Top 5 Reasons to Kick Keto to the Curb in 2020

January 9, 2020

Why high fat diets like keto may not be the right diet for you.

Here’s the bottom line: High fat diets rich in butter, cream, bacon, and pork are simply not right for everybody.

If you find yourself with “keto flu”, kidney stones, pancreatitis, or persistent bloating and digestive issues, these are all signs the keto diet is just not right for you – even if you’ve experienced weight loss success.

I’m not saying that all fats are bad. After all, fat is the essential fuel for your mitochondria, brain, joints, and your heart. But the typical keto diet does not make a distinction between which fats are best for your body, and which fats are harmful. For example, if you no longer have a gallbladder, all that fat in the keto diet will be impossible to digest.

And, some of us have genetic predispositions that limit us from being able to digest heavy saturated animal fats as well as we digest plant-based fats. You carry the genes of your ancestors, and if they lived in regions where plant-based fats were plentiful but animal-based were not, you would not have the genetic capability to digest those fats very well and they could wreak havoc on your otherwise fine-tuned, healthy body.

But, this is just scratching the surface, so let’s dig in a little deeper with my top 5 reasons to kick the keto diet to the curb in 2020…

Top 5 Reasons to Kick Keto to the Curb

1. Missing Minerals

A friend of mine recently remarked how much older her friend looks since she’s been on keto. Sagging skin, dull hair, nails that chip and break, dark circles around the eyes, and sunken cheeks are all signs the keto diet is aging you prematurely. Why?

Imbalances in copper, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and more are all represented just in the facial signs my friend noticed, which have been recognized for centuries by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice of face mapping. The Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) hair test done through UNI KEY Health can also show these mineral deficiencies in people who have been on keto for any length of time.

Here’s how it happens.

While you are shedding water weight and flushing fat cells, your minerals are going along for the ride. This is when you start seeing the sagging skin, and feel the effects like fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

While good quality salt and electrolyte supplements may help at first, they aren’t what your body really wants. And your body isn’t asking for carbs and sugars either. It wants nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits loaded with enzymes and perfectly balanced minerals, and it’s going to take a while to restore those mineral levels.

2. Adrenal Fatigue

Did you know the symptoms of mineral deficiencies and adrenal fatigue are almost identical? There’s a reason for this. Your sodium and potassium levels have a close relationship to your stress hormone levels and the amount of stress your adrenals are under.

Once your sodium levels drop, your body kicks in its conservation mechanisms. Your brain and kidneys signal your adrenals to start producing aldosterone, which in turn will cause potassium wasting. This is hard on your heart, muscles, and nerves.

Your adrenals also activate your fight-or-flight response and increase your stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline (aka epinephrine). The longer your sodium stays low from being in nutritional ketosis, the more stress your adrenals are under, leading to adrenal fatigue. Pretty soon you have a vicious cycle of fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia with that all too familiar “wired but tired” feeling keeping you up at night and making it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Your exercise tolerance decreases, your muscles recover more slowly, and you feel like you’ve run out of gas.

3. The Big Fat Truth

The keto diet’s focus on butter, cream, cheese, eggs, and meats makes it high in saturated fats. While these fats aren’t the “bad guys” they’ve been portrayed as for so many years, they still need to be consumed in balance with other fats to get what your body needs.

I’m all for using fats as your primary fuel in your diet, but it needs to include all of the essential fats your body can’t manufacture on its own– omega-3, -6, -7, and -9 especially.

Take a look at some before and after pics of the faces of popular medical personalities and celebrities who are on the keto diet. The sunken cheeks and sagging skin that appear once someone starts the keto diet are signs of omega-6 fat deficiency, as well as some minerals, which I’ve already explained. These fats are lacking in the typical keto diet or are out of balance with the overabundance of saturated fats.

All of the essential fats are present in ideal ratios in organic nuts, seeds, and their cold-pressed oils, which are lacking in most keto diets. You simply can’t get essential fats like Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), omega-7 and omega-9 from animal sources.

One last thing about fats. Remember how I mentioned that some of us genetically aren’t able to process saturated fats? That gene is the ApoE 3/4 gene, and it’s intimately linked to heart disease. If you have this gene and start eating a diet abundant in saturated fats, you’re putting your heart health on the line.

4. Your Gallbladder Can’t Face the Fats

If you have gallbladder disease or it’s been surgically removed, your fat metabolism is impaired and you likely won’t be able to digest all the fats in the keto diet. Your gallbladder stores and concentrates the bile made by the liver to help you digest and break down the fats you eat. If your gallbladder is inflamed, diseased, or missing, you may not be releasing enough bile to break down all the fats you are getting. Bloating, constipation or diarrhea, weight gain, and other digestive discomforts are clues that you aren’t producing enough bile.

Bitter vegetables, herbs, and drinks stimulate more bile flow, as can supplements like Bile Builder (which is a must-have for anyone missing their gallbladder). At a minimum, you’ll need to take an extended break from keto to establish healthy bile flow before increasing the fats in your diet.

5. Hormone Havoc

If you find yourself tired, irritable, and feeling like you can’t handle stress of any kind, then you are likely in what I call hormone havoc. Your stress hormones, sex hormones, and blood sugar balancing hormones are all out of whack and are desperately in need of the supporting nutrients you only find in complex carbs.

The problem is, when you go very low carb on the keto diet, your body thinks it’s starving. This starvation mode is the very thing that triggers the release of ketones and causes you to lose weight – but your hormone balance suffers as a result. That’s the “Catch 22” with keto – the starvation mechanism that causes the pounds to fall off so quickly is also the one that sends signals to your brain to slow the production of all of your major hormones.

Women especially need low glycemic, nutrient-rich, complex carbs to keep hormone levels steady and balanced. Your digestion needs more fiber-rich carbs to keep it moving consistently so it can bind and sweep out excess hormones and their residues. But your body is so busy breaking everything down from being in ketosis that it’s even breaking down lean muscle mass – the very thing you are trying to build by going on a diet in the first place.

So, where do you turn?

How to Know When Your Diet is Right for YOU

There isn’t a single diet out there that will work for everyone, unless it has the flexibility for you to customize it to suit your individual needs. But how do you know when you’re eating the foods that bring health to your body, your lifestyle, your genetics, and your metabolism? Here are the signs I recommend looking for:

  • You wake up with energy and in a good mood
  • You feel more energetic after you eat – not less
  • You lose weight easily
  • Cravings are a thing of the past
  • Your blood tests show you are healthy
  • Your digestion works the way it should
  • Exercise doesn’t leave you feeling drained
  • You handle stress well
  • You fall asleep easily and wake feeling well-rested
  • Your body feels good and you have a strong sense of wellbeing

Sound too good to be true? Then you haven’t found the right diet for you!

If you are reading this feeling fat, fatigued, and utterly hopeless because of all the diets you’ve tried and failed, I want you to know something. You aren’t to blame.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with your body that keeps you from losing weight or responding to a high fat, severely carb-restricted diet like keto. Over my four decades in the field of nutrition, I’ve met countless people like you, who feel like their weight won’t budge – no matter what they try. Fortunately – for them and for you – I’ve done the research and unlocked the secrets to healthy, lasting weight loss for even the slowest of losers.

Trust me, I’ve turned around thousands of “hopeless causes” and I can help you, too!

The underlying premise of the keto diet is on the right track – your body does want to burn fat as its primary source of fuel. The problem is, you still need your minerals balanced and carbs to make hormones – thyroid, sex, and stress hormones, to be precise. Without enough carbs, you can feel tired, sluggish, unable to handle stress, have night sweats, and gain weight far too easily, among other signs of hormone imbalance. Eat too many carbs and the bloating, blood sugar imbalances, and fatigue set in.

The right carbs are not your mortal enemy. One thing I’ve learned over the past 40 years is that successful, healthy weight loss does not come from eliminating an entire food group from your diet. When I started in this field, the low fat craze was just building momentum, and I saw many women become obese and suffer from diabetes and heart disease. I’ve watched the low fat wave crest and then fall with emerging research that proved we critically need fats for brain health and so much more.

Carbs, fats, and proteins all have one thing in common – they each have a “sweet spot” that creates optimal health in your body – too much or too little of any one of them is not a good thing.  I created my Radical Metabolism plan for even the slowest of losers, the most sluggish of metabolisms, and even those with autoimmune and other chronic illnesses that make a healthy weight seem so far out of reach. Thousands of people like you have already seen success with my new plan, and found their ideal amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats – and they’re loving their new lifestyle! They’ve seen their energy levels soar, inches and pounds fall off, and their blood tests improve – even thyroid numbers.

I invite you to get RADICAL with me in 2020, and find your way back to feeling good again!

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Mable

    I didn’t feel good on keto and didn’t lose weight either. Fat Flush is the only plan where I lost weight and felt healthy.

  2. Kerry

    Would this statement you make apply even if you not on a high fat or ketogenic diet? “Once your sodium levels drop, your body kicks in its conservation mechanisms. Your brain and kidneys signal your adrenals to start producing aldosterone, which in turn will cause potassium wasting.”

    • Team ALG

      Yes, Kerry.


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