Wondering if you should start a low-carb diet? Dr. Westman answers your burning questions and provides a few insightful answers to whether or not a low-carb diet plan is right for everyone.
When you ensure that you get all your micronutrients, meaning you eat a nose to tail of an animal, and you consume some vegetables or even add in a multivitamin, you’ll have no concern about micronutrient deficiencies.
“I look at the low-carb keto approach as just eating real food without much sugar,” says Dr. Westman. From this point of view, a low-carb diet or keto approach as a starting point shouldn’t be harmful for anyone.
A primal way of eating
A low-carb diet is a lot like a hunter-gatherer, paleo or primal lifestyle, it’s the way humans were evolved to eat over time, as our biological systems are not set up to handle much sugar. Even if someone doesn’t have health problems, or they’re not on medication, there should be no problem with a properly formulated ketogenic diet.
How does a keto diet affect hypothyroidism?
“In my experience, the keto diet doesn’t really have much effect on hypothyroidism, although I’d like to see if it does clear that up in some people,” says Dr. Westman. Without many studies involving large groups of people, it’s difficult to say for certain that keto helps hypothyroidism.
What about diabetic patients who aren’t overweight? Can a keto diet benefit a thin person?
Using keto for diabetes is a great lifestyle change as lowering the sugar in the diet will help to improve your condition, even if you’re thin because the disease of diabetes is an elevated blood sugar. So reducing the contribution your food has to the elevation of your blood sugar will help a lot.
People with type one diabetes who are thin, will also experience better blood sugar control by reducing the sugar and starch in their diets, which is synonymous with a keto diet.
How old should you be to start the keto diet?
Keto or a low-carb diet is a healthy way of eating for anyone, including kids and older people. The only concern would be if you’re on medication as they might become too strong.
The tricky part in doing keto for kids is when the schools they go to serve carbs for lunch. You can get around that by sending your kids to school with their own packed lunch, filled with foods that you know they’ll love that are even better than what they can get at school.
Can bariatric patients do the keto diet?
If you’ve had a gastric bypass recently, you’re not going to be able to eat much because the pouch that replaces your stomach is so small, but there’s no reason why bariatric patients can’t do the keto diet.
Due to the pouch, you’ll have to have frequent small meals or perhaps protein shakes. As time goes on, the pouch gets bigger and the hole gets a little better with the drainage and you’ll be able to fill it up more, just remember to watch out for the carbs.
The sad reality is that many people regain weight after bariatric surgery because they’re going back to the typical American diet. It’s okay to do a low-carb diet after gastric bypass as long as you’re mindful and get your vitamin levels checked. 30% of people after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass get iron deficiency anemia so make sure to get those levels checked.
Is the keto diet good for normal weight, healthy people?
A keto diet may not be for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to try it, it’s simply healthy eating. There are of course many different ways to eat that’s healthy. If you’re not carbohydrate intolerant, you may be able to eat lots of carbs and have a healthy life.
“Now that the research is starting to be done on the keto diet, I might change my tune as the keto diet is being studied,” says Dr. Westman. A paper showed that it helped middle-aged mice live 13% longer, so it may one day be proven that being on a keto diet is better for everyone, but until the scientific evidence from human studies comes out, we can’t say that for sure.
What if you can’t get rid of keto flu & get to a fat-adapted state?
It’s important to get the proper information to get started. Some people have withdrawal symptoms or don’t feel good in the first couple of weeks. Keto adaptation is the shift from sugar-burning to fat-burning or ketosis, and supplementing with salt or bouillon during that time can help.
This should be fine as long as you don’t have high blood pressure or a history of heart failure, and if you don’t want to go that route, simply check in with a practitioner who understands the keto diet. It may be a pre-existing problem that’s causing the problem and not the diet change at all. You could also be experiencing a caffeine withdrawal, so if you want to have caffeine initially, that should help.
Remember, if you’re not feeling well in the first week or two, it’s usually an electrolyte problem – salt and magnesium, or it could be a pre-existing issue and you might want to try it again after being checked out by your doctor.
Find out if a low-carb diet is right for you as Dr. Westman answers some frequently asked and controversial questions such as ‘Is a keto diet good for kids?’ Dr. Westman discusses everything from keto for diabetes to keto for healthy, normal-weight people, and whether or not the keto diet can really be a good lifestyle change for everyone.