The ketogenic diet is the latest fad and certainly a trending internet topic. It’s been touted as a panacea for just about every chronic disease. The medical community is certainly divided on the short- and long- term impacts and safety of the ketogenic diet. It defies common sense to dump loads of fat (particularly animal-based) into the body when the health message for decades was the opposite. I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and detail all the glories and concerns of going “keto”.
The ketogenic diet is not new. It was designed by a physician in the 1920’s as a therapeutic diet for epileptic patients. Believe it or not, the macronutrient ratio has changed little from then till now. It acquired a bad name in the previous decades because of the unintentional mishaps that came from inept monitoring and supplementation; largely ketoacidosis, constipation, vomiting, coma, death, and hyperlipidemia.
It started increasing in popularity in the last 20 years, mostly related to the attention brought by various “success” stories, such as Mary Newport, Dave Asprey, Charlie Abraham, etc.. Celebrities, athletes, doctors, and wellness clinicians are screaming the praises of this diet as it is associated with improving cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer, seizures, mitochondrial reparation, and cognitive decline.
What’s my verdict on the ketogenic diet? Like everything else- it depends. Your genetics, organ health, lifestyle, nutrient status, stress levels, sleep patterns, intentions, and diligence with the diet all play a role in the success, effectiveness, and safety of the ketogenic diet. Part One of this ketogenic series will detail what it is, the benefits, and who should steer clear.
Shannon is a registered dietitian and functional nutritionist with a penchant for provocative topics, almond butter, and local theater.