A Cup of Coffee: How Not To Die: Part IV in a Series

Welcome back! Last week, Dr. Ross walked us through in’s and out’s of high blood pressure. If you missed this blog and want to catch up, click HERE.

This week, we talk about the KETO diet. This ever growing popular diet has become the “go to” for quick weight loss. Let’s see what our good doctor has to say about this diet…grab A Cup of Coffee, and let’s chat!

The ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular in our culture (Adkins, Ketogenic, Paleo, South Beach to name a few).  What is this diet?  This is a diet that allows for very few carbohydrates; 30 grams per day.  The standard American diet has about 50% of calories in carbohydrates.  Eating 2000 calorie diet would equal about 1000 calories a day or 250 grams of carbohydrates per day.  Cutting out 220 grams of carbohydrates is quite a restrictive diet for most people and it can be very hard to maintain.

The result of cutting out all those carbohydrates will lead to ketone formation and the breakdown of fat to provide energy for the body.   But by reducing the carbohydrates so drastically, the intake of fat and protein goes way up….the protein is hard on your kidneys while the fats that you are ingesting are competing against the fat you are trying to get rid of. 

The diet consists of eating plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.  The American Medical Association has evaluated the science and has resolved that all US hospitals should eliminate processed meats; due to their carcinogenic effects as documented by the World Health Organization.

  Some people have definitely lost weight eating keto….and because of the severe carbohydrate restriction some diabetics have even reduced their blood sugar levels for a while.   But what are the side effects and are there long- term consequences of eating this way? In August 2018 a 25,000-person study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich suggested that people on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and all other causes.  Other short- term problems with keto include “keto flu”; feeling tired, fatigued, lethargic, gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, acid reflux, muscle cramps or weakness, reduced athletic performance, impaired cognition, impaired mood.

  The long term problems include increased risk for heart arrythmia, heart attack, and increased risk for all- cause mortality.  That is correct…the long term side effect of the keto diet is increased risk of death.  Perhaps you might want to do some more thinking about whether the short- term benefits are worth the long- term risks?   The only way of eating that has been shown to reverse heart disease, our number one killer in this country, is whole food plant based.   

Best of Health

Charlie Ross DO, Westfir, Oregon

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