Is keto Diet a boon or a bane ?

Every health-freak diet-obsessed person is aware of a keto diet. It was founded in 1921 by Rollin Woodyat, propagated and used for the treatment of epilepsy by Russel Wilder in the same year. Let’s see some more interesting facts about keto-diet.


The article speaks about:

  1. History of Keto Diet
  2. What is Keto Diet?
  3. Mechanism of Keto Diet
  4. Types of Ketogenic Diet?
  5. Span for following Keto Diet?
  6. The Diet
  7. Effects – Long term & short term?
  8. Scientific research papers?
  9. Who should be allowed to do Keto Diet?
  10. Is it a Success or Failure? 


A brief insight into how the Keto diet came into existence? 

 Many ancient physicians studied that moderations in the diet routines and intakes can cure epilepsy management. The epileptic condition banishes when one follows a strict diet structure. This diet was an alternative to the chemical treatment given to the patients by external means for recovery by doctors. But, the external treatment was ineffective in contrast to keto diet results. So, fasting with proper intake of food helped the patient to get better from the diseases as well as no brain damage occurred in them.

However, it did not become 100% successful to cure epilepsy cases. But to manage the condition of the patient, this practice is still existent and successful. (Ref: Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD, Clinical Pharmacology)

Do you know what Ketogenic Diet is?

Ketogenic Diet is a diet having lower carbs and higher fats. The pivot of this diet is that it reduces the carbohydrate levels of the body replacing it with fats.

The mechanism of the Ketogenic diet

In the Ketogenic diet, the stoppage of the intake of carbohydrates causes a lowering of energy levels as it cuts down the glucose of the body. Because of this, the fats present in the body become the only source of energy supply. This process is oxidation in the mitochondria.

The glucose absence allows the water-soluble molecules like β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone to produce by the liver from fatty acids. They become an alternative source of energy for the brain. This process is called Ketosis. As this process begins in the body, it is in itself an indicator of the fat breakdown.

What are the types of Ketogenic Diet?

      There are mainly four types of the ketogenic diet

  1. Standard ketogenic diet

A low-carb, moderate protein, and a high-fat diet comprising 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrate.

  1. Cyclical ketogenic diet

The presence of high carbohydrates in ketogenic diet cycles is called a cyclical ketogenic diet.

  1. Targeted ketogenic diet

In this type of ketogenic diet, the intake of carbohydrates is allowed during periods of intensive workouts.

  1. High-protein ketogenic diet

The protein content is high in this diet around 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs. But the overall percentage if we take, fat is the highest consumption factor.

The most widely used diets from the above categories are Standard ketogenic diet and High-protein ketogenic diet. However, the other two diets are taken by professionals of bodybuilding and athletes. (Ref: NCBI articles by Shilpa Joshi & Vishwanathan Mohan)

How long should the Keto diet be followed?

Though, hugely popular for weight reduction, the ketogenic diet has its limitations. It reduces serum triglycerides expansively. Ketosis is a condition in which the body adapts to new food intake. As soon as the body stops receiving carbs it enters into the ketosis stage. A recorded carb intake per day is 50 grams. The body takes time to enter the ketosis stage. Once it does, it starts reducing the weight at lightning speed. Many researchers suggest that obese people take rigorous ways and it takes at least 24 weeks minimum to get desired results. And the maximum period to follow the diet should not be more than a period of 52 weeks. One has to keep a constant eye on health while undergoing this diet. The kidney should be monitored regularly. Nikola Djordjevic, MD of, said, “My professional recommended period of following the keto diet is about six months maximum, and that will also depend on how much the person weighed before starting the diet and the state of his or her overall health within those six months.” She further added that a person following a Keto diet should regularly visit nutrition or medical professional to keep in check the health.

Keto Diet Plan

Accepted foods 

  •       Yogurt
  •       Full-Fat cheese: Halloumi, Feta Cheese, Brie, Gruyere, Cheddar, Mozarella, Romano, Paneer,
  •       Eggs
  •       Poultry: Chicken and Turkey
  •       Fatty Fish :
  •       Meat: Venison, Beef, Pork
  •       Butter: Peanut, Almond, and Cashew
  •       Avocados
  •       Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers
  •       Vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs
  •       Salmon, mackerel
  •       Beverages like green tea, water, non-sugary coffee.

Non-Accepted Foods

  •       Bakery products
  •       Sweets
  •       Pasta
  •       Cold Drinks
  •       Starchy Foods – potato, banana, rice
  •       Sauces & Dressings
  •       Alcohol
  •       Fruits
  •       Grains
  •       Processed food
  •       Oils esp. corn and canola

Keto Diet Effects 

Keto diet is a short term plan for obese patients to get on track and lose weight. However, its long time effects are diverse in terms of health issues. A study carried out by Hussein M Dashti, MD Ph.D., Sami Asfar, MD, and Mousa A Khoursheed, published an article on ‘Long term effects of Keto diet in obese patients,’ which reflected the results of a 24-week ketogenic diet. The diet percentages taken were 20% saturated fat, 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, and thirty grams carbohydrate, and protein content 1 g/kg body weight.

In this study, men and women having a body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2, and high glucose and cholesterol levels were chosen for experimental purposes. The factors studied before and after the diet were: The body weight, body mass index, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar, urea and creatinine levels. The patients got tested after every week until the final 24 weeks span completed.

The results concluded: 

  1. Weight and BMI reduced drastically.
  2. The decrease in the level of Cholesterol
  3. HDL increased rapidly.
  4. LDL decreased.
  5. Level of Triglycerides
  6. However, the level of creatinine and urea 

As we know, every coin has two sides, following a keto diet has side effects as well. It generates keto flu, that is, as the body is adapting to new changes, so it causes changes in the body like headaches, weakness, irritability, constipation, nausea, and vomiting, at the initial stages of starting the diet. Frequent urination happens when ketones are flushed out of the body as this process loses electrolytes. As the energy loss starts, the body starts to crave sugar and withdrawal symptoms begin to take place. Breathing problems, heart and fatigue issues, and kidney disorders are also likely to happen.

A study published in ‘Frontiers in Nutrition’, took an online survey, in which, the different user experiences were taken into account, that included their problems related to keto-flu, keto- induction, keto-adaptation. These are the highlighted keywords for research done on online forums. Different bifurcations were based on the types of symptoms, causes, time-duration, and depth at which it occurs. Many other factors studied were health and sexuality, breast and prostate cancer, diseases like Huntington, ketosis and bipolar disorder relation.

Results were mostly common- flu, headache, nauseous feeling, fatigue, and brain fog. However, the symptoms are in the peak stage in the first seven days of the diet and slump within the next four weeks. Dr. Emmanuelle Bostock, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia said the people’s experience shared in an online forum, strengthens the clarity in studying the side-effects. The results are the online posts that brief about the key factors to be noted by every individual taking up this diet.

However, it has covered all the symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal discomfort, faintness, body aches, hunger, thirsty nature, soreness of muscles, etc. The levels of severity were recorded for each symptom. Remedial measures suggested to increase sodium intake, increase in the level of magnesium and potassium, drinking of pickle juice, and many more.

The researches preferred the online mode than the conventional due to the data exposure of the audience is wider on social media platforms, and people nowadays prefer social media platforms to discuss their health issues on forums. But, the study does not include 100% people suffering from Keto problems but informs about the issues one may experience while entering the ketosis stage.

Is keto diet scientifically proven?

As seen earlier, the keto diet was formed to treat patients of epilepsy. But, as it gained popularity, many professionals like wrestlers and others started implementing it on themselves. Later on, common people also started practicing the diet to gain quick results. Science says, the following diseases are likely to be benefitted from the Keto diet:

  •       Epilepsy
  •       Metabolic Syndrome
  •       Glycogen Storage Disease
  •       Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  •       Diabetes – Type1 and Type2
  •       Brain Cancer
  •       Autism
  •       Parkinson’s Disease
  •       Obesity
  •       Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome
  •       Traumatic Brain Injury
  •       Multiple Sclerosis
  •       Fatty Liver Disease
  •       Alzheimer
  •       Migraine

One of the fascinating facts is the ketogenic diet is a therapy to cure many neurological and neuromuscular diseases, it restores the central mechanism. And, the balance between effectiveness and toxic nature of ketogenic diet imparts a promise for motor impairment. Both the diet and clinical evaluation are necessary for better results and accuracy of treatment.

Who should be allowed to do Keto Diet? 

Though this diet plays a part in curing many diseases, this I not go for all kind of diet. The people suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and people having less immunity should say a big NO to this diet. There is a huge metabolic change in a person when one starts this diet. Unless referred by a physician, a person should not avail of this option. Proper monitoring by experts is recommended for desired results. A lot of supplementations are given based on a person’s physical ability. So, good supervision is helpful and the best step to take forward.

What is the final take – Is it a success or failure? 

Indian diets are high in carbohydrates, so its a hard nut to crack. As Indians are prone to diabetes Type2, or cardiovascular diseases, high fat diet increases the risk. Also, a lower intake of vegetables, fruits, and grains is not helpful in the long run.

There are many issues related to the continuity of this diet for a long period. It is a tiresome feeling, to restrict the diet plan for a longer duration. There are many deficiencies noted, like nutrient Deficiency, liver problems, kidney problems, fuzzy thinking, and mood swings.

Besides, there is a lot of research required to full-proof this diet. Shortening the food bank for unexpected results and that too for the short-term is a scary thought. So, it is a double-edged sword that may meet your goals, but it comes at a heavy cost. Hence, it is not recommended for long term use.