The ketogenic diet is a new twist on weight loss that is catching on fast. It is believed to use the body’s own fat burning system to bring about quick and significant weight loss in a short amount of time. Advocates of this diet also feel that it gives them more energy and keeps them healthier in the long run. However, as with any other type of extreme diet, it can lead to some adverse side effects and may even be downright dangerous. Here are a few things to be aware of if you’re thinking about following a ketogenic diet.
Inability to Follow an Intensive Training Regimen
If you’re on a strict low carbohydrate diet, such as the ketogenic diet, you’ll find it difficult to stay on track with any form of intense weight or interval training. This is tied to the fact that your body requires carbohydrates to boost glycogen, which is the primary fuel muscles use for energy production. Catabolism, or the breaking down of muscle tissue, is the direct result of a depletion in glycogen stores. This is why many people on a low-carbohydrate diets experience low energy levels and may even stop exercising altogether.
Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer
If followed improperly, a ketogenic diet can result in a sharp decline in the consumption of plant-based food. One consequence of this is a low intake of fiber, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and digestive cancers. A drop in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can cause antioxidant, vitamin and phytonutrient deficiencies. Also, people on extreme low carbohydrate diets can experience bowel and constipation problems.
Long-Term Health Issues
If your body is chronically carbohydrate depleted over an extended period, you could face long-term health issues. When it is deprived of carbohydrates, your system converts proteins into glucose, as a result of which toxic amounts of ammonia are released. Your liver is forced to work overtime, and your body may lose the ability to produce glycoproteins, which are essential for cellular functions. You could also become prone to more illness and infections as your immune system will not be able to function optimally.
A ketogenic diet accelerates weight loss and could be an interesting alternative to treat certain health issues. But it is hard to follow and can be extremely harmful if practiced incorrectly. It also tends to be heavy on fatty or processed foods that can do more harm than good. Following a balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed foods is your best bet to lead a long, healthy life.