Of all the ridiculous diets available to mankind, I might believe the ketogenic diet, as a means of achieving health, to be the worst of all. I’d like to put it up there with Atkins, actual starvation, or that crazy documentary where the guy ate only McDonalds for 30 days straight.
While I realize extreme measures to lose weight may be warranted in certain situations (i.e., the excess weight is causing major health problems leading to severe CVD or other life threatening diseases), I would like to take a moment to make a few statements regarding possible outcomes of a ketogenic “diet”. Also, you should know I use the word “diet” loosely, because I hate 😡 the word “diet” in general and feel even that word gives it too much clout.
So, while I appreciate the fact that you may have lost 20lbs, have better mental clarity 💆♂️ or feel that you are now on par with a superhero or ninja warrior I would like to offer a devil’s advocate view of WTF is happening to you in the long term while you take all important nutrients and minerals in your body and replace them with fat, sodium and a fake supplemented version of healthy eating (exogenous ketones). It’s important to me that my clients and the people that I care about understand the benefits and RISKS. Likely, unless you have a degree in nutrition or biochemistry, or have taken the time to understand these things from evidence based research, you are being manipulated into only hearing the benefits by someone selling a book or working for a MLM company 💰.
Without further ado, I will give you some things to 🤔 so you can make a truly informed decision on going into ketosis to improve your health. 🙄(For the record, I can think of 💯 different ways to feel like a superhero, lose weight, and move like a badass, while still being able to eat Rainier 🍒 and 🍅, two of my summertime favorites!)
Possible Long Term Consequences of a Ketogenic Diet:
- A typical ketogenic diet recommends 65-75% Fat, 15-25% Protein, and 5-10 % Carbohydrates. Animal and refined plant fats contain NO Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Folate or Vitamin C! It doesn’t take much analysis to understand that this scenario could lead to a deficiency of some sort pretty quickly! I’d bet my 💵 on 2 weeks before someone could start developing deficiencies.
- The major minerals we need to get from food to have balanced electrolytes are Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg). To keep it simple, electrolyte balance is basically essential for keeping your body performing so you can do cool shit🧗♂️! Unfortunately when you put your body in ketosis, you can also cause major electrolyte imbalances and guess what? Your body is no longer able to do 😎 shit like contract muscles, build strong bones, regulate nerve function, blood pressure and heart rate! I don’t know about you, but I would rather be able to 🏄♀️ a big wave, 🏋️ , play with my kid, or simply survive, than be 10lbs lighter with an electrolyte imbalance.
- Beware! Exogenous ketones will add 1000 mg of sodium or calcium to try to alleviate an electrolyte imbalance. Shocker!… adding this to a drink just doesn’t cut it. Believe it or not, biochemistry is waaaayyy more complicated than that. So if you think you can outsmart the body, guess again!☝️ It’s called electrolyte BALANCE for a reason. Na and K / Ca and Mg go together like Abbott and Costello, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, Ross and Rachel….. When these couples don’t work the world is in disarray! Keto fans call this the KETOFlu🤒 . YES, that is actually a thing! Hard to believe that a diet that gives you a temporary flu has become so popular, I know! 🤷♀️ And get this, there is a massive amount of information on line on how to cure the 😷. So basically you want me to eat lots of fat and protein, no carbs, get the flu, then stop exercising, eat more salt, and drink nasty tasting exogenous ketones to get past the flu so I can lose weight?! What the 🤬!
- A Ketogenic Diet (especially one supplemented by exogenous ketones with excess sodium and / or calcium) is a dangerous place for a healthy relationship between Na and K or Ca and Mg. I mean you could possibly end up in a total breakdown of the relationship! All that Ca with no Mg to help it find it’s way is a sad state of affairs. And poor potassium is virtually non existent in Keto Land (remember fat has ZERO potassium) and sodium is running rampant with the addition of cheese, processed meats and supplements. And don’t even get me started on the poor kidneys responsible for keeping these relationships in check.
- Let’s talk about POTENTIAL RENAL ACID LOAD (PRAL) and the poor kidneys living in Keto land 😩! As the 🥩, 🍗 and 🧀 goes up the body becomes more acidic. And while we could easily counteract this with wonderful things like delicious 🍎, 🍌, 🍅, 🥦, 🍆, in Keto land these are 🚫❌❌❌ bad bad bad! For more information on PRAL, I will refer you to Precision Nutrition https://www.precisionnutrition.com/acid-base
- So what’s the big deal about an acidic body? Well 😬.. quite a bit, actually! Lilke I said before the body isint easily outsmarted so it will find a way to keep things working 🧐. In order to keep a more copacetic environment it will just head on over to those BONES and take a bit of calcium, or better yet, we can break down muscle tissue in order to synthesize glutamine which ultimately is used to synthesize ammonium ions that remove protons in order to lower acidosis. I don’t know about you but I prefer to have my 🎂 (aka: bone and muscle) and eat fruits and vegetables too.
- Let’s talk about FOLATE. There is no folate in fats or protein! 1 cup of cooked broccoli has about 100 mcgs of folate, so 4 cups is perfect to meet your daily intake but OOOPS!… that would mean your carbohydrates would exceed 20 grams and that would be TERRIBLE 🤦♀️. Who needs a micronutrient that helps you have a healthy baby, prevents anemia, helps absorb B12, prevents cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression? I guess I’m willing to forgo all the wonderful benefits of an extremely important micronutrient to lose an extra 10 lbs by way of ketosis. 🤔
In conclusion, I don’t actually care about those of you already convinced that your Keto Diet is the 🐝 knees. If you are only trying to lose 20 lbs and gulping down exogenous ketone drinks 🤢, and avoiding the wonders of nature 🥗🍎🍇🍓🍠, I realize, my thoughts on what constitutes healthy living is not going to 🤯, because, clearly, you are willing to do whatever it takes at whatever cost to lose weight. And, as I stated above, if you are knocking on death’s door 💀 because you are obese and this is the way you want to get that weight off then I will 👊 pump you all day long! I wrote this for my clients, my friends, and my family.
This is for those I counsel on exercise and nutrition that want to feel like a badass superhero. My goal for you is to live, love, and appreciate your body’s amazing abilities to move and the earth’s amazing abilities to produce beautiful food, not to punish yourself for the sake of 5lbs or even 50lbs. There are other ways to lose weight and they don’t have to include elimination of plants and fruits and they can maybe even involve a slice of 🍕 or 🍰 once in a while. There is a lot of kool aid to be drunk these days on the World Wide Web so buyer beware! Sometimes these seemingly magic pills turn out to be all smoke and mirrors. Or worse, metabolic and nutritional deficiencies that can change the course of your health in a way you can’t get back.