Readers of low carb and keto blogs often get into heated debates with each other about most anything related to the diet. Diet as a topic can be divisive, but some of the most polarizing debates are over the low-carb and keto diets.
Most diets are based on a simple concept: eat less and move more. And this is an incredibly effective approach for weight loss as well as health improvements. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about low carb and keto diets– and the truth is there are some very real controversies. This article will help set the record straight about some of the most egregious misunderstandings.
If you want to learn more about keto then you have come to the right place. We have researched the most popular keto-related controversies and have thrown out the bad information and kept the good.
Updated 17. June 2021, based on a medical opinion from
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People are suspicious about low-carb diets at first, particularly because high-carb, low-fat diet advice has been popular for decades.
We don’t want people’s irrational concerns to prevent them from reaping the advantages of a low-carb diet. You won’t have to worry about many of these inconsistencies since they are caused by misconceptions or inadequate information on this page.
However, in order to make the low-carb diet simple to follow, we must be upfront and honest about possible issues and how to address them. A low-carb diet may cause certain issues, and it’s important to understand what those issues are and what you can do about them.
Here are some of the most frequent low-carb diet debates, as well as what the scientific data says about them.
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1. Can saturated fats trigger a heart attack by clogging my arteries?
No. This is, without a doubt, one of the most pervasive nutritional fallacies of the past several decades.
To begin with, heart disease is not the same as a blocked sink! Heart disease may be caused by a variety of causes, including heredity, inflammation, and metabolic disorders like diabetes. Diet and other variables may interact in a variety of ways, and this varies significantly from person to person.
The connection between saturated fat and heart disease is weak and inconsistent in terms of scientific data. Despite the findings of other research, several evaluations of existing scientific data indicate that there is no connection between saturated fat and heart disease. The mainstream media reflects the lack of evidence against saturated fats.
Because the data is so poor and people’s reactions to dietary lipids differ so much, it seems that advising the general public to avoid saturated fats was a mistake.
Fortunately, in recent years, an increasing number of specialists and organizations have recognized that natural saturated fats, despite their bad image, seem to be healthy.
Saturated fats are natural since they have always been present in the natural foods we’ve eaten throughout evolution. Breast milk and the numerous meals our forefathers ate until they were adults, for example.
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2. Is a low-carbohydrate diet linked to elevated cholesterol?
Low-carb diets enhance cholesterol profiles by raising HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering potentially dangerous triglycerides. They may also help to enhance LDL’s size profile.
These modifications seem to be advantageous, since they are linked to lower insulin resistance and better health.
In most individuals, a low-carb diet has no discernible effect on LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). However, some individuals have LDL levels that are somewhat lower or (more often) slightly higher.
However, a diet low in carbs and rich in fat may cause excessively high cholesterol levels in a tiny percentage of individuals. In such cases, dietary changes to reduce LDL cholesterol may be worth trying with. You should work closely with your doctor to identify symptoms of cardiovascular disease, depending on your overall risk profile.
The absolute risk of elevated LDL in all people is a point of contention. Indeed, some observational studies indicate that high LDL levels in the elderly are linked to a longer life expectancy, while others show no additional risk as long as HDL and triglycerides are within normal limits. While this does not establish a link, it does raise the issue of whether LDL is a concern for all people.
Low-carb diets, in general, reduce risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, in the majority of individuals, according to research.
In general, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets enhance cholesterol profiles and decrease the majority of heart disease risk factors. This impact was shown in a 2010 research that found that a low-carb, high-fat diet reduced atherosclerosis after two years.
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3. Isn’t it true that the brain doesn’t need carbohydrates?
No. A rigorous low-carb diet enables the brain to rely only on fats – or, more precisely, ketones – for energy. When you’re short on carbohydrates, your liver turns body fat or fat from your meal into ketones, which your brain may utilize as fuel.
This implies that fat burning is significantly enhanced, which is excellent news for people trying to reduce weight.
Furthermore, even if you don’t consume carbohydrates, your body can produce the glucose it needs via a process called gluconeogenesis, which transforms other nutrients into glucose.
Carbohydrates are unnecessary in the diet, and the brain can operate without them.
See our whole guide for additional information:
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Learn more about ketosis and ketone bodies.
4. Is it true that a low-carb diet is bad for the environment?
No. A widespread misunderstanding is that a low-carb diet necessitates a high intake of protein, particularly meat, and is therefore harmful to the environment. That is not the case.
A low-carb diet is just that: it’s a low-carb diet. Aside from that, whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, or whatever, you may eat anything you want.
Protein intake is usually modest, averaging 1.5 grams per kilogram per day. So, just because you’re on a low-carb diet, there’s no need to consume more meat. If you choose, you can even eat a low-carb vegetarian or vegan diet.
Furthermore, the environmental effect of meat production is influenced by a variety of variables. Do you purchase grass-fed or pastured meat or poultry from local farmers? If that’s the case, they can be cultivated in a manner that’s good for the environment! Pesticide exposure and soil nutrient depletion may be reduced, and soil carbon storage can be increased.
The advantages of carbohydrate-rich monocultures like soybeans, sugar, and maize to the environment are greatly overstated. These pesticide-rich crops have a far greater impact on biodiversity and pollution than, say, a biodynamic cattle farm.
Finally, since a low-carb diet is satiating, it encourages you to eat less. People need much less nourishment after substantial weight reduction. It is undeniably beneficial to the environment to eat less and eat less often.
Summary: A low-carb diet has a modest quantity of protein and has the same environmental impact as most other diets. The environmental effect of eating more meat than normal is highly dependent on how the animals were reared.
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5. Can low-carbohydrate diets cause nutritional deficiency?
It’s likely that the opposite is more frequent. The foods consumed on a low-carb diet are very nutritious. Eggs, for example, offer the most complete nutrition of any meal on the planet (and are a mainstay for many individuals on a low-carb diet).
To make a whole chick, consider the nutrients in the egg. While the chick is developing in the egg, it cannot travel outside to obtain vitamins and minerals; everything must be present. And we humans acquire all of these nutrients simply eating one egg.
Meat, fish, and vegetables are also high in nutrients. Many individuals who follow a low-carb diet substitute more nutrient-dense veggies for nutrient-poor pasta, rice, and potatoes.
A low-carb diet may be enjoyable, according to studies.
Refined flour, in comparison to a more nutritionally balanced low-carb diet, is mostly devoid of nutrients other than pure starch. Normally, the law mandates that vitamins be added to flour to avoid vitamin shortage in individuals who eat a lot of flour.
Furthermore, cereals like wheat contain a lot of phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of a lot of nutrients.
A lack of fruit, which is generally considered important to a balanced diet, is another issue linked with low-carb diets. This is a miscommunication. Most contemporary fruits are devoid of nutrition save for vitamin C. They are now large and adorable. Fruit is inherently sweet, therefore we think it should be consumed in moderation. Fruit juices are much worse since they are high in sugar and lack fiber, which slows absorption.
In addition to being high in calories and poor in nutrients, modern fast meals and snacks are also deficient in nutrients. Furthermore, low-fat diets lack the essential fat-soluble vitamins present in full-fat yogurt, cheese, and other complete meals.
Summary: Switching from a high-carbohydrate Western diet to a low-carbohydrate, real-food diet can substantially boost the quantity of vitamins and minerals you consume.
6. Will a low-carbohydrate diet harm my thyroid?
Unlikely. It is extremely improbable that a well-constructed low-carb diet would have a detrimental impact on your thyroid.
Although some studies indicate that the active thyroid hormone T3 is decreasing, it is unclear if this is a concern. Some argue that our bodies are more sensitive to thyroid hormones than others, and that the normal range is thus varied. Others claim that fat has a more effective metabolism and therefore needs less thyroid hormone to break down. Although these are only ideas, they highlight the fact that a change in a single laboratory sign does not always imply a problem or a negative trend.
Others individuals who lose a lot of weight on a low-carb diet may need less thyroid medication, and some may even be able to stop taking it entirely. This may just be the result of a smaller body requiring less thyroid hormone; no research have shown that simply cutting carbohydrates improves thyroid function.
If you have hypothyroidism and are taking thyroid hormones, you may follow the same low-carb diet as everyone else and continue to see your doctor on a regular basis. If you’ve lost a lot of weight, for example, it may be a good idea to have your thyroid hormone levels checked more often. Every time you drop 15 pounds, for example. It’s possible that you’ll need to alter your dosage.
In conclusion, a low-carb, healthful diet should not have a detrimental impact on your thyroid.
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7. Will a low-carbohydrate diet harm my kidneys?
It’s very improbable. Many individuals still think that a low-carb, or even a high-protein, diet may cause kidney damage. This is a myth that is based on two misunderstandings.
To begin with, a well-planned low-carb diet includes a modest quantity of protein – about 1.5 grams per kilogram per day.
The issue with this argument is that a low-carb diet doesn’t need much protein – around 3 grams per kilogram per day – therefore it doesn’t exist.
Second, individuals with normal renal function may eat a lot of protein and not have any issues.
Even if individuals want to eat too much protein, this is only an issue if their kidneys have already been badly damaged. End-stage renal disease, for example, need dialysis. If you have severe renal illness and have been advised to restrict your protein intake, you should do so immediately. However, it may still be used to stick to a low-carb, high-fat diet.
To summarize, those who do not have renal illness do not need to be concerned about the consequences of too much protein on kidney health.
A low-carb diet is beneficial to the kidneys.
A low-carb diet may protect your kidneys from one of the most frequent causes of kidney damage: high blood sugar. A low-carb diet, especially for individuals with diabetes, may help preserve the kidneys by lowering blood sugar levels.
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8. Can a low-carbohydrate diet make you depressed?
Unlikely. However, signs of depression (such as lethargy, tiredness, irritability, and a fuzzy brain) are common in the first two weeks after beginning a low-carb diet.
These issues typically go away in a matter of days or weeks. They can usually be avoided by drinking plenty of water and salt, for example. B. Drink a cup of broth once or twice a day.
A low-carb diet frequently has the opposite impact in the long term. Some individuals feel energised when they enter ketosis, and their mental performance and stamina may increase. People occasionally comment about how clear their heads are.
In general, studies of the mental state of individuals who follow a low-carbohydrate diet indicate no substantial change or a small improvement over their pre-diet condition. It’s worth noting that the studies provide an average outcome for a group of individuals. Some individuals are feeling worse, while others are feeling better.
Some individuals get sad because they are hooked to the pleasures of carbohydrate and sugar-rich meals. When you’re hooked to certain foods, giving them up may cause temporary emotions of loss and sorrow, which are comparable to the symptoms of depression. It may be comparable to nicotine or alcohol withdrawal symptoms in those who are addicted to these drugs.
Recovery from addiction, fortunately, provides tremendous relief after the early withdrawal symptoms have subsided, and individuals may live better, happier lives. As a result, the effort is well worth it.
You must eat properly and live a simple, pleasant lifestyle to feel well for a long period on a low-carb diet. You may expedite the process by using our resources.
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9. Is a low-carbohydrate diet bad for exercise?
A low-carb diet may be beneficial, detrimental, neutral, or even beneficial to physical activity. It depends on the situation.
Your gym performance will most certainly suffer during the first few weeks of transitioning from a high-carb to a low-carb diet. This is a side effect of the low-carb flu and should go away in a week or two.
People frequently remark that after a few weeks of adjustment, they feel at least as good during exercise as they did previously, particularly if they drink adequate fluids and salt.
Additionally, there are many potential advantages to being used to fat and eating LCHF for endurance athletes. The fact that the top two finishers in the 2016 Tour de France followed a low-carb diet exemplifies this point.
These findings, however, are not uniform. Despite increased fat oxidation, walking time falls after 12 weeks on the keto diet, according to two Australian studies.
Weight lifters and athletes who lift weights have reaped the benefits as well. When coupled with strength training, a ketogenic diet may also enhance body composition.
However, for non-endurance sports like B. Sprint, etc., additional carbs may be required. In such scenario, it may be a good idea to take a day off when you have to perform, such as on race day. B. consume extra carbs on race day.
In conclusion, there is conflicting scientific data on the effect of ketosis on athletic performance. Individual variability, the effects of various workouts, and the significance of adaptability must all be considered.
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Is it true that low-carbohydrate meals are bad for gut bacteria?
Most likely not. Gut microorganisms and the microbiome are the subject of a lot of study. The most serious flaw in most gut bacteria and nutrition research is a conflation of statistical correlations with causal connections, i.e., we erroneously label weak evidence evidence.
So yet, nothing can be stated about the health implications of changes in the microbiome caused by a low-carbohydrate diet, other than that it changes. After beginning a low-carb diet, however, many individuals experience reduced gastrointestinal tract tension and bloating. A ketogenic diet may also help individuals with specific medical problems, such as B. Multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, by causing positive changes in their microbiota.
Avoiding processed simple sugars and antibiotics unless absolutely essential is the greatest thing you can do for your gut flora.
Watch a presentation on the microbiome’s possible advantages from slow carbohydrates.
11. Can a low-carb diet cause constipation?
Yes. Constipation is a potential side effect of the low-carb diet, particularly in the first few days, while your digestive system adjusts.
Drinking more water and boosting salt consumption, eating more fiber, or adding skim milk to your diet may generally help.
It’s important to note that some people’s less frequent bowel motions aren’t always indicative of constipation. Many individuals discover that a low-carb diet causes them to have fewer bowel movements, but if they don’t have bloating or stomach discomfort, they shouldn’t be concerned.
Constipation is a common side effect of switching to a low-carb diet, although it is generally only brief.
Learn more about how a low-carb diet may help you avoid or manage constipation.
12. Can a low-carb diet cause osteoporosis?
No. A low-carb diet is believed to induce osteoporosis by making the blood acidic and drawing minerals from the bones. However, this idea has been debunked in a number of ways.
The pH of your blood, for example, does not vary based on what you consume under typical conditions. We would perish if the pH of our blood was not carefully controlled within a very limited range.
The concept behind this hypothesis is that a high-protein diet causes the blood to become acidic, which is harmful for the bones. The reverse is true, according to studies: individuals who consume more protein have stronger bones. Increased protein consumption has been scientifically shown to be beneficial to bone health and may even help prevent bone loss in the lower spine.
Finally, studies have demonstrated that a low-carb diet has little impact on bone density in individuals who follow it for many years.
The bones are unaffected by a low-carb diet.
Learn all you need to know about bone health and low-carb diets in this comprehensive guide.
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Is a low-carb diet linked to hair loss?
Occasionally. Temporary hair thinning may be caused by a variety of factors, including: B. substantial dietary changes. This is most frequent with extreme calorie restriction (e.g., starvation diets, meal replacements), although it may also happen on a low-carb diet.
This transient hair loss typically happens 3 to 6 months following a significant change in diet or other physical stress. Hair comes back after a time when it falls out more than usual, and the hair is ultimately as thick as it was before.
It’s fair to assume that the vast majority of individuals who attempt a low-carb diet never have this problem. Furthermore, avoiding starvation diets and not following a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet at the same time is likely to reduce the risk. Make sure you consume enough fat to make you feel satisfied, as well as a reasonable quantity of protein. Find out more about low-carb diets and hair loss.
Learn to consume more fat.
Is ketoacidosis caused by a low-carbohydrate diet?
No. Ketoacidosis is often confused with ketosis.
Ketoacidosis (also known as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA) is an uncommon and severe disease that affects individuals with type 1 diabetes who aren’t taking insulin or are unwell.
DKA may occur in people with type 2 diabetes who take specific medicines (e.g., SGLT2 inhibitors), but this is uncommon. Following a ketogenic diet while taking these medicines, on the other hand, may raise the risk of DKA.
Furthermore, women who follow an extremely low carbohydrate diet may suffer ketoacidosis during nursing in rare instances.
Ketosis (also known as nutritional ketosis) is a perfectly normal and healthy condition for most individuals, and it is entirely controlled by the body.
It may be induced by a low-carb diet or by hunger for a brief period of time.
Ketoacidosis is never caused by a rigorous low-carb diet under normal conditions. This results in ketosis, a normal and healthy condition in which the body can rapidly burn fat.
Learn more about the conditions of ketosis and ketoacidosis.
15. Do you have a whole grain deficiency on a low-carb diet?
Is it necessary to consume entire grains, such as bread or pasta, in order to remain healthy? While whole grains’ fiber may help delay glucose absorption and reduce the glycemic index (which can be beneficial), the advantages of a low-carb diet are less apparent. If you don’t consume a lot of carbohydrates, the advantages of cutting down carb intake are likely to be minimal.
Furthermore, there is no credible scientific evidence that whole grains are necessary for illness prevention or longevity. This notion was not supported by a recent Cochrane review of high-quality scientific studies in the area of nutrition.
It is widely believed that some nutrients can only be obtained by eating grains. Other foods with less carbs, on the other hand, are frequently more nutritious.
Finally, there’s the possibility that the fiber in whole grains benefits our gut flora. This is still a contentious issue for which there is a paucity of scientific evidence. There are, however, a variety of fiber options that have much less carbs than whole grains.
Learn more about whole grains and their benefits to your health.
Is salt detrimental to one’s health?
A low-carb diet does not have to be higher in sodium than other diets. To minimize the likelihood of adverse effects, it is frequently advised to increase salt consumption at the start of treatment. Is salt harmful?
In reality, the scientific foundation for these general health councils is shaky at best.
See our complete guide to salt for more details.
There is also no solid evidence for salt limitation, as stated in our news story.
Is red meat harmful to your health?
Low-carb diets don’t always include more red meat than other diets. You can even eat a vegetarian low-carb diet. Many individuals, however, follow a low-carb diet and eat red meat. Here’s a rundown of what the scientific data says:
Is it safe to consume red deer meat?
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Low-carbohydrate diet side effects and how to cope with them
Early issues that are often encountered
Future issues that may arise
Low-carb diet recommendations that are easy to follow
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So, you’ve decided that you want to eat keto, huh? Whether you’re paleo, vegan, or just curious about this way of eating, you may be wondering about the various controversies surrounding low-carb and ketogenic diets. There are a lot of buzzwords and buzzfeed style headlines about low carb diets and ketogenic diets, and it can be hard to know what to believe.. Read more about low-carb diet and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the keto diet so controversial?
The keto diet is controversial because it has been shown to be effective for weight loss, but there are concerns about the long-term effects of such a strict diet.
Will 20 carbs kick me out of ketosis?
No, 20 carbs wont kick you out of ketosis.
Is low carb as good as keto?
Low carb and keto are both diets that have been around for a long time. They are both effective in weight loss, but they also have their own pros and cons.
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- why can low carb diets be harmful to your body
- is keto diet healthy
- why keto is bad