I put this phrase into a search engine: "keto diet dangerous"
And whoa! Judging from the flood of articles from all the usual suspects (Mayo Clinic, WebMD, etc,) Imma gonna DIE!
Since for the last 4 weeks I've been doing a VLC/Ketosis style diet for my autoimmune issues. It averages 10 net carbs a day.
This extensive January 9, 2019 article
is from HVMN, who states "We relentlessly pursue human optimization." Yes, they have a shop with all kinds of ketone products, and I'm sure athletes (clearly their target audience) literally eats it all up. But their podcast has heavy hitters like Dr. Fung and Amy Berger, so I've subscribed to and will see how it goes.
The ketogenic diet gained popularity through the weight loss community. It’s a low-carb (often 25g per day), high-fat diet triggering the body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
With increased popularity, there has also been an increase in keto-naysayers; they think it’s a dangerous fad fueled by the common desire to lose weight.
Oh, how the Powers That Wish to Be love to disparage taking charge of our own health as a "fad." But we are not silly hipsters who immediately dismiss something because of its supposed popularity. (A personal pet peeve the size of a blue whale is everyone thinking gluten-free is "just a fad." Right. People give up donuts without some incredibly compelling reason, because my years of observation indicate donuts are themselves incredibly compelling. Uh huh.)
In addition, I must ask the question, "How popular?" Because I mentioned doing ketosis in an online community outside of this board, and I was hammered
with cries of "Woo!" "Charlatans!" and my personal favorite, "I don't do a medical thing until it has been published X times in these particular peer-reviewed journals and approved by my doctor."
Fine. Good luck with that.
With all the noise surrounding the ketogenic diet, it’s difficult to know what to believe. So we’re here to set the record straight, and provide information to help make well-informed decisions about the keto diet. Below, we’ve gathered some common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet and provided answers to help cut through all that static.
“If I eat so much fat, won’t I get heart disease?” The short answer is "no." It’s important to note there are several different groups of fats, including trans, saturated and unsaturated.
As something of a nutrition expert thanks to THIS board, I know that. But honestly, in the case of people I meet daily, not one in ten really knows that. They have simply absorbed "Grains good bacon bad" and never think about it. These tend to be people who are young, healthy, and have never battled a weight problem. Still, show me the person who knows what transfats are.
Interestingly, partially hydrogenated oils (PHO), which are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, aren’t GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA.
I'll just let that statement lie there for the "BUT peer review!" people to notice.
Examples include non-starchy fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, and berries. The trace minerals and vitamins found in grains can also be obtained at higher percentages in good-quality meats and dairy products. Moreover, compounds such as phytates and tannins in grains hinder the bioavailability of several minerals.
My bold. Because that is what I live by now.
There was a passage in The Wahls Protocol
(currently listening to audiobook) where Dr. Wahls described how she had to run her dietary interventions past a nutritionist for approval about dangers. Which makes sense on its face, except to those who found out their diabetes nutritionist would get on their case about not eating enough
carbs and covering it with their drugs.
Many exclaim, "But nobody does that anymore!" I wish it were so. In the last six months a friend's diabetic father, who has been happily lowcarbing with great results for years, still got scolded by his nutritionist. In the next sentence, right after "You are doing incredibly well." He patiently endured the "low carb count scolding" and simply said, "But if I increase my carbs, I won't be doing incredibly well." But they do not believe it no matter how many times he tells them.
Here's my favorite misconception:
“Doesn’t the keto diet cause dangerous ketoacidosis?”
These are two very different terms, but ketosis and ketoacidosis are often confused. The keto diet doesn't cause ketoacidosis.
Ketosis indicates the presence of ketones in the blood at > 0.5 mM. Achieving ketosis can happen through diet or fasting, and also rapidly through ketone supplements like HVMN Ketone. When people reach ketosis through fasting, ketone levels naturally plateaued at ~8 mM after 41 days of starvation.14 This is far lower than ketone levels during ketoacidosis. A ketogenic diet should only result in ketone levels that fall within a natural and safe range.
This is a condition typically seen in type-1 diabetics, where ketones and blood sugar levels are both dangerously high (ketone levels at 20+ mM). The key factor in the development of ketoacidosis is a lack of insulin. The cells cannot shuttle in glucose from the bloodstream for energy use and the body has no signal to stop releasing fats (which are converted into ketones).15 Those who have even a small amount of insulin secretion or signaling do not often reach this metabolic state.
My bold, because crikey!
that is all I hear. And I explain it, and they STILL don't hear me. It's like this:
"Don't fall down the elevator shaft!"
"I know. I'm on the stairs."
"You could die from falling down an elevator shaft!"
"I know. That's why I'm taking the stairs."
"There's a big red sign! Didn't you see the sign?"
Hormonal imbalance is a hot-button topic when it comes to the keto diet. There’s a discrepancy in the scientific results, which may stem from differences in the exact dietary protocols used, and the cohorts studied.
This is one of the first hormones most people think will suffer via the ketogenic diet. Cortisol is called the “stress hormone” in the body due to its role in stress response, and several other functions like breaking down fat and protein to make glucose. It also controls sleep and wakefulness as well as regulation of blood pressure. Chronically, high cortisol levels are detrimental to health and may increase the risk of heart disease.
Are these levels possible to attain while on the keto diet? Only if you aren’t careful.
A lack of sodium on the ketogenic diet can cause the brain to send signals to the adrenal gland to increase the release of hormones responsible for water balance. Cortisol is released alongside these other hormones. If sodium consumption is enough to maintain a normal water balance, then cortisol levels should stay stable. Few studies have measured cortisol levels of people on keto and the results are inconclusive.
One study found that cortisol increased over time in subjects given a ketogenic diet with a low/inadequate sodium intake. Another study showed no change in cortisol after six weeks of a well-formulated ketogenic diet.
Cortisol is infrequently measured, which may be an indication that generally, doctors and scientists have few concerns about cortisol on a ketogenic diet.
Part of my autoimmune problem is my disordered cortisol, and how it got dysfunctional from long and severe stress from various factors, which I am slowly tracking down and zapping with a big purple science fiction tricorder/ray gun. (Not really, but I would love to have one.)
There's lots more that might be interesting to readers. I'm going to keep it bookmarked, but I'm also resigned to the fact that to most, I am not a reliable source of science
. I'll just ignore them and get better
, which has been a consistent and reliable feature of committing to low carb since 2003.
Let's face it, low carb has been tricked out like a muscle car and renamed "ketosis." We can roll with it