From the Keto “flu” to low libido, here’s how the diet can affect you. It seems like everyone is praising the keto diet these days. But if you’re considering this diet, you’ll probably want to know about the side effects before you decide if it’s right for you.
The keto diet requires adhering to an extremely low-carb, high-fat diet in order to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. This makes your body more efficient at burning fat.
In recent weeks, the keto diet has been in the news because some experts say it can cause changes in libido.
“The ketogenic diet can definitely result in a drop in libido when starting the diet, as the dieter will be experiencing symptoms of carb withdrawal and potentially the keto flu,” noted Dr. Nancy P. Rahnama, a bariatric and internal medicine doctor based in California.
“Once the withdrawal and flu-like symptoms have passed, and the dieter has adapted to the lower-carb lifestyle, the libido will most likely reset and potentially be better than prior as a result of weight loss from the diet,” she said.
While the libido warning got a lot of notoriety in the media, actual research confirming this side effect was hard to come by.
“Overall, ketogenic research is limited,” said Stephanie McKercher, a Colorado-based registered dietitian and recipe developer at The Grateful Grazer. “We need more studies to fully understand all of the potential adverse effects of this diet.”
She pointed out that the diet was originally developed for a medical purpose to aid people with epilepsy.
- In addition to weight loss, there are a few well-known side effects of the keto diet, some of which can be unpleasant.
- Some side effects of the keto diet are bound to occur, though others only happen when the diet is implemented poorly.
- The keto diet doesn’t have to lead to a host of negative side effects, but anyone considering undertaking the diet over the long term should be especially careful.
The keto diet is often called a fad diet. Make no mistake: it is. But unlike other trendy diets, the keto diet is unique because it actually pushes the body into an alternate, natural metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, you can reliably expect a few negative side effects, notably those that come with the “keto flu.” But other side effects emerge only when people implement the keto diet poorly, typically by failing to eat balanced, nutrient-rich foods as a part of a high-fat, low-carb diet.
Here are a few of the worst side effects of the keto diet, most of which can be avoided with some careful planning.