Are Keto diets safe?

Ketogenic diets can seem quite extreme when they are being explained. You are severely restricting carbohydrates to the point where you alter your energy production from glycogen to ketones.

This can sound scary, and a lot of people have used this to claim that ketogenic diets are unsafe. You’ll perhaps have seen arguments claiming that you need 200g of carbohydrates for your brain to function correctly.

This is not only untrue, but it completely misunderstands the purpose of a ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of fuel, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them as part of a healthy diet.

But they are not vital, in the way that protein is. A ketogenic diet will restrict carbohydrates and deprive your body of glucose. This means that after 3-4 days your glycogen stores will be depleted.

At this point your body will start to release triglycerides which travel to the liver and produce ketones. Your body uses ketones instead of glycogen for fuel. Nothing about this is unsafe. Epileptic children follow this diet because it can reduce seizures [1]. Would doctors prescribe a diet that was dangerous to vulnerable children? No, of course not.

Diabetics may be at risk of ketosis becoming dangerous as it can lead to something called ketoacidosis. But this is caused by not taking enough insulin [2].

Alcoholics, and people who are starving can also suffer from ketoacidosis, but for regular healthy people this is an incredibly unlikely issue.

A ketogenic diet is perfectly safe to follow, provided you are living a healthy life in the first place.

References

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1474442208700929

[2] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-1-diabetes-guide/what-is-ketosis#2

https://bioketo.com/what-are-ketones/

https://examine.com/nutrition/are-there-health-benefits-of-a-low-carb-diet/