The keto diet is one of the most popular diets gathering steam in recent years. Thanks to a series of celebrity endorsements ranging from Gwyneth Paltrow and some Kardashians all the way to Joe Rogan, whoever he is, everybody wants to know whether the keto diet can help you lose weight and build muscle.
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We've found it to be a surprisingly effective diet – surprising, considering that it's popular with fadmongers Gwyneth Paltrow and the Kardashians, plus Joe Rogan, whoever he is – but have you considered its side effects?
There are seven side effects, and those with a sensitive nature, or bowels, may wish to look away now…
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The keto diet is a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that works by helping your body enter a state of ketosis. This means the body is using its fat for energy, instead of the carbohydrates you're eating.
By reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat, you're depriving your body of its regular supply of energy, forcing it to dip into its fat stores for fuel. The good news is the science checks out: Harvard University (opens in new tab) says your body will enter a state of ketosis within two to four days of following the keto diet, providing you're eating less than 50 grams of carbs per day. That is not very much.
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The diet eats into your body fat stores and is naturally high in appetite-sating proteins and fats, suppressing hunger. Therefore, it's proven to aid in short-term weight loss, but improved blood sugar levels and possible resilience against brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are also purported benefits of the keto diet.
However, there are some side effects. A report from Andrews University (opens in new tab) cited a series of common side effects listed when someone first attempts to switch to the keto diet. These include fatigue, because of the lack of carbohydrates needed to top up your body's energy levels.
If you're not careful, the keto diet can often include a surplus of red meat and a lack of vegetables, leading to muscle cramps and constipation. Headaches and a lack of concentration are also commonly reported problems which occur when adjusting to the keto diet.
If you're looking to take your mind off the cramps and headaches by going to see some friends, make sure to clean your teeth first. The final side effect commonly listed as a result of switching to the keto diet is bad breath.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (opens in new tab) found the release of "ketones" into the body results in the production of acetone, a foul-smelling chemical excreted in our breath and urine.
It's a reliable sign the body has entered ketosis and is chewing up your fat stores for fuel, but it's also very unpleasant for your nearest and dearest. Luckily, if you're out and about wearing a mask due to the global health crisis, fewer people will be able to tell!
Keto is a great way to reduce your carbohydrate intake and kick-start your weight loss journey. However, research on the long-term effects of ketosis is limited, so if you're planning on following the diet for an extended period of time, it's worth consulting a doctor or dietitian when deciding if keto is right for you.