14 Side Effects of Keto Diet – How to Cure Them

(Last Updated On: November 22, 2019)

The Keto diet consists of low carb, high fat, as well as a moderate protein lifestyle choice of eating.

The dietary formulation has proven to be very useful in weight loss and curing some different conditions and several human deficiencies.

Why do people experience side effects on the keto diet? As research into the keto diet intensifies, it may prove to cure other unseen conditions.

It is associated with diabetes corrections, as well as improving insulin resistance. There is no doubt that the ketogenic diet is regarded as the most beneficial for diabetic patients.

Also, it can help in improving cardiovascular conditions as well as brain functions and so on. It is challenging to enumerate all the health benefits you can derive from the keto diet.

Despite the fact there are enormous health benefits from the keto diet, you must be aware of the possible side effects. Some of these effects can be temporary but treatable.

Some of the effects can occur within the first few weeks of commencement of the diet, and as you continue with Keto, your body will start to adapt, further reducing unwanted symptoms of the ketogenic diet.

Moreover, it is essential to state that some of the effects do not apply to everyone. While some effects can apply to a few users, it may not be the same as others. So there is nothing set in stone here.

When the side effects occur, you should consider them as usual. Effects can happen when there is a significant change in food patterns.

Again, as your body’s system adjusts to the ketosis state, side-effects should slowly fade.

 

Why Do You Get Side Effects on A Keto Diet?

When you first start with keto, you may experience some changes within the first few days.

Your body burns sugar/carbs for its primary energy source; now, it has to find an alternative source, which is FAT; the liver comes into play producing ketones from fat stores already within the body.

 

What Are The Keto Diet Side Effects

keto side effects
One of the easily noticeable side effects is diarrhea. Diarrhea can occur, and it does not affect every user. It depends on your body chemistry.

When diarrhea occurs, it is not something to overburden you because, in most cases, it does not last long.

There are other side effects which you must know, and you must prepare to deal with them as they arise, but no worries they are curable.

 

The Keto Flu

When switching to low-carb, your body will go through a slight shock; it’s a metabolic process in which you may experience the keto flu, which are the side effects of a keto diet; actually, you have these symptoms due to low sodium.

Don’t worry; it only lasts about a week until you’ve adapted. The good news is, we can show you how to avoid these symptoms.

 

The 14 Keto Flu Symptoms:

1. Bad Breath

Another symptom is the unique odor or smell that is known as the smell of acetone or Keto-Breath. The smell of acetone is always the case when consuming a low carb diet.

During ketosis, one of the ketone bodies created includes acetone. When produced, it has a distinct odor, which can be acidic. The smell is similar to nail polish remover.

When you experience the smell of acetone, it is an indication that your body is in a state of ketosis.

The scent can eventually go away within one to two weeks, but if not, there are other ways for dealing with Keto-breath.

First, you need to stick to oral hygiene, maintain fresh breath; you can brush your teeth two times daily. Make it a routine.

Another thing that you can do is drinking more water. When there is less saliva in the mouth, it can heighten the odor. Drinking more water can be a big help in combating Keto-breath.

Another thing that you can do is to rely on breath fresheners.

Breath fresheners are great even though they don’t deal with the problem entirely, they can mask the situation, and it would be less noticeable.

The other thing that you can do is increasing your carb intake.

Tip => Keto-breath increases when overeating protein, we recommend eating between 0.85-170g of protein, you can add apple cider vinegar which is useful for digesting protein.

bad-breath
Solutions:

  • Drink more water (saliva helps flush bacteria out of the mouth)
  • Humidifier (it keeps the mouth moist)
  • Mints
  • Minty toothpaste
  • Peppermint Essential oil
  • Sugar-free, calorie-free chewing gum


2. Cold

Another condition that could manifest as a side effect is low blood sugar. If used to consuming high quantities of carbs, then this condition is likely.

The body has a way of handling sugar and insulin levels in the body.

The problem would arise in significant carb reduction. You are going to experience low blood sugar right from the beginning of keto dieting.

You may experience tiredness or fatigue, hunger, or your body could be shaky, and this could continue to manifest until your entire body fully adapts to the ketogenic diet.

Tip => If you are constantly feeling cold, it means you aren’t eating enough fats. Give your body the energy in the form of fat instead of carbohydrates. Iodine sea kelp or sea vegetables will help.

keto-cold
Foods that are rich in Iodine:

  • Arame Kelp
  • Cod
  • Dried Kelp
  • Eggs
  • Himalayan salt
  • Nori
  • Raw, unpasteurized cheese
  • Seaweed
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Wakame

 

3. Constipation

Another side effect is the possibility of constipation. During the starting period, you can experience some digestive issues such as diarrhea, pointed out earlier. Others include constipation and bloating.

This situation arises because the body’s system now releases more fluid than required.

As a result, dehydration could set in due to frequent bathroom visits. However, take in more fiber, along with consuming less non-starchy foods.

Furthermore, follow your macros (macronutrients), making sure that you are getting enough sodium for your system as well as drinking enough quantities of water; colon contents should soften.

Within a short time, you will get relief.

Tip => Reduce cheese and meat, eat more vegetables and potassium. Drink water with salt; another suggestion is adding a spoonful of chia seeds with water every 2-4 hours.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds

 

4. Diarrhea

One common negative side effect is diarrhea. Some people may not find it hard in the beginning, but as time goes on, it could begin to manifest.

Generally, diarrhea occurs as the body adjusts to macronutrient balance.

There are other instances where the problem arises because of an error in food intake. It is essential that when you embark on this dietary plan that you do not limit the fat intake together with carbs.

When that becomes the case, there would be an imbalance because the protein intake is going to become too high, and this can result in loose stool.

The solution to this problem is that you must observe all your fats; there is no need to skip any of them.

Furthermore, when you are limiting carbs, ensure you take enough quantities of fatty foods and moderate amounts of protein. When there is too much protein in the body, it can result in loose stool.

Tip => Keto consists of 70-75% fat; you may be consuming high amounts of saturated fats, which means you should reduce some oils such as MCT oil, butter, or coconut oil.

Some vegetables can affect the small intestine, which can overwhelm the microbes. Eat vegetables that are easy to digest and ingest fermented vegetables.

Kombucha Tea
Kombucha tea

For the beginning eat the following vegetables:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Bell pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Green lettuce (plain)
  • Kombucha tea (drink ¼ cup)
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini

5. Dizziness

dizziness
Another symptom that you would likely experience is drowsiness and dizziness; this is normal as the body removes excess water than usual.

At the same time, the body will be removing such essential elements in the body like magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

When that happens, your body will instantly react, and you may begin to feel dizzy, fatigued as well as lightheaded, and so on.

This condition, like others, is not meant to be permanent. The most important thing is that you can avoid such symptoms from happening. Take precautions to prevent dizziness and drowsiness and fatigue.

One of the things that you can do is to eat food that is rich in potassium.

There are foods that you can consume to help relieve these unwanted symptoms, and some of them are broccoli, leafy greens as well as avocados, meat, fish, poultry, as well as dairy, and so on.

Another way of dealing with these symptoms is to add salt to the foods you cook and so on.

You can drink sufficient quantities of water to combat drowsiness and dizziness and other related conditions, dealing with problems of dehydration, which can follow.

Adding salt is recommended because it can reverse the situation.

Some people who have diabetes and other related diseases curtail their salt intake. Quantities of sodium in the body system are undoubtedly limited.

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, before altering quantities of salt intake, you should consult with your doctor for helpful advice.

Tip => Since you are losing more fluid, drink water with sea salt, beef stock, bone broth, or chicken stock.


6. Fatigue

Your body needs more B vitamins, especially Vitamins B1 and B5. Also, it needs more potassium and more sleep.

You feel tired when your blood sugar decreases, or if you have high blood sugar, you feel tired after eating.
A common mistake, in the beginning, is consuming hidden carbs.

fatigue
Foods with high in Vitamin B1:

  • Asparagus
  • Beef
  • Blue mussels
  • Brazil nuts
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Hazelnuts
  • Herring
  • Hibiscus tea
  • Kale
  • Lean pork
  • Liver
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Salami
  • Salmon
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Trout
  • Yellowfin Tuna

Foods with high in Vitamin B5:

  • Avocados
  • Beef
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicken liver
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Hazelnuts
  • Lean pork
  • Mackerel
  • Peanuts
  • Salmon
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Turkey

7. Frequent Urination

One of the things you may experience is frequent urination.

The body now burns reserved glucose within the muscles and the liver and other parts of the body. Frequent urination can occur within the first few days of commencement of the ketogenic diet.

8. Headache

headache keto side effects
You may have low blood sugar, you are still running on glucose, and your body’s not adapted to ketones as of yet.

Eating enough protein should help to improve your headaches along with drinking water with one tablespoon of sea salt.

9. Irritability

irritability keto diet
Another symptom you could experience within the first few days of starting the keto diet are flu-like symptoms. You may be thinking that you are suffering from the flu because they share the same trait.

There are other symptoms such as lethargy, irritability, brain fog, tiredness as well as headaches, and so on. These symptoms will go away within a short time.

Furthermore, you can avoid these symptoms when you stay hydrated, adding more salt to your food. Most importantly, consuming healthy fats recommended when living the keto diet lifestyle.

You are replacing sugar/carbs with fat; if you feel moody, it’s because you may be low on B Vitamins, potassium, and sodium. Or you might be kicked out of ketosis.

The brain is craving sugar, the thing is all stored sugar or glucose is mostly within the liver, which flows up into the bloodstream, the brain depends on sugar/glucose from the blood, and if your blood sugar drops, you’ll feel irritable.

Tip => The best way to stay in ketosis is to combine keto and Intermittent Fasting consistently and eating enough vegetables with potassium.


10. Leg & Feet Cramps

Another condition that could emerge is the muscle cramp problem due to mineral loss, which is one of the consequences of the keto diet.

Muscle cramps can occur in the legs and feet but temporarily as your body adjust in the leverage of ketones. Anh-Tu and I did not experience any muscle cramps thankfully.

The solution to this problem is to drink sufficient quantities of water. Furthermore, you can increase your salt intake.

Muscle cramps should not arise as the amount of mineral loss would now be controlled.

If the problem of muscle cramps continue, try using magnesium gluconate to bring it under control. Take it at night, calming your nerves, helping you have a good night’s sleep.

Tip => You have low potassium and magnesium. These two minerals are responsible for keeping your body calm and also helps in muscle relaxation.

muscle-cramps-keto-flu
Top 7 Magnesium-Rich Foods:

  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate (sugar free)
  • Leafy greens (collard greens, kale, beet greens)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

11. Palpitations Or Heart Arrhythmias

palpitations keto side effects
Within the first few weeks of starting the keto diet, there can be an increase in heart rate.

The heart palpitations could continue to be there, and the problem is common among those who are suffering from low blood pressure. When there are insufficient water and salt in the foods you consume. 

It implies that there is a reduction of fluids which are circulating in the body.

The heart can palpitate because it would be pumping irregularly, drinking more water helps. The palpitations are only temporary.

Within one to two weeks, you’ll discover that the problem would begin to go away. There could be a need to enhance your carb intake; it can help to remedy the situation.

Most importantly, you can take high-quality multivitamins, especially those that contain zinc. Look for those that contain magnesium and selenium supplement.

These can help you to replace those nutrients you lose while adapting to the ketogenic diet.

Tip => You should raise more potassium since glycogen provides the body with a source of energy if blood glucose levels sink.

When you lose the reserve, you will lose a lot of water, which includes electrolytes, and to stabilize your body, you need potassium.

palpitations
Increase your Potassium levels with the following foods:

  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Blue mussels
  • Brazil nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Clams
  • Coconut meat
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salmon steak
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato sauce canned
  • Zucchini

12. Sleep Problem

sleep problem keto side effects
It is possible that within the first few days of commencement of the ketogenic diet that you may experience some difficulties sleeping.

When that becomes a problem, there are a few likely causes, and it includes an imbalance in insulin levels.

One of the ways of dealing with sleeplessness is to eat a light snack before sleeping. Such a meal should be an excellent combination of carbs and proteins.

The essence is that it is going to increase insulin in the body.

There are instances where your sleep difficulty could be associated with the consumption of over histamine foods not suitable for some people because it can cause sleeplessness and anxiety.

13. Sugar & Carb Cravings

One of the key benefits you can derive from the keto diet is that in the long run, there would be a drastic reduction in sugar consumption or demand.

Another benefit is that you can do away with some of those foods that are detrimental to the body, not so easy in the beginning.

Within the first days of commencing the ketogenic diet, your body will indeed crave for more sugar.

It can last for a few days, but that urge should reduce as soon as the body adapts to using ketones instead of glucose/sugar.

=> You are not in ketosis yet, if you don’t feel any hunger anymore, that means you are in ketosis.

sugar-cravings

The reason why you are still craving:
  • Your carbs are too high the best way is to keep it below 20g
  • You should try Intermittent Fasting combined with a keto diet
  • Eat 7-10 cups of salad, a solution to curve cravings

14. Weakness

If you feel weak and exhausted most of the time, then you need more sodium.

sea-salt-keto
High source of Sodium:

  • Beef jerky
  • Celery flakes dried
  • Chicken broth
  • Cottage cheese
  • Olives
  • Pickles sour
  • Pork Salami
  • Salmon
  • Sea salt
  • Seaweed
  • Shellfish
  • Shrimps
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato sauce
  • Turkey bacon

 

Are You Suffering from High Blood Pressure?

high blood pressure
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, this advice is useful if experiencing some of the side effects as a result of a ketogenic diet.

One of the benefits of the ketogenic diet is that it is going to enhance your blood pressure.

If you are still on the same medications as before, then the consequence could be heart palpitations.
It is necessary that if you are suffering from heart palpitations that you seek your doctor’s advice.

 

The Decrease in Physical Activities

Another symptom you could encounter is the reduction in your physical activities.

When starting the ketogenic diet, follow your macros (macronutrients) use it as a guide. Your macros give you an idea of the daily recommended fat, carbs, and proteins that you should take in.

Reduction in physical activities can occur for multiple reasons consisting of dehydration, insufficient salt content, and so on, as the body adjusts to your new lifestyle of eating.

Once more, following your macros is key in avoiding unwanted side effects when following a ketogenic lifestyle.

Drinking plenty of water along with the balance of salt intake can help with lethargy when it comes to exercising in which can further the body’s adaptation to the ketogenic diet.

 

What Are The Ways of Avoiding The Symptoms?

You have now seen some of the side effects that a ketogenic diet can cause. The fact is that there are ways of avoiding them.

Here are some options that you can consider to avoid some of the symptoms from taking place.

Drink Enough Water

drink water prevents keto flu
You have to form the habit of drinking enough quantities of water. If you suffer from any form of dehydration, you need to replenish the body by drinking sufficient amounts of water.

When following a ketogenic diet, there will be a drastic reduction in volume. At least there would be a reduction in vegetable and fruits.

These contain water, and since you no longer consume as much in comparison to the Standard American diet, it could affect the quantities of water in the body. Stay hydrated!

Increase Your Sodium Intake

sodium
Salt is always regarded as the enemy whenever a healthy diet is concerned.

Despite that, there is still the need to have the right quantities of sodium in the body; if the balance is no longer there, it is going to be counterproductive.

Increasing sodium intake can help you to stay healthy, avoiding symptoms that are associated with it.

Increase Mineral Intake

minerals prevents keto flu
A decrease in minerals in the body because of the ketogenic diet. The lack of minerals could be a reduction in fruit and vegetable intake, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals.

When following the ketogenic lifestyle, you have to increase your mineral intake, helping to prevent any adverse reaction from happening.

Another helpful solution is to consume sufficient quantities of fat.

In addition to that, you must be mindful of exercising, and it is not necessary to engage in high-intensity activities, which could be counterproductive.

Furthermore, please reduce stress and avoid things that can cause worry. These are recipes for side effects; Stress weakens the immune system.

Besides, you must ensure that you are getting enough sleep, further reducing stress. If you follow these suggestions, you can avoid some of the side effects of the ketogenic diet.

 

Conclusion

Sure it will be hard in the beginning, especially when you love eating sugar and carbs, our tip is just gritting your teeth and get to it!

Keto is worth trying, with the tips shown, treating the side effects of the ketogenic diet will make it more comfortable for you to go through it.

Believe, we went through the keto flu and experienced the symptoms and effects all too well; actually, Sig had no problems, but he still counts because we are experiencing this Keto journey together!

Try to hold out for the first few days; you will notice the positive changes with your body inside and out!

For any further questions/information, please leave a message below.

Cheers to Healthy Living,
Anh-Tu and Sigmund
Anhtu & Sigmund

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” – Sean Patrick Flanery

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  1. Christian

    This is a very good article for dealing with some of the side affects of the keto diet. I have followed the keto diet for weight loss and it was very effective. It does take some time for your body to adjust. My main side affect was a headache during the first couple of weeks. It sounds crazy but drinking a little bit of pickle juice can help with it.

  2. Dan

    Great information! I have been doing the keto diet for over a year now and I can tell you for sure that some of these are true. I think different people get different symptoms. The only real noticeable ones that I usually get are the fatigue and some loss of strength in the gym. I think it’s just your body adapting and once the initial shock wears off, I usually feel way better than I did before. It can be a tough diet to balance sometimes, but once you get the hang of it, it really is a great diet. Excellent information. Thanks again!

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