Popular Keto Diet and Potential Health Risks


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Paige Smith, Editor

Diets and diabetes. What do they have in common? One word: keto. More specifically, the keto diet and ketoacidosis. If not properly controlled, both can kill. With the modern era of social media, it’s easy to present something as better or worse than it is. The keto diet is often presented by influencers as easy, beneficial, and fun. However, diabetics and keto users alike would strongly disagree. 

“I have been on and off it since I was like 13. My most recent attempt I went for 6 weeks and lost one freaking pound,” says senior Logan Wareham. “The standards are too unrealistic and almost impossible to stay on. Those [on] social media who claim they eat sleep and repeat keto are lying. I know they are. I was basically starving myself and saw no progress.”

The diet consists of near starving your body of food. “The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates,” wrote journalist Craig Clarke. However, if not properly maintained, ketones in your body will start eating away at more than fat, i.e. muscle, tissue, and in worst-case scenarios organs. This is what is described as ketoacidosis. These ketones are chemicals that are produced when a body doesn’t have enough insulin, they are created to convert sugar (glucose) into energy. 

Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency and can lead to death if not treated in time. When sharing her 13-year old diabetic’s experience with ketoacidosis, Aubrey Critchfield said, “His blood glucose was in the high range for about a day and his body started making the ketones. Once that happens it goes downhill really quick. Most times teenagers will be hospitalized due to the extreme danger of this condition.” 

Both Critchfield and Wareham warn against going on the keto diet. It can very quickly lead to dangerous and scary situations. Although dieting can be good, with proper modulations, the keto diet takes it to the extreme. But, because social media has made it so popular people haven’t been given the proper precautions. Thus, more and more people develop unhealthy and damaging food habits from a simple diet. 

Fellow Type 1 Diabetic, Jessie Marchant said, “There is such a pressure in today’s society to look skinny and really ‘healthy’, but having more ketones in your body will always do more harm than good.”

Wareham added, “Mostly you are starving all day. I think that’s why people get into health problems. They become anorexic and it puts the body in serious harm. I’ve tried it many times and my mood is always crap.”

The keto diet can lead to terrible bodily harm, and yet people still use it. It often makes people miserable, as being hangry 24/7 is never fun. Meanwhile, diabetics have to be extremely cautious about what they eat to avoid going into ketoacidosis. While jokes can be made about it, for example, Studio C made a very comedic and relatable sketch about it on YouTube, it is still a serious problem in today’s society.

Most people diet to lose unwanted weight. But, dieting alone is not enough and often damaging. Healthy alternatives are regular exercise, watching what you eat, and drinking lots of water. The keto diet is far too unsafe for healthy weight loss and can cause irreversible damage to the body. It needs to stop being presented as something fun and effective when it’s not.