Is Keto Diet Dangerous? #2 | Yasser Kashef

Is Keto Diet Dangerous? #2

Dietary Fat Doesn’t Immediately End Up as Body Fat

“Doesn’t the keto diet cause dangerous shifts in electrolytes and water levels?”

Experiencing Keto Sickness or (Keto Flu)BNBBNB/ The keto diet is dangerous for athletes and people doing exercise.”

Diet and Exercise

Carbs as Fuel

Muscle Catabolism

“Keto diets aren’t ‘complete’ and lead to nutrient deficiency.”

Nutrient-Rich and Keto-Approved

Dietary Fat Doesn’t Immediately End Up as Body Fat

Instead, it should be recognized that in excess food in general–whether carbohydrates, proteins or fat–can become body fat.

Low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diets are increasingly recognized to be more satiating than low-calorie mixed diets (meaning, overall calorie intake is reduced to promote weight loss). Many people on the keto diet commonly experience the feeling of being more satisfied after eating, and this could contribute to weight loss–but scientists have yet to find a clear advantage of keto for weight loss when compared to any other calorie-controlled diet.

“Doesn’t the keto diet cause dangerous shifts in electrolytes and water levels?”
Drinking enough water, especially in the first few days of the diet, is imperative to help the body’s water levels reach a new steady level.

A keto diet causes a substantial shift in body water and electrolyte levels in the first few weeks. Decreasing the amount of carbs consumed means glycogen stores in the liver are depleted. Water is stored alongside glycogen (for every gram of stored glycogen, three grams of water are stored).

As glycogen stores are depleted, the body loses water.

Experiencing Keto Sickness or (Keto Flu)

As excess water is expelled in urine, it takes with it important minerals the body needs to function properly.

Electrolyte imbalance can cause a range of side effects, including muscle cramps, constipation, brain fog, and low energy. This contributes to the “keto flu,” a phenomenon people commonly experience as the body adapts to the new, low-carbohydrate diet. You can read about the keto flu and how to mitigate its symptoms, here.

It isn’t healthy to have long-term electrolyte imbalance–but it’s easy to prevent, through the adequate supplementation of electrolytes and consumption of nutrient-rich whole foods. Eating things like salmon, nuts, avocados, broccoli, and leafy greens can ensure an adequate intake of magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium.

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are inconvenient and uncomfortable, but they can be easily rectified and are an unlikely danger to health.

“The keto diet is dangerous for athletes and people doing exercise.”

Athletes on a ketogenic diet become more efficient at using fat as fuel during exercise (through beta-oxidation). But it does require some training to tap into the huge amount of energy stored as fat.

Diet and Exercise
Usually, when exercising at a higher intensity, the amount of fat burned goes down, and the amount of carbs burned goes up. Athletes will always use some carbs to fuel moderate/high-intensity exercise. For athletes eating a mixed diet, peak fat burning occurs at about 55% of max intensity.

But a study of keto-adapted athletes found that these individuals reached peak fat burning at 70% of max intensity. These athletes needed to burn far fewer carbs than athletes eating a traditional diet.

In theory, this means keto-adapted athletes can tap into a huge amount of energy stored as fat, needed to assume less fuel during training and racing to have greater endurance.

There isn’t any clear evidence yet of a boost in endurance performance for athletes in ketosis through diet. Exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone have been shown to increase endurance, presumably because the body can take advantage of burning ketone bodies, carbs and fats.

Carbs as Fuel
Carbs are still the primary fuel for the body during high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet may be better suited to athletes performing endurance sports (like marathon running or cycling). Athletes engaged in more intense cardio (like sprinting, hockey, football) may perform better with a higher percentage of carbohydrates. These athletes may experience a decrease in high-intensity output while following a ketogenic diet, but ultimately, a lowered carbohydrate intake as isn’t “dangerous” for athletes.

Muscle Catabolism
“Catabolism” means the break down of muscle tissue. A common misconception is that athletes switching to a keto diet could trigger muscle catabolism.

There’s no evidence suggesting athletes experience muscle catabolism when eating enough calories on the keto diet. In a meta-analysis, looking at low-carb diets, it was found the diet resulted in greater weight loss and muscle maintenance than diets higher in carbs.

More long-term studies are required, but from existing literature, it seems the keto diet may even be protective against muscle protein catabolism as long as the diet contains a sufficient amount of protein. For those wanting big gains in muscle size or strength, the ketogenic diet isn’t the best option to help achieve that goal.

“Keto diets aren’t ‘complete’ and lead to nutrient deficiency.”
Balance is important in any diet, and a proper keto diet should incorporate nutrient-rich foods.

Losing essential micronutrients is another concern raised by keto diet sceptics. People say eating a diet based on fat and protein from animal sources means losing those micronutrients found in higher-carb grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some also claim low-carb diets contain too little fibre and thus may cause long-term constipation. That’s inaccurate.

Nutrient-Rich and Keto-Approved

There are many options for nutrient-rich, low-carb foods, and they should be frequently incorporated into the keto diet.

Examples include non-starchy fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, and berries. The trace minerals and vitamins found in grains can also be obtained at higher percentages in good-quality meats and dairy products. Moreover, compounds such as phytates and tannins in grains hinder the bioavailability of several minerals.

A properly constructed keto diet may even be higher in nutrients than a standard American diet, especially when things like candy, refined flour, soda, and processed carbs are eradicated.
A well-formulated keto diet should feature plenty of whole, unprocessed foods and shouldn’t lead to nutritional deficiencies.


17.Volek, J.S., Sharman, M.J., Love, D.M., Avery, N.G., Gomez, A.L., Scheett, T.P., and Kraemer, W.J. (2002). Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism 51.
18.Kose E, Guzel O, Demir K, Arslan N. Changes of thyroid hormonal status in patients receiving ketogenic diet due to intractable epilepsy. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab.2017 Apr 1;30(4):411-416.
19.Kaptein EM, Fisler JS, Duda MJ, Nicoloff JT, Drenick EJ. Relationship between the changes in serum thyroid hormone levels and protein status during prolonged protein supplemented caloric deprivation.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1985 Jan;22(1):1-15.
20.Rozing MP, Westendorp RG, de Craen AJ, Frölich M, Heijmans BT, Beekman M, Wijsman C, Mooijaart SP, Blauw GJ, Slagboom PE, van Heemst D; Leiden Longevity Study (LLS) Group. Low serum free triiodothyronine levels mark familial longevity: the Leiden Longevity Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Apr;65(4):365-8
21.Meckling K, O’Sullivan C, Saari D. Comparison of a Low-Fat Diet to a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Weight Loss, Body Composition, and Risk Factors for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Free-Living, Overweight Men and Women. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004; 1: 13.
22.Stokes CS, Gluud LL, Casper M, Lammert F. Ursodeoxycholic acid and diets higher in fat prevent gallbladder stones during weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Jul;12(7):1090-1100.e2; quiz e61.