Keto Diet Side Effects – What You Need to Know Right Now

Keto dieting is still a hot topic now, and while many people prefer to take keto gummies or supplements as opposed to going full in with a keto diet, there are still people who are curious about the keto lifestyle as perhaps a celebrity or influencer is touting their success with it. With that in mind, what happens to your body when you are on a Keto diet? And what are some Keto diet side effects?

What Happens to Your Body When You Start a Keto Diet?

When you start a ketogenic diet, your body undergoes several changes as it adapts to using ketones, produced from the breakdown of fats, as its primary source of energy. Before we get into any keto diet side effects themselves, here is an overview of what happens to your body when you start a keto diet.

  1. Depletion of Glycogen Stores: The keto diet involves a significant reduction in carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, and they are stored in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. As carb intake decreases, glycogen stores are depleted.
  2. Transition to Ketosis: With reduced glycogen stores, the body shifts to using fat for energy. Fatty acids are released from fat stores and transported to the liver, where they are converted into ketones through a process called ketogenesis. Ketones, specifically beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone, become the primary fuel for the body and brain.
  3. Ketosis State: Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketones in the blood. This is the hallmark of the ketogenic diet. The body becomes efficient at burning fat for fuel, and ketones are used by the brain as an alternative to glucose.
  4. Weight Loss: The primary reason many people adopt the keto diet is for weight loss. With reduced carbohydrate intake and the shift to burning fat, the body begins to use stored fat for energy. This can lead to a reduction in body weight and fat mass.
  5. Appetite Suppression: Ketones have been suggested to have appetite-suppressing effects, which can lead to reduced calorie intake. Some individuals find that they naturally eat fewer calories on a ketogenic diet.
  6. Increased Fat Oxidation: The keto diet enhances the body’s ability to oxidize (burn) fat for energy. This can be beneficial for those seeking to lose weight or improve metabolic health.
  7. Improved Blood Sugar Control: For individuals with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, the keto diet may lead to improved blood sugar control. By reducing carbohydrate intake, there is less need for insulin, and blood sugar levels may become more stable.
  8. Changes in Water Balance: The initial stages of the keto diet may lead to a loss of water weight. As glycogen stores are depleted, water that was stored with glycogen is released, resulting in a decrease in water weight.

What Are Some Keto Diet Side Effects?

man sick with flue like symptoms
There are numerous keto diet side effects that you need to be aware of before you start a keto diet. One of them is the onset of keto flu, which is characterized by flu like symptoms.

While the ketogenic diet (keto diet) can have benefits for some individuals, it’s important to note that it may also have potential side effects, especially in the initial stages of adaptation. Here are some common keto diet side effects associated with the ketogenic lifestyle changes:

  1. Keto Flu: Many people experience flu-like symptoms during the first week of starting a keto diet. This is often referred to as the “keto flu” and may include fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, irritability, and constipation. These symptoms are usually temporary and can be mitigated by staying hydrated, getting enough electrolytes, and gradually transitioning into ketosis. This is one of the most despised keto diet side effects.
  2. Electrolyte Imbalance: The keto diet can lead to a loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) due to reduced water retention. This can result in symptoms like muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue. It’s important to replace electrolytes through diet or supplements.
  3. Digestive Issues: Some people may experience constipation or diarrhea when starting a keto diet. This can be attributed to changes in fiber intake, so it’s important to include fiber-rich foods and stay hydrated.
  4. Nutrient Deficiencies: Because the keto diet restricts certain food groups, there is a risk of nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods and consider supplements if necessary.
  5. Increased Cholesterol Levels: The keto diet may lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol levels for some individuals. While the impact on heart health is still debated, it’s advisable for those with cardiovascular concerns to consult with a healthcare professional.
  6. Decreased Performance in High-Intensity Activities: Some individuals, particularly those engaged in high-intensity activities, may experience a temporary decrease in performance during the initial stages of the keto diet. The body needs time to adapt to using fat as the primary fuel source.
  7. Bad Breath: A common side effect of the keto diet is bad breath, often described as “keto breath.” This is due to the production of ketones, which can have a distinct odor.
keto diet side effects include bad breath
Bad breath is another type of keto diet side effects. Unfortunately, it is not enough to mask it with breath mints or gum. The ketones produced by the diet have a distinct and often unpleasant odor. This leaves many people self-conscious about their breath – especially around their partner.

It’s important to approach the keto diet with caution, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

Before starting any significant dietary changes, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to ensure that the diet is suitable for your individual needs and health status. Regular monitoring and adjustments may also be necessary to address any potential side effects.

Do these Keto diet side effects scare you? You are not alone. For this reason, and to avoid some of the side effects, thousands of people simply prefer to take a Keto supplement to gain some of the advantages of the Keto diet.

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