Home » Our Blog

Risks and Side-Effects of the Keto Diet

In the last two weeks, we discussed the definition of a ketosis, or Keto, diet. In short, it is a low-carbohydrate, adequate protein diet that relies on both consumed fats, and stored fats, for energy use.

As with any diet, it is important to discuss it with your physician prior to commencing. Every person is unique in their states of health, and certain conditions may adversely be affected by a significant change in your diet.

These are just some of the situations where you will want to be cautious, and medically supervised, during your diet:

  • If you have diabetes mellitus (Types I or II, or borderline), suddenly changing your carbohydrate intake can put you at risk for hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) events. While there can be long-term benefits to your diabetes with dieting, you must consult with your physician and make sure you do not put yourself at risk.
  • If you have high cholesterol (LDL cholesterols and triglycerides), with or without heart and blood vessel disease, the keto diet can temporarily raise these levels significantly. While the long-term goal of a keto diet is reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, the temporary risk of worsening cardiovascular disease, or even pancreatitis, mandates that you consult with your doctor.
  • There can be a tendency to consume too much protein during a low-carbohydrate diet, as your only two macronutrient choices are protein and fats. If you have kidney disease, too much protein can adversely affect your kidney function.
  • If you are already underweight, or have low body fat, this type of diet can put you at risk for malnutrition, and lean muscle loss.

The bottom line is that what we eat is connected to our body states and certain health conditions. You may hear this a lot, but it is a legitimate, potentially life-saving precaution: always check with your doctor first.

Published on Jun 4, 2019 by Dr. Shawn Tsuda, FACS

Keto-Related Pages & Resources