Why Your Low Carb Diet May Give You Ketosis Breath

keto diet

If you are on a low carb diet, one of the side effects that you’ll most likely notice is bad breath. Also known as the ketosis breath, this side effect is common among those who are on a ultra low carb, keto diet. In fact, experts say that about 40% of those who are on low carbohydrate diets have complained about keto breath.

But what is the real cause behind the ketosis breath and why do low carb diets make our breath smell bad?

What’s Causing the Ketosis Breath?

When you stop eating carbs, your body will end up getting energy from other sources. In a keto diet, your body will get its energy from the fats that you consume. It is during this process that you’ll develop bad breath. Once your body breaks down your stored fats, it will release ketones. The ketones are also released in your breath, which causes sweet and fruity breath or breath that smells like acetone.

Another cause of bad breath is the large amount of protein eaten. Firstly, the protein can feed the normal bacteria in your mouth resulting in a smell of sulfur.  Secondly, breakdown of all the protein results in a lot of ammonia being released which can smell strong on the breath.

Aside from the keto diet, there are other diets that are also known to cause bad breath. Some of these are the Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, and the South Beach Diet. These are all low carb diets that will require you to considerably reduce your carb intake. In fact, any type of high fat, high protein diet uses the idea behind ketosis in helping you to lose weight. So these diets can also make you to develop a ketosis breath.

Other Common Side Effects

One way to know if your bad breath is linked to your keto diet is when it also comes with other side effects. These may be constipation, leg cramps and reduced level of physical performance. Most of these side effects are often noticed at the early stages of your keto diet. However, the keto breath is often the most persistent of all these side effects.

Related reading: How to Fix Low Carb Constipation

Your bad breath is definitely not due to poor oral hygiene. So, don’t start panicking by going to your dentist when you notice that your breath is starting to stink. You don’t need to buy the most expensive toothpaste and mouthwashes just to get rid of the odor. Again, the bad breath is not due to your dental health. It is mainly due to the chemical reaction that’s going on in your body as a result of your keto diet.

What to Do to Mask your Ketosis Breath?

Well you could come off the diet for a time to see if it goes but the good news is that if you stick it out for a few weeks the bad breath may disappear. Some dieters find that when their bodies get used to using fat as fuel the bad odor goes.

It may help to use minty toothpaste, mouthwash or mouth spray or to chew some low carb gum to help mask the stinky smell in your breath. Another thing that you can do is to drink plenty of good quality water. Water can help to maintain the right pH balance in your mouth, which limits the effect of bad breath. It’s a good idea to keep your mouth moist at all times because a dry mouth will only make keto breath even worse.

So just remember that ketosis breath is usually just a temporary side effect of your diet. In most cases, it only occurs at the early stage of your diet, where your body has to go through the biggest changes and will have to deal with the sudden change of the ketone levels.


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