Have you heard about this keto side effect?

Foods commonly eaten on the keto diet Foods commonly eaten on the keto diet Foods commonly eaten on the keto diet

Keto is an increasingly popular low-carb, high-fat diet restricts the intake of carbs, which puts your body into a state of ketosis — where burning fat instead of glucose causes you to lose weight.

While many supporters have raved about keto’s benefits, there's one thing that isn't always mentioned — that bad breath is one of its potential side effects! Some describe keto breath as a smell that's sweet, fruity or reminiscent of nail polish remover. This less-than-alluring side effect is caused by the chemicals your body creates during ketosis, which are released when you exhale.

Fan of keto? Don't worry!

Should you fall victim to keto breath, it should improve in a few weeks as your body adjusts to the lack of carbs. In the meantime, try these tips for tackling bad breath:

Drink more water.

Eat less protein and more complex carbohydrates, such as leafy green veggies.

Chew on xylitol-sweetened, sugar-free mints or chew sugar-free gum.

Add natural breath fresheners to your water or tea such as clove, cinnamon or mint.

Here's the skinny on keto

Trying to understand the benefits of keto can feel like information-overload. Here are some of reasons why the diet is increasingly popular:

• Fewer carbs means less processed sugar, so the keto diet may improve your oral and overall health (despite the bad breath). 

• A low-carb diet can help reduce cavities, gum disease and inflammation, according to a study by BMC Oral Health.  

• Consuming less sugar may slow the growth of cancerous tumors, according to research shared by Healthline.

Check out keto's downsides…

When it comes to keto, some results are less-than-desirable. Be mindful of the potential downsides of this lifestyle choice:

• Eating high amounts of saturated fats can increase your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

• Cutting carbs means running the risk of missing out on critical fiber, vitamins and minerals.

• Bad breath aside, the keto diet can also cause feelings of lethargy, ketoacidosis, kidney damage, digestive issues, headaches and muscle loss.

Remember to always check with your dentist and physician before starting a new diet. There are ways to modify the eating plan, such as reducing your carb intake without going full keto. If you do decide to tackle it full force, seek out alternative sources of fiber such as avocados and almonds. Taking measures to improve your health is always a win. Just remember to be mindful of what's best for your body, health and lifestyle.

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