The Keto diet is popular for weight loss, but it may have some added benefits for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases.
By Dawn Flemming
The Keto diet has gained a lot of popularity recently. If you’ve heard of this new trend, it’s a way for people to lose weight. So what is it anyways? WebMD defines it as follows:
“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. You cut back most on the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread. When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis.
The Keto diet, although newly popular, is not “new” in the historical sense. It was developed in the 1920s as a means for treating epilepsy. However, in addition to its benefits on weight loss, it has been purported to help with wide range of health issues, including autoimmune diseases.
Amy Myers summarizes the benefits of the Keto diet the following way:
The ability of the keto diet to reduce inflammation and modulate immune response could make it an effective tool for reversing the symptoms of autoimmunity and moving you back down the autoimmune spectrum. Ketogenic diets also increase glutathione levels, your body’s most powerful detoxifier.15 People with autoimmunity are notoriously low in glutathione, and I’ve found in both my patients and myself that supplementing with glutathione is extremely beneficial for autoimmunity.
Remember that this is not the be all and end all of health. Some people who have autoimmune diseases may experience adverse effects when they go on the Keto diet. Healthline, for example, has outlined a few dangers of the Keto diet.
The point it tries to make is that the Keto diet may be beneficial in the short term, but it is wrought with dangers if it is kept long term. Think about it, how many fruits can you have on a Keto diet? Not much because they are loaded with carbs but we know that fruits are essential for autoimmune health.
So be careful with any diet that is recommended. Everyone’s body reacts differently and you are welcome to try it but before you do, make sure to talk to your doctor first.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.