Every year, US News & World Report ranks trending diets for the year ahead. Despite its overwhelming popularity, the report ranked the ketogenic diet as the worst for healthy eating and the second to last overall.
For those who don’t know, the ketogenic diet is a very rigid regimen for rapid weight loss. The plan essentially tricks your body by depriving it of carbohydrates. Eventually, this lack of carbohydrates triggers a metabolic state called ketosis, which causes your body to burn fat for energy instead of storing it.
Proponents of the diet say that it has evidence of success, plus it allows you to eat high-fat foods like red meats, fatty fish, butter, and cheese while still helping you lose weight. Furthermore, the diet can help people with Type 2 diabetes improve their blood sugar levels and help people with epilepsy reduce the frequency of their seizures.
However, the diet also requires that you consume no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, and if you mess up, your body will simply start storing fat again. This can have dangerous results since the diet suggests that you consume fat for upwards of 80 percent of your daily caloric intake.
For its evaluation, US News & World Report evaluated 35 of the most popular diets based on seven categories. These categories included nutritional completeness, ease of dietary plan, weight loss potential, and likelihood of disease prevention. Not surprisingly, the high-fat, low-carb trendy diet plan performed low in nearly every category.
Because the keto diet heavily relies on saturated fats, it can enhance a person’s risk of heart disease. Therefore, it scored poorly in the area of disease prevention. Because of the aforementioned potential for errors that undo the diet just from eating things like fruits and whole grains, it also scored poorly in the area of ease and sustainability.
In fact, the keto diet only excelled in one area: rapid weight loss potential. In this category, it tied with Atkins, Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig for third place.
However, experts caution that a diet’s ability to help you rapidly lose weight doesn’t make it healthy. Nutrition specialists affirm that nutritionally unbalanced diets like keto and Atkins almost guarantee short-term losses but the very nature of their restrictive plans make long-term adherence all but impossible.
In addition to the long-term disbenefits, the keto diet’s rapid weight loss technique can pose numerous other consequences as well. Quick, significant jumps in weight can cause stretch marks, changes in taste perception, interruptions in your menstrual cycle, and even depression. Furthermore, most experts still advise that slow and steady weight loss is the best method for overall health and long-term maintenance.
If you’re looking for a regimented weight loss plan that cuts out some of the negative aspects of the keto diet, some health advocates recommend a hybrid version of the keto diet with either vegan meals prepared at home or Mediterranean diet aspects.
This diet cuts out high-calorie, processed foods for more nutrient-dense items. These vitamin-rich foods provide nutrients that help prevent diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.
What’s more, US News & World Report awarded this easy-to-follow diet as the top choice for a third year in a row.
While fad diets tempt us all, it’s important to research any diet and consult your doctor before jumping on the bandwagon. A medical professional or experienced dietitian can help you plan eating habits that will provide the best results and health benefits for your body without major negative side effects. The biggest lesson we can take from US News & World Report’s study is this: Just because plans like the keto diet have massive followings and promise rapid weight loss, that doesn’t mean they’re safe or even remotely beneficial in the long term.