Why TikTok's New Keto Diet Trend Has The Internet Fuming

Eating nutritiously and achieving balance with your meals and treats are part of life's food journey. After all, a diet without yummy desserts from time to time or occasional trips to a Chick-fil-A or favorite pizza spot is just not living, in our humble opinion. But if you follow a keto diet, you may disagree. According to the New York Times, the keto diet is the most popular diet out there. The high-fat, low-carb diet requires followers to prioritize fats over sugars. For this reason, keto diet followers tend to skip things like pretzels, starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, beer, and the like, and instead opt for foods like meat and cheese (via Everyday Health). Bottom line: every diet is about choices, and the keto diet is no different. 

That said, per a New York Post article, one TikTok mom named Abby Durlewanger, who uses the handle "House of Keto," has ignited a keto diet war by revealing her children also follow this diet's restrictions. Some people on the Internet are not happy. The outlet shares that Durlewanger's posts about her kids' diet have resulted in both death threats and threats to report her and her husband to Child Protective Services even though the mom of two said she consulted a pediatrician. "I get at least 100 messages a day from people telling me to kill myself because of the way I feed my family," Durlewanger said. While that's obviously unacceptable, is this diet over the top for kids?

Balance is important

The New York Post turned to Courtney Glick, a pediatric dietitian at NYU Langone, to get their thoughts on kids and the keto diet. The dietician explained, "We typically don't suggest any diets for kids because food restrictions can create disordered eating patterns. And when adults label foods as 'bad,' 'wrong' or 'off-limits,' kids may become more anxious and stressed about eating, which can lead to childhood eating disorders."

It's also important to avoid over-indulging in a food group. Consider the fact that the American Heart Association says kids in the United States generally consume around 81 grams of sugar daily. This amounts to more than 65 pounds each year. Imagine purchasing 65 1-pound bags of sugar and telling your kids to eat them. That might help put House of Keto's intentions into perspective. Durlewanger told the New York Post, "It's about giving our kids the tools to build healthy relationships with food by making conscious decisions about what they put in their mouths and how those foods will impact their bodies."

However, meaning well doesn't necessarily mean being well. Glick said that the key is teaching your kids how to balance what they eat in a positive manner: "Cutting carbs and their micronutrients out of a child's diet is the restriction of an entire food group, which is in no way balanced nutritionally."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).