Side Effects of Keto Diet

Tired of bad breath from keto diet? Read more to find out what other effects this diet can have on you!

Individuals are tempted by the short-term weight loss of keto diet. But they forget about the long-term health implications it has. You should not follow it for a long period without medical supervision. If you plan on following a keto diet, then consult your nutritionist and general physician.

Keto diets have become pretty popular over the years. The ultra-low consumption has shown promising results, as fat sheds quicker than ever. The food regimen consists of 80% fat, 15% protein, and a small percentage of 5% carbohydrates. This means your body is deprived of all the healthy calories from carbs like fruits and vegetables too.

There are benefits of adopting such a diet that results in triggering ketosis. The body is deprived of carbs, so the existing ones are burnt first. After depletion, it activates fat burning for energy. Yet, it proves to be helpful for overweight individuals to lose weight. But some unpleasant side effects might come along with a strict high-fat and low carb regimen.

Here is what you need to know about all the side effects of keto diet before you try it out:

Keto Flu 

It might sound strange that you can get flu from a diet, but it’s an actual thing. Cutting back on carbs causes your body to enter a state of ketosis. This might lead to keto flu as a combination of flu-like symptoms incur. They could include muscle pains, nausea, fatigue, headaches, and some experience diarrhea too.

Your body transitions to using fat as the main source of energy. Thus, it causes side effects that the individual did not experience due to carbs. But your digestive system will adapt to the changes within the first week or two to the new primary energy source.

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Mood Swings

Serotonin is secreted by the body to stabilize the mood and promote feelings of happiness and joy. But due to the reduced levels of carbohydrates in the body, serotonin levels drop. Carbohydrates are needed to produce serotonin. Therefore, individuals following a keto diet may experience disturbance in sleep, mood, and appetite.

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Frequent Craving

According to research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a chemical imbalance may occur because of completely cutting down carbs. Your brain releases a chemical known as neuropeptide-Y (NPY) that regulates carbohydrate intake. But once you begin a keto diet the chemical signal intensifies that leads to carbohydrate cravings. Thus, people tend to suffer from eating disorders after following a strict carb-free diet. Many have shown signs of binge eating due to cravings.

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Weight Gain

Keto diet is known to give quick weight loss results which is why people overlook side effects. This is because the elimination of carbs reduces your body’s water retention. Fats and proteins do not hold water like starchy food. It causes water to be expelled during urination and sweating. Hence, individuals doing keto diet report losing instant water weight and looking leaner.

But nutritionists look at it from a different perspective; whether the weight will stay off or not. It isn’t easy to stick to a strict diet plan. So, chances of gaining the lost weight quicker are a big possibility.

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Keto diet or low carb plans have the common side effect of constipation. Following a ketogenic diet plan means saying farewell to whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables. These contain high fiber that promotes a healthy bowel movement and prevents constipation.

Thus, the low fiber in your dietary intake and reduced fluid retention are a recipe for disaster. Nutritionists suggest increasing your water intake and adding keto-friendly high fiber foods. You can add any non-starchy vegetable or berries, like beans, baby corn, asparagus, etc. Nuts are also a good option.

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Keto diet promotes excessive production of bile to digest high fatty foods. The high fat in the diet can cause diarrhea because bile is a natural laxative. It increases the peristaltic movement leading to diarrhea. Moreover, the chances of your stool changing texture, shape, color, and smell are a side effect of dietary changes. Watery diarrhea is a result of unabsorbed fats and fatty acids in the small intestines and colon.

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Keto Breath

Ketosis begins the moment we start to limit our carbohydrate intake. The digestion of fats produces a by-product known as ketones. It is a chemical derivative of acetone that has a pungent smell. Acetones are found in nail polish removers giving them a strong odor.

However, our bodies tend to produce it naturally and it is released through exhalation. This causes people on a keto diet to experience bad breath. So, keto breath is a common yet unnecessary side effect because of bacterial buildup.

Image: Health Magazine

Change in Appetite

People who adopted a keto diet reported feeling less hungry. There is no solid research evidence for why there is a diminished desire to eat. Research by Nutrition Research however shows that it may be due to a low carb or carb-free diet that can cause a hormonal imbalance. It could suppress appetite due to a lack of hunger hormone (ghrelin) production.

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Final Thoughts

Keto diet is beneficial for overweight and diabetic individuals. But it is not a permanent solution for healthy weight loss. It is not a sustainable lifestyle pattern due to its many side effects. So, before you are tempted to try it for yourself, check with your nutritionist whether it is right for you or not.

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