Everything that has a upside comes with an obligatory downside. Look at water. You need regular top ups or things get ugly. Quick. So, drink lots of water? Sure. Just not too much because over hydration comes with its own set of issues where you get disorientated, suffer headaches and can even die. Keto can also be a double edged sword, making you ripped, but with that reward comes a small element of risk. It’s not something to be worried about, more like something to be managed.


Risk 1 – The keto flu

As your body depletes its carb stores and produces ketones that use your fat to fuel, this process can create a few flu-like aspects. You might feel a little dizzy, some nausea and even cop a little constipation. Small potatoes. It only lasts about a week, you walk it off and you’re set to go. If it gets too much, just increase your carb levels. Stay on top of how you feel.

Risk 2 – Overworked kidneys

Your kidneys are the workhorses who process protein. It’s no secret that keto demands you to eat a fair bit of protein, but there are limits and strict protocols that should protect your precious kidneys. Regardless of this, keto is considered a high to moderate level protein diet. If your kidneys can’t process this it can be a problem, mostly if you eat a lot of animal protein. The work around is to strike a balance between vegetable protein and animal proteins to soften the blow.

Risk 3 – A poorly functioning gut

If you’re feeling bloated and almost too uncomfortable to eat, this can be issue, one that sometimes comes with eating a ketogenic diet. That said, it’s usually the reverse that happens and most people’s gut health often increases. Sadly, if you have trouble putting stuff into your body you might also have issues getting rid of it thanks to constipation. This diet can be lacking in fiber, depending on the food choices you make. You may need to take a supplement because a high fiber diet is almost always linked to heart health. Take note of your levels because prolonged issues with constipation can hurt you in many ways.

Risk 4 – Nutrient deficiencies

While the backbone of an effective keto diet rests on its macro nutrient protocols, this doesn’t always extend to the micronutrients. Research in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found low carb diets, like Atkins, can leave people lacking in 15 of the 27 vitamins and minerals essential to optimal health. Get your blood work checked every few months to make sure you’re hitting the right marks with your diet. You can eat keto and get everything you need using the right food choices, but restrictive diets can open a window to shortfalls that can creep up on you.

Risk 5 – Death

Yep, it’s the big one. A paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine found animal protein based low carb diets made people more susceptible to deaths from heart disease, cancer and pretty much everything else that wants to kill you. The same wasn’t found for vegetable based low carb eating plans. These aren’t hard core facts, just findings. The take away is that you should always eat your veggies. Pretty simple advice that was probably given to you when you were a little kid. Mom was right all along.


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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.