Keto, Proceed With Caution

Last summer, a family member inquired about my thoughts of Keto. My response was that while I believe it to be a very effective method of losing weight quickly, through research, I felt it was not a method of weight loss and management for the purpose of longevity. While I have no misgivings about one trying Keto over the short term in order to drop weight, I feel it is more restrictive than necessary for healthy weight loss and management. Being restrictive in what you eat means that you absolutely must ensure that you still consume all the nutrients your body requires for good health. Being restrictive means you had better be extra vigilant of your macronutrients, vitamins and mineral intake.

Additionally, with the restrictive nature of Keto, you need to ensure that you are actually consuming all of your caloric needs for the day as fat and proteins are very satiating to the appetite. It is entirely possible that you may find yourself not hungry enough at the end of the day to have eaten all of your calories which your basal metabolic rate requires of you. By the nature of being on an extreme diet, and not feeling a need to count calories as most assume this is not necessary, you could easily find yourself eating at too much of a caloric deficit for healthy weight loss. You can easlily find your caloric needs on our Calorie Counter Pro. Simply enter your basic information and your weight loss, weight management, or even weight gain goals and your daily caloric needs will be calculated for you.

I’m not going to tell you to not use Keto, hopefully you are old enough, and mature enough to make your own decisions regarding your personal dietary habits. But after learning that my family member, who just last year thought she was going to use Keto for the rest of her life began losing her hair, and has now resumed normal eating, I decided to revisit this topic. Of course there are other reasons that could have come into play for her hair loss, I still thought this would be a good time to address some of the pitfalls that can come from this popular diet. When you begin getting caught up in the hype, it is a good time to regroup and do your due dilligence with research before jumping into the deep end of the nutrition pool. I have previously written about Keto and ketosis but will give another take on it in this piece.

Keto is a diet that has been getting talked about by all types of people from dieticians to body builders and any number of folks in between. Keto is a low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet which places the body in a metabolic state called ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, your liver produces ketones, which replace glucose as your body’s main source of energy. Remember, most peoples diets are much higher in carbohydrates, followed by a lesser amount of fats and protein. Keto usually limits you to no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day in order to keep you in ketosis. On keto, your nutritional emphasis is going to be first on fats, followed by protein and then a small amount of carbohydrates from green vegetables.

If, you are mindful of eating enough variety of foods to take care of all of your nutritional needs, you can safely use Keto. However, if you do not take care of your nutritional needs, you are going to likely have problems. Even some who are carfeul with Keto can experience flu like symptoms and a loss of energy for a few weeks in the beginning. Other side effects can include cramps, constipation, heart palpitations, reduced physical performance and hair loss.

I truly recommend you can skip all of this Keto mess and give David’s Way a try. My way is not going to give you these problems, ever. And you are going to lose weight in a healthy manner which means you will lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. You can read up about David’s Way on our home page.

If you look at the Keto Food Pyramid above, you can see that depsite the restrictions, there are still a pretty good variety of foods. The key to making Keto work for you is that you actually consume all of the foods in the pyramid. Foods that you will enjoy are natural fats such as butter and olive oil. Fish and seaood, meat, eggs, cheese and green vegetables will be on your menu as well as those that grow above ground such as cauliflower, cabbage, and cucumbers to make a few.

Now, take a look below the pyramid at all of the foods that you cannot eat while on Keto: bread, pasta, sugar, milk, corn, beans and rice. All foods that are high in carbohydrates. On Keto, your carbs are limited to not exceed 50 grams per day. This means your liver is going to ramp up it’s production of ketones. Bear in mind that if your body produces too many ketones, there is a remote possiblity that you can go into a condition called ketoacidosis which is dangerous, life threatening condition. Non-diabetic ketoacidosis is a rare condition, where all cases have been women who were breast feeding. The reason for this is not fully understood, but lactating women have higher glucose requirements. (1)

Hair loss is a less common side effect of Keto.

You can expect changes in your body and hair when adopting any new extreme diet. As your hormones adjust and your metabolism shifts to burning fat, you might expect to begin shedding some hair. When you reduce your calories a significant amount, your body your body reduces the number of calories used in reproduction of cells and hair growth.

Not everyone will lose hair on Keto!

Hair loss is going to depend on your lifestyle and how your body adapts to the new diet. Some hair loss can be remedied with a good daily multi-vitamin. You can also minimize hair loss by not restricting your calories too much and by ensuring you get plenty of good sleep each night.

Top 9 reasons for Keto hair loss:

  1. Quick weight loss. Extreme weight loss can contribute to hair loss, as the body lacks calories due to changes in food intake which results in a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Yo yo dieting over many years can take a toll on your metabolism and your hair.
  2. Biotin deficiency. Hair loss and dermatitis are common signs of biotin deficiency. Biotin is a water soluble vitamin essential for hair growth, and helps the hair follicles absorb other vitamins, especially vitamin b which is essential for hair growth.
  3. Alopecia areata. Biotin deficiency can result in alopecia which is a rare cause of hair loss. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease actually linked to food allergies. It can happen at any time and result in total hair loss.
  4. Hypothyroidism. Several studies report Keto may cause thyroid malfunction. Sympoms include hair loss, dry hair, loss of eye brows, abnormal thyroid glands and hormones.
  5. Lack of protein. Protein deficiency mainly leaves its impact on the skin, hair and nails which are largely made of protein. Lack of protein in your diet can easily cause broken hair that is hard to grow. You need a variety of proteins in your diet for assimilation of amino acids to produce keratin.
  6. Iron deficiency can result in hair loss.
  7. Stress can result in poor hair condition. If you stress over losing your hair, this stress can actually make it worse. Stress hormones can also block communication with the hair follicle, which results in melanin absorption and thus, gray hair.
  8. Gut health. While adopting the Keto lifestyle it is important to pay attention to gut health. Leaky gut syndrome can cause major health problems. Ensure your nutrition intake and current lifestyle are contributing to good gut health.
  9. Not consuming enough calories. Lack of calories via quality fats can result in diverse hair issues. A deficiency of fat soluble nutrients can also cause the hair to split as well as leading to dry scalp.

Many people adopt Keto as a short term weight loss plan and as a lifestyle. Many people have adopted Keto and never have a single issue as they are ensuring their caloric intake as well as all their macro and micro-nutrient intakes are adequate for their body’s needs. While I whole heartedly believe my methodology is far superior to Keto as a lifestyle, I will leave you with the advice to proceed with Keto armed with full knowledge and caution. If you can afford to, I would advise that you visit your doctor for check ups and blood labs every 6 months in order to catch any potential issues before they can have a drastic effect on your health and well being. I actually would encourage everyone, no matter their dietary habits, to get at a minimum annual check ups. Check ups and proper blood labs will tell you how your body is doing. When you know what readings are off, you can then make it a point of personal responsibility to turn them around.

Life is full of choices my friends.

Choose wisely.


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