Introduction to the Keto Diet

When looking for a new diet plan, you might have come across the keto (ketosis) diet, as you want a diet plan that does not take ages to kick in. You want an immediate impact.

That is what you have most likely seen and thought to yourself straightaway, I want to try that, I want to be skinny in a week, without reading around what a keto diet actually is. Here I will explain more about the keto diet and the side effects it may cause.

What is a Keto Diet?

what is a keto diet

A keto diet consists of a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Priorities will become protein, non-starchy veggies and healthy fats, and that is where you would be getting your calories from. Fat will become the primary fuel for your body instead of carbohydrates which drives your body to a ketosis state, according to Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin Texas.

The keto diet is an effective weight loss if done right without cheat days if not, you are just eating a high-fat diet which may not help you achieve your weight loss goals as you are essentially just eating high unhealthy fats for no reason. Saying this, giving up carbs is no easy feat, and will come with many difficulties as you will have to give up bread, fruit and dairy. It is recommended that you plan your meals to make it easier. 

Before undergoing a keto diet, it is recommended to consult a physician before commencing in this diet, whatever your health is, claimed by a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in August 2017. If you are still going ahead with Keto Diet, then check out our review on Perfect Keto supplements  that helps you to kick start your ketosis state.

Side Effects of a Keto Diet

keto diet side effects

Although there are many health benefits, such as fast weight loss, decreased cravings and possibly reduce risks of disease. However, this diet does come with side effects. It is always good to go through the side effects before beginning your keto diet.

Not everyone will experience this side effects, and they should not last too long even if you do experience them. Here is a list of all the possible side effects.

1. Frequent Urination 

 When first starting the keto diet plan, you might need to urinate more because your body is burning through glucose in your liver and muscles. A high carb diet creates a bound of water in your body, each gram of glycogen is stored with 2-3 grams of water meaning you will have to empty your body more than usual. Levels of insulin will always drop causing your kidneys to exert excess sodium. There is nothing to worry about though, as it will only last a few days as your body gets used to the diet and no longer burn through extra glycogen. 

2. Dizziness and Drowsiness 

 Along with the body removing excess water, it will also target getting rid of minerals like potassium, magnesium and sodium. This might leave you feeling more fatigued than usual and light headed. However, this is easily avoidable and should not be overconcerned with. With planning, prepare and eat food with high potassium levels, such as:

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Dairy
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Avocados

I quick way to make sure you are eating all of this is with a smoothie containing the mentioned ingredients. It might not be the nicest of drinks you will ever have but it will help avoid fatigue. Using salt more often will also help with your keto diet. A great tip for increasing hydration is to dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a glass of water before drinking it. Many people avoid and monitor their salt intake but when not eating sixty carbohydrates a day, you will have to replace the lack of salt.

If you have high blood pressure who take medication for it, consult with a doctor before undergoing the change.

Magnesium supplements before going to bed may also help. 400g of magnesium supplements will do the job. Using these supplements will be recommended throughout.

3. Low Blood Sugar 

 As you may become fatigued, your blood sugar might also drop when launching your keto diet. You will be consuming less sugar causing low blood sugar, which will add to the feeling of fatigue. This is only a short-term effect, and again your body will adjust to the diet.

4. Cravings for Sugar 

sugar cravings

When your body adjusts, your cravings for sugar and unhealthy foods will be reduced. This is a great benefit of a keto diet as you will have less urges to eat such unhealthy food and put on unnecessary weight. Although your craving for sugar will reduce, your cravings for carbs will go up as you will not be used to going without carbs. Unfortunately, it has the potential to last from a few days if you are lucky, to maybe three weeks if you are not unlucky. The best action you can take is just to stick it out and the cravings will disappear completely as you become fitter and leaner.

5. Constipation 

 Another side effect where you might have to go to the toilet, is constipation. Initially, this will lead from dehydration as you release more fluids. With the help of getting enough salt, eating a great deal of non- starchy vegetables, and drinking plenty of water to moisten the contents of the colon.

Again, if that does not all work, there is always the 400g of magnesium supplements or you can avoid eating nuts and dairy.

6. Diarrhea

 On the opposite side, instead of not being able to relieve yourself, you could go another direction and experience issues with diarrhea. The reason for this is the macronutrient ratio change, and the body will have to get used to it. Some people also get confused when starting the diet, they may limit their fat intake along with carbs, which leads your intake of protein to rise to high, and will most likely lead to diarrhea. They key is to remember to moderate your protein alongside your low carb high-fat diet as Speth suggested in his article Energy source, protein metabolism, and hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies.

Make sure you do not do this, you need your fats. Full-fat sources are what you’re eating instead of carbs. Furthermore, another top tip is to take a table a teaspoon of plain psyllium husk powder or sugar-free Metamucil before eating a meal to help things move along.

7. Muscle Cramps

Mainly leg cramp, you briefly could come across muscles cramps because of the reduction of minerals. Minerals build strong bones and turn the food we into energy so it is important you get minerals, even in the keto diet. The best cause of action to get minerals when pursuing a keto diet is once more, drinking lots of water and eating salt as they will help prevent cramping.

There are also minerals in magnesium which can also be taken.

8. Flu-Like Symptoms 

flu like symptoms

A very common side effect in the early period of the keto diet is what we like to call ketosis flu because it shares the symptoms of actual flu. If new to the diet, do not worry too much about and do not look at it as your body rejecting the diet. When in actual fact that is not the case, the diet is still working. It is very temporary. These are the symptoms you may face however, a few have already been mentioned on this list:

  • Stomach aches or pains
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Muscle cramping or soreness
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Sugar cravings
  • Heart palpitations

The causes of keto flu are normally down to three variables, becoming fat-adapted, electrolyte loss and dehydration, and lack of micro-nutrients.

Although these symptoms normally only occur for a few days, you can try to avoid the flu completely by again, staying hydrated and increasing salt intake.

9. Sleep Issues  

Some people have experienced sleep deprivation while on a keto diet. This normally links in with serotonin and insulin levels being low, and some cases the person feeling like they have more energy.

A tip to try is to have a snack before going to bed that contents have both protein and carbs to increase insulin and send some sweet, sweet tryptophan to your brain, as it contains serotonin because of the protein.

If you still have trouble sleeping it might be due to the increased rich food in histamines you are indulging in. This causes more anxiety and sleeplessness in people. Eating more vegetables will help quash this rather than eating foods like cheeses, eggs and bacon which contain a lot of histamines. 

10. Smelly Breath 

bad breath

One of the last things you want is to see people covering their noses or looking away when you are talking to them. The smell of acetone may appear because of your low carb diet. Acetone is created with the ketone in your body to make a fruity smell, similar to apples but in extreme cases, it can smell like apples but rotten apples. The main thing is, keto breath does not last forever. The breath is actually a good sign as your body is in ketosis, burning all the fats and converting them to ketones for energy.

Hopefully, you will realize if you have bad breath straightaway and tackle it before coming into contact with people. After 1-2 weeks the bad breath will go away naturally but if it takes longer. Here are a couple of ways to keep it at bay.

  • An obvious one and I hope people would not have to be told to do. Brush your teeth at least twice a day to keep that oral hygiene and maintain that purely white smile as a bonus.
  • You can mask the smell quickly with a breath freshener if you are in a rush. It will not make the smell go away completely but long enough so no one else has to taste your breath.
  • Water is great for more or less everything. Water again will help quell bad breath as bad breath can be caused by less saliva if your mouth is dry as your body expels water in a low carb state.
  • In extreme cases, slightly increasing your carb intake will help. If bad breath has persisted more than a few weeks, eating 50g and 70g of your carb intake a day to reduce ketosis.

11. Heart Palpitations

Your heart rate might begin to change, common with people with low blood pressure. The lack of water and salt can cause a reduction in fluid circulation in the blood. This may lead to your heart pumping faster and harder, which you do not want. So again, sticking with the theme of water solves everything, drink loads of water and salt your foods to avoid this. Water is your best friend with this diet.

People who have diabetes should proceed with caution when reducing their carbon intake due to it decreasing the need for medicine taking for low blood pressure. Thus, be careful when taking it, as your blood pressure might be already low enough, and this could cause heart palpitations.

Athletes also have to watch their performance when undertaken a keto diet. In the short term, physical performance might slow but exercising does help your body adapt more quickly to the diet.

What Have We Learned?

Drink water. Eat salt.

Power through, as the side effects should not last too long if the diet is going well and if it is not, it can easily be rectified. If you cannot stick to the low carb intakes because of the symptoms, however, there is always increasing the number of carbs slightly but this will slow down your diet. This can benefit you in the long term. Here’s another supplement product that helps you boost Keto Diet is Prüvit Keto OS. 

A keto is a fantastic way to lose weight and with the guidelines and everything you know. You will have no problems getting that perfect body you have envisioned.