Ketogenic Diets Are B.S. for Weight Loss


(Karen) #61

I had to hunt up the crystalline canopy. Always interesting Bunny!


(Justin Hamilton (Hamenopi)) #62


That must mean I lost over 120 lb of water weight doing this extreme diet which eliminates all joy associated with eating real food and living life. What a fool I am. You convinced me Dr London. What was I thinking?

I guess I should go back to needing carbs tokens to ride the blood sugar roller coaster every 2-3 hours. Because that’s how to live life, after all.

I mean, this keto is so horrible for me. I have been so deprived. With all this darned free time not being stuck in the carb cycle, I have to do non joyful things like take walks in nature or socializing in non food establishments. Who even does that? I’ve become a freak of nature. I should be ashamed of myself!

If you only let me know sooner, I could have used all this extra money I saved not eating all the darned time to buy all the carbs I have been missing.

But luckily you reached me before it was too late. Too late to say shove your stinking article. We won, you just haven’t received the memo yet.

BTW, here’s your memo.


B.S.? Then how did I lose 40 lbs and keep it off?

(Heidy) #64


(Empress of the Unexpected) #65

Oh yeah, and half the time these articles don’t even get it right and call Keto a high protein diet. IDK. For me it’s not hard socially. At restaurants steaks and veggies. Bacon and tomatoe slice breakfast. At parties I always go for the cheese trays and veggies. I’d say that’s healthier than the SAD diet. These writers are actually insulting people’s intelligence. And has no one in the world gotten over the sugar laced low fat dairy thing??

(Empress of the Unexpected) #66

Yeah, hospital food. That stuff can kill you.

(Rob) #67

Nothing new to add here … but … in my brief association with keto, I’ve made a few observations:

  • A lot of people are hostile towards keto and seem to enjoy trying to debunk it/throw stones at/explain at length why it’s a bad idea
  • A lot of the same people mentioned in bullet 1 don’t have their facts remotely straight … if they bothered with the facts at all
  • Some of the folks on this site have a gift for succinctly stating how they feel about something

Loved the responses above and while 'we’re waiting to be seated for a Mothers Day dinner (judging by the line that will be a week from Tuesday) I’d like to call out a few of my favorite responses to the article:
@Shallimar Will take a bacon snack and book and enjoy both in an Epsom salt bath instead while enjoying thoughts of the author being moooned by my 26 pound lighter butt.
@Darlene_Horsley What a can of crap!
@KHAN F them and the horse they rode in on!
@cadori They can bite me. (Bonus points for this one)

Pretty well sums it up.

(Ethan Miller) #68

The keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.

(Susan) #69

I love this, and yesssss, this!!

(bulkbiker) #70

Yes… and?
Although rather than “force” you could have said leads it back to the mechanism it was designed to run on.

(Failed) #71

Sooooo, since oxygen therapy is used for COPD, it’s obviously dangerous and only intended for a crisis situation. Quick, everyone—hold your breath!!!

(Jack Bennett) #72

Well, I know this is an old post but I felt like I had to shred the article - for my own sanity!

Ketogenic Diets Are B.S. for Weight Loss
By Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN JAN 23, 2018

Celebrities like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian swear by it, it ranked within the top 10 most Googled diets in 2017, and it’s a clear Pinterest-favorite plan. It’s called the ketogenic diet, which aims to induce ketosis, a metabolic process in which we use fat for energy instead of the body’s preferred source, sugar.

Sugar is the preferred source? [CITATION NEEDED]

Are you going to tell us that the baseline bodily need for carbohydrate is 130g? Try again.

Fans of the low-calorie, high-fat diet tout having more energy, lower appetite, and pretty immediate weight loss — all while chowing down on bacon, heavy cream, and butter.

OK, that’s pretty much true.

But when I first heard that the next weight-loss “trend” was the ketogenic diet, I laughed out loud. “Absolutely not — no way! That’s IMPOSSIBLE!” I was caught saying one year ago.

I do believe she said that. Mainstream dietitians really find it hard to integrate something like this into their worldview. However, instead of doing some reading and study, they return to their old cliches.

That’s because my intro to this seemingly new plan was when I worked in a hospital, where ketogenic diets were specifically used as a medical nutrition therapy for pediatric patients with seizure disorders, for whom medication was no longer effective. In other words: It was used as an absolute last resort for families who felt otherwise hopeless in the face of a neurological disease, and under strict medical supervision.

Doctors: “Hey, there are a couple of last-resort drugs we haven’t tried yet … we’d better try those out before mentioning to the families that there’s a possible nutritional intervention. Everybody knows that nobody wants to go on a restrictive diet … even if it might eliminate neurological symptoms."

Indeed, there’s plenty of research to support ketogenic diets in the treatment of some devastating neurological conditions. But can it really help the average Joe or Joanne lose weight? Well, yes, in theory — especially ultra low-calorie versions. But is it suitable for long-term, sustainable weight loss and improved health? The jury’s still out on that.

Ultra low calorie? Sounds like a straw man’s walking our way…

Because ad libitum keto also works. Many people have personal testimonials of eating keto and not restricting calories. Ultra-low calorie anything is a miserable diet that is probably going to fail. That doesn’t happen because the diet was keto, but because calorie deprivation sucks.

How the Keto Diet Works

In regimented keto diets, only 10% of total calories per day (about a measly 20 grams!) come from carbs, 20% from protein, and a whopping 70% from fats. Since our bodies preferentially use carbs for energy, cutting them means we have to use something else to keep organs functioning. Our bodies then turn to the glucose stored in our muscles as glycogen for fuel.

OK, that’s mostly accurate. Using up the glycogen is a short term phenomenon. We can do without the editorial hyperbole though (“measly” … “whopping” … just stick to the facts).

What else happens when we break down muscle glycogen? We lose water weight! Our muscles store about 3 grams of water for every gram of glycogen, meaning we can lose quite a bit of weight right away when we tap into glycogen stores for fuel. That’s why someone who loses weight in “just one week!” from a low-carb plan is likely losing water weight, not necessarily real weight that stays off over time.

This happens in every weight loss diet. The first 10-15 pounds is always the water weight.

Everything after that is fat and recycled lean tissue (extra skin, etc). If a person loses 100+ lbs on a keto diet over a year or two, do you really think that was all water weight?

What’s more, studies that have examined the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for weight loss have a few questionable similarities. First, they use the keto diet in conjunction with an extremely low-calorie plan (under 1,000 per day!), which makes it difficult to determine what caused the actual weight loss. Second, they all question the long-term impact on your heart of eating mostly saturated fat, not to mention how hard (and boring) it is to eat mainly coconut oil and butter for months on end.

Almost nobody who seriously pursues or advocates the keto diet recommends ultra-low calorie eating. One of the most positive features is the non-restriction of calories. Ad libitum keto crushes calorie restricted low-fat high carb prudent diets. Crushes them.

Also, saturated fat is "no longer a nutrient of concern”, according to mainstream nutrition and dietetics, so we should put that old boogeyman to rest permanently.

The Keto Diet’s Undeserving Rise to Fame

So why is social media blowing up with all things #keto, all the time? Well, most of us eat too many carbs to begin with. About half of our calories should come from carbs, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That’s about 250 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. When you consider all of the grain-based foods and sneaky sources of added sugar, it’s easy eat a lot more than the recommended amount.

If it’s true that we eat too much carbohydrate (I agree with her here), why is she so critical of a … low-carbohydrate diet? I guess the idea is to cut it back, but not too much?

Because, you know, moderation is sacred to the nutritionist and the dietitian. Even if you’re 100 or 200 lbs overweight or at grave risk of diabetes-related amputations, you wouldn’t want to do anything … extreme … would you? Can’t have that. Need your hearthealthywholegrains. Say a prayer to Saint Ancel.

Contrary to what social media hashtags would have you believe, there’s not much to suggest that it will improve athletic performance. Keto also ranked dead-last (down with another joy-stealer, the Whole 30 Diet) on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Diets list. The lack of research on long-term outcomes, hard-to-follow regimen, and potential health hazards all alarmed the panel of experts.

The panel of experts were a gang of plant-based nutritionists, so it’s hard to expect them to look at the evidence fairly. They essentially selected some basic, modestly effective diets that don’t do very much and are less harmful than the SAD.

Science simply doesn’t support the notion that keto diets keep weight off in the long run, unlike the evidence-backed Mediterranean-style plans. Ketogenic eating may actually increase your risk for kidney and liver problems, plus osteoporosis.

The science is catching up. Read the Virta paper about the 2 year (so far) clinical trial. The so-called Mediterranean diet was a marketing plan to sell olive oil, and insofar as it succeeded in encouraging people to eat more fat. it has actually helped.

Kidney and liver problems plus osteoporosis? Where are you getting your information? [CITATION NEEDED]

Why the Keto Diet Will Probably Backfire on You

Since carb-filled foods contain the highest amount of water and dietary fiber, it’s crucial to consider both the immediate side effects (constipation) and future ones (increased risk of GI cancers and decreased immune function) of cutting them out.

“increased risk of GI cancers and decreased immune function” - again with these menacing scare tactics. [CITATION NEEDED] Show us the science!

Besides constipation, crabbiness, and making it difficult for others to make plans with you, keto may lead to other health concerns too. Since research has yet to follow participants for more than a year, it’s difficult to say with certainty that other problems (like an increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol) won’t arise as well.

See the Virta study. And a few hundred thousand or few million “anecdotes”.

But the real reason why keto plans fail most of us is that they’re not sustainable for the long term. Holidays, vacations, work functions … there’s likely at least one scenario in which you’ll find yourself eating higher-carb foods. And the same reasons why we see immediate weight loss on carb-restricted diets is the same reason why we see immediate weight gain after adding a seemingly harmless sandwich back into the mix: The water weight comes back instantly with glycogen storage.

“there’s likely at least one scenario in which you’ll find yourself eating higher-carb foods” - or fasting, and simply not eating those foods.

Which is much easier to do when we are burning fat rather than carbohydrate.

Last I checked, we are free people and don’t have to eat something just because it’s there. Frankly, this woman’s pessimistic certainty is sounding more like the fear and closed-mindedness of a cult member than it is like any kind of rational professional opinion.

The point of keto is that it’s a permanent lifestyle change. It’s not a temporary diet. We realize that we aren’t going to add a “seemingly harmless sandwich” back into the mix. That’s finished for us. We’ve made our peace with it, and we suggest you open your mind about that.

The Bottom Line

Any diet that’s as extreme as keto — to the point where it’s often implemented under the supervision of an entire medical team — won’t translate into everyday life. And when it backfires (as it always does), the shame and feelings of inadequacy hit us even harder when we’ve put so much darn work into it.

Ah the old “it’s extreme … you can’t stick to it” argument. But what if people do stick to it? There are more and more people sticking to it, for months and years, keeping the weight off.

It’s for that last reason alone that I don’t recommend the keto diet. It can be so downright discouraging when we “fall off the wagon” that it seems completely pointless to eat healthier at all.

It’s true that cycling on and off the diet is a bad idea. It’s unwise to do it without a commitment of at least a couple of months to adjust to fat burning and go through keto-adaptation. But there exist many educated, supportive communities that help people stick to it. (Like … this one!)

Keto diets rely on an extreme technique to (temporarily) move the scale down a few pounds, and basically eliminates all joy associated with eating real food and living life. Since restriction for life is downright impossible: Cut back on ultra-processed, high-carb foods like sugary beverages and tons of refined grains, and fill up on more nutritious carb choices, like veggies, fruit, legumes, low-fat dairy, and 100% whole grains to maximize long-term weight loss, health, and happiness.

There’s the “E” word. And more hyperbole.

Ah yes, we can’t have “joy associated with eating real food and living life” without our precious fruit, legumes, and hearthealthywholegrains.

I think people whose lives and well being are threatened by extreme obesity or even amputation of diabetic limbs are the better judge of what’s “downright impossible”.

“Cut back on ultra-processed, high-carb foods like sugary beverages and tons of refined grains” - OK, here’s some advice that is actually good. (Cut back … to zero.)

“fill up on more nutritious carb choices, like veggies, fruit, legumes, low-fat dairy, and 100% whole grains”

Thank goodness … the robot’s programming has returned to normal. Repeat after me: fruitsandvegetables, hearthealthywholegrains, fruitsandvegetables, hearthealthywholegrains …

But seriously, most people don’t associated low-fat dairy or whole-wheat bread with “all joy associated with eating real food and living life”. Not at all.

Keep your low fat yogurt. We’ll be over here eating ribeye, shrimp, bacon and butter. Watch us as we suffer through our “extreme” diet.

By Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN JAN 23, 2018

(John) #73

Really - you don’t say. 115 pounds is “a few,” temporarily is 15 months, and I have no joy from living my life? Because unprocessed meat, poultry, fish, salads, fresh vegetables, nuts, berries, yogurt, cheese - none of these are “real food”?

Sucks that it isn’t work for me, then, eh?

(Susan) #74

Hehehehe =)).

(Robert) #75

I always keep a sceptical eye out for those who use thought experiments instead of real experiments… I guess scientist and doctors fall into two categories; those who merely try to rationalise an argument and those who have actual first hand experience - those two are worlds apart in my view!