What the short term effects of the ketogenic diet are well documented, there is a lot of debate about what the long term effects on staying on a low-carbohydrate diet could be. As the ketogenic diet challenges conventional nutritional advice, it’s no surprise that this is the case.
So is it safe to stay on this diet longer term? What changes are you likely to notice? Let’s find out…
Difference in Food Tastes
Because the ketogenic diet necessitates that you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake you may notice that your food tastes may change over the longer term.
Many people turn to the keto diet initially because they feel like they are “addicted” to sugary and sweet foods. If you were ever to come off the keto diet for some reason, it’s likely that your food preferences will have changed.
You will immediately notice that many foods will taste incredibly sweet, which is helpful as it will prevent you from falling back into old eating habits. This means that keeping the weight off will become much easier because you won’t feel like eating anywhere near the amount of sugar you were consuming before. Which particularly helps those who suffer with type 2 diabetes.
Increases in Good Cholesterol, Decreases in Bad Cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). One of the fears that many nutritionists and dieticians have is that staying on this type of diet (which consumes large amounts of fat) can increase levels of both good and bad cholesterol in the body.
However, this long term study over the space of six months showed that patients who were on the diet for at least 6 months showed, increased levels of LDL and reduced levels of HDL, proving that staying on the diet long term did not increase levels of bad cholesterol.
What About Keto-Acidosis, Muscle Loss, or Nutrient Deficiency?
These are common explanations given by unqualified so-called “diet experts” as to why you shouldn’t stay on the keto diet long term.
However, as Dr. Eric Berg demonstrates in this video, keto-acidosis is highly unlikely to occur as long as you have normal levels of insulin in your body.
Secondly, the keto diet when paired with intermittent fasting actually produces the human growth hormone, the number one hormone for muscle tissue growth and repair. This is why many professional sports stars such as LeBron James have turned to the keto diet for improved performance.
Finally, whilst following a keto diet can see you eat less of certain nutrients, this can be easily remedied by increasing your intake of the right vegetables. In a worst case scenario, you can take supplements such as B vitamins to make sure you are getting enough into your body.
As you can see, despite many health professionals claiming that it is dangerous to be on a ketogenic diet for long periods of time, there is no scientific evidence to back up their claims.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence to argue the opposite. Staying on this diet long term does not pose any immediate health risks. If you have a hard time sticking to the keto diet for many months at a time, you can always cycle in and cycle out to achieve even bigger weight loss targets.