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Opinion: Why We Should Say ‘Oh No’ to Keto

Keto has got to “ke-go.” The keto diet, a diet once used to treat demons out of what we now know as epileptic kids, has made its way onto the plates of thousands of adults. This diet has been both worshipped and ridiculed for its quick solution to weight loss, but it has many professionals and critics alike questioning how safe the diet actually is.

What is the Keto Diet?

‘Keto’ is short for ketogenic. It is an extremely low-carb diet that forces the body to use fats to burn energy instead of carbohydrates. It sends the body into ketosis, which is a system our body resorts to when there are not enough carbohydrates in one’s diet. The body releases ketones when the body cannot break down nutrients in food. Forcing your body into doing something it wouldn’t otherwise do is not okay.

The diet asks users to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake, but that is not necessarily realistic. When we think of carbs, our brain switches to delicious mental images of pasta, rice and bread; however, carbohydrates are not that cut-and-dried.

Even foods that have been deemed ‘good for you’ by society like kale and spinach have carbohydrate. According to livescience.com, carbs are the “sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, and vegetables.” They make up our basic food groups, so why should we cut them out almost completely?

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the Ketogenic Diet

Is it Safe?

I’m no food scientist, but I am still saying the keto diet is not safe for people not being advised by medical professionals. Dr. Kristina von Castel-Dunwoody, a research scientist and the undergraduate coordinator at the University of Florida’s Food Science Department, explained that people who willingly go on the diet should be cautious with it and perhaps seek other weight-loss alternatives. 

Should I do it?

Ask a medical professional before starting a new fad diet. Epileptic children who do go on the keto diet are always monitored by professionals, and an unregulated diet could lead to health issues. 

“It is not typically sustainable or necessary,” said Dr. von Castel-Dunwoody. “It can be dangerous and unnecessary if you are not aware of your medical conditions. People like it because it leads to quick weight loss, but it is not sustainable. If you want to lose weight, I recommend you do whatever works for you, since everybody is different. If you want to change the way you weigh for the rest of your life, you change the way you eat for the rest of your life.”

If you are interested in doing a low-carb diet, but not the keto diet, there are other options. Before deciding anything, though, check up on your health by seeing your doctor. Some low-carb diets are helpful, so if you want a reduction in your carb intake from time to time, Karina Collins, a writer for Her Campus at Emory University, gives some great alternatives for the readers to digest in her article linked here.

Christina Pugliese is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications and history with a minor in women's studies at the University of Florida. She loves traveling and learning, so it didn't surprise anyone that she wanted to be an investigative reporter. She has told stories from many different cities, and she wants to tell more! This planet has so many unique experiences to offer, and she needs to experience them all. When she is not traveling, you can find her volunteering, shopping, writing, discussing politics, or planning her next trip.
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