Episode 117. Keto Diet is an Epic Fail

Aug 13, 2018 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

Lose weight short term on keto…but at what cost? Scott presents clinical research that highlights the long-term health and cosmetic downsides of the popular low carb, ketogenic diet approach.


“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”   – Francis Bacon

  • Most dieters select a diet for weight loss and don’t consider long-term effects.
  • There’s not much evidence in clinical research to support keto as a sustainable diet strategy.
  • Keto diets are hard to follow for long periods of time. It’s difficult to find someone who is advanced in years who’s followed a high-fat low-carb diet.
  • The National Weight Control Registry states fewer than 1% of subjects lost weight and kept if off with a low carb diet.
  • The Inuit study that high-fat low-carb advocates use to support their argument has been discredited since its publication.
  • The 1970s study of the Inuit people of Greenland, that jumpstarted the fish oil supplement market, contains highly questionable data, according to researchers who’ve studied the topic since.
  • A study published in 2006 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition documented severe metabolic and emotional consequences after only six weeks on keto.
  • Loss of lean tissue is a long-term side effect of keto dieting according to a 2015 study published in Clinical Metabolism. Keto coincided with increased protein utilization and loss of fat-free mass, meaning muscle mass.
  • Another study documented low energy and fatigue in keto dieters, reducing the desire to exercise.
  • A study of 10,014 adults and 200 other papers investigated health and nutrition indicators and popular diets. It found that BMIs (Body Mass Indexes) were significantly lower for men and women on the high carbohydrate diet; the highest BMIs were noted for those on a low carbohydrate diet.
  • Okinawans live healthy, long lives, often into their 100s. Their diet is heavy in fruits and vegetables and low in meat, refined grains, sugar and full-fat dairy.
  • Low carb diets have been associated with higher risk of all-cause mortality.


Johnston CS, et al. “Ketogenic low Carbohydrate Diets have no metabolic advantage over non-ketogenic low carbohydrate diets.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 May;83(5):1055-61.

Hall KD, et al. “Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body fat loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity.”  Cell Metab. 2015 Sep 1;22(3):427-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.021. Epub 2015 Aug 13.

White AM, et al. “Blood ketones are directly related to fatigue and perceived effort during exercise in overweight adults adhering to low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss: a pilot study.”  J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Oct;107(10):1792-6.

Kennedy ET, et al. “Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity.” J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Apr;101(4):411-20.

Bilsborough SA, Crowe TC. “Low-carbohydrate diets: what are the potential short- and long-term health implications?”  Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12(4):396-404.

Wilcox DC, et al. “The Okinawan diet: health implications of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich dietary pattern low in glycemic load.”  J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Aug;28 Suppl:500S-516S.

Noto H, et al. “Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.”  PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e55030. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055030. Epub 2013 Jan 25.


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