Keto diet may harm heart and kidney health, study finds

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A recent review study has examined the potential health effects of ketogenic (keto) diets in-depth, offering valuable insights into their risks and benefits.

The comprehensive analysis suggests that for most individuals, the long-term risks associated with keto diets, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, may outweigh their potential benefits.

Additionally, the study highlights specific concerns related to pregnant women and patients with kidney disease, for whom keto diets may pose significant health risks.

Understanding the Keto Diet

A ketogenic diet is characterized by its low carbohydrate, modest protein, and high-fat composition.

This dietary approach aims to induce ketosis, a metabolic state where the body produces ketone bodies, serving as an alternative energy source, particularly for cells that cannot directly metabolize fatty acids.

Keto diets have gained popularity for various purposes, including weight loss, managing specific health conditions, and enhancing overall well-being.

Key Findings

The study’s findings shed light on several crucial aspects of keto diets:

Risk to Pregnant Women: Low-carb diets, including keto, are associated with a heightened risk of neural tube defects in babies, even when women take folic acid supplements. This makes keto diets particularly unsafe for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant.

Concern for Kidney Disease Patients: Higher-protein keto diets may accelerate kidney failure in individuals with kidney disease, raising concerns about their suitability for this patient population.

Negative Impact on Cholesterol Levels: Keto diets often lead to elevated levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) in many individuals, potentially increasing the overall risk of chronic diseases.

Questionable Long-Term Benefits: While keto diets can lead to short-term weight loss, their effectiveness is not significantly superior to other weight-loss approaches. Moreover, keto diets present potential long-term health risks.

Limited Supported Use: The study identified that the most well-supported application of keto diets is in reducing the frequency of seizures in individuals with drug-resistant epilepsy.


In summary, the comprehensive review of ketogenic diets underscores the importance of considering their potential health risks and benefits.

While these diets have gained popularity for various health reasons, including weight management and disease management, the study emphasizes that keto diets may not be safe for everyone.

Pregnant women and kidney disease patients should exercise caution, and individuals should be aware of potential risks, particularly regarding cholesterol levels and overall chronic disease risk.

As with any dietary approach, consulting with a healthcare provider is advisable to make informed decisions about its suitability for individual health goals and conditions.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about Common statin drug is linked to kidney damage and findings of How drinking coffee can affect your kidney health.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about Eating nuts linked to lower risk of chronic kidney disease, death and results showing that and these vegetables could protect against kidney damage in diabetes.

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