News & Spotlights

Ask a HealthPoint Expert: Keto, Yes or No?

October 16th, 2019

Ask a HealthPoint Expert: Keto, Yes or No?



The Ketogenic (aka Keto) diet is all the rage right now, particularly for weight loss.  


But does it work and is it healthy?


You asked us to investigate, so we put our top nutritional experts on the case!

        Denise Ward, RDN                           Lani Miller, RDN                   Yaowanit Balangue, RDN, CD

Did you know?  Nutrition coaching is available to all HealthPoint patients – no referral needed. Simply call your clinic and request to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist.

Here is our Nutrition Team’s food for thought on Keto:

Good health is an ongoing journey. That’s why the best healthy eating plan is the one you can stick with in the long term. Keto offers many people short-term benefits like weight loss; however, the diet is so restrictive that it can be a struggle to maintain.  

Here is a list of pros and cons that can help you decided whether Keto is a good fit for you.


  • Almost everyone who follows a Keto diet loses weight in the short-term.
  • The ketogenic diet has shown some therapeutic benefit for some medical conditions (including seizure disorders).
  • Many people on Keto lower their blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Depending on how you implement the diet, Keto can also reduce inflammation and increase HDL (aka “good”) cholesterol. 
  • People who are able to maintain the diet report having greater energy, and a clearer mind (no brain fog).


  • Keto can be dangerous, especially if you have type 1 diabetes, are insulin dependent, or have kidney, liver, or pancreas conditions. Everyone should meet with their doctor or nutrtionist before starting a keto diet.
  • Many people wil experience the "Keto flu" as their body runs out of glucose for energy. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, and insomnia.  However, these symptoms usually go away after a few days as the body switches from using glucose for energy to breaking down fat for energy.   
  • Your LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol might increase if you are eating lots of saturated fats as part of the diet.
  • To be healthy long term, you have to be very careful with how you implement Keto so that you get all the nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants your body needs.
  • Keto is not sustainable for most people and there is little research evidence that it is effective for weight-loss in the long-term.  In short: You will likely regain the weight you lose while on Keto.

As you can see, Keto is far from a magic bullet. That said, the diet could be a step towards building healthy habits and our nutrition team is here to help!  We’ll work with you and your Care Team to find safe, practical ways to try out Keto or another eating plan that works best for your health needs and lifestyle.

If you’ve already talked to your Care Team, here are a few keys to Keto success and resources to get you going.


  • Make the most of your limited carbohydrates.
    • Pick colorful, high-fiber, and antioxidant-rich carbohydrates like:
      • Leafy greens.
      • Berries. These low-carb and high-fiber fruits are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
      • Small portions of nutrient-dense, high-fiber starches like sweet potato, squash, lentils, beans, or quinoa.
  • Mix it up! Variety is the spice of life and the key to Keto.
    • Eat a variety of proteins, including eggs, organic tofu/tempeh, and fish.
      • Bonus: If possible, eat grass-fed and wild animals; these meats have more omega-3 fatty acids from grasses and anti-oxidants from eating a variety of plants. Omega-3s are a healthy fat that may help lower your risk for heart disease.
    • Eat a variety of healthy fats including avocado, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, coconut, coconut oil, and oily fish from cold-water habitats (salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, and trout.
      • Note: Avoid king mackerel and tuna; these fish can have high mercury levels.


  • Be thoughtful about fats.  It’s tempting to use Keto as an excuse to eat lots of fatty meats (like bacon) and dairy (like butter and cheese). However, evidence shows that diets high in trans and saturated fats increase your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.  On the flipside, diets that are high in polyunsaturated an monounsaturated fats (like the Mediterranean diet) can prevent or help control chronic disease and support healthy aging.  


  • Mobile apps for your phone:
    • Total Keto Diet: Provides easy access to Keto recipes, articles, shopping lists and more.
    • MyKeto: Helps you track your diet and calculate fat, protein, and carb quantities.
    • Ketogenic Diet: Lets you know what to expect when going on a Keto diet. Great for beginners.
  • Websites:
    •  Type “low carb” into the search field to find a large variety of meal plans and recipes.
    •  A comprehensive behavior change program that is very thorough and useful; however, after the free trial it has a subscription cost.  

Have a health-related question or wondering about wellness?  Ask a HealthPoint expert! 

We employ more than 200 health care specialists with expertise in everything from acupuncture, to oral health, to nutrition, to sports medicine, to specialty pharmacy, and much more. Click the button below to submit your question.*


*Note: This form is intended for general questions. Please discuss specific health concerns with your HealthPoint Care Team.