Is speed keto diet healthy?

The diet combines keto and intermittent fasting and puts the body in a state of ketosis where it burns fat instead of glucose or sugar for energy


This restrictive diet has been devised by Harlan Kilstein, who calls himself “an author, entrepreneur, and lifestyle coach” in America. His website claims that the diet solves all the problems of a traditional keto diet, such as constantly having to count macronutrients or the weight loss stall that people experience after the body is in a state of ketosis for a while.

Speed keto combines keto and intermittent fasting. A typical keto diet consists of consuming fat- and protein-rich food, cutting down drastically on carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, includes fasting for 16 hours and consuming food in an eight-hour period.

“In speed keto, a person will have only one high-fat low-carbohydrate food in a day. It puts the body in a state of ketosis where it burns body fat instead of glucose or sugar for its energy, thus leading to weight loss,” says Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietician and HOD, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.

Typically, it can take two-three days for the body to reach the state of ketosis. According to WebMD, ketosis happens when our body does not have enough carbs to burn energy. So, instead it burns fat, thereby producing an acid called ketones, which is then used for fuel. “The time to reach ketosis depends on several factors like a person’s health condition and metabolism,” says Priyanka.

Is it a healthy diet? “While it helps in weight loss, it is not healthy in the long run. There are chances of micronutrient deficiency and one will have to take supplements. People will also feel lethargic and it can later lead to mood swings,” says Vinitha Krishnan, Consultant Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai.

Priyanka says that she will not recommend it, especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is easier for a body to pick up infections when one is fasting for a long time. There is not much scientific information that says that speed keto is better than keto or intermittent fasting. With the low amount of fibre, it can disrupt intestinal mobility, leading to bloating and constipation. Without enough carbohydrates and fibre, the probiotic bacteria in one’s body cannot thrive and it affects our digestive capability,” she says.

In this column, we decode health trends and decide if it’s all just ‘hype’ or actually ‘happening’

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