What is the evidence for the Keto diet? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
The Keto diet is incredibly popular. Passionate followers say they feel significantly better on the Keto diet, lose weight and even have better lab values. I have a few friends ( and readers of the Blooming Wellness blog) who tell me that their triglyceride levels lowered and their sugar is better controlled. And, they lost weight. Keto recipes and tips are all over the internet, as it’s a favorite diet of many wellness proponents. Yet others claim there is more hype than health benefits to the Keto diet, and that it doesn’t really live up to its many claims. Who’s right? What does the evidence say? Are there long-term health concerns we should be highlighting more? How does it compare long-term to other well-studied diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet? ( That’s a diet that has been studied in many randomized controlled trials.)
Before anyone writes and asks me, I don’t follow the Keto diet. I mostly eat plant-based, however I do make some exceptions. The only diet I follow is Mindful Eating, which isn’t a diet at all. A lot of it is knowing when I’m actually hungry, eating when I’m hungry and not eating when I’m not hungry, rather than following an issued schedule for “feeding” times. That in itself has led to some helpful, yet bizarre, revelations. Mindful eating is the only thing that works for me, and I still plan on writing a whole piece on how and why it works for me. I suppose I don’t eat much meat, because I don’t like to eat a lot of animal meat, and I also try to follow an ethical eating plan, because I’m lucky enough to have that choice. I don’t have to eat just anything to survive. I eat organic, try to eat local, and I stay far, far away from anything that comes out of a factory farm. Those things are the epitome of Hell on Earth. I also don’t eat dairy much at all, unless it’s from a farm I trust and know is ethical- like the Hillside Dairy Farm in Trucksville, PA. I grew up adjacent to it ( quite literally) and they treat their cows like family. ( Thank God they did, because I probably would have broken in and freed all the cows if they didn’t.) Folks experiencing with new kinds of proteins, such as insects, have tried to get me excited about eating those, but I’m not there yet. I realize that protein sourced from insects is a logical approach to global food shortages, but I’d…you know, rather stick to my plants. One thing I know about diets is that each person has to figure out what works for him and her. If you have ten people in a room, I promise that they all have different diet patterns. Even in my own family, my mom follows a combination of the American Heart Association Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, my dad couldn’t eat fish if you paid him, my one sister doesn’t eat any red meat, and my other sister is a passionate, die-hard Vegan, who I believe is launching her own line of Vegan baked goods ( They are amazing.) We are all unique with different hang-ups, preferences, lifestyles and activity levels. Diets are easy in the short-term, right? We all can follow any diet for the short-term, but the trick is finding a diet that is healthy and one that we can maintain for the long-term. Okay, back to the evidence for the Keto diet, because my podcast guest is a really smart guy who dove into the evidence base.
On my Causes or Cures podcast, Dr. Shivam Joshi will discuss the evidence for the Keto Diet, how it compares to other diets that have been studied, health risks and what impact it has on diabetes, obesity and lab values long-term. He also talks about good carbs vs bad carbs and areas of future research that we should pay attention to. Dr. Joshi is a board-certified physician who earned his medical degree at the University of Miami and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He completed his nephrology (kidney) fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and currently works as a clinician and clinical assistant professor at Bellevue Hospital in New York University. He has published over a dozen papers on various topics related to diet and health, including plant-based diets and the management of kidney disease, the Keto diet and its effect on obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and the effect of unrefined carbohydrates on Type 2 Diabetes. He is currently writing a book on how a carnivorous diet impacts health.
Click to listen to Causes or Cures on Apple: Evidence for the Keto Diet
Click to listen to Causes or Cures on Spotify: Evidence for the Keto Diet
I hope you subscribe to the podcast and please, message me and tell me what sort of topics you want to hear about.
Thanks everyone- Erin 🙂