6 Science-Backed Pros And Cons Of The Ketogenic Diet (Not Weight Loss)

6 Science-Backed Pros And Cons Of The Ketogenic Diet
Written by Alex Reed


Have you ever wondered, from where here is your energy coming from? For the average person, the answer is carbohydrates. It is estimated that the average person gets around 60% of their daily calories from carbohydrates like bread, pasta, chips and so on. Although these foods can be fast energy sources, they often play a part in different health conditions like leaky gut, diabetes, and obesity.

That is one of the reasons behind the rise of popularity of low-carb eating styles, especially the keto diet. Although the buzz around the ketogenic diet is getting bigger and bigger, the reality is that this eating philosophy isn't anything new. The ketogenic diet was developed during the 1920s for epilepsy treatment. Research has shown many positive effects on human body, in addition to helping with epilepsy.

But how did this eating style go from epilepsy treatment to weight-loss star? Well, one of the reasons is definitely because celebrities discovered its benefits and thanks to them the popularity of the ketogenic diet has grown tremendously. Examples of celebrities who have enjoyed the ketogenic lifestyle are Kim Kardashian, Halle Berry, and Melissa McCarthy.

The pros

Probably the main reason, why many of its followers praise it is fast weight loss. Multiple studies have shown effective results in weight loss with the keto diet, especially for anyone with over 30 pounds of weight to lose. But, as this article is not focusing on weight loss, then let’s continue on other effects. Keto diet comes with a variety of benefits for your body and mind. Some are more related to mental conditions and others to metabolic health. Here are some ideas and benefits you can get out of the diet.

6 Science-Backed Pros And Cons Of The Ketogenic Diet

Mental performance

The second big reason, after weight loss, why many people love the keto diet, is its ability to improve brain function, cognitive skills and bring clarity of thought. The main problem with carbohydrates is that they cause spikes in our blood sugar levels which can make you moody and emotional. Carbohydrates as an energy source aren't consistent. It takes way more resources for your brain to stay focused for long periods of time when you are burning carbs for energy. There are many scientific studies which confirm the positive effect of being in ketosis to your cognition abilities.  

Appetite suppression

Also, a very vital reason, why keto lifestyle helps you to manage weight is its appetite suppression effect. This is happening, because fat is way more stable and fulfilling energy source than carbs every can be. Studies have shown that when people cut out carbs and replace it with protein and fats, they tend to eat much fewer calories even without trying. Unlike many other diets, during ketosis, when you are consuming fat as a primary source of energy, higher levels of a hormone called leptin is released. Leptin is an amazing hormone that helps to regulate your energy balance by restraining the hunger feeling.

Cancer treatment

Cancer is, without doubt, one of the leading causes of death around the world. Certain studies suggest that ketogenic diets may "starve" the cancer cells. The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it's believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. So, a diet, that eliminates excess sugar and other processed carbs from your menu, can be effective in reducing or fighting cancer.

The cons

Although ketogenic diet is awesome, and it has many perks in addition to weight loss, this diet is definitely not for everyone! Most of the people who can follow this diet usually will lose weight, but they rarely can keep it off in the long run. Like any big change in lifestyle and in eating style, it is hard to adjust and maintain if you are not putting in 100%. The ketogenic diet is not only rainbows and sunshine, there are some potential side-effects and things you need to consider.


The ketogenic eating style is a highly effective way to manage weight and improve overall health (cognitive abilities, illness treatment, etc.), as long as you can stick to it. Like with any other diet, all of them work if you can fit them into your life and consistently follow them. First, it's important to understand, that there are no cheat-days in the ketogenic diet. You cannot hit pause, binge burgers and Oreo's, and continue with keto like nothing happened. You either are in ketosis or not, otherwise, you are just forcing a low-carb diet on yourself, which probably are not providing results you are looking for. There are definitely many ways getting into ketosis again if you fall off the wagon, but the key point here is that you should be consistent if you want to rock the keto diet.

Keto flu

Like with many other big eating changes, there are some potential side-effects with keto. Going keto cold turkey is definitely not easy for newcomers. Most people will experience some side effects called the keto flu. Keto flu can include headaches, general weakness during the adaption phase, and some moodiness. You can shorten the period of keto-flu with exogenous ketones and bone-broth, but this is still part of the process of entering ketosis. These side effects usually last around 3 to 7 days, after what you will be as good as new. This is just part of the process of entering ketosis.

Digestive issues

An important factor, what keto diet truly lacks is the fiber intake. Because you will cut out all the grains and carbs (often main fiber sources), your menu will lack fiber which can, in turn, express in constipation or digestion problems. This is something to take into account and prepare for. The fix is actually very simple, just make sure that you are eating enough fiber-rich foods (e.g. avocado) and take supplemental fiber if needed.


Alex Reed is an owner of Bodyketosis.com and a health enthusiast, whose mission is to help you to take charge of your weight and health using the ketogenic lifestyle.

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