We often hear about all the benefits of this popular low carb diet, but just as with diet, food restrictions can come with adverse effects on your body. Since the ketogenic diet promises quick weight loss, it’s vital to learn more about the dangers and how it can affect you in the long run.
During the ketosis stage, your body (specifically the liver) produces ketones to burn fat. Your body uses many tricks to flush those ketones out, including respiration. When your lungs excrete ketones, it leaves a bad acetone-like smell to your breath known as the keto breath. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, and you can always use sugar-free mints and gum.
This sadly happens because of the shift our body makes from being a carb-burning machine to a fat-burning one. You will experience fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and an overall decrease in your physical activity.
Don’t try too hard during your workouts and allow your body to get used to the changes. In 3 to 4 weeks, your body will almost be 100% reprogramed on keto. Then you can then go back to your regular workout routine feeling better than ever!
Many doctors warn people on a ketogenic diet about kidney stones and kidney failure. High levels of nitrogen can increase pressure on your kidneys and is mostly due to eating excessive amounts of protein. This can lead to the formation of kidney stones, so if you have any kidney, liver, or gut issues, consult your doctor before starting any new diet.
Did you know that every gram of carbs we consume helps our body retain almost 3 pounds of water? So as soon as we quit eating carbs, our body automatically flushes the body of water, which is why people tend to pee a lot while on keto. That’s why most dieticians recommend keeping a water bottle nearby at all times.
Low sodium and electrolyte levels
And since your body is not retaining any water, it also means that it’s losing vitamins and minerals, causing sodium and electrolyte deficiencies. You become more deficient in sodium, magnesium, and potassium. One trick I learned from celebrity trainer and keto specialist Thomas DeLaurer, was to add as much salt in your diet as you can, including your drinking water. A small dash of sea salt or Himalayan salt can help your body keep the electrolytes and mineral levels up during your ketogenic state. You can even find electrolyte tablets on amazon, which are commonly used by athletes and people on the keto diet.
Gut and bowel changes
When you say ketogenic diet, it means eliminating carbs, which also means eliminating fiber. And that can sometimes be harmful to your bowel movement and gut health. Some people suffer from constipation or bowel changes, so try to consume as many fiber-rich veggies, such as broccoli, cabbage, and even asparagus. Also, some fats, such as MCT oil, ghee, and butter, contain a healthy amount of fiber to keep your stomach happy.
A lot of foods we consume contain some level of carbs. Besides water, it’s very rare to find any foods that are 100% carb-free. But the ketogenic diet strictly limits the foods you can have. Beans, fruits, and some vegetables are often restricted entirely while on keto, which can often cause vitamin deficiencies along with some other nutrients. So make sure that you take supplements while on your diet to compensate for your deficiencies. Talk to your doctor for more information.
Low blood sugar
Keto can be an excellent way for people to control their glycemic intake. But if you suffer from low blood sugar or any insulin deficiencies, keto might not be for you. So make sure to consult your doctor first.
The keto flu
The keto flu is a mix of all the things above that cause a feeling of dizziness, fatigue, and even real flu symptoms like nausea and runny nose. The best way to avoid the keto flu or to make it less acute is to drink as much water and minerals as you can.
Another reason for the keto flu is that our body tends to store toxins in our fat cells. Once we start losing weight, the body starts processing these toxins before flushing them out, giving us those bad sensations.