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Local doctor said popular Keto diet could cause "Keto-flu" in dieters

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 20:32:59-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many people have decided to try the popular Keto diet for weight loss, but now there are reports that the diet can cause 'flu-like' symptoms.

The regimen is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that forces your body to burn fats rather than carbs.

But before you start one, beware: You could end up with 'keto flu.'

“For many people it does go away,” said Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Associate Dean for Academic Programs and registered nurse Dr. Sara Baldwin. "Some people do have to get off of it."

Baldwin said the first two-to-seven days of starting a ketogenic diet, people can suffer from irritability and fatigue.

“Sometimes people can't problem-solve at their desk or work as well as nausea,” said Baldwin.

She adds that it likely happens because the brain is looking for a ready-source of carbohydrates, but isn't getting.

And those are just the "short-term" effects.

“Concerns that health providers have is that side effects of kidney stones, constipation, acne, and high cholesterol,” Baldwin said.

She said it's a high price to pay for a diet that may not even work.

“This diet will work short-term, there just isn't a lot of long-term evidence,” she said.

Because of the lack of evidence associated with the 'keto-flu,' it's not recognized as a medical condition -- yet.

But for those who are still optimistic about the diet and eager to try it; she sais there is a silver lining.

“The thing that I like about the keto diet is that it encourages people to be mindful of what they eat,” said Baldwin. “This diet does help people get off refined sugar products.”

And, in the end . . .

A diet is only as good as the time you're on it,” said Baldwin.

She also recommends people check with their health care providers before going on any kind of diet.