In the world nothing is perfect. The delicious taste of a creamy yummy chocolate vanishes within a few minutes from our taste buds. The most memorable trips have been thrown to memories, something you can remember but cannot be felt. Likewise, according to health experts, keto diet has many health advantages to person with health problems, especially obesity. But you must know its side effects too. Everything has its own darker side. Fortunately, the side effects of keto diet are minimal.
You came across the word ‘keto diet’ more than a couple of times. A ketogenic diet has these attributes:
- Adequate protein
The main advantage of this diet is that the diet makes the body to burn fats much faster than carbohydrates. This diet a very little carbohydrate. If a diet contains a very little carbohydrate, liver converts fat into ketone bodies and fatty acids. Normally, carbohydrates is converted to glucose and it fuels the brain. Here, this doesn’t happen and ketone bodies pass into brain. These ketone bodies replace glucose as an energy source.
Now let us come to the side-effects of keto diet. There are short-term side effects and long-term side effects:
- Short-term side effects: these effects occur at the starting of ‘keto-dieting’. For example, this may occur when patients start the diet with an initial fasting.
- Long-term side effects: these effects are more evident and this occurs mainly when keto diet is continued for extended periods of time.
1) Kidney stones
It is very hard to push a stone through a small hole. If that hole is surrounded by human tissue, the process is painful. The hard deposits of minerals and acid salts stick together in concentrated urine. These hard deposits are called kidney stones. When these are passed through the urinary tract, it can be painful. But you can treat this condition. The low pH in the urine results in the formation of crystals which further turns to kidney stones. The use of potassium citrate supplements can reduce kidney stones. This happens more commonly in children.
2) Stunted growth
As ketogenic diet has reduced levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, children may be affected by stunted growth. This hormone is reduced as a result of taking this diet. This hormone is essential for the growth of children.
3) Bone fractures
The accumulation of acid in the bloodstream is called acidosis. Bone fractures occur as a result of acidosis. The acid deposition leads to erosion and weakening of bones. The erosion of bones make them prone to fractures. The altered levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 also results in bone fractures.
4) Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
When your blood sugar levels have fallen low enough, you need to take foods high in sugar to bring back levels to normal state. This happens when your blood sugar levels become less than 70 mg/dL. Keto diets may cause you hypoglycemia. The noticeable signs of hypoglycemia include hunger, fatigue, sweating etc.
5) Changes in blood levels
Keto diets results in alteration of blood composition. It is because carbohydrate intake is reduced by consuming keto diet. As a result, body’s adaptive mechanisms results in changes of blood levels. The lipid and cholesterol content in the blood become higher as a result of keto diet. In order to minimize these effects of keto diet, the fat to carbohydrate ratio should be reduced.
The gastrointestinal tracts react to the absence of carbs. This results in constipation. Only three or fewer bowel movements occur per week. The quick reduction in carbohydrates will result in fluctuations in GI tract. This happens because your body need to digest a lot of fat instead of carbohydrates. A sudden change in digestion process result this condition.
7) Keto flu
Keto flu happens due to sudden shifting to low carb diet. It is the discomfort resulting from the consumption of keto diet. The main symptoms of keto diet include headache, weakness, irritability, nausea etc. The body produces ketones during the breakdown of fat. These ketone bodies are removed through increased urination which may lead to dehydration. This results in flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue and muscle soreness.
8) Bad breath
Ketone is an acetone. This is found in both urine and breath. The smell of acetone is like that of a fruit or nail polish remover. But for the odour to be pleasant, it should contain higher concentrations of acetone to produce a strong smell. But in ketosis, small concentrations of acetone are involved. The frequent brushing or sugar free gum is needed to solve the issue.
Insomnia is a condition in which you fall asleep or you don’t get enough sleep. The sudden change to low carbohydrate diet may cause you sleep disorders. But this happens when carbs are reduced drastically and quickly. Fortunately, long-term ketogenic users get better sleep. That means this is a short-term effect.
10) Irregular menstrual cycles
For some women, monthly cycle vanish completely as a result of keto diet. The sudden decrease in calories may result in cycle irregularities. Estrogen plays a major role in regulating menstrual cycle. But the levels of estrogen is linked with weight. The main advantage of keto diet is weight loss. Sometimes, it is also presented as a disadvantages. The loss in weight reduces the estrogen levels and cause irregularities in menstrual cycle.
There is no doubt that keto diet is a diet which has many health benefits. But one should be careful with the side effects of keto diet. The required changes should be made in fat to carbohydrate ratio. Also, sudden transition from normal diet to keto diet should be controlled.