Atkins beware! Ketogenic diet health risks


Low carbohydrate high protein (ketosis) diets are popular among dieters and body builders for very effective short term weight loss.

Depleting the body’s carbohydrates stored as glycogen in the liver, our main energy source, triggers the process of ketosis to use stored fat and protein for energy. The thinking is that by means of this process one can reduce body fat and lose weight.


Elevated acetyl co-enzyme A (Acetyl CoA) concentration in blood marks hallmark pathology of ketoacidosis.

Elevated acetyl co-enzyme A (Acetyl CoA) concentration in blood marks hallmark pathology of ketoacidosis.

However, prolonged ketosis is dangerous. The ketone bodies harnessed for energy in place of carbohydrates are acidic, and prolonged formation can overwhelm homeostatic pH buffering systems (namely the bicarbonate-CO2 blood buffer), resulting in ketoacidosis. Symptomatically, diet induced ketoacidosis presents similarly to diabetic ketoacidosis, a life threatening condition. PubMed Health describes:

As fats are broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. In high levels, ketones are poisonous. This condition is known as ketoacidosis.

Acidosis can lead to severe illness or death. Improved therapy for young people with diabetes has decreased the death rate from this condition. However, it remains a big risk in the elderly, and in people who fall into a coma when treatment has been delayed.

Symptoms include shallow breathing, dry skin, fruity breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dulled senses, coma, fatigue, headache, difficulty breathing, and decreased consciousness.


American Dietetic Association spokesperson Dr. Chris Rosenbloom notes “You might be setting yourself up for (health) problems down the road,” and she notes

“in my 25 years as a dietitian, I’ve never met anyone who’s kept the weight off.”

There you have it. There are major risks associated with low-carb diets. Whether you decide to employ one depends on priorities. Know more or have objections? Share them below!



Lori Laffel (1999). “Ketone bodies: a review of physiology, pathophysiology and application of monitoring to diabetes”. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews 15 (6): 412–426. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-7560(199911/12)15:6<412::AID-DMRR72>3.0.CO;2-8. PMID 10634967]



Pastry Chef (, software engineer (, and fitness enthusiast.

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. awpking says:

    one more thing to deal with whist cutting.

  2. Woah this blog is excellent i like reading your posts. Keep up the good paintings! You understand, a lot of individuals are hunting around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  3. Gilma Tenner says:

    The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant drugs. In the mid-1990s, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son’s severe epilepsy was effectively controlled by the diet, created the Charlie Foundation to promote it.”^–

    Our online site <http://healthmedicinejournal.comes

  4. Big Teddy says:

    I lost 89 lbs gain back 20 over 12 years have had no health issues except not getting diabetes like the rest of my family. Stop the BS. Now you know someone who lost and kept it off.

  1. December 6, 2012

    […] awpking — 12/04/2012 08:26 PM — A calorie deficit is hard to maintain (just ask anyone on the Atkins!), but more and more research is suggesting that losing weight gets even harder without sufficient […]

  2. December 9, 2012

    […] coverage; Atkin’s and ketogenic diets limit carbohydrate intake for efficient weight loss, at a price. High carbohydrate, high fat diets are known to induce cardiovascular and liver dysfunction in […]

  3. December 13, 2012

    […] — 12/04/2012 03:56 PM — In summary, eat fat/carbs before drinking to slow absorption of alcohol. Drink excess water to counteract the diuretic […]

  4. December 13, 2012

    […] These findings are inauspicious towards low-carb or Atkin’s dieters, who purposefully refrain from carbohydrates to induce ketogenic weight loss. […]

  5. December 13, 2012

    […] cited anecdotally for why some people can eat so much and stay lean while other people who barely eat can’t seem to keep the weight off. Too often do people conclude that metabolism is […]

  6. December 19, 2012

    […] Add 1 cup sifted white sugar and 1 cup sifted brown sugar. Sugar measurements are fairly lax and can be adjusted based on preference. […]

  7. December 26, 2012

    […] is evidence from animal studies that glucose and fructose, monomer carbohydrates, increase ethanol metabolism in an alcohol-dehydrogenase-independent […]

  8. December 27, 2012

    […] yolks have a bad rep; not only do dieters avoid them (and order egg white omelets) to reduce calorie intake, earlier this year some people […]

  9. October 13, 2013

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More: […]

Leave a Reply

Read more:
Organic Food & Cancer

There is a scare among consumers that contaminants in produce can increase likelihood of cancer--this drives an increasing demand for...

Thymine Photodimerization: An Organic Chemist’s View

In the Diels-Alder Reaction, a landmark reaction known to any organic chemistry student, a conjugated diene can react with a...

ADHD Medication – Stunts Growth In Males?

Almost 10% of Americans ages 3-17 are diagnosed with the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder today. Males are twice as likely...

What happens to humans without adrenaline

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a catecholamine that functions as both a neurotransmitter and hormone in humans. Produced by...