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 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 is an eating plan that pushes high fat foods while restricting carbohydrates from the diet.

MORE: A leading clinical nutritionist’s verdict on the most popular and best diets of 2020

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 Metro.co.uk., “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

“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 digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


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