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Cheat days while in ketosis can be dangerous reveals UBCO research

The ketogenic diet has skyrocketed in popularity during recent years for those looking to shed some pounds.

It may sound like a way to gain weight, but eating only foods with high fat and protein content while ingesting very low levels of carbohydrates places the human body in a state of ketosis.

Once in ketosis, the body begins to aggressively burn fat as it is starved for glucose.

Researchers at UBC Okanagan recently conducted a study looking into the keto diet and results showed that even a small dose of glucose, or a ‘cheat day’, can lead to damaged blood vessels.

“We were interested in finding out what happens to the body’s physiology once a dose of glucose is reintroduced,” says Cody Durrer, UBC Okanagan doctoral student and study first author.

“Since impaired glucose tolerance and spikes in blood sugar levels are known to be associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular disease, it made sense to look at what was happening in the blood vessels after a sugar hit.”

For their test, the researchers recruited nine healthy young males and had them consume a 75-gram glucose drink before and after a seven-day high fat, low carbohydrate diet. The diet consisted of 70% fat, 10% carbohydrates and 20%, similar to that of a modern ketogenic diet.

“Even though these were otherwise healthy young males, when we looked at their blood vessel health after consuming the glucose drink, the results looked like they might have come from someone with poor cardiovascular health,” adds Little.

“It was somewhat alarming.”

The findings led researchers to suggest that the keto diet is not something you do for six days and take Saturday off.

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