Recently, an actor from Bengal died after suffering kidney failure as she was following a keto diet to lose weight.
What is a ‘ketogenic diet’ or ‘keto diet’?
- The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular weight loss diets the world over. It is a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb diet that helps in weight loss by achieving ketosis — a metabolic state where the liver burns body fat and provides fuel for the body, as there is limited access to glucose.
What constitutes a keto diet?
- A classic keto requires that 90 per cent of a person’s calories come from fat, six per cent from protein and four per cent from carbs. But there are many versions doing the round, since this one was designed for children suffering from epilepsy to gain control over their seizures. Typically, popular ketogenic diets suggest an average of 70-80 per cent fat, 5-10 per cent carbohydrate, and 10-20 per cent protein.
- What are the food items that make the diet?
- One can have eggs, chicken and turkey in poultry, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, full-fat dairy, nuts and seeds like Macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and flaxseeds.
- There is also nut butter like natural peanut, almond and cashew butters. It also consists of healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter and sesame oil. There are Avocados, and non-starchy vegetables like the greens, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers.
How does keto impact the body?
- If you starve the body of carbohydrate, after burning out the glucose, the liver starts breaking down fats for energy. Ketosis is common in all kinds of fasting, but in a keto diet, when one is feeding it by giving a lot of fats from outside without carbs, it can become mildly toxic.
- It may lead to many nutrient deficiencies such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (especially vitamin A, D, E, & K) and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium.
- Extreme carbohydrate restriction can lead to hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain fog, which may last days to weeks.
Impact on kidneys
Even the moderate increase in protein needs to be carefully monitored, especially in those who are already suffering from a chronic kidney disease, as it could lead to kidney failure. This diet could lead to increased stress on the kidneys and result in kidney stones, as they are made to work overtime.