Keto Concerns: Weight loss craze comes with caution for some

Health Watch

While helpful for some, Keto can be dangerous for others

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The booklets cry out at you in the grocery store checkout line, displays greet you in the drug store, and ads bombard you on social media, all espousing the virtues of the Keto Diet.

The marketing storm has kept Kacie Cook, a registered dietitian with UR Medicines Center for Community Health & Prevention, busy answering questions like, “What is Keto?”

“Very high fat, low to moderate protein and very low carbohydrate and when I say low that’s 30 to 50 grams of carbs a day,” Cook says.

Cook says that has some thinking meat and cheese. First, it’s not — think more avocados and oils.

Second, Cook says people may have problems like a form of genetic high cholesterol that Keto could make worse.

“So if this diet was done in a way that was not the intention of the diet and they were out there eating food with high saturated fat, eating hamburgers with bacon and using lots of oils and different things like that we may see their triglycerides go to a level that could put them at risk of developing pancreatitis,” Cook said.

Cardiologist Dr. Gaurav Sharma at Rochester Regional Health says Keto can be used to treat certain conditions like epilepsy but cautions against using it for general weight loss.

“I think the problem, the potential problem with the Ketogenic Diet is that there’s no long-term studies to show that it is helpful to your health on a long-term basis,” Dr. Sharma said.

Registered Dietitian Rhianon Condello, also at Rochester Regional Health, agrees with the others saying fad diets might be helpful in the short term with medical supervision, but adds this is not a forever fix.

“The biggest thing with these, and it almost helps us, is most of them aren’t sustainable and that’s why they’re diets,” Condello said. “They’re not long-term lifestyle changes, which is what we preach.”

To learn more about Keto and eating advice that can last a lifetime, go to eatright.org.

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