A cardiologist’s take on the keto diet

There’s a question making the rounds on the internet that has a spectrum of answers: Is the keto diet healthy?

The truth is, while the little-to-no carb, high-fat diet can dramatically help shed pounds, there haven’t been any randomized clinical studies to help determine the long-term effects on the body. Most studies to date are smaller scale, and they’re filled with both positives and negatives. Some suggest it improves blood sugar in diabetics and lessens cardiovascular risk factors, like obesity. Others report spikes in “bad” cholesterol, heart problems, and hypoglycemia.

skillet on a table surface with one fried egg and two strips of bacon

To add to the uncertainty, its effectiveness as a weight loss treatment hasn’t even been clinically proven, experts have said. What’s left is anecdotal evidence and people from all corners of the web—including physicians, nutritionists, and celebrities—raving or ranting about it.

“I am open-minded when patients come to us with diets or nutritional trends, especially because I appreciate that they have taken an interest in their health,” said Neel Chokshi, an associate professor of clinical medicine and medical director of the Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program at Penn Medicine. “We often don’t have a lot of data to guide us on the positive or negative effects, so I am cautious to say this is the right thing to do and not the right thing to do. I think that diet is important, and I have a personal interest in many of these approaches to nutrition, but what I share with patients is mostly my informed opinion based on as much science as possible.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.