Dangers of Low Carb Diets: None!


The supposed "dangers of low carb diets" and especially those associated with ketogenic diets are propagated by dietitians and physicians who haven't familarized themselves with the details of how a low carb, ketogenic diet actually works. There are side effects, but most of the articles that I read on the supposed dangers are full of myths and outright lies.

dangers of low carb diets

Then there are the "scientific studies." The unfavorable studies done on low carb diets suffer from a misguided definition and an incorrect application of a true low carb, ketogenic diet.

I don't know how many times I've rolled my eyes after reading a study in which the authors discuss the "dangers" of eating a high fat, "low carb" diet.

Every time I go and read the actual study, the carb intake of the study participants is around 40% of calories, which is in no way what most low carbers would consider ketogenic or even "low carb".

On a 2000 calorie diet plan, 40% of calories would work out to be an intake of about 200 carbs. In my book, and I would dare say in any experienced low carber's book, 200 carbs per day is a not low carb - it's a moderate to high carb intake.

A true low carb, ketogenic diet is one in which the percentage of calories from carbohydrates is closer to 5-10%. On a 2000 calorie diet, this would work out to about 25 - 50 carbs per day.

If researchers would run studies which tested a true low carb, ketogenic diet, the issues they conclude are associated with eating "low carb" wouldn't manifest.

It's only when they tell their study participants to eat a high carb load (like 40% of calories) that blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides get out of whack. Calling a diet which provides 200 carbs a day a low carb diet is like calling Lake Michigan a pond.

The supposed "dangers of low carb diets" that you've read about are either outright lies supported by financial interests, or simply wrong ideas propagated by well meaning, but ignorant professionals and journalists.

Mice are NOT Small Furry Humans

In addition, there is a huge volume of rat and mice studies in which the researcher fed the rodents a type of rat chow that the chow manufacturer calls a "high fat or ketogenic" type chow.

This rat chow is made up of ingredients that no wild rodent or human could eat without getting sick. Usually rat chow which is deemed "ketogenic" contains cellulose, Primex (a commercial palm oil product) and corn oil, casein and some vitamins and minerals.

Can you imagine a human being eating that only for a duration of a study? But this is what the rodents eat, and not surprisingly they get sick. What I find amazing is that supposedly smart researchers think that taking the results of these types of dietary studies and extrapolating them to humans eating a normal real food diet is logical.

See my low carb dieting myths page for more on the supposed "dangers of low carb" misinformation.



Done with Dangers of Low Carb Diets, back to Ketogenic Diet Plan

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