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Keto Is Ranked the Worst Diet by Health Experts

Keto Is Ranked the Worst Diet by Health Experts

The keto diet is growing in popularity this year, but experts think this fad should bite the dust. According to US News & World Report, keto ranked last on a list of 39 evaluated diets, tied only with the wildly unpopular Dukan diet.

Ranked second to last was the resolutioner’s favorite, the Whole30. Ranked last in 2017, the Whole30 is a 30-day “reset” that claims, according to its website, to “end unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract and balance your immune system.” However, the magazine’s panel of health experts condemned these claims, calling it bluntly “the worst of the worst for healthy eating.”

“No independent research. Nonsensical claims. Extreme. Restrictive,” they declared of the popular program.

The experts thought even less of the keto diet, and here’s what they assert makes it so bad. Keto dieters attempt to warp their food intake to induce ketosis, a physical state in which the body is flooded with ketones after being deprived of carbohydrates. These ketones are produced after breaking down sources of fat — both ingested fats from food and the body’s natural fat storage. Advocates of the keto diet claim it turns the body into a “fat burning machine” and is the key to lasting weight loss. There have been no definitive long-term studies to confirm this, however.

Experts on US News & World Report’s panel assert that the diet is difficult to follow and could have a questionable impact on long-term health. They were especially concerned with the extremely high fat content of the diet, with 70 percent of caloric intake coming from fats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines suggest that just 30 percent of calories should come from fats, while a far more generous 45 to 65 percent should come from carbohydrates.

The keto diet has also not been cleared for those experiencing kidney or liver conditions, as it could potentially affect or worsen their symptoms. The experts asserted that the ends did not justify the means — especially when the ends themselves are in question. There is no clear evidence that the keto diet provides any long-term health benefit, especially in terms of preventing heart disease and diabetes.

While there were diets that ranked at the top of the experts’ list, none of them received a full five-star rating. This was due to the “weight loss” category of evaluation. The top-ranked diets for things like healthy eating promotion and disease prevention ranked lower for weight loss. The whole concept of evaluating a diet for its ability to deliver long-term weight loss is flawed — it doesn’t account for the research that suggests long-term weight loss is highly unlikely, regardless of your diet of choice. For this reason, a weight-neutral approach to health is gaining popularity in medical communities.

Even the No. 1 diet on the experts’ list, the government-endorsed DASH diet, failed to deliver on the questionable weight loss goal. “More than a few experts noted that they’d like to see long-term weight loss studies examining DASH,” the report relayed. Those on the panel noted that it failed to provide lasting weight loss in a single long-term study.

If you’re looking to improve your overall health with food, a diet is probably not be the answer. Instead, you might want to consider one of these small diet changes that could make a big difference.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.


Why the Keto Diet for Weight Loss Is Basically the Worst

You'll likely drop a few pounds at first, but this RD still thinks you should stay far away from keto.

When I first learned about the ketogenic diet over 10 years ago—in a clinical setting, as a way to help kids with epileptic seizures—I would have never (like, never ever) guessed it would become one of the top weight-loss diets. But here we are, in 2020, and the keto craze rages on.

In case you are unaware, the ketogenic diet is an ultra high-fat, low-carb style of eating. No foods are off limits, but you&aposre supposed to keep your carbs under 5 percent of your total calories for the day or around 20 grams depending on your energy needs. For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbs. Really, any foods that have more than a few grams of carbohydrate are difficult to fit in—it doesn&apost take much to get to 20 grams. That means bacon and cheese are in, apples and bread are out. (Learn more about all the foods you can and cannot eat on a ketogenic diet.) The idea is that your body enters ketosis, where it&aposs burning fat (and breaking down your fat into ketone bodies) instead of carbohydrates. Many people who eat a low-carb diet aren&apost able to maintain ketosis, or stay there for very long, because it&aposs hard to go that low in carbohydrates.

It was recently voted the second worst overall diet by U.S. News & World Report, largely because there isn&apost any science to back it up and it&aposs not sustainable to follow. Although, it was also ranked as the number two diet for quick weight loss because people do lose weight on keto. When you cut out entire food groups and nutrients, you typically fall into a calorie deficit and your body will likely drop pounds (a mix of water weight and your fat stores shrinking).

This quick weight loss is what makes keto so popular. And while it may be tricky to get the hang of things at first, the rules are fairly straightforward. Answering one question tells you whether or not you can eat something, "Does this food have carbs?" It&aposs easy enough and you&aposll lose weight—so why am I on the anti-keto bandwagon?

For one, I&aposm hesitant to recommend any plan that cuts out entire food groups. When you&aposre not eating grains, and seriously limiting your intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy items to keep carbs low, it&aposs very easy to miss out on key nutrients. Fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods. It&aposs one reason why the keto flu is so common (learn more about other not-so-sexy side effects of the keto diet). Your electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) tend to drop as your body gets used to ketosis and you&aposve cut out of a lot of the foods that deliver those minerals. While you can find electrolytes in certain low-carb foods (potassium is in salmon, avocado and spinach), you need to put some thought into it. Plus, have you ever had the flu? It stinks. Why would you want to follow an eating plan that may give you those same feelings?

And while you may think eating avocado omelets and cheeseburgers (hold the bun, ketchup and fries) is awesome, at some point you&aposll probably start to miss foods like cookies, bread, pasta, pineapple and ice cream. Imagine, no more birthday cake for the rest of your life! Not being able to go out to dinner without figuring out a low-carb option first (and not being able to have onions with your fajitas). Saying no to fruit salad because it "doesn&apost fit in your diet." It&aposs hard to sustain keto for a long time and it&aposs hard to do it without feeling deprived. As soon as you say no to certain foods, your body wants them more. Avoiding carbs means bagels, pizza and brownies are going to look extra appealing and then when you do go back, you&aposre more likely to binge on those foods. Like with any diet, the weight you lost will likely come back.

The only thing I like about keto (besides that it may therapeutically help people with serious medical conditions) is that it may help people be less afraid of fat. There are plenty of healthy high-fat foods𠅊vocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, olives—that people are still afraid of, thanks to the low-fat craze of decades past. Go ahead, eat the fat! Just also eat the carbs (and protein). Balance, people.

Your body wants to run on carbs. Your brain, in particular, runs on glucose. When you don&apost have any carbs to use, your body has to enter ketosis, in order to fuel your brain (which can survive on ketone bodies). I like to think of ketosis more as a survival mechanism than a way to lose weight.

Welcome to The Beet. A weekly column where nutrition editor and registered dietitian Lisa Valente tackles buzzy nutrition topics and tells you what you need to know, with science and a little bit of sass.