The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, has surged in popularity in recent years due to its ability to help people lose weight faster. This particular diet involves eating a minimal amount of carbs and high amounts of fat and protein to achieve a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis only happens when the body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. In the absence of carbs, the body begins to burn stored fat for fuel, resulting in weight loss. Unfortunately, this metabolic state has unwanted -- albeit temporary -- side effects, the most common of which is keto breath.
One of the side effects of the keto diet is keto breath. Keto breath is quite different from ordinary bad breath or halitosis because it produces a distinct taste and odor in the mouth. People describe keto breath as a pungent smell that could leave a metallic taste in your mouth. Sometimes, your breath could smell fruity or have a smell similar to nail polish remover.
To understand how the keto diet induces keto breath, you need to know how ketosis works. As previously mentioned, the keto diet restricts carbohydrate intake so that the body is forced to use its fat reserves as an energy source once all the glucose has been depleted. Fatty acids produced from the breakdown of fat are then converted into chemicals called ketone bodies. These chemicals include acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. Acetone is the main ingredient of nail polish removers, so your breath will smell exactly like that while you're in ketosis.
While having keto breath is an indication that you're in ketosis, it is nevertheless an undesirable side effect. Thankfully, keto breath can be reduced or masked. Keto breath will disappear once your body adapts to the keto diet, which usually takes a couple of weeks. For those looking to reduce keto breath, here are a few tips:
Increase your water intake. Sincethe body can flush out acetone and other ketones naturally through urination, drinking more water is the recommended plan of action for people who want to eliminate keto breath. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day to increase the frequency of your urination and improve the smell of your breath. Drinking water also helps flush out bacteria that could cause bad breath.
Adjust your carbohydrate intake. You don't have to completely avoid carbohydrates to achieve ketosis. While people's carbohydrate threshold for ketosis varies, consuming 20 grams (g) to 50 g of carbs daily -- assuming you eat 2,000 calories a day -- can help you reduce keto breath without getting you kicked out of ketosis. Slightly increasing your carbohydrate intake will help you produce fewer ketones and improve keto breath.
Mask the odor with a breath mint. While your body adjusts to your new low-carb diet, chew some gum or have a few mints to mask the odor of keto breath. Chewing gum can also increase saliva production, which can help prevent the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.
Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth may not eliminateketo breath on its own, but the minty odor of toothpaste can help mask its smell. Brushing your teeth also helps dislodge pieces of food in your mouth and teeth that can amplify the bad smell from your mouth as they break down.
The keto diet is a useful diet that helps you achieve your weight loss goals, but you have to deal with one undesirable side effect. Thankfully, there are remedies that can help you eliminate keto breath so you don't have to suffer while your body adjusts to this healthy diet.