In November 2019 researchers from Canada published their review on the pros and cons of the keto diet. This article is different in that the two opposing sides of the argument are described. One author is for the keto diet and discusses the pros of the diet, whereas the second author is against the keto diet and discusses the cons. The keto diet requires the individual to extrensively limit carbohydrates whilst allowing intake of fats (including saturated fats). The keto diet causes rapid weight loss although it is not entirely clear if the weight loss is due to water loss, fat burning or a reduction in total calorie intake. In fact, the keto diet is known to quickly bring about a feeling of fullness, which has in itself the potential to reduce total calorie intake. The keto diet is also able to bring about an improvement in the glycaemic control in individuals with diabetes type 2 with a reduction in HbA1c. However, the keto diet can also cause a substantial rise in LDL(bad)-cholesterol levels and it is for this reason that many doctors are hesitant to endorse it. The researchers state that in view of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, individuals with no history of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome should think carefully about whether to undertake this diet for a long period of time, especially as the potential long-term consequences are not yet known. There is after all a lot of evidence that shows plant-based diets, which allow a daily moderate amount of non-saturated fats, and small amounts of red meat and saturated fats, are associated with a reduction in cancer and cardiovascular diseases as well as a prolonged life span. There are also numerous studies currently being undertaken on the keto diet that should provide the long awaited answers.
O’Neill B, Raggi P. The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons. Atherosclerosis. 2019 Nov 28;292:119-126