In the world we live in, various people are struggling to keep their weight under control – and many are praising diets because they help to ease the problem. Among all the diets that receive glowing reviews is the Keto diet.
However, it is important to remember that dieting will have some effects on your health, just like taking drugs. While the diet will encourage your body to become more efficient in burning fats, it does come with a possible host of side effects – including some skin conditions such as psoriasis.
What is the Keto diet?
The main reason why you could be struggling with your weight, aside from causes like lack of an active lifestyle, is probably due to consuming high levels of carbohydrates in the diet. The Keto diet aims to reduce this consumption, making it similar to the Atkins diet (although with some slight differences). It instead substitutes the carbs with proteins and fats, in order to initiate the process of ketosis in the body (fat-burning).
It comes in many versions, depending on the exact nutritional requirements you have. For instance, an athlete on Keto will not have the same approach to someone who works an office job all day. Regardless of the variation though, the ultimate goal is to make the body more efficient at ketosis.
What makes it tricky is there is not much information or clinical studies regarding these side effects. Like any other issue that relates to your health however, it is best to know what you might face once you decide to adopt this diet into your life. Here are some of those effects.
This is a common side effect that can occur when you are starting the Keto diet, since it is part of the adaptation process of the body to having a low-carb supply. The diet itself forces the body to turn to molecules called ketones (originating from fat) as the energy source, instead of glucose – however, that does not help you feel so great.
Some symptoms include irritability, weakness, nausea, headaches, vomiting, and constipation. The removal of ketones is through urine, so this will also lead to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes – making the whole experience similar to drug withdrawals. However, this ends quickly, with most cases only lasting a few days to a week at most.
Inflammation of the skin (at least in the short term) – Keto Psoriasis
While the body is trying to adjust to the low carb intake and the high protein and fat intakes, it is bound to result in skin inflammation. This can also lead to other skin problems such as the development of acne or skin rashes, so it is very important to drink a lot of water when you are in the adjusting stage to minimize these effects.
The Keto diet puts a lot of stress on the body in the beginning, since the body is entering a different metabolic state. ketones are then mass produced instead of regular glucose, which makes many things go haywire – bad breath, constipation, and so on. since Keto is a diet that emphasizes intake of fats, it is therefore not surprising to see that the skin is adversely affected, especially if you already have a history with skin problems.
In fact, studies have shown that the diet can cause a certain skin condition known as prurigo pigmentosa, which is a rash that is very itchy, and starts on the stomach, chest or back areas while spreading throughout the body. It starts as very small red bumps that look like pimples, then they eventually heal and crust over. However, in the healing process, they can leave permanent marks on the skin, which are dark in color (keto psoriasis).
Possible damage to the heart and kidneys
Since the diet removes a large amount of electrolytes through body fluids, along with increasing urination, it leads to the loss of important elements such as potassium, sodium and magnesium. These losses may not seem like much, but they make the kidneys more vulnerable to damage and injury.
The increasing onset of dehydration also results in formation of kidney stones and lightheadedness, which can also result on cardiac arrhythmia. The effects on heart health are because the normal heartbeat and pacing is highly dependent on the levels of these electrolytes, so it can be adversely affected if something goes wrong.
Yo-yo diet patterns
At the end of the day, dieting is not the optimal solution to losing weight, especially if you do it on its own without including physical activity. Keto dieting is the same as this, since it can lead to yo-yo dieting when you find it difficult to restrain yourself permanently. This also leads to other negative effects on your health.
The increased weight fluctuations that result from this can raise the mortality risk, so if you are planning on taking this route, it is better to stick to it entirely.
Losses of fluids and electrolytes mean that you also might experience problems in your sleeping patterns, reducing density of the bones, fatigue, and irregular menstrual cycles. The effects are not extensively studied though, as it is very challenging to track dieters for a long-term basis to find out its long lasting effects.
On the other hand, there are numerous doubts surrounding the high intake of fats, which can lead to negative effects in the long term. You might think otherwise, since dieting comes with weight loss, but this is likely for the short term only. The other problem is the tendency of the Keto diet to eliminate most fruits, legumes, vegetables and whole grains, which are perceived as healthy. This means that Keto dieters end up missing out on fiber, specific phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins, which increases the risk to their health.
Basing our conclusion from these insights, it is safe to say the Keto diet is not suitable for everyone. It can impact your health negatively, so you need to talk to your doctor if it is something you are considering, so that you can get the best medical advice. You will also need to boost your daily water intake to minimize the side effects of the diet.