Does keto affect your gut health?
The ketogenic diet has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Many people tout extreme weight loss and better overall health when on the diet. But are the long-term effects of the diet beneficial for your health or a deterrent? Let’s take a look.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet. By drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake (lower than 50g a day), your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. Generally, your body uses blood sugar (glucose) for energy. In ketosis, your body uses ketones from fat to produce energy. People on this diet see a significant reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels. Weight loss is also a common side effect of the diet.
Keto Diet Benefits
The keto diet has gotten so popular due to its results, namely weight loss. Weight loss is a common effect of the diet likely because it focuses on high-fat foods, which leaves people feeling more full than on other diets. Many also often end up eating significantly less due to eliminating food groups.
People who suffer from IBS have also seen success on keto. A very low-carb diet helps ease IBS symptoms like gas and cramps. Keto also closely follows the FODMAPs diet, a diet specifically designed to support those who suffer from digestive disorders.
The keto diet reduces seizures in pediatric patients with epilepsy. People with diabetes and PCOS also have seen lifestyle benefits from being on the keto diet because of the reduction in blood sugar levels.
Keto Diet Drawbacks
Impacts the gut microbiome
Eating a high-fat diet in the long term can damage your gut bacteria. This can also occur due to the lack of fiber that consequently occurs on the diet. A less diverse microbiome can lead to inflammation and a reduction in good bacteria.
The diet can be very difficult to maintain for the long term. Since it cuts so many food groups out, eventually eating those foods can result in blood sugar spikes and weight gain. It can also lead to detrimental disordered eating practices.
There are many reports of bad breath while on keto. Bad breath is a side effect of ketosis. This occurs because a portion of the ketones are converted into ketone acetone, which is excreted via our breath.
Similar to most diets, doing the keto diet for the long-term can have negative side effects but short-term results may be positive for your lifestyle. Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any major diet changes to ensure your health isn’t negatively impacted.
Interested more in the impact of popular diets? Check out our post on Paleo and plant-based diets.