Side Effects of the Keto Diet

What are side effects?

Side effects are unwanted symptoms that are caused by medical treatment or condition. There are a variety of benefits that come with the keto diet. The Benefits include;

  • Decreased cravings
  • Reduced disease risks and
  • Drastic weight loss.

However, there are side effects that are accompanied by this diet. The following information will help you further understand the possible side effects that you face are facing or may encounter during this health journey.

These side effects are not experienced by everyone. It all depends on an individual; some undergo this impact for an extended period, others go few days, and others don’t experience at all. These side effects are manageable and have solutions, so you don’t have to panic.

What Keto Side Effects Might you Experience?


This condition mostly occurs to new keto dieters because their digestive tracts are working tirelessly to adapt to the diet. This commonly happens because of dehydration, frequent urination, etc. The remedy for this is to consume:

Keto Side Effects - Constipation
  • A diet plenty of fiber
  • Enough salt
  • Tons of non-starchy vegetables.
  • And drink plenty of water to soften the materials in the large intestine and,
  • Minerals like magnesium citrate.

Flu symptoms

Within the first 4-5 days, some symptoms which resemble those of a real “flu” may be experienced. The symptoms include;

  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Mental Fog
  • Lack of motivation and fatigue.

These symptoms are not always here to last; they go away after a period. To avoid these symptoms, keep your body well hydrated and consume salt (sodium chloride). It can also be beneficial to take keto specific supplements when you experience the ‘keto flu’.

Lousy breath

When consuming a low carb diet, it’s normal to experience a fresh acetone breath. What is acetone? This is a ketone that is created during the process of ketosis. Acetone has a unique characteristic as it smells like fruits or smells like nail polish.

If you experience this, then be assured that your body is already in ketosis. You can even measure whether your body is in ketosis with a breath meter among​ other ways to perform these measurements. At this stage, the body is appropriately utilizing fats by converting them to ketones which serve as a source of energy for the body. The fruity smell doesn’t occur in every individual. The smell goes away after a period of 1-2 weeks after the body successfully adapts to ketosis.

How can you manage this?

Regularly take plenty of water. Lousy breath is brought about by little saliva in the mouth cavity as the body releases low amount of water in a low carbs state. Taking a lot of water rectifies this state.

Maintain a healthy oral hygiene-you should brush your teeth at least thrice a day.

If the condition persists, you can slightly introduce carbs in the diet to reduce ketosis. You can gradually increase carbs between 50 to 70 grams a day.

One way or the other you can also use a breath freshener though this will not ultimately take away the fruity smell.

Lack of sleep

Those that are on a ketogenic diet have one time complained of having trouble sleeping especially during the early days. This is a result due to low levels of insulin and serotonin.

To increase the level of sleep, you can try taking a snack that is rich in protein to give the brain a pleasant dose of tryptophan, which is a forerunner for production of serotonin.

Reduce the intake of foods that are rich in histamines. Histamines are chemicals that can be found naturally in certain foods. They are the same chemicals that your body releases if it experiences an allergic reaction. The effect of them being that you experience itching, sneezing, or other allergy related symptoms.

This is to prevent sleeplessness and anxiety that it is experienced by some people. To counteract this effect, you should avoid consuming vegetables, bacon, eggs, cheese, and avocados because they contain a lot of histamines.

Muscle pain

Muscle cramps are a result of the loss of minerals. This occurs during the first periods in a keto diet. The solution behind this is taking plenty of water and consuming taking some amount of salt in meals. This way you will reduce the occurrence of intense muscle cramps and loss of minerals. Another good approach is to use specific mineral supplements for keto.


This a minor issue, it also occurs during the first few days in a keto diet. Two significant reasons may lead to diarrhea:

1. it’s as a result of the body adjusting to the macronutrient ratio alteration.

2. Limiting the amount of fat intake and concentrating on high protein consumption which leads to diarrhea.

It’s not recommended to skip your healthy fats in your diet as they are the alternative source of energy from glucose.

Intermittent urination

During the early days of a keto diet, the body utilizes all the stored glucose in the muscles and liver. A lot of water is released in the process. The kidneys are also involved as they excrete excess sodium because insulin levels are circulating in the body drop.

Mostly, you will realize that you will be making several trips to the bathroom during the day. There is no need for alarm as this will eventually stop when your body becomes used to keto and that it’s no longer using glycogen as a source of energy.

Several precautions should be considered

There is a risk for those with high blood pressure.

A diet with low carbs intake can effect and ultimately improve the level of blood pressure. Several heart arrhythmias may be experienced as a result of this. It’s advisable to seek your doctor’s advice before you venture into a keto diet.

There is potentially some risk for those with diabetes

Taking a low carbs diet for persons with diabetes can drastically reduce the drugs taken to lower elevated blood sugar. If the same amount of insulin is consumed on a low carbs diet, then there may be a possible result in reduced blood sugar which may cause some heart palpitations. Seek your doctor’s advice if you start experiencing new changes in the body.

Can exercise help reduce keto side effects?

There is a massive change in the physical activity when the body is working so hard to switch from utilizing stored glucose to using fat as energy fuel.

Working out at this period is essential as it will assist the body to quickly transition and fully adapt to the diet. There are a lot of benefits accompanied by intense physical performance.


To avoid all these side effects, the following should be done;

  • Ensure you’re eating enough healthy fats
  • Increase the intake of sodium chloride (salt).
  • Drink plenty of water.

If you carefully follow the keto guidelines, strictly follow it and listen to your body then you will enjoy the benefits of the keto diet.