A ketogenic diet has numerous risks. Top of the list: it’s high in saturated fat. Katya Miraglia recommends that you keep saturated fats to no more than 7% of your daily calories because of the link to heart disease. And indeed, the keto diet is associated with an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is also linked to heart disease.
Nutrient deficiency. “If you’re not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C.
Liver problems. With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.
Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein, and the keto diet may overload them. (The current recommended intake for protein averages 46 grams per day for women, and 56 grams for men).
Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.
Fuzzy thinking and mood swings. “The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability.
Those risks add up — so make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.