Keto diet is one of the most common diets that weight loss enthusiasts try once in their transformational journey. But no matter how many Instagram influencers tell you it is a great option, it comes with a set of disadvantages as well. Here, we will discuss the side effects of keto diet to understand why you shouldn’t follow it for too long.
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What is a keto diet?
The keto diet plan is low carb and high-fat diet that puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis occurs due to the lack of blood sugar circulating in the body and breaks down the fat.
Ketosis started around three to four days of consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. A lot of people start it to lose weight at this time. However, others help manage certain health conditions, like, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and more.
Side effects of keto diet
Here are some of the side effects of keto diet to be aware of:
Keto flu is a common side effect of keto diet, including headaches, tiredness, exhaustion, increased hunger, sleep deprivation, and nausea. By drinking a lot of water and getting sufficient sleep, you may lessen the effects of keto flu.
Many people may depend on glucose for energy and what to switch to ketones. This process is known as keto-adaption. What happens is that this might result in a condition called ‘brain fog.’ However, it disappears as soon as you have fully adapted to this.
Switching to a keto diet is a big lifestyle change. Your body might need a lot of time to adjust to this new diet. For some individuals, it can be tough.
In the initial days, you will see the sign of keto flu. Symptoms vary from each individual and can be mild or severe.
One of the solutions is to mix a little bit of salt in your regular bottle of water. So, every time you feel nausea, sickness, wooziness, or headache, drink it. Do this at least twice a day.
Commonly keto flu lasts about a week.
Risk of heart disease, kidney damage, and diabetes
High-fat diets like this might raise cholesterol levels if not followed properly. If people try it without the guidance of a nutritionist, they might include excessive oily food. Studies show that this might increase the risk of diabetes.
If a person has low blood pressure, they might experience heart palpitations when following the diet. It is a dangerous side effect of keto diet as it may go on for weeks or months.
The condition happens due to nutrition deficiency. That is why multivitamins or magnesium supplement is highly recommended.
Due to lowering the intake of carbohydrates, you can suffer from hypoglycemia. This happens for not eating enough fat and protein. Heart palpitations can happen due to excessive consumption of coconut oil and/or MCT oil.
At first, start with a small amount and, over time, increase the quantity. Do not depend on these fat intakes only, and make sure to add butter, animal fats, ghee also.
Another factor for heart palpitations probably is the low intake of protein. Heart palpitations are one of the signs. Try to add a few more grams of protein to your daily keto diet.
Since the keto diet plan is highly restrictive, medical experts don’t recommend long-term follow-up. It is best to do it for 30 to 90 days and followed by a less strict diet. The problem is most people will regain a lot of weight as soon as they are back on carbs.
This happens because when you are under the keto diet plan, the additional water gets released through urination. That’s why you might look a bit slimmer and lose a few kilos.
Most people go back and forth with a keto diet and sees it as a quick solution for weight loss. This might contribute to an eating disorder, which is a dangerous side effect of keto diet.
A study said almost 20,000 overweight adults did keto diet plan and lost up to 5-6 kilos in about 25 days. However, no research claims that this weight loss is long term.
Most people find it hard to maintain such a strict diet plan, and once you stop, the weight comes back easily.
The health hazard of keto pills and keto supplements
Many people try keto pills to boost the potential benefits of the keto diet plan.
One of the main problems with consuming keto pills is gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain, sickness, constipation, and diarrhea.
Keto pills can mess up your metabolism. Taking keto pills or supplemental ketones will most likely decrease hunger by raising the ketone body’s blood levels.
Not enough research is done on this topic. You gain back all the weight once you stop taking the pills.
Loss of salts
Another side effect of keto diet is the loss of salt in your body; the fluid balance changes typically happen during the first few weeks of the keto diet.
The reason for this is the loss of water weight. Our body uses glycogen, which releases water in the blood and gets released through urination. As water is released through urine, salt can get released too. This is the reason why you need to drink plenty of water all day. Make sure your water intake is a lot more, and keep yourself hydrated. You can also have tea or coffee as long as they are not extremely milky.
One of the side effects of keto diet is not having enough salt in your body is headaches and dizziness. Try to add salt by drinking vegetable juice or bouillons. You can also add sea salt to your food too.
Bad breath, also known as keto-breath, can occasionally happen as you start the keto diet plan.
Ketones releases through breath, sweat, and urination. One of the forms of the ketone is acetone, which releases through the breath. It is responsible for making our mouths have a bad odor.
Acetone is the same chemical that is used in nail paint remover. According to 2015 research, the body makes natural acetone. This is release through exhaling. That’s why there has a different odor that is not the same as common bad breath.
Some of the quick solutions is having mint sugar free gum or mouth freshener nearby. Try to have a basic oral routine by brushing your teeth two times a day and use mouthwash at least once a day.
Kidney stones are side effects of keto diet
People who are serious about the keto diet might have this dangerous side effect of having kidney stones in the future. High rates of calcium-based kidney stones have been reported recently.
Most doctors who manage keto diets for kids with epilepsy have reported kidney stones are a common problem for children. About 5% of patients suffering from the condition. However, it is treatable, and experts currently suggest that the diet should be continued.
Recent research suggested citrate supplements can also lessen this risk. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have any health conditions.
Dehydration may result in light-headedness, kidney injury, or kidney stones. Make sure to drink a lot of fluid throughout the day.
If you have diabetes, you should not consider doing a keto diet plan, except with your physician’s permission. For people who suffer from hyperglycemia problems, the keto diet can be beneficial. You have to be aware of your blood sugar level and glucose level numerous times each day.
Ketosis can initiate a hazardous condition called ketoacidosis for people who have type 1 or 2 diabetes. This happens when the body keeps up numerous ketones.
Ketones are produced as the by-product of burning fat. The blood turns out to be very acidic and can damage various internal organs like kidneys, brain, liver, and more.
Rarely it has even affected individuals who do not have diabetes. But continuing this low carb diet for a long time can be problematic. Some of the symptoms are dry mouth, nausea, sickness, vomiting, bad breath, continuous urination. If this happens for weeks immediately, contact your doctor.
Cramps and sore muscles
Sore muscles and cramps are some of the common side effects of keto diet. The development of cramps and sore muscles can be troublesome.
It has been seen that a lot of people who follow the keto diet have leg cramps, which are called hyponatremia. This happens when the level of salt is deficient in the blood.
The only solution is to keep yourself hydrated and include adequate salt in your keto diet.
Extremely thirsty all day long
See, when you start the keto diet plan initially, you only lose the water weight. So, it is common to be thirsty all the time. There is no rule on how many liters of water you should intake but make sure your urination is clear.
Diet changes can occasionally lead to digestive problems. Constipation is one of the side effects of keto diet.
When people start this diet, they don’t consume enough fiber, which results in digestive issues. Another reason can be switching to more dairy products like chocolate. As it is a high-fat diet, people tend to eat them more. Some might get diarrhea, but it is not very common.
If your diet before following the keto diet plan were extremely different, you would most likely have some digestive problems. Nonetheless, these issues are typically over within the first few weeks.
One of the biggest side effects of keto diet is being sleep deprived when they start dieting.
It is reported that a lot of people have insomnia or suddenly (wake up at night when starting with the diet) as the intake of carbs is tremendously low. Nevertheless, this generally recovers after the first few weeks.
People who are doing long term keto diet said they have better sleeping schedules than before. However, it comes gradually and not within the first three weeks for most.
The decrease in physical strength
Initially, during the start of this low carb diet, mostly adults, have low stamina. Physical strength decreases during the first few weeks.
According to doctors, with keto diet one should do light exercises like walking, simple yoga, or just stretching.
Your body is under stress due to this new change in your lifestyle. It is better to give your body some break at the start and not to do an intense workout.
After the first few weeks, gradually increase your workout routine. Research has shown individuals recover from this fatigue within one month.
For years, people who are doing the keto diet have said their stamina and physical strength have improved a lot more due to the keto diet.
Is the keto diet plan for you?
Everyone’s body is not appropriate for a keto diet plan, especially those with chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetics.
Keto is not a balanced diet. A nutritious diet includes fruit and vegetables, which will not have health consequences.
Keto diet can bring significant changes in bodily systems and may change a person’s medication efficiency. You can use the keto diet for short-term weight loss and not as a permanent solution.
If you follow keto diet safely, you can excel with only the benefits and not the side effects. If you want to start a keto diet, make sure to boost your water intake. Talk to a nutritionist to get the best recommendations.