11 side effects of keto diet you must know

Constipation and other bowel issues are also common on the Keto diet

Let’s take a look at a less pleasant side effect of the keto diet: constipation. “Many of the finest sources of fiber, such as beans, fruit, and whole grains, are prohibited on the ketogenic diet,” Clark notes. “As a result, fiber-rich diet benefits such as regular laxation and microbiota support are lost for ketogenic diets. The microbiome has been connected to everything from immunological function to mental health.”

In a long-term study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in April 2015, constipation was discovered as a common side effect in children on ketogenic diets for epilepsy medication.

In addition to constipation, diarrhea can be a side effect of the keto diet.

May lead to the keto flu

The keto diet limits carb consumption to under 50 grams per day, which can be tough for your body to acclimate to.adjust.

During the beginning of this eating pattern, your body may experience flu-like symptoms as it depletes its carb stores and switches to using ketones and fat for fuel.

These adverse effects, which are caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances as your body adjusts to ketosis, include headaches, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, and constipation.

While most people with the keto flu recover in a few weeks, it’s important to keep track of your symptoms, remain hydrated, and eat salty, potassium-rich, and other electrolyte-rich foods throughout the diet.

You’ll probably have bad breath while your body adjusts to ketosis

On the keto diet, your breath usually smells fruity at first, which is a symptom of the keto flu. Acetone is a by-product of ketosis that is mostly eliminated by the lungs and breath, according to a study published in the journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in February 2014. When used in small amounts, acetone is a type of ketone that has a pleasant odor. “It’s impossible to say how long it will last because it varies from person to person,” Asche continues, “but it’s common for someone to have this side effect for a few weeks.”

High cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease:

The ketogenic diet has no restrictions on saturated or trans fats. The latter are fats that should be avoided at all costs. Read the labels and avoid foods that contain partly hydrogenated oils, sometimes known as trans fats. These lipids raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while decreasing your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, they also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Certainly, fat quality matters,” Yawitz argues. “There is a significant nutritional difference between bacon and nuts. People following the keto diet should emphasize plant-based, unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado as much as possible.

Potential Keto Side Effect Is Muscle Loss :

According to Edwina Clark, RD, a dietitian in private practice in San Francisco, “muscle loss on the ketogenic diet is an ongoing field of research.” “Small studies reveal that people who follow a ketogenic diet lose muscle even if they exercise regularly. This could be due to the fact that protein alone is less effective for muscle growth after exercise than protein and carbs combined.” Meanwhile, participants who followed the keto diet for three months lost around the same amount of body fat and had roughly the same muscle mass alterations as persons who followed regular diets, according to a small study published in March 2018 in the journal Sports. Those on the ketogenic diet, on the other hand, lost more leg muscle.

Keto Can Stress Your Kidneys and Increase Your Risk of Kidney Stones :

A well-known potential adverse effect of the ketogenic diet is kidney stones. According to a study published in the Journal of Child Neurology, 13 out of 195 children who were on the keto diet as a treatment for epilepsy developed kidney stones. In the trial, children who took potassium citrate supplements had a lower risk of kidney stones. If you’re worried about kidney stones, talk to your doctor about supplementing.

“If you’re going to go keto, there’s a better way and a worse way,” Yawitz explains. “Loading your plate with meats, particularly processed meats, may raise your risk of kidney stones and gout,” according to the study.

If you’re on a Keto diet, you can notice some differences in your period :

“Periods may become inconsistent or completely stop” on the keto diet, Yawitz adds. “Reductions in gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone produce this, which is more due to rapid weight loss than the diet itself.”

Menstrual irregularities that last for a long time might have major consequences, including a loss of bone density. “Estrogen is really crucial for bone health,” explains Yawitz. “Prolonged menstrual irregularity has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular illness, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction in studies. If your cycles become irregular or you cease having periods, you should see your ob-gyn.

The Possibility of Low Blood Sugar Can Make Keto Risky for People With Diabetes :

Carbohydrates aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels, which is especially important for diabetics. While a keto diet may help lower HbA1c levels (a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels), it may also produce episodes of hypoglycemia, which is a severe dip in blood sugar, according to a study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine in May 2018. Angie Asche, RD, a sports dietitian in Lincoln, Nebraska, says she is “hesitant to advocate a ketogenic diet for persons with type 1 diabetes,” echoing many registered dietitians.

People with type 2 diabetes are in the same boat. While preliminary evidence indicates that the keto diet is both safe and effective, more research is needed.

Keto may cause a drop in sodium levels in your blood :

Keto may result in a decrease in sodium levels in the blood: “You lose salt and other electrolytes in your urine when you initially start the keto diet due to insulin reductions,” Yawitz explains. “This has a big impact on keto flu symptoms.” It’s essential. “If you run or sweat a lot, this is a major component in keto flu symptoms.” It’s critical to replenish salt through your food, particularly if you exercise or sweat a lot. How to replenish salt in your diet Yawitz continues, “This can help prevent the more serious deleterious repercussions of long-term salt deficiency.” These symptoms include lethargy and perplexity, as well as seizures, coma, and death in severe cases, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Dehydration and electrolyte loss are possible side effects of the ketogenic diet :

“Reduced carbohydrate consumption abruptly and rapidly sets your body up for a double whammy,” adds Yawitz. “Glucose, which is most easily produced from carbohydrates, is the brain’s principal fuel. The brain must adapt to use ketones from digested fats for energy on very low-carb diets. To make matters worse, as your insulin levels drop, your kidneys produce more electrolytes.” Additionally, according to Clark, as carbohydrates are decreased on a keto diet, your total body water declines. What is the final outcome? The keto flu can include constipation, nausea, headaches, exhaustion, irritability, cramping, and other symptoms. Don’t worry, though: Many of these symptoms are transient.

You May Develop Nutrient Deficiencies Because Keto Strictly Limits Carbs :

When carbohydrate intake is low, fiber ingestion is usually lowered. “This isn’t surprising, given your diet’s lack of fruits, whole grains, and starchy vegetables,” Asche explains. This can have one very unfavorable consequence (more on that below).

According to MedlinePlus, another likely dietary limitation is potassium deficiency, which is important for both electrolyte balance and blood pressure control. “Insufficient potassium consumption is inclined” when fruit and starchy vegetable consumption is reduced, Asche adds. Lower-carb potassium sources, such as avocado and spinach, and lower-carb fiber sources, such as oats, should be included in the diet, according to her.


If you’re thinking about starting the ketogenic diet, talk to your doctor first, regardless of any health issues you may have. Also, seek the advice of a certified dietitian nutritionist (find one at EatRight.org) who can help you develop a meal plan that you can stick to. Persons with kidney disease or a history of disordered eating should stay away from the diet, as should people with type 1 diabetes. If you have heart disease risk factors, you should see your doctor before starting the diet.

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