Cheat day danger in Keto Diet

Cheat day danger in Keto Diet

People on a Ketogenic Diet taking a cheat day plate of fries or a single fizzy soft drink, damage their blood vessels according to a small scale study (1) from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

The Ketogenic Diet, or Keto Diet, has become an enormous ‘fad’ in the USA. It is know to imitate the colourful Mediterranean diet’s abilities to reduce weight, insulin resistance and Type-2 diabetes levels; it is even used to fight cancer. Most people do not do the strict Keto Diet though.

The strict diet involves consuming just 2% of calories from Carbohydrates, 8% from protein and 90% from fats in order to put the body into a state of ketosis where the body is starved of glucose (it’s preferred fuel) and turns to burning its fat stores, via ketones.

Professor Jonathan Little said that the team at British Columbia were interested in what happened if people cheated on the diet and had ‘a dose of glucose’, since spikes in glucose can cause inflammation, and impaired glucose intolerance is linked with cardiovascular disease.

A volunteer group were put onto a 10% carb, 20% protein and 70% fat diet for a week, just enough to push them into Ketosis. They were then given a cheat day.

Cody Durrer, lead author on the study said, "We were originally looking for things like an inflammatory response or reduced tolerance to blood glucose but what we found instead were biomarkers in the blood suggesting that vessel walls were being damaged by the sudden spike in glucose ".

The team felt that the body’s natural response to excess blood sugar had occurred, where the metabolic response causes blood vessel cells to even shred and die.

Former Oxford University Biochemist Chris Woollams said, “While I am not a fan of fake diets and prefer diets that have actually been around for thousands of years like the colourful Mediterranean Diet, I would suggest that this team do the research again because just 9 people being followed for a week can only be indicative and is not really evidence for damning a diet even if you think its an unhealthy fad. However, I suppose risking 500 people damaging their blood vessel walls would not be too clever either!”

Go to: The Ketogenic Diet and cancer overview

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