The ketogenic diet has become very popular. Many attest to its efficacy in helping people lose weight. While it may improve physical appearance, a new study says that the diet may not be that beneficial for the heart.
A review by researchers at the National Jewish Health (NJH) of popular diet approaches showed that the keto diet allows the consumption of foods that can invariably increase cardiovascular risk. It is also very unlikely to play a role in preventing heart disease.
Dr Andrew Freeman, one of the authors of the study and the director of the cardiovascular prevention and wellness at NJH stated in a press release that popular media was flooded with claims and warnings that are usually unverified and even harmful to the health. He further stated that the diets that are recommended by health experts are those that were studied for efficacy and safety. Two of the recommended diets that he mentioned were the Mediterranean diet and a plant-based diet.
He also said that while the limited study on ketogenic diet would show that people tend to lose weight initially, they found that a 12-month data tend not to be sustainable. He mentioned that it is also not clear if weight loss is a result of ketosis or calorie restriction. Ketosis refers to the metabolic state that reduces access to glucose but gets fueled by fat.
Another concern raised by researchers is the type of fat consumed by those engaged in this diet. Many of those who engage the ketogenic diet was found to eat high amounts of saturated fat. It has been shown that this kind of fat was associated with a higher risk of heart disease. High lipid levels were also ascertained as a result of this type of diet.
Researchers also emphasised that there is already evidence that an extended keto diet could lead to the stiffening of the arteries. In addition, it also increases the risk of death.
One good side that researchers noted though when it comes to the keto diet is that it gives benefits to diabetic patients. It referred to keto as a potential treatment for diabetes. There are studies that showed improved glucose levels in mice who were fed with a keto diet. Still, researchers say that there is a need to confirm the risk and benefits before keto can be clinically recommended.