Ketogenic diet is one diet that has time and again, proven itself with numerous benefits for a healthy lifestyle but it also has certain side effects to cope up with. The keto side effects are mostly minor and temporary, the impact and duration varies from person to person. The most common keto side effects are listed as follows.
NOTE : Keto diet is not advisable for lactating mothers or people under medication for BP, sugar, cholesterol or heart related issues of any kind without prior medical consultation. It is also advisable for all to go through a complete check up before starting the keto diet.
1. KETO FLU
- Muscle cramping or soreness
- Stomach aches
- This happens intially when body enters into ketosis and tries adapting the change of energy source from carbohydrates to fatty acids.
- The lack of carbohydrates and electrolytes in body, also results in keto flu.
- It usually lasts 2 days – 2 weeks.
- Take exogenous ketones to prevent the flu and recover quickly.
- Hydration is the key in ketosis. Drink plenty of water daily.
- Eat green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, avocados and Brazil nuts for the required potassium.
- Increase salt intake for countering the water loss and sodium drop.
- Fat intake needs to increase to combat the lack of energy.
2. LACK OF SALT AND FLUIDS
- Lack of energy and focus
- Excessive thirst
- Dryness in eyes
- Insulin reabsorbes salt for the body. So, initially when you take up a low-carb diet, the glycogen (sugar) that is used to run your body is secreted and lack of which, reduces salt levels in your body.
- Basically low insulin leads to lack of adequate salt in body. This is where you also lose your initial water weight.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the diet to stay hydrated. Colorless urination is one of the indicators of adequate water intake.
- Add sea salt to your diet, as one needs to maintain adequate salt levels, as it drops in secretion. It also avoids dizziness.
- If your salt intake is adequate, try taking potassium and magnesium to help you recover.
3. GUT TROUBLE
- When body lacks carbs and switches to fats for energy source, bowel movements are irritable due to dehydration.
- Lack of the fibre found in fruits and other food that are keto restricted also leads to constipation.
- Do not miss out on drinking water adequately.
- Sufficient portion of potassium and magnesium in form of dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, flax seeds etc. should be taken.
- In case of no relief, a dose of magnesium citrate or psyllium husk is the best option. Take a spoon of pysllium husk with with a cup of warm water at night everyday until relieved.
- Two spoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of warm water is also a tested go to. Drink it twice a day to see results.
4. BRAIN FOG
- Thinking capability
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings
- Memory issues
- Lack of adequate carbs like fruits, vegetables, grains and other nutritional value affects brain simulation.
- Sodium and Iodine are important for brain functioning that are depleted in this diet, affecting in brain’s active responsiveness, initially.
- Lack of required calories and sound sleep is a reason too.
- Unlike other diets or theories, keto requires you to have adequate salt.
- You need to include spinach, almonds and other healthy keto food helps to simulate brain activity.
- Sleep well, exercise and meditate for relaxation and focus.
5. INCREASE IN HEART RATE AND CHOLESTEROL
- Rapid pulse rate
- Heart palpitations/irregular heartbeat
- High cholesterol can just be monitored regularly, has no symptoms.
- It is due to dehydration in the body and lack of adequate carbs.
- High-fat diet could also trigger cholesterol.
- It is best for people to consider doctor’s advice before starting the diet and also in case of any abnormality during the diet.
- It is important to take sufficient zinc, magnesium and other nutrient supplements for healthy heart run.
- Reduce dairy products like heavy cream and whipping cream, to control cholesterol.
- Keep your heart rate and cholesterol in check regularly and make diet changes accordingly.
- If cholesterol is high you may want to take supplements or medicines accordingly.
6. INCREASE IN BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is a silent killer and there are no noted symptoms, monitoring regularly is the only way. However, some might experience unusual sweating, dizziness and likewise in any blood pressure fluctuations.
- Keto diet requires you to have adequate salt which hikes the blood rush in the body and results in high blood pressure.
- Lack of healthy carbohydrates and certain fruits that control blood pressure is a reason too.
- It is advisable to take doctor’s advice before the diet and keep blood pressure in check regularly when on diet and alter medicines accordingly.
- Eating flax seeds, chocolate and supplements of magnesium, calcium and potassium help.
- Plenty of water is required to flush out the toxins and avoiding retention of salt.
7. DROPPED BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth
- Excessive hunger
- Usually when blood sugar is high, insulin controls it and provides fuel to the body and also stores excess sugar as fat. This process is countered in a low-carb diet where insulin levels decrease and sugar is secreted. Thus, sugar levels drop.
- People with high blood sugar need to alter their medicine accordingly as per doctor’s advice, so as to avoid too low blood sugar levels.
- Eat adequately and increase your fat intake to provide the body with needed energy in absence of carbs sourced energy.
- People on medication for low sugar levels should consider doctor’s advice and only then start keto diet.
8. DROPPED ENERGY LEVELS AND DEFLATED MUSCLES
- Muscle cramps
- Reduced physical performance
- Body aches
- Initially, when the body lacks electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium etc), the body’s resistance and strength levels drop too.
- The body getting dehydrated and salt depleted also results in cramps and aches.
- It might take a few weeks for body to adjust to this and reap the benefits of the diet.
- Loss of minerals in body, also affecting bone health.
- To avoid hyponatremia i.e; leg cramps due to low salt, increase salt intake.
- Increase your fat intake, so the only energy source available to your body is fats and body gets trained to adapt the new fuel sooner.
- Exercise moderately to relieve cramps and increase resistance.
- Eat electrolyte-rich food like spinach (potassium), kale (calcium) etc.
- Yet again, plenty of water, healthy carbs and healthy fats if needed, with macro check could help gain energy.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol that dehydrate you further.
- If problem persists, mineral and energy supplements are recommended.
- Recommended intake of electrolytes : potassium – 1000 mg, magnesium – 300 mg, sodium – 2,000 – 4,000 mg per day.
9. BODY ODOUR AND BAD BREATH
- Proteins’ breakdown produces ammonia that results in the strong odour and breath.
- Acetone, a ketone body that triggers during ketosis leads to a fruity smell and in excess results in bad breath and body odour. It is also a sign of entering ketosis.
- Body is used to high carbs system and a new fuel source is an add on to the odour.
- The body is under detoxing, its secretion through skin can be body odour too.
- Plenty of water is the key, make sure you dont feel a dry mouth. Lack of saliva leads to bad breath too.
- Reduce proteins and maintain the fat macros.
- Avoid red meat, eat more cheese, soy and vegetables.
- Increase carbs intake slightly if bad breath gets excessive even after the first weeks of the diet.
- Mineral salt rich baths and massages help you get rid of body odour.
- Maintain dental hygiene well to avoid deteriorate the issue.
There are various other minor keto side effects that surpass on its own in a matter of few days.
- Frequent urination – Intially, when losing water weight and even otherwise keto diet releases excess insulin and sodium. So, you might pay more loo visits for the first few days.
- Diarrhoea – If your protein intake is more and fat is less, you might suffer from diarrhoea. Cut down on protein and carbs. Do not skip on the fat macros.
- Sleep issues – Lack of insulin levels may result in sleep deprivation which can be healed by taking little carbs, cheese or avocados before bed. Avoid drinking excess water at night time.
- Cravings – The body is used to the high carb food and sugars specially. When you have sugars, it satisfies psychologically and triggers your mind to have more of it. So, never indulge in having even in small quantities, as it will only result in craving more. It anyway lasts a few weeks so stay strong!
To conclude, the key to handling keto side effects is adequate water, sea salt and other healthy keto food, while strictly following macros and taking medical consultation and supplements as an when necessary, give your body time to adjust and reap the numerous amazing benefits of keto diet.
Hope the article was useful.
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