The doctor is in by Priyanka Rohatgi: The case against keto

New research advises against the diet, a strong argument in favour of balanced eating habits

The doctor is in, Priyanka Rohatgi
A balanced diet comprises seven essential components, including vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibre and water.

By Priyanka Rohatgi

Reports suggest keto diets increase risk of heart disease. How true is that?

Yes, recent reports by American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session, in association with the World Congress of Cardiology, state that a keto diet may be linked to greater levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the blood, as well as an increase in the risk of cardiac disease such as pain in chest, blockage in arteries, heart problems and strokes. Frequent intake of a diet low in carbohydrates and packed with fat was linked to higher levels of LDL cholesterol posing high risk of heart problems.

Should any diet be followed that eliminates or advocates only one food group?

No, it is advisable to incorporate a complete diet rich in all nutrients, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, proteins, vitamins and minerals and fluids as every nutrition has an impact on different body parts and tissues. Eating only one type of food or eliminating any type of food would lead to nutritious deficiencies, leading to health complications like heart problems, liver diseases, digestive issues, muscle and bone weakness and other organ-related concerns.

What is a balanced diet, irrespective of age?

A balanced diet comprises seven essential components, including vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibre and water. A balanced diet is one that contains a wide range of foods in the right amounts and ratios to fulfil the body’s needs for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, while also leaving a small amount of room for extra nutrients. A balanced diet must contain food items from five groups of foods in a day, including vegetables and beans, cereals and grains, dairy products, fruits, meat and fish.

Are such diets actually beneficial in any manner, to lose weight or improve health?

Diets like keto or related diets can be beneficial to those people whose body can adapt the dietary changes that come with these diets. Otherwise if it doesn’t suit the body, these diets can turn out to be highly restrictive and risky. The ketogenic diet may raise the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, bowel problems, lowered blood pressure, nutritional deficiencies, and low blood sugar levels. Restrictive diets, such as keto, may also result in social confinement or poor eating habits. Keto is not recommended for people who have pre-existing problems in liver, bladder, pancreas or other body parts. The keto diets may benefit in neurological cases of epilepsy to control the seizures. In normal conditions, it disrupts the gut microbiome, impacts heart health and increases risk for NCDs.

Priyanka Rohatgi is chief nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals Group

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First published on: 12-03-2023 at 03:00 IST
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