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Do people who follow the keto diet get sick?

cooked food on white ceramic plate


The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, has gained significant popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits and weight loss effects. This low-carb, high-fat diet has been praised for its ability to help people shed pounds and improve their overall well-being. However, there are concerns about the potential negative effects of the keto diet on one’s health. In this article, we will explore whether people who follow the keto diet are more prone to getting sick and examine the scientific evidence behind these claims.

Understanding the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to put the body into a state of ketosis. In this state, the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, leading to weight loss. The diet typically consists of high-fat foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, oils, and low-carb vegetables, while avoiding high-carb foods like grains, sugars, fruits, and starchy vegetables.

Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet

Proponents of the keto diet claim that it offers numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved mental clarity, increased energy levels, and better blood sugar control. Some studies have shown that the keto diet may be effective in reducing body weight and improving insulin sensitivity in individuals with obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Impact on the Immune System

One concern raised about the keto diet is its potential impact on the immune system. Some argue that the restriction of carbohydrates, which are a primary source of fuel for immune cells, may weaken the immune response and make individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

  • However, research in this area is limited, and the available evidence does not support the claim that the keto diet significantly impairs immune function.
  • A study published in the journal Nutrients found that a well-formulated ketogenic diet did not have any adverse effects on immune function in healthy individuals.
  • Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology concluded that the keto diet may even have anti-inflammatory effects, which could potentially benefit individuals with certain autoimmune conditions.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Another concern associated with the keto diet is the potential for nutrient deficiencies. Since the diet restricts many food groups, including fruits, whole grains, and legumes, it may be challenging to obtain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • However, with careful planning and proper food choices, it is possible to meet nutrient needs on the keto diet.
  • For example, incorporating low-carb vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli can provide essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Supplementation may also be recommended to ensure adequate intake of certain nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal issues when starting the keto diet. This is often referred to as the “keto flu” and can include symptoms such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.

  • These symptoms are usually temporary and tend to resolve as the body adapts to the diet.
  • Increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and consuming probiotic-rich foods can help alleviate these symptoms.

Individual Variations

It is important to note that the effects of the keto diet can vary among individuals. While some people may thrive on this diet and experience numerous benefits, others may not tolerate it as well.

  • Factors such as genetics, underlying health conditions, and individual metabolism can influence how the body responds to the keto diet.
  • Working with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help ensure that the diet is tailored to individual needs and minimize any potential risks.


While there are concerns about the potential negative effects of the keto diet on one’s health, the available evidence suggests that it is generally safe for most individuals when followed properly. The keto diet may not be suitable for everyone, and it is essential to consider individual variations and potential nutrient deficiencies. As with any dietary change, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting the keto diet to ensure it aligns with one’s specific health goals and needs.