Keto diet side effects - There may not be anything hotter in the world of fitness or nutrition today than the keto diet.
Everyone and their brother is praising the keto diet as the “go to” solution when it comes to weight loss, helping people slip into a metabolic state known as ketosis with a seriously low-carb, high-fat diet designed to help you turn into a fat melting furnace almost immediately.
And while there is definitely some hard science out there conclusively proving that keto works wonders to melt fat from your body that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some keto diet side effects you’ll have to keep on the lookout for.
In this quick guide we touch on many of these side effects, help you understand the likelihood of having to deal with some of these issues, and push on to whether or not these side effects are reason enough to give up on all that the keto diet has to offer or if you should press on whether or not these side effects manifest later down the line.
Let’s dig right in!
What Side Effects Are You Likely To Experience In The First Week Of The Keto Diet?
If you have been eating anything even close to the Standard American Diet (SAD) – carb heavy, sugar heavy, fat heavy – the odds are pretty good that you’re going to notice some serious keto side effects first week out.
These side effects are commonly referred to as the “keto flu”, the kinds of keto diet symptoms that you can almost universally expect are going to come your way when you make the switch to this kind of dietary approach.
As your body adjusts to a much lower carbohydrate intake you’re going to see the side effects start to take hold in the first seven days. Your body begins to go after ketones rather than glucose as a source of energy – and that’s likely to bring about side effects that can include (but definitely aren’t limited to):
- General weakness and fatigue
- Irritability and anxiety
- Stomach discomfort, nausea, and constipation
- Vomiting and dehydration
These issues are pretty par for the course when you make the jump to keto and it’s important that you prepare yourself for the likelihood of these issues popping up when you get started.
You’re also going to notice a loss of key electrolytes, particularly if you drink a lot more water to stay hydrated while fighting off the rest of these keto flu issues. That’s something that you’ll need to address with supplements or sports drinks, though you want to make sure that you aren’t infusing your body with any extra carbs along the way, either.
Common Side Effects You May Experience Throughout The Keto Diet
Of course, there are some other common side effects you may bump up against when you make the switch to the keto diet, keto side effects that go beyond that first seven day stretch of time when your body is just beginning to acclimate.
Halitosis (bad breath) is a problem that pops up when people make the switch to ketosis, mostly because the body is going to have significantly elevated ketone levels than before. That means there’s going to be more acetone in the body, a biochemical that is pretty common in both your urine and your breath.
Short Term Fatigue
It isn’t at all uncommon to have people switching to keto feeling weak, especially initially after they have made the switch to this dietary lifestyle.
Your body is going to be converting its “fuel system” almost completely from a carb heavy system to a new system altogether. That means it’s not at all unlikely to feel a little weaker and a little more fatigued for the first 7 to 30 days or so, at least until you break through the keto wall and slide fully into total ketosis.
A great way to combat this side effect is to increase your overall electrolyte supplements. Getting anywhere between 2000 and 4000 mg of sodium, 1000 mg of potassium, and 300 mg of magnesium is usually enough to push back against this fatigue and eliminate it almost entirely.
Short Term Decreases in Athletic Performance
It’s also not at all uncommon to deal with decreases in your overall athletic performance while switching to keto, particularly if you’ve been eating the SAD lifestyle we mentioned above.
This occurs because of a significant reduction in muscular glycogen levels while your body transfers over to ketosis. Glycogen stores are one of the most efficient fuel sources for high intensity exercise when they are going to be hit pretty hard as you transition off of a carb fuel source with this dietary approach.
Other keto diet side effects (hair loss and the like) are usually pretty short-term in nature. If you find yourself dealing with more serious keto diet side effects (chest pain, difficulty seeing, etc.) it’s a good idea to discontinue the keto diet approach and see a doctor ASAP.
Are There Any Long Term Side Effects Of The Keto Diet?
Modern medicine and science haven’t had quite enough time just yet to fully understand what the keto diet long-term side effects might look like 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years down the line.
At the same time, experts to believe that there are some potentially serious keto diet side effects you’ll have to be on the lookout for in the long term – particularly when it comes to your overall kidney and liver function.
Your body is going to be hit pretty hard when it comes to overall electrolyte levels and hydration levels. You’re going to be urinating a lot more when you switch to a keto diet, and that’s going to cause you to lose some of your key electrolytes (like sodium, potassium, and magnesium – the ones we highlighted earlier).
These deficiencies will increase your overall risk factors when it comes to kidney injury, may also increase the rate of kidney stone creation, and can cause other serious issues like cardiac arrhythmia.
Some researchers believe that electrolyte deficiencies over the long haul can even contribute to irregular heartbeats and turn a serious side effect into a potentially fatal issue.
Running low on these electrolytes will also increase the lightheadedness on keto you may feel, keto diet mental side effects (like increased anxiety, depression, and confusion), and other problems as well.
As we highlighted above, more information is needed to understand the long-term impacts of this dietary lifestyle. But in the long haul of keto side effects depression is lower on the list compared to the ketogenic diet side effect on kidneys we highlighted above, for example.
All things considered, there are a lot of reasons why so many people choose to take advantage of everything that the keto diet has to offer – even in the face of the side effects we highlighted above.
You’ll want to do a little bit of digging to fully understand exactly what keto may be able to do for you, the side effects you might have to confront, and the benefits you might get out of this dietary approach.
It may even be worth doing a “keto trial” to see if you are more or less likely to be susceptible to keto diet issues. Just make sure to stretch your trial past the initial seven day “keto flu” to fully understand what you might be up against moving forward.