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Ketogenic diets can kill – Health expert warns


A health expert has cautioned persons who are on a weight-loss journey, against resorting to a Ketogenic diet since that can be dangerous to the body.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Friday, Dr Yaw Sarfo of the MediCAS Hospital said Ketogenic diets expose the body to a lot of biochemical changes which are not healthy for the body.

“All you see is you’re losing a lot of weight and you are happy about it but you’re poisoning yourself at the biochemical level,” he said.

Dr. Sarfo said this as part of discussions on the Super Morning Show with regard to what measures are best to lose or maintain one’s weight.

During the Show, callers who phoned in, shared a varied views. Some revealed that they have resorted to Ketogenic diets but the doctor advised against that method.

He explained that people who depend on Ketogenic diets are literally switching from Carbohydrates as a primary fuel source to protein and fats as an energy source.

“The makeup of the body is such that glucose or carbohydrates are the primary energy source. If you do not have glucose, then your body will switch to an undesired energy source which is protein. And the biggest source of protein is the muscle and you’ve got a lot of muscle in the body.

“So once you start depending on muscle as an energy source or protein as an energy source, you lose a lot of weight but the biochemical changes that happen when you’re breaking down protein and fats instead of carbohydrates or glucose, is such that it produces certain chemical substances we call ketone bodies which could be poisonous to the body.”

For diabetics, the situation may be worse.

“For diabetics, one of the feared complications [which is also defined as hunger in the midst of plentiful, because you do not have glucose entering your cells] is the development of a situation called diabetic ketoacidosis which kills a lot of diabetics.

“It’s a medical emergency and it can kill you. The Ketogenic diet will leave your body with a lot of ketone bodies and will change the acid-base status in your body and lead to a lot of biochemical changes which one is not aware of,” he said.

Dr. Sarfo noted that in severe cases, one can develop kidney stones because of the accumulation of uric acid, and in worse cases, death.

He, thus, cautioned against resorting to this method as a means of losing weight.

Dr. Sarfo said four measures an individual who wishes to stay in shape can execute are; dietary modification, physical activity or exercise, medication prescribed by a doctor, and surgical management.

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