The Risks of the Ketogenic Diet: What You Need to Know

The ketogenic diet is a popular weight-loss plan that has been gaining traction in recent years. While it may be effective for short-term weight loss, it can also have serious long-term health risks. Low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, and an increased risk of heart disease are all potential side effects of the ketogenic diet. It is also not safe for people with certain conditions involving the pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder.

A diet rich in healthy, low-carb foods such as avocados, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables is a much better option than processed meats and ketogenic treats. Studies have also shown that the ketogenic diet can reduce the amount of citrate released into the urine. Carbohydrate intake on the ketogenic diet is usually limited to less than 50 grams per day. This sudden change can cause a shock to your body and lead to something called the ketogenic flu.

The ketogenic diet has been linked to decreased bone strength due to loss of bone mineral density. It can also lead to nutrient deficiencies and other problems over time. The researchers found no signs of the unhealthy side effects seen with certain weight-loss drugs and concluded that it was safe to use the ketogenic diet during this time period. However, guidelines for doctors managing people on a very low-calorie ketogenic diet for weight loss recommend supplementing with potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, psyllium fiber, and vitamins B, C, and E.

Ketogenic high-protein diets can also cause kidney stones and accelerate kidney disease in people with kidney disease. Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, tells Verywell that ketogenic diets contain the types of foods that are associated with cancer risks. Some evidence suggests that diets high in fat and carbohydrates that focus on foods of animal origin may lead to poor health outcomes while diets that emphasize vegetable sources of fat and protein provide benefits. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a non-profit organization that promotes a plant-based diet which is essentially the opposite of the meat-rich ketogenic diet.

Bruce Chen
Bruce Chen

Medical & health reporter. Award-winning internet evangelist. Embraced the low-carb keto diet and lost 9 pounds.