The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have both gained considerable popularity in recent years—but how do they compare to more well-established diets when it comes to cardiovascular health? The team behind a new analysis in the American Journal of Medicine hoped to find out.
The authors behind the analysis noted that keto, a low-carb diet that sends the body into ketosis, and intermittent fasting both show potential for the treatment of diabetes. Further research is still needed, however, so that the effects of each diet can be reviewed in more detail.
The researchers did report some red flags related to each dietary approach. With keto, the team’s primary concern is the type of fat—and the amount of it—consumed by individuals who follow the diet. There has also been some research that suggests keto can lead to a stiffening of the arteries.
When it comes to intermittent fasting, on the other hand, the biggest fear is that individuals might overeat once done with their fasting. Another concern is that the frequent fasting could have a negative effect on organ function.
“With diets like keto and intermittent fasting, social and popular media has been flooded with claims, promises and warnings that are at best unverified and at worst harmful to your health,” co-author Andrew Freeman, MD, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness for National Jewish Health, said in a statement. “Diets recommended by health experts, such as plant-based and Mediterranean diets, have been extensively studied for safety and efficacy, and demonstrated conclusively to improve cardiovascular health.”
Freeman added that it is “particularly important” for diabetes to speak with a physician before beginning intermittent fasting.
Until larger studies have been carried out on the long-term impact of these dietary approaches, Freeman and colleagues note that neither diet is recommended as a tool for preventing cardiovascular disease.
The full review from Freeman et al. can be read here.