The Keto Diet is quintessentially American; a reflection of the Twentieth Century zeitgeist. During the Victorian Era and Turn of the Century, the nation became obsessed with aesthetics: the printing press circulated the new ideal of beauty, the hourglass figure. Among the eras’ weight loss fads, the corset, ingesting tapeworms, elixirs, and fasting.
Although the diet was conceived, at The Mayo Clinic, by Dr. Russell Wilder as a cure for Epilepsy, it caught on with the nation’s increasingly image-conscious masses – the Flappers.
The Keto Diet has experienced both accolades and criticism from the medical community, however, it must be examined within context. The diet came about during the end of the Victorian Age. An age in which the corset and ingesting tapeworms were common methods of losing weight. The corset shifted the body’s organs and ingesting parasites must be detrimental to health. It was, at the time of conception, one of the few diets created by physicians. The Keto Diet, until recently was regarded as Twentieth Century ephemera, however, it has re-emerged and is gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts.
Among diet trends, the Keto Diet is relatively painless. The challenge, for most, is obtaining from certain foods: consuming sugar is prohibited and carb consumption is limited: practitioners, of the Keto Diet, must avoid fruits, legumes, and nuts – this is a carnivorous diet. However, there’s no need to buy a gym membership on this diet.
The Keto Diet, when overseen by a physician, is an effective method of weight loss. “The ketogenic diet can be a useful tool to treat obesity in the hands of the physician,” states The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. However, to avoid the diet’s inherent downfalls (it hacks the body into a starvation-like state), it should be overseen by a physician.
The Keto Diet, much like other fads in weight loss, may possess unforeseen health risks. Katie Hill (a practitioner of the diet) stated that “you can easily become depleted in Potassium and Sodium so you have to make sure to take a [Potassium] supplement and salt your food.” Potassium deficiency may cause muscle cramping and heart palpitations. Moreover, some practitioners may experience the Keto Flu.
A board-certified Cardiologist, Dr. Amnon Beniaminovitz, states that “some people can feel unwell when they first start the keto diet, a phenomenon known as the “keto flu:” brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and irritability are the Keto Flu’s most common symptoms. Symptoms are much like Caffeine withdraw.
Aside from flu-like symptoms, serious health risks may be associated with the Keto Diet. Although the diet dates back to the Twenties, there’s a dearth of research on long-term effects of the diet. Physicians are concerned about the diet causing high cholesterol and Heart Disease.
Evidence is lacking that supports long-term benefit of Keto Diet. Although the diet experienced short-term notoriety during the Twenties, there’s been the dearth of contemporary clinical studies. The Keto Diet may be beneficiary for short-term weight loss, but unforeseen dangers may reveal themselves in the long run. Alternatively, a balanced diet and exercise, as suggested by the USDA, may be the most sustainable diet.