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Are you having any side effects of a keto diet? Here's what you need to know and how to deal.
7 Side Effects of a Keto Diet
Do a quick search about diets that help you lose weight, and you’ll come across tons of them! While some of them do work well, most others are merely just fad diets that do more harm than good.
You may have also come across the keto diet, and considering the fact that it has such good rapid weight loss results, you might be tempted to try it.
Not only that but most of what we see and hear from people has been positive.
But is it really worth the try? Are there any side effects associated with it? Keep reading to find out just that and more.
So, let's get right to our list of side effects of a keto diet.
1-) Low Energy Levels
This one’s probably the most commonly noticed side effect of the keto diet- fatigue, weakness and lethargy.
Many people, especially beginners to the keto diet, experience this side effect.
There are two main reasons behind it. One, the body is now learning to change its source of energy from carbs to fats. And two, it is facing calorie restriction.
What to do:
- Go slow-if you are sensitive and find your energy dipping, then decrease your daily carb intake more slowly to allow your body some time to adjust with less discomfort.
- Decrease the amount of high intensity exercise at first, We explain this more in this post about whether or not you should exercise in ketosis.
Digestive complaints, particularly constipation, is another big side effect experienced by those who try the keto diet.
Since the keto diet involves restriction of certain foods, some people forget to include enough fiber from vegetables.
When our bodies don’t get enough fiber, it gives rise to issues such as bloating, gas and constipation.
What to do:
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Add more low carb, high fiber vegetables and some nuts and seeds into your daily diet.
- Check this post out on how to get more fiber when on a keto diet for more sources of keto fiber to consider.
Rapid Weight Loss & Gain
While the initial weight loss associated with the keto diet can be quite impressive, studies have shown that a lot of times, people find it hard to stick to such a restrictive diet.
This seems to be true of most diets. However, the people I know on a keto diet have kept the weight off and enjoy their lifestyle.
What to do.
- It is my belief that this is a psychology of eating issue rather than the diet's fault.
- If you go into it thinking it is only temporary while you lose x number of pounds then you are setting yourself up for regaining the weight.
- Conversely, if your goal is to get healthier with weight loss as a side effect of that, then it can be more permanent. Also, if you enjoy the foods you're eating, are not stressing over it, and it fits well into your current lifestyle then that also lends to more permanent results.
- The bottom line here is that if you go back to eating a bunch of carbs, you will likely regain the weight. The opposite is usually true as well. If you maintain this as a lifestyle likely you will keep it off.
- Diets can be a very individual thing so it is important to find one that you can live with long term, that you choose good quality foods, and most of all, that you feel well!
Bad breath is another big concern among those following a keto diet.
In general, during this diet, the body creates ketones, which it excretes in different ways, one of which is through the lungs, which is responsible for causing the bad breath.
What to do.
- If you happen to have this issue, just try some keto breath mints. Take them during those times when you need to be close enough to others for anyone to even notice.
- You can also reduce your protein intake and drink more water to see if that helps.
- The last resort would be to come out of ketosis which isn't too appealing for keto-lovers.
A lot of those following the keto diet have reported feeling super thirsty. The keto diet also tends to help you lose water weight, which can also be the cause of the increased thirst.
What to do.
- Drink more water but try adding a pinch of sea salt for some added hydration effectiveness. Eating foods that have electrolytes (nuts, greens, citrus) may also be helpful.
Cramps in the Legs
A lot of people believe that the keto diet also induces leg cramps in them, and that might be a possibility. This is because the insulin levels tend to go down when you’re on the keto diet, which causes your kidneys to decrease their ability to retain sodium.
This reduced sodium retainment is what may contribute to leg cramps.
Plus, the lack of intake of fruits that contain potassium also contributes to the increased risk of leg cramps in those following the ketogenic diet.
What to do.
- There shouldn't be any surprise that what to do is the same as for the increased thrist and so I will repeat that now.
- Drink more water but try adding a pinch of sea salt for some added hydration effectiveness.
- Eating foods that have electrolytes (nuts, greens, citrus) may also be helpful.
People on a keto diet have also reported an increase in food cravings after they started it. The lack of carbohydrates tends to give rise to those initial carb cravings, and in most cases, this usually resolves within a week.
What to do.
- Reduce your carbs slowly as mentioned above.
- Drink water.
- Try some low carb recipes and take a look at our keto swaps post for ideas as well as our healthy keto snacks ideas to help curb those cravings.
Summing it Up-Side Effects of Keto Diet
- So many people are thriving and feel quite well on the keto diet.
- A whole lot of weight is being lost too!
- Side effects are typically temporary and if they continue, then you're either not doing something right or this diet is just not meant for your body.
- Following some simple advice may help your comfort levels as your body adjusts to the keto diet.
- Drink enough water and add electrolytes in the right amounts if needed.
- Take it slow if you have to.
- Rest enough.
- Grab some keto breath mints.
- Choose high quality organic whole foods as much as possible.
- Don't think of this as a temporary sentence, it should be a lifestyle you enjoy and feel well on.
Side Effects of a Keto Diet: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. IT IS BASED ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS. I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR AND WHAT IS WRITTEN SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE OR TREAT ANY DISEASE OR ILLNESS. THE PRODUCT LINKS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE CONSTRUED AS MEDICATIONS OR TREATMENTS AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY SUPPLEMENTS, HERBAL PRODUCTS, OR STARTING EXERCISE PROGRAMS.