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THE KETOGENIC DIET: Is Keto King or Killer?

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Is anyone as confused as I am when thinking about the different diets out there? This one says to eat according to your blood type, while this one recommends eating like cavemen. In 2013, the Paleo diet was the most googled diet out there. Did anyone tell the Paleos that cavemen barely lived to thirty? What about the keto diet? That one regained popularity in 2016. Why would we want to avoid fruits, grains and beans when they’re among the foods most associated with health and longevity? You probably know someone who had great results with keto, but is it just me, or is it slightly suspicious telling people to avoid well studied health foods while doubling down on bacon and red meat, which are confirmed class 1 carcinogens?

Never has a weight loss diet created so much controversy and division. The ketogenic diet has been referred to as the best diet for health and weight loss, and has been also called a dietary disaster waiting to happen. Who should we believe? No wonder why people are so confused. People who love bacon and butter will likely love keto, and vegans will probably find something wrong with eating mostly animal products. Let’s leave our egos at the door and see what the science says are the pros and cons of keto and then you can decide if it’s something you want to do.

I can already sense haters from both sides getting agitated. My goal here isn’t to tell anyone how to eat, but to inform people of the pros and cons of their choices and then let them make an informed decision based on the latest science. If the balance of evidence says that keto kills, that’s what I’ll report, and if it says that keto is king, I’ll gladly report that too. As a disclaimer, when I’m talking about the ketogenic diet, I’m referring to the standard typical keto diet where fat is mostly derived from animal products. There’s such a thing as a plant-based vegan keto diet, and that is a totally different beast altogether. I’ll talk about this version of keto shortly.

One of the major benefits of this diet is that the ketogenic diet does cause a rapid initial weight loss. It can also lead to quick improvement of metabolic markers, like HbA1C, cholesterol and blood pressure. That’s the major advantage of the keto diet.

Let’s review the mechanisms responsible for the weight loss and improved health markers, and the long term health effects of this pattern of eating. I‘ll discuss the different types of keto diet, including the standard or typical keto diet, and the vegan or plant-based keto diet.

Check out the following foods permitted on a keto diet. The issue isn’t the types of food, but more the quantities permitted. With less than 20 grams of carbs per day, most of the foods “permitted” in the food pyramid must be severely restricted to respect the strict carb limit imposed. To put things into context, a banana would have more carbs than the total amount permitted in a single day.