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Is the Keto Diet Healthy for Seniors?

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A variety of food items placed on a table that make up a keto diet like avocados, tomatoes, almonds, eggs, chicken and nuts.

Dieting is an excellent way to control your weight and life, especially as you age. But with so many different options, there can be confusion about the healthiest choice. One of the more common choices is the ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is based on eating fewer carbohydrates while focusing on fattier foods. This can help increase your metabolism and create energy for your body by adjusting certain biological processes. This can help boost the metabolism of some seniors, but is it safe?

If you’re looking to shed some weight and increase your muscle mass, the keto diet is safe. However, the diet greatly restricts what foods can be eaten, which can lead to difficulty maintaining it for long periods. 

Before starting any new diet, you should always speak with your healthcare professional to ensure the diet is safe for you. If you live in an independent living community, speak to the team around you and let them know you plan on changing your diet.

What is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is based on significantly reducing—or entirely cutting out—your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fattier foods. This forces your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where you burn fat faster. The liver begins to process excess levels of fattier foods to help produce energy.

This diet is primarily used for cutting weight and losing excess body fat but can also help with cholesterol issues or blood sugar levels. There are several different variations of the diet, all with different individual carbohydrate levels and food restrictions.

However, the keto diet greatly restricts what foods you can eat, making it challenging to find suitable options. Most of the different diet variations involve avoiding almost all bread and grains, sweet foods, fruits, and snack foods. It’s important that you still consume the 25-30 grams of fibre a day recommended by most healthcare professionals.

Is the Keto Diet Safe for Everyone?

Before making any significant changes to your diet, it’s important to seek the advice of a doctor, nutritionist, or healthcare professional. They’ll be able to give you advice and recommendations so that you can plan to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need for a healthy life. They can also inform you of any potential side effects you may experience.

For example, the keto diet often involves the following side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Bad breath
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Soreness

Because your metabolic system is changing part of its operation, your body may have some difficulty adapting to ketosis. Most of these side effects are temporary but can still cause problems in your daily life—especially if you’re on medication or struggling with another medical condition. This makes it essential to speak with a professional before starting any new diet, as you should always make sure a new diet is safe.

For seniors thinking about starting the keto diet, speaking with a professional about ways to ensure you still get the nutrients you need is important. Since the keto diet greatly restricts what foods you can eat, getting proper nutrition becomes much more difficult. While the keto diet is still a good choice when trying to lose weight and build muscle mass, you should always make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk.

A group of happy seniors enjoying a keto diet lunch together.

Is the Keto Diet Safe for Seniors?

If your doctor, nutritionist, or healthcare professional determines that the keto diet is safe for you, it may be a good choice for losing weight and building muscle. Keto can be an excellent choice if you take active steps for proper nutrition. It’s important to do your research and make sure you’re able to be healthy and avoid unnecessary risks.

At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing. While keto is a great diet choice, it does come with its risks, and if it could harm you, it may be better to pursue an alternate diet or variation of keto. There are many different versions of the keto diet—there may be an option that still helps you get everything you need!

However, if you’ve researched the side effects and your healthcare professional determines that keto is safe, you can follow their advice.

Put Your Health First

The keto diet can be an excellent way to lose a few pounds and build up your muscle mass, but it comes with its own complications. It’s important that you speak with your doctor and the people around you about changing your diet. If you live in an independent living community, tell the team around you that you’re interested in keto.

By letting the people around you know you intend to change your diet, they can make sure they’re ready to help with any potential side effects. Your safety always comes first, and they’re there to help!Here at the Villages at the River Club, we take pride in our ability to help residents with all of their dietary needs. To learn more about our communities, schedule a tour today.

Written by Lisa Klasen

“It gives me pleasure to help our residents live a life of independence, love, and joy here in our community.”

Lisa has lived in Clarksville for over 10 years and is originally from the Nashville area. She went to college at Central Michigan University, where she graduated with a liberal arts degree (psychology major).

Lisa has an eclectic work background and started her career in the human resources/training/development arena for several service-oriented companies such as Hyatt Hotels and The Forum Group (Senior Living Communities). Later in her career, she switched to real estate sales for local custom home builders for about 15 years in Indiana and Tennessee. Recently, Lisa has worked as a sales and marketing director for a local independent living community, a skilled nursing facility, and an assisted living/memory care facility.

She lives with her 4 “boys”: 2 dogs and 2 cats. She still holds her real estate license and also does professional photography during her time away from The Villages. She hopes to use her photography skills to market our beautiful building and wonderful family of residents and staff here. She looks forward to getting to know everyone!

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