Going on a ketogenic diet may be the perfect weight loss plan, especially if you have diabetes or want to try this approach to shedding those pesky extra pounds, but it may not be suitable for some people. If you are on the following list of people with these conditions, it is best to seek help before starting a keto diet.

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb meal plan that promises effective weight loss while lowering blood sugar to the point where you could possibly stop taking medications.

By all accounts, the “keto” diet, as it is widely known, can even reverse type 2 diabetes, at least for some lucky people.

Another benefit of the keto diet: It can help reduce systemic inflammation, which can have a variety of negative effects throughout the body.

The friendly ketogenic diet foods are rich in protein and fat . You can create foods that are attractive and delicious when you are on a keto diet.

Unlike some of the other popular low-carb diets , which are generally high in animal protein, the keto diet focuses on reaching the body to burn stored body fat rather than sugar as the primary fuel. When body fat is broken down in the liver instead of glucose, an energy by-product known as ketones is produced.

Thus, the purpose of the keto diet is to bring your body into a state of ketosis, where the body uses fat stores instead of its preferred form of energy, which is glucose.

Is it healthy to push your body into ketosis?

The main benefit of the keto diet is that it works for you to lose weight. But again, it’s a diet, and like all diets, it’s a short-term solution, something you do and then stop.

It is not really a sustainable diet in real life situations. More importantly, your goal is not just to lose weight, anyone can lose weight. The most necessary goal is to maintain the lost weight.

The keto diet can be an effective way to reduce excess body fat, but there are several downsides to be aware of for anyone who wants to follow this eating plan.

In fact, the keto diet has serious risks. For one thing, it’s high in saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease. Additionally, a nutrient deficiency and constipation could occur since the keto diet is very low in fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Liver problems for those with existing liver conditions could possibly get worse as the keto diet puts pressure on the liver, and kidney problems could also occur.

When to avoid a ketogenic diet and why

The ketogenic diet is not suitable for everyone . If you meet any of the descriptions listed below, a ketogenic diet can have a negative impact on your health.

You have a genetic condition that affects fatty acid metabolism.

Since fats are consumed in large amounts on a ketogenic diet, any genetic condition that impairs fatty acid metabolism prevents the use of this diet.

If you have primary carnitine deficiency, pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, or any of the other genetic conditions listed here, a ketogenic diet is absolutely contraindicated.

Are pregnant or breastfeeding

While a growing fetus can utilize ketones to some extent, it still requires a constant supply of glucose to support normal growth, including crucial brain development.

The reduced availability of glucose caused by a maternal ketogenic diet can have long-term adverse effects on infant health, including abnormal growth patterns and alterations in brain structure.

If you are pregnant and have blood sugar problems, a low-carb diet that includes moderate amounts of nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as starchy fruits and tubers, is a safer option than a ketogenic diet.

You have gallbladder disease or no gallbladder

The body needs bile to break down and digest dietary fat, and the gallbladder is responsible for storing bile before it is released into the small intestine.

Gallbladder removal and gallbladder disease cause fat malabsorption and can make it difficult to stick to a ketogenic diet. If your gallbladder was removed or you have an existing disease, check with your doctor before trying a ketogenic diet.

You suffer from kidney disease or kidney stones

While preliminary research suggests that a ketogenic diet may benefit patients with chronic kidney disease, caution is advised in those with kidney disease or kidney stones.

If you have kidney disease, check with your doctor before starting a ketogenic diet.

You have HPA axis dysfunction and high levels of stress

A ketogenic diet has been observed to raise cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. If you struggle with high levels of stress or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction, a ketogenic diet can overload your stress response system and cause exhaustion.

A diet that includes a moderate carbohydrate intake is usually best for those with high-stress lifestyles or HPA axis dysfunction.

You have a hyperresponsiveness to dietary cholesterol

Although saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet do not affect blood cholesterol levels in most people, they can raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in a subset of the population called “hyperresponsive”.

If you have a hyperresponsiveness (this is something that will need to be determined with the help of your doctor), it is recommended that you follow a Paleo-style Mediterranean diet, an approach that is lower in fat and higher in Paleo-friendly carbohydrates, rather than a ketogenic diet.

You are an athlete

If you participate in an exercise that involves explosive movements like jujitsu, mixed martial arts, CrossFit, or even some rigorous forms of dance, you may benefit from a moderate carbohydrate intake instead of a ketogenic diet.

The explosive movements take advantage of the glycolytic capacity of the muscles, which works with glucose from the carbohydrates in the diet. Endurance athletes, on the other hand, can thrive on a ketogenic diet because their respective activities can be adequately fueled by the oxidation of fatty acids and ketones.

If you are considering following the ketogenic diet , work with an experienced professional or find a registered dietitian with experience prescribing and following it to avoid any adverse effects.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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