The keto diet is popularly used today as a method for weight loss, but being on this diet introduces unhealthy side effects that can have both short and long term effects.
There are several short-term side effects that are most evident at the beginning of therapy, particularly when patients commence the diet with an initial fast. Hypoglycemia is a common side effect, along with constipation and low-grade acidosis. These effects tend to improve when the diet is continued, as the body adapts to the new diet and adjusts the ways in which it sources energy. Another important short term effect is alteration in blood composition. In particular, the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood are commonly higher than what is considered to be normal. More than 60% of patients have raised lipid levels and more than 30% have high levels of cholesterol.
When the ketogenic diet is continued for extended periods of time, there are other adverse effects that become more evident and have a greater impact on individuals - these long term effects must be addressed quickly. Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis, are a common complication for children following the diet, with approximately 5% of patients suffering from the condition. It is, however, treatable, and current recommendations suggest that the diet should be continued. Additionally, with the keto diet, people have an increased risk of bone fractures. This arises from altered levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 and the effects of acidosis. Acidosis leads to the erosion of bone, weakening the bones and leaving them prone to fractures. In order to manage these side effects, supplementation of vitamins and minerals are routinely administered to patients following the ketogenic diet. This commonly consists of multivitamin, calcium, and vitamin D supplements.
So while the keto diet may have some surface level benefits, its overall effects come with health complications you should actively avoid. There are many other diets that you can try, those that promote a larger range of foods and allow you to lose weight and fat through more efficient means.