Among the arguments against diets utilizing a low carbohydrate method of eating, one of the most common is that it is bad for your heart. Let’s take a look at this argument in depth.
The first thing to know is that the medical community as a whole cannot say whether low carb diets are intrinsically good or bad for heart health. Now, of course, there are doctors who feel one way or the other, but studies done have shown both positive and negative effects from such diet, but none so negative that they outweigh the positives.
The one major study suggesting that low carb diets have negative effects on your heart are from a group of Chinese researchers who presented a study at the American College of Cardiology meeting in 2019. However, even the head of the study, Zhuang, said the results cannot actually prove cause and effect between low carb diets and heart issues.
When considering both heart health and the ketogenic diet, here are things you should consider before coming to any conclusions. The influx of processed foods on the market today are known to be harmful towards heart health as well as a myriad of other health problems from daily consumption including Non alcoholic fatty liver disease, poor gut health, and more. The keto diet works to eliminate many of these foods in place of more nutrient dense options.
Speaking of nutrient dense foods, there absolutely is a wrong way to do the keto diet. This would be swapping carbohydrates with bad fats. Saturated fats and certain oils such such as palm oil or vegetable oil can negatively affect your health. You want to opt for the types of fats found in avocados, natural peanut butter, nuts, and a mixture of fish and meat. (Unless you are vegetarian/vegan, in which case you’ll need more plant protein + healthy fats.)
After considering the elimination of unhealthy, processed foods - including refined sugar- as well as the incorporation of healthy fats, the last two things to consider are fat as a fuel source and individual experience. Fat as fuel is self explanatory- the body uses fat as a natural source of fuel just like carbs. Our bodies are just less conditioned to use fat given the kinds of food we have access to nowadays and the consistency of eating.
Finally, have you tried it? Unfortunately, people often make claims with little to no knowledge or experience on the subject matter. The ketogenic diet may not be for you, but how will you know if you don’t try? Personally, I believe the keto diet is a great way to find out what foods work for you so you can come to your own conclusions upon the healthiest, smartest options. I have a friend who carb cycles, some days she’s in solid ketosis, other days she is consuming more healthy carbs. This is what makes her feel and perform her absolute best and it started with her trying the ketogenic diet.
You deserve to be getting the most out of your food, so come to your own conclusions. But don’t knock it until you try it! (And stay away from internet comment section experts ;)