The keto diet and other super low-carb diets can lead to dramatic weight loss, but they aren’t sustainable or always healthy.
WHILE LOW-CARB DIETS have cycled in and out of fashion, there’s a new wave of enthusiasm for super low-carb diets like the keto diet among celebrities and dieters. But this trend comes at a cost – and perpetuates misconceptions. Here are three facts to understand before jumping on the bread-less bandwagon:
1. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat.
Very low-carb diets are designed to deplete the body of glucose (the primary energy source for your brain and muscles). Without glucose, your body thinks you’re starving and will break fat down into ketone bodies to fuel your brain in a process called ketosis (hence, the keto diet).
While fat breakdown via ketosis can produce impressive weight loss, this “quick ﬁx” can also come at a cost. Doctors warn that starving the brain of its primary energy source could potentially be harmful in the long term.
Are extreme carb-cutting measures really worth it? Probably not. A large randomized clinical trialpublished earlier this year shows that low-carb diets are no more effective than low-fat diets when it comes to weight loss.
Weight problems are almost never the fault of one food or nutrient – it’s total diet and lifestyle that matter. Calories in any form, be they from carbohydrates, protein or fat, can eventually lead to weight gain if eaten in excess.
Plus, all plant foods (from quinoa to carrots) contain some carbohydrates, so people who eat a no-carb or very low-carb diet miss out on great swaths of the plant kingdom with solidly established health benefits.