Are ketones dangerous?

In a ketogenic diet, you are flipping your metabolism (metabolism). You go from burning carbohydrates to burning fat and this is not without consequences for your body. But to what extent are these consequences actually dangerous for your health?

And how can you protect your body from any dangers or is it even possible to avoid the dangers altogether? What do you all need to take into account? In short, exactly how dangerous (or harmless) is such a keto diet?

Biggest danger of keto

Are ketones dangerous and therefore you should be wary of a keto diet? No; ignorance is the biggest danger of a keto diet. If you haphazardly, without reliable information and without proper knowledge of your own body, suddenly start eating lots of fats and extremely few carbs, you will hit a (proverbial) wall. Changes in your body will probably scare you off and you will be tempted to throw in the towel. This while the benefits of ketones have yet to develop. So make sure you know what you’re getting into, that you’re aware of what exactly a ketogenic diet entails and also consider what your goal is. What do you want to achieve by following a keto diet?

Ketogenic diet is not a crash diet or detox

Although you can lose weight well with a keto diet, you cannot compare it to a crash diet or detox. It is more like a totally different way of eating. At least, the food you eat is different and as a result your body’s energy sources change. Therefore, it is wise to read up on this way of eating and make a well-considered decision whether you want to follow this diet. There are quite a few issues you will have to deal with, especially in the first few weeks.

Objections to ketogenic diet

As soon as you start following a ketogenic diet you have to take into account possible criticism from people around you. This is because quite a few objections are raised against a ketogenic diet. This is also where the assumption often comes from that ketones can be dangerous. Some of these objections are justified, but most of the time there is a misunderstanding based on wrong information.

Too few carbs is harmful

A common objection has to do with the low intake of carbohydrates. This is indeed extremely low in a keto diet, especially compared to other diets. A misconception about carbohydrates is that they provide the energy for your body. And although this is indeed a fairly indispensable source of energy for top athletes, as a healthy person you can easily provide your body with energy by using fats. Of course, the unsaturated (good) fats have the absolute preference.

Ketogenic diet increases cholesterol

Although there are many misconceptions about cholesterol, a ketogenic diet will not necessarily worsen your cholesterol. Therefore, how the body responds to a keto diet varies from individual to individual. For some people the LDL and/or trygliceride levels (the bad cholesterol) will increase, but this is often also true of the HDL level (the good cholesterol). And despite the fact that it has long been proven that a high cholesterol level does not necessarily lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, this assumption remains stubborn.

Are ketones dangerous? They are in ketoacidosis

When can ketones be dangerous? In ketoacidosis, acidification of the blood occurs. This is a very harmful condition and can even be fatal. There is then a serious imbalance between ketones and glucose in the blood here. This imbalance can occur in people with diabetes. However, ketoacidosis has nothing to do with the ketosis that you want to achieve with a ketogenic diet. Ketosis, in fact, is a state that your body enters when it switches to burning fat. Ketosis is absolutely harmless for healthy people. A ketogenic diet can also be harmless for people with diabetes, provided they manage their blood levels sensibly and in a controlled manner. People with type II diabetes may even benefit greatly from a ketogenic diet. However, don’t start experimenting with the keto diet on your own if you have diabetes. Discuss your plans with your doctor and get guidance from someone who is knowledgeable about a healthy ketogenic diet.

Honest about keto diet

It’s not a miracle diet and your life isn’t suddenly going to be rosy when you switch to a diet high in fats and extremely low in carbohydrates. But there are certainly many health benefits to be gained from a keto diet. Nonetheless, there are a number of things to keep in mind:


When you start following a keto diet, you may experience fatigue for the first few weeks. This is because your body has to get used to not getting enough carbohydrates to provide you with energy. It switches to a different fuel and it takes time for this to happen. However, when the first few weeks are over, you will have more energy than before you started the keto diet. Usually the adjustment period lasts about four to six weeks.

Difficult to maintain

Following a keto diet is strict and, especially in the beginning, does not allow for “smuggle days”. So you have to be really determined and stick to the diet. For some people this is difficult, others notice the benefits of a keto diet pretty quickly and can also keep it up easier because of this. This varies from person to person. Rest assured, eventually you will find that with the eating habits that are appropriate in a keto diet, you are much less likely to feel hungry or need snack times to feel satiated.


Because grains and bread do not fit into a keto diet, you may experience decreased bowel movements. Or, obstipation or constipation. Your stools may be delayed, hard or it may even be painful to go to the bathroom. This annoying condition occurs in many people who switch to a keto diet. It is important to get enough fiber and since it cannot come from grains or bread, you have to make sure you get it from somewhere else. For example, lots of green vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, etc.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Because you eat less variety and almost no fruit is not allowed on a keto diet, deficiencies can eventually occur. Although this is very rare, it is something you should take into account. This is easily overcome by taking a multi-vitamin supplement.

Tools for a ketogenic diet

In order to follow a ketogenic diet without any risk or danger, there are a number of points to keep in mind:

Keep an eye on your body

First of all, it is important that you are familiar with your own body. How do you feel, what are your possible complaints and what is your starting condition? For example, have you ever had your blood values measured? Especially when you start such a big turnaround as following a keto diet, it is useful to know how your body is doing at the start of such a “journey”. Any change your body goes through after adopting a keto lifestyle, you can then compare to the before situation.

Ask for guidance

Healthy adults can follow a keto diet without any danger. Children, pregnant women and people with an underlying medical condition, for example diabetes or a condition that limits a body function (such as kidneys, liver, or gallbladder), should preferably be assisted by a health professional. However, doctors, dietitians, or other nutritionists are not always knowledgeable about a ketogenic diet. So look for someone who is open to this and who is willing and able to guide you.

Measuring ketosis is knowing

The goal of a ketogenic diet is obviously to achieve ketosis, which means that your body uses fat burning to obtain energy. Because every human body is different, there is no standard number of carbohydrates or exact time frame to give when you achieve this. Often you will notice it in your body, for example by a different breath odor, but it is better to know for sure.

Keto test strips

To find out if you are in ketosis, you can measure the number of ketones in your urine. Special test strips are available for this purpose. By measuring this regularly, you can not only properly monitor what your diet is doing to your ketosis state, but also identify any strongly abnormal values.

It cannot be stressed enough: everybody is different and will therefore react differently to a ketogenic diet. Keep a finger on the pulse and know what state your body is in. Don’t guess, but know and measure!