Ketogenic Diet?! I Think NOT!

Here we are —again — looking for some way to take off the extra weight we and keep it off this time!  All of us would also like to renew our health, in general, with some exercise and good healthy eating.  But everyone still seems to have those demons in their heads telling them to go on a diet.  They don’t work!  They have never worked.

Why choose something faulty?

The print and electronic media inundates us with false information that we somehow accept as truth.  Doctors for some reason still push the dreadful diet method that only ends up hurting our overall health.  With a 95% failure rate in the long term, what is one thinking when he decides to diet?

Have you ever noticed that specific diets go through fad phases?  There’s cabbage soup, Atkins, grapefruit, gluten- free, zone, Dukan, Scarsdale and much, much more. Unfortunately, the high protein diets have reared their ugly head again.  It might have a new name, but what in the past was Atkins, South Beach, Paleo and more, is now referred to as the ketogenic, or keto diet.  It won’t help you in the long term! In fact, it may end up doing incredible damage.

How does keto work?

As the good people at the Harvard School of Public Health put it, the keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.  Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires you to deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs).
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

Dr. Michael Klaper compares putting your body into ketosis to a red light on the dashboard of your car, signaling that something is wrong with the normal status quo.

When does Keto work?

The original ketogenic diet has been used medically for almost a century to effectively treat epileptic seizures and seizures from other causes.  Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland has been at the forefront of the research involved in the ketogenic diet for epileptics and they use it effectively in treatment, altering people’s diets and fine tuning them in order to give them a normal life.  But other than this one specific instance, something clearly medical, no one, and I mean NO ONE, should be eating in this manner.  Let’s see why.


There are many negatives to eating this way.  First and foremost is that it is very low in fiber. There are lots of types of fiber and they have different functions. Some are soluble, some are insoluble and some are fermentable. And still others are probiotics, which feed specific healthy gut bacteria and offer us health benefits.  These are only available through many fiber-rich foods that the keto diet forbids.

Here are four reasons the body needs fiber:

  • Fiber slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. When you eat foods high in fiber, such as beans and whole grains, the sugar in those foods is absorbed slower, which keeps your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. This is good for you because spikes in glucose fall rapidly, which can make you feel hungry soon after eating and lead to overeating.
  • Fiber makes your intestines move faster. When you eat whole grains rich in insoluble fiber, it moves faster through your intestines, which can help signal that you are full.
  • Fiber cleans your colon, acting like a scrub-brush. The scrub-brush effect of fiber helps clean out bacteria and other buildup in your intestines, and reduces your risk for colon cancer.
  • Fiber helps keep you regular. A high-fiber diet helps you have soft, regular bowel movements, reducing constipation. People on a keto diet suffer terribly from constipation and feel terrible- maybe even moody.

The huge lack of fiber in any high protein diet is incredibly unhealthy and will probably lead to disease and illness later in life.


No way of eating or dieting is doing you any good if it is not sustainable.  It’s the long term that counts! We already know losing and gaining—what we call the yoyo– is incredibly harmful to metabolism.  If you can’t sustain your weight loss, eventually your weight gain will be more pronounced and your ability to lose will become very difficult.

Registered dietician Jen McDaniel says, “My clients were mostly troubled with how fast the weight they lost returned after the keto diet. An extreme low carb diet set them up for quick rebound weight gain, leaving them with a post-diet-depression, and the feelings that another extreme diet resulted in failure. Clients often take these feelings personally, like it was a failure on their part, not the diet’s.”

Kidney function

Very high levels of ketones make your blood more acidic and overburden your kidneys. One of the side effects of a ketogenic diet is the formation of kidney stones. In processing higher amounts of protein, your kidneys work hard and are forced to excrete more sodium, calcium, and potassium, as well as filter more of the byproducts of protein metabolism. This extra fluid and electrolyte loss can cause low blood pressure, another function mediated by the kidneys. ketosis in the presence of diabetes can lead to ketoacidosis and coma, and can be life threatening.  Kidneys can become so stressed from this way of eating that some have complained about a high level of kidney pain. Upon going off the diet the pain subsided.  Dr. John McDougall says that being on a keto or keto-type diet is like buying a ticket to get to dialysis.

Leaving out the good stuff

As dietician Sharon Palmer states, “The keto diet is very difficult to follow, and leaves out many healthful foods that we know can help you live a long, vibrant life. And even though you can lose weight on this diet, it is not a healthful eating style for the long term.”  Dr. Lisa Young, a registered dietician, points out that the keto diet eliminates or limits some of the healthiest foods—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not only are there drastic limits to 3 food groups, but there are also creates a lack of nutrients vital to good health.

Dietician Jill Weisenberger adds, that keto dieting lacks carb-rich foods that we know are disease-fighters. These include the carbohydrates present in lentils, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Additionally, these foods give a host of dietary fibers, prebiotics, and thousands of phytonutrients that work together to feed the healthy gut bacteria, reduce inflammation, act as antioxidants, and so much more.

You probably all know people who have had “success” with a high protein or keto diet.  That means that they went on a program of high fat and high protein, put their bodies in ketosis and had rapid weight loss (mostly water, by the way).  They looked better and at the outset they probably felt better, too. On the positive side, they got rid of the processed junk they were eating.  But it’s not sustainable success!  At some point, it will reverse and more importantly, it is damaging to health.  It’s a good time avoid dieting and look forward to learning how to eat and exercise in a healthy, balanced manner that will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”


One Comment

  1. rivka July 5, 2019 at 7:23 am - Reply

    very informative. i was glad to read such a clear article because i know people very pro keto…and now know better what to tell them.

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