Can the Keto Diet Cause B12 Deficiency?

  • By Abigail Roberts
  • 2 minute read
Can the Keto Diet Cause B12 Deficiency?

The keto diet has been on the rise for many years, especially as it’s often advertised as the answer to weight loss. Though, is this diet plan actually safe? Would you be at risk of developing certain nutrient deficiencies due to the lack of carbohydrates?

All will be answered in this short guide!

Keto 101

Firstly, let’s briefly introduce the keto diet and what it entails.

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that focuses on the consumption of protein and fats and the - almost complete - reduction of carbohydrates.

The idea behind this diet plan is that cutting carbohydrates would result in your body being forced into using a different type of fuel, as opposed to relying on sugar (glucose) as our body’s primary energy source.

The keto diet relies on ketone bodies, which is the type of fuel our liver produces from stored fat.

This diet mainly revolves around the consumption of healthy fats, such as nuts, oils, seeds, avocados, tofu, and plenty of saturated fat.

Keto only allows for the consumption of carbohydrates in very small quantities, such as small portions of fruit and vegetables.

There is much speculation on the effectiveness of this diet, particularly from a weight loss perspective. Though, this article will focus more on the potential nutrient deficiencies associated with following the keto diet.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential vitamins for healthy functioning of our body. B12 plays many key roles in the body, such as helping to make our DNA and blood cells.

B12 is mainly sourced from animal products, such as dairy, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry. So, it goes without saying that those who are vegan may struggle to consume an adequate amount of B12. But what about those who follow keto?

Considering the keto diet focuses on high fat and protein food sources, it may be unlikely that anyone would be lacking this nutrient if they were to follow this diet.

Though, it’s always important to check in with your doctor regarding potential nutrient deficiencies and before you start a new diet.

So, what about other nutrients on the keto diet?

Nutrients You May Lack on the Keto Diet

When you embark on the keto diet, you are cutting out one of the largest food groups - carbohydrates.

What this means is that you will be lacking many other key nutrients, such as:

  • Fiber

Fiber is a type of undigestible carbohydrate. This nutrient is absolutely essential to the proper functioning of our gut - something that is often overlooked in the health and wellness world!

The western world already lacks fiber when eating a fairly balanced diet, though those that follow keto are at an increased risk of lacking fiber intake, which can wreak havoc on the gut.

  • Folate

Folate is a type of B vitamin essential for red blood cell formation and DNA production. Many of the food sources rich in folate include carbohydrate sources such as vegetables, fruit, and grains.

Take-Home Message

The keto diet is a popular, and rather controversial, weight-loss diet. While it may work for some, it will unlikely work for many.

This diet focuses on the complete reduction of carbohydrates, which in turn can present numerous health issues and nutrient deficiencies.

While B12 isn’t particularly one to worry about when following the keto diet, fiber and folate are two nutrients which could be severely compromised.

It’s important to discuss the keto diet with your doctor before cutting out any major food groups. Additionally, seeking an effective multivitamin to bridge any nutrient gaps may also be beneficial.

Our top pick is Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi!

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