The Dark side of Anti-Keto Click Bait – a Rebuttal to Mary Vance’s Dark Side of Keto Article

Like many other “Nutritional Experts”, Mary Vance has a very limited understanding of human physiology and loves to use her misinterpretations of the science to show how potentially “Dangerous” keto can be. Just so you know, Mary Vance is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant, not a Nutritionist. She has the same education as I am currently enrolled in.

This is her Article.

The Dark Side of Keto

Here is a point by point rebuttal to her many error filled points. Mary’s comments are in Bold.

For example, a doctor colleague of mine mentioned the following:
“I have a patient who’s been on a ketogenic diet for 7 months. She lost 14 stubborn pounds of body fat, her brain is clear, and her carb cravings are gone. She wants to continue this plan, BUT her LDL cholesterol went from 119 to 253. Total cholesterol from 199 to 355. HsCRP from 0.21 to 3.0.

If you don’t speak lab work, it means this person is showing a major spike in inflammation. It’s confusing because she feels great, but her body is showing a dramatic elevation in inflammatory markers like LDL and CRP. And these results are not uncommon in those on a ketogenic diet.

This shows a basic lack of understanding of several things.

1. It is not at all common for HsCRP to rise on keto. It is actually incredibly uncommon and a sign that the patient is doing something wrong or eating a food that is inflammatory to them. Not that keto is inflammatory as it has been well documented that it is the complete opposite.
2. LDL is not an inflammatory marker. It is a sign of increased fat energy transport.

The ketogenic diet is low fiber because of the strict carb restriction, and many people suffer constipation as a result after transitioning to keto. Fiber deficiencies harm our guts and the population of friendly bacteria, your microbiome.

This is pure opinion. Constipation is not that common with keto and it is more often than not a situation of low electrolytes or magnesium and nothing to do with fiber. There is no real definitive evidence that fiber is beneficial to gut health and lots of data showing that it is not needed at all and that people with gut issues often see a dramatic improvement when fiber is completely removed. There is no such things as a “Fiber deficiency” since for something to be a deficiency it has to cause a clear associated disease when it is lacking in the diet. Like Rickets. That is a disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency. It is verifiable. There is no verifiable disease associated with a lack of fiber in the diet and actually, the opposite is true. As I stated above, there is lots of data showing improvement in health when fiber is removed.

High fat diets can adversely affect your beneficial gut bacteria. They need plenty of plants to thrive, and if they don’t get fed, they die. Reduced gut bug population could mean trouble in the long run.

More conjecture and fiction. There is no evidence that gut bacteria dies when not eating plants. I go a year sometimes without eating plants and then switch on a dime to 14 days eating nothing but plants. The first couple days I have some bloating and gastro issues but after a short adjustment I can digest and handle the plants easily. No evidence what so ever that not eating plants and eating high fat can have any long term negative impact on gut health. The microbiome is severely misunderstood and from what I can see it is very adaptive and bacteria can be adjusted very quickly to adapt to changes in the diet. one thing is very clear. Removing all plants has been shown to dramatically reduce gut issues. The idea that plants are necessary to maintain gut health seems silly. If you have to eat something to maintain bacteria in the gut maybe that bacteria and that food is not all that beneficial.

Staying on keto for a long time may lead to kidney stones, liver issues, high cholesterol, constipation, slowed growth (in young people), and bone fractures. (source) This study shows that a high fat ketogenic diet caused insulin resistance in mice.

More and more lies and misconceptions. In one breath she says there are no long term studies on keto then in the next all of a sudden she has some magical proof that long term keto may lead to all of these issues? What did I miss? Initially people may see an uptick of kidney stones with keto as levels of urea change but as you adapt the levels adjust and normalize. There are no long term evidence that keto has an y impact on stones. Stones are created from oxidative stress and that is caused by high carbohydrate consumption and not keto.

There is no evidence of any “Liver issues” from the mysterious long term studies that didn’t exist but now she is quoting.

Cholesterol is a non issue. LDL anyway. Some see an increase but just as many or more see a decrease. More see an increase in HDL and decrease in trigs which is a much better marker than LDL will ever be.
Slowed growth only was a factor in early ketogenic therapies on children that were fed a 90% fat diet consisting of poor quality proteins and shitty plant oils and not healthy real foods.

Bone fractures come from poor nutrition. Not keto. You can have poor nutrition in any diet and again, this comes from early therapeutic keto diets on children using poor quality liquid diets.

That study showing hepatic insulin resistance in mice is idiotic. They saw insulin resistance in the liver yet the weight was not negatively impacted and total levels of insulin and glucose where better on the KD diet. Does that make sense? If there were signs of insulin resistance in the liver that is fine. You don’t need to be storing fat in the liver in any significant amount anyway. If total body insulin and glucose levels are positively impacted then it may just be a normal physiological mechanism causing the liver insulin resistance. The muscle also become selectively insulin resistant every night. Is that an issue? Nope. Also, we are not mice.

The Paleo Mom has an excellent article here documenting adverse reactions (unwanted or dangerous reaction) and supportive scientific literature on keto diet dangers.

The Paleo Mom is protecting her brand. Nothing more. She selects studies on incredibly sick children being treated with a liquid ketogenic diet consisting of 90% fat, mostly from vegetable oils and poor quality proteins, and uses this as proof that keto has all these dangers for the general population eating real foods. This is a pathetic attempt to sway people away from an incredibly valuable way to become more metabolically healthy. It is a shame people like to use science to bend the truth to suite their own agenda.

So while on one hand Mary Vance seems to say Keto might be good for a couple things, it is a back handed compliment followed by a dramatic drama filled attempt to sway people away from it. Unfortunate.