The popular diet plan that could be harming your bone health

Be careful if you're a keen runner...

keto diet could harm bone health
(Image credit: Getty)

Most of us are always looking around for a diet that will work for us.

From the Atkins to the South Beach to intermittent fasting with the 5:2 (opens in new tab) and 16:8, it seems like we’ve tried most of the diet options out there.

But one diet that has become popular more recently is the Ketogenic Diet.

The Ketogenic, or Keto, Diet (opens in new tab) is an eating plan that pushes high fat foods (opens in new tab) while restricting carbohydrates from the diet.

MORE: A leading clinical nutritionist’s verdict on the most popular and best diets of 2020 (opens in new tab)

But a new study has now suggested that following could harm your health, especially when it comes to bone health.

Researchers from the Australian Institute of Sport and Australian Catholic University found that following the eating plan could weaken bones, especially in those who do a lot of sport or intense athletic training.

The new study, which was published in Frontiers in Endocrinology, followed 30 elite race walkers as they trained over three and a half weeks and found that those who were following the Keto diet demonstrated higher signs of bone breakdown than they did at the start of the investigation.

keto diet could harm bone health

However, athletes who followed a high-carbohydrate diet showed no such breakdown.

“We believe that the keto diet may affect bone metabolism due to the downstream effects of low-carbohydrate availability on certain hormones, along with other factors,” Louise Burke, lead author of the study and head of sports nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, told the New York Times.

Nutritionist and founder of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb, also warned against the diet, telling, “The keto diet should not be a long-term plan.

MORE: Doctor explains why the keto diet could be risky if you’re trying to lose weight (opens in new tab)

“While the upside of this plan is that people end up eating healthier fats, less sugar and see their insulin levels mellow, it can often mean that people become reliant on saturated animal fats in meat.

“The diet will see its best rewards when implemented between one and two weeks at a time. It certainly shouldn’t be a long duration diet method”.

As always, we suggest that the best way forward is a balanced diet and a modertate amount of exercise. If you are considering making a drastic change to your diet, we recommend consulting your doctor before doing so.

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.