The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, has gained widespread popularity over recent years as a weight loss and health improvement method. This low-carb, high-fat diet is credited with improving energy levels, blood sugar regulation, and reducing inflammation.
However, going keto isn’t without its side effects. While the diet may have benefits, it can also have some surprising and unpleasant side effects that people may not be aware of. Here are some of the main side effects of going keto.
1. The Keto Flu
The keto flu is one of the most common side effects of starting a ketogenic diet. This occurs when the body is adapting to the new low-carb diet, and is characterized by fatigue, headaches, nausea, brain fog, and flu-like symptoms. The keto flu can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but it can be managed by staying well-hydrated and getting plenty of rest.
2. Increased Risk of Nutrient Deficiencies
The ketogenic diet can be deficient in several essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, which are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. These nutrients are crucial for optimal health and the immune system to function properly. Therefore, it is important to take supplements and eat nutrient-dense foods to avoid any nutrient deficiencies.
3. Increased Risk of Heart Disease
The high-fat, low-carb nature of the keto diet can lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, especially the bad LDL cholesterol. This increase in cholesterol levels can result in a higher risk of heart disease if left unchecked. Therefore, it is important to monitor cholesterol levels while on a ketogenic diet.
4. Digestive Issues
The high-fat, low-carb nature of the keto diet can cause digestive issues like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. This is because the digestive system needs fiber to function properly, which is relatively absent on the keto diet. Therefore, it is important to eat fiber-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, chia seeds, flaxseed, and psyllium husks, among others.
5. Bad Breath
Ketones, the byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy, can cause bad breath, making people on the keto diet prone to halitosis, also known as keto-breath. The smell is often described as fruity or acetone-like, and while it may be unpleasant, it is generally not harmful.
In conclusion, while the ketogenic diet has many benefits, it is important to be aware of these side effects. With some planning, it is possible to mitigate these and make the switch to a healthier lifestyle without any major issues. It is always recommended to check with a healthcare provider before starting any new diet to ensure that it is suitable for you.