What You May Experience on Keto: Side Effects

Like any other weight loss or lifestyle change, the Keto diet doesn’t fit every body.

Some of us can’t adapt to eating a high fat diet.

Or we’re not happy if we can’t have what everyone else is having.

It takes time to learn exactly what you can and can’t eat to get the right results on keto.

On the other hand many are finding the keto diet is the answer to their weight loss prayers. Eating keto may also have a beneficial affect on some medical conditions.

Only you can know what’s right for you. Before you start any diet, it’s good to know what to expect, right?

You may be super happy with the results you’re getting on the keto diet if side effects aren’t an issue for you.

But it helps to know what to expect before you dive in. That way you can make some tweaks if you need to!

OK, Here’s What You May Experience While on a Keto Diet:

Keto Flu

Describes the intense cravings, fatigue and irritability when your body shifts from sugar to fat burning mode. Usually in the first few weeks of starting the diet.

The list of symptoms can include: diarrhea, constipation, dehydration, loss of appetite, brain fog, dizziness, trouble sleeping, moodiness and cravings for sugar and carbs.

These “flu” symptoms may be your body responding to your diet by releasing built up toxins stored in your fat cells. When you start the keto diet you may temporarily experience an overload of toxins as your liver, kidneys and gut try to filter and flush them out of your body.

You’ll feel worse while the toxins are being flushed.

Hair Loss

Keto can be an added stress on your body. Trying other lifestyle changes like intermittent fasting, too much caffeine, not enough sleep or intense workouts at the same time? All of these can kick your adrenals into fight or flight mode stressing your thyroid. Which is what triggers hair loss.

Pushing yourself too hard may even trigger an autoimmune reaction.

The other reason for hair loss is; you may not be eating enough protein. If you’re a woman on keto and you’re just not as hungry as you used to be, you may be under-eating. So not getting enough protein may contribute to your hair loss.

keto side effects

Hair loss may not be noticeable until you’ve been on the diet for few months.

If you’re taking on too many stressors at the same time as going keto, try curbing your impulse to do it ALL – at the same time.

Trouble Digesting Fat

You may not be biologically programmed to eat and digest the amount of fat required to maintain ketosis. Some estimate 80-90% of your diet needs to be fat to achieve it. Let’s face it, this much fat can be hard to digest. Especially if you’re someone who does better on healthy carbs and proteins.

If you’re an athlete your performance is sustained by complex carbs not fat. To get the kind of energy needed for high intensity workouts, carbs are metabolized more efficiently than fat.

You just may be someone who functions better on glucose fuel instead of fat.

keto side effects

GI Side Effects

If you have to “run to the bathroom” a lot or experience nausea and vomiting even after the first few weeks on keto, then it might not be for you. If you’re still getting the keto flu or other digestive issues, it may be time to say bye bye to keto.

Bad Breath

When your body starts going into ketosis, the natural by-product is a release of ketones. These are removed naturally by urinating and breathing out, but the smell they create isn’t always pleasant. The smell can vary from fruity; like rotten apples or resin-like; as in nail polish.

Social Bummer

Forget having a normal meal with friends and family. Unless they’re doing keto too!

You may get tired of always having to monitor what you eat and where you go out to eat. Maybe you find it awkward always asking for extra butter or turning down a cocktail or beer with your friends.

Restricting what you eat or drink can be more difficult when you’re social.

keto side effectsThyroid + Hormone Function

When you eat less carbs, it can potentially affect thyroid function. Which in turn may lead to side effects such as hair loss, change in your menstrual cycle and erratic periods.

When fat deposits are burned for energy (as in ketosis), stored hormones, toxins and other fat soluble substances may get released more quickly into the bloodstream.

Just be aware that your hormones and potentially cycle could be affected.

Eating organic, pasture-raised grass fed red meat and wild caught fish that hasn’t been treated with growth hormones is important. Especially if you’re struggling with hormonal challenges on keto.

Not Gallbladder Friendly

If you’ve had your gallbladder removed or have gallbladder disease, you need to be careful what kind of fats you eat. Since the gallbladder plays a role in the breakdown of fat, you’ll want to make sure your protein is lean and not fatty.

Consider the Mediterranean version of the Keto diet which is fish and chicken with less butter, dairy and oils.

Potential Heart Disease Risk

Surprisingly the Alaskan Inuits consume the same percentage of fat as recommended by keto. Despite eating a lot of fish in their diet, they still suffer from high rates of heart disease.

Be careful about what kind of fats you’re eating on the diet because trans and saturated fats can lead to cardiovascular complications like heart disease and stroke.

Acidosis, Kidney Stones and Pancreatitis

These are some other potential complications or conditions that may be aggravated by a keto diet.

keto side effectsSide Effects of Ingredients in Keto Baking

  • Coconut Oil (MCT) – because it’s so rapidly digested may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Xanthan Gum – used as a replacement for gluten may cause bloating, gas and diarrhea
  • Maltitol, Sorbital and Erythritol- sugar substitutes may cause bloating, stomach distention and laxative effect

The keto diet isn’t right for everyone. Don’t feel bad if you can’t stick with it. It just may not be the right diet for your body.

keto diet side effects

This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.