The keto diet has become very popular in the last few years and fans love the high-fat, low-carb eating plan for helping them lose weight. Keto can also help certain people improve their health, but it isn’t for everyone, according to Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine, who has researched low-carb diets. If you’re dealing with any of these, you may want to think twice about starting or staying on keto.
- You’re already metabolically healthy – Research shows around 88% of Americans are dealing with some kind of metabolic dysfunction, including obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. But if you’re one of the lucky few who have a healthy metabolism and good insulin response, you don’t have to worry about your carb intake. For them, Cucuzzella advises, “Just eat real food, whether that’s low-carb or high-carb, and you’ll be fine.”
- You want to lose weight for short-term or aesthetic reasons – Low-carb diets can help you shed pounds, but Cucuzzella says the main benefit of keto is restoring metabolic health, improving insulin response and reducing inflammation.
- You have a history of disordered eating – If you have a difficult relationship with food, any diet that restricts what you can and can’t eat can be triggering.
- You’re under constant stress, sleeping poorly, or dealing with major life changes – If you’re dealing with these issues, it’s the worst time to change your diet because they all increase production of cortisol – the stress hormone. Cucuzzella warns too much cortisol can make it challenging to get the most out of a low-carb diet, plus you have to be in the right state of mind for a major dietary change to succeed.
- You have low energy or moodiness for more than a week – People often feel especially tired or groggy when they start a low-carb diet, it’s sometimes called the keto flu. It’s normal to feel a little under the weather as your body adapts to burning fat, but if you’re not feeling more energized in four to seven days, it could be a sign that something’s not right and you may want to reconsider keto.