Do High-Fat Diets Have Negative Health Effects?

There are a lot of questions about ketogenic diets out there, so we asked our expert, Dr. Brett Osborn, to create a series with some answers.

In this video, Dr. Osborn covers the effects of a high-fat diet:

“There is scant data suggesting that there may be negative health effects to a high-fat diet, but the overwhelming majority of the data is positive. High-fat diets, like a ketogenic diet, in which 75, maybe 80% of your daily caloric requirement is from fat, are NOT bad for you.

A ketogenic diet can improve your lipid profile and your body-fat percentages. You are running your body on your own fat stores by causing an aggressive breakdown of your body fat and you’re promoting lipolysis by being ketogenic. The diet is actually anti-inflammatory in nature as well. We see patients’ inflammatory markers reducing over time when they’re on ketogenic diets.

That said, I don’t want people eating bacon cheeseburgers all day! You want to try to eat fats that are not inflammatory in nature, as opposed to those that do have some inflammatory effects on the body. People should stick with things such as olive oil or coconut oil and stay away from things like bacon, because it does have some untoward effects on the body.

Overall, a ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, has salubrious, or beneficial effects on one’s health. Again, the overwhelming majority of data that’s out there is positive as opposed to negative.

The genesis of this was in the 80s when people thought that eating high fat was very, very dangerous. So we lowered the fat in the diets (I’m sure all the readers out there remember this). The problem is that the daily calories, or caloric load, was made up almost exclusively at that point by carbohydrates, and often times, simple carbohydrates. If you know anything about the ketogenic diet and the health benefits of the ketogenic diet, you know that carbohydrate restriction, or lowered carbohydrates is in fact beneficial.

High carbohydrate load is the genesis of all of these inflammatory diseases or age-related diseases – cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis of the corroded arteries, atherosclerosis of the heart. In my mind, they’re all the same diseases, and one of the remedies, potentially, or one of the ways to thwart the genesis and the progression of these diseases is to use a ketogenic diet.

It’s contrary to what people may believe, but we want to be getting high fats and low carbohydrates.”

Dr. Osborn

Dr. O is a Team BPI Sports’ fitness and nutrition expert.