We have already discussed how to get enough healthy fat on keto—but what happens if you’re relying too much on protein (instead of a combination of protein and fat)?
First and foremost, not consuming enough fat on the keto diet can leave you feeling hungry and sluggish. Even on keto, you still need to be consuming a proper amount of calories! Without consuming enough food, you may experience fatigue, weakness, and increased hunger.
This can lead to overeating, weight gain, and other health issues. Fat is essential for satiety, so if you’re not getting enough, keto will be more difficult—and far less tasty! (Plus, if you feel hungry and you’re afraid to eat fat, you might decide to reach for more carbs—the opposite of what you want on a keto diet.)
In addition, not getting enough fat on the keto diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Without enough fat, your body may not be able to absorb these essential vitamins properly.
This can lead to deficiencies and related health problems. Fat also helps your body absorb certain potentially beneficial phytochemicals—like lycopene, lutein, and other carotenoids found in things like tomatoes, spinach, kale, and bell peppers. (So always enjoy some fat with salads and vegetables dishes!)
Apart from deficiencies in fat-soluble nutrients, it’s possible to develop essential fatty acid deficiencies. These are pretty rare, even on diets very low in fat, but they’re not unheard of. Signs of essential fatty acid deficiency include dry, scaly skin, dry and brittle hair, increased susceptibility to infections, and poor wound healing.
Most people on keto diets are at greater risk of eating too much fat, but that doesn’t mean no one runs into the opposite problem of eating too little. Remember: you don’t need to gorge on fat, but you can enjoy delicious, high-fat foods while losing weight and improving your health. That’s what keto is all about. (Sayonara, rice cakes and fat-free cottage cheese … go back to the 1980s where you belong!)
In short, there’s a reason that most keto-ers prioritize healthy fats to make sure this way of eating stays delicious, sustainable, and healthy!