle with you when you’re running errands. There are a variety of “smart” waters specifically designed to give people the extra boots they need not only in hydration, but minerals as well.

2.     Stomach Cramps and Remedies

Stomachaches can be one of the more common problems associated with the keto diet, due to a variety of factors such as the aforementioned dehydration effects. With this comes painful cramping, which may prevent you from being able to do hardly anything else until it subsides. Here’s how to stop stomach cramps fast:

  1. First, get a little extra help in combating the cramps fast by using some natural anti-inflammatory remedies. The inflammation factor leads to swelling of the stomach, which exacerbates the cramping. The active substance found in turmeric is great for inflammation. You can use turmeric raw (in different foods), in teas, or as supplements of curcumin. Studies have shown that turmeric is as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain but has fewer side effects.

Other plants great with great anti-inflammatory properties are pineapple (which contains bromelain), egg membrane (in the form of supplements), ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

  1. Secondly, you need to allow your stomach to settle. To do this effectively, avoid consumption of solid foods or liquids for at least a 2-hour period. Even after this period, it’s best to stick to water or drinks with extra electrolytes. Don’t reach for the soda or other such beverages.
  2. Finally, eat soft foods for a while to keep those stomach cramps from coming back in force. You can include such things as crackers or other light snack foods that provide some nutritional value as the pain in the stomach lessens.

3.     Causes Nutrient Deficiencies

The nature of the keto diet means that it generally nixes a lot of the food items or groups from where we obtain our nutrients, particularly our micro-nutrient count–those minerals that are recommended in very small daily quantities, and in which many people are already deficient in some way. The high-fat content vs. low carb content means that you’ll need to be very careful about proper nutrient intake every single day.

Consider some form of vitamin supplements as one way to ensure that you are getting at least some of the recommended amounts of daily micro-nutrients. In addition, cutting out simple sugars from soft drinks, candy and the like will reduce your carb intake, but won’t rob you of the nutrients your body needs. There are also some very nutrient rich, healthy foods in the carb category like fruits and various beans, to get what you need while keeping the carbs low.

In conjunction with these deficiencies come an increased risk for problem areas such as kidney stones to develop. All of the proteins from the fats in the keto diet may put some strain on the kidneys, that shouldn’t be processing so much protein. This can lead to complications like kidney stones as a symptom of the issue. Other more prominent nutrients may need to be sought elsewhere. For example, you are more likely to expel a greater amount of calcium–important in bone density–through urination while on the ketosis diet.

Your kidneys can take a lot, but don’t abuse them. Hydrate them, and consider adding some exercise to your regimen, but don’t overdo this either.

Whatever the case may be, individuals considering this form of dieting should also be aware that many persons regained the lost weight within a year. This is something to keep in mind.

Final thoughts

As with any diet out there, the most important aspect is to look after and take care of yourself. It’s always great if a diet goes according to plan. But it is also always a process and one that requires careful monitoring and attention to detail. Your physical health is not only important; it’s a factor in your mental well-being as well. Feeling good and being truly healthy is what’s most important for everyone, no matter the diet or circumstances.

Guest Contributor:

Mike Jones, Guest contributor of Eatprayflying.

– Mike Jones, a Boston University graduate, with an MS in Mass Communication, and now focusing on his career as a regular health and fitness-focused guest blogger/writer.

Feature Image source: Pixabay

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