4 Side Effects of Keto Diet

What are the Side Effects of Keto Diet?

So many people nowadays swear by the keto diet being the holy grail method for weight loss and having countless benefits for our health, but unfortunately, nothing can be that perfect.

A Keto diet can come with a whole baggage of side effects you should be cautious about before deciding to enter the keto world – where you cut down on carbs and consume high fat, high protein meals only.

1) The keto flu

keto flu

Reports claim that certain people start feeling sick after going through a few weeks on a keto diet.

This health condition is known as Keto flu, where the person experiences typical flu-like symptoms like fatigue, malaise, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and other issues.

Although it has nothing to do with actual flu – an infectious condition.

Symptoms mostly appear 2-7 days after starting the diet, lasting for about a week or two.

The mechanism behind this state is not entirely explained, but it’s considered to be related to altered electrolytes, water, and insulin levels.

To put it in simple words

Keto flu is caused by metabolic adaptations and the body’s response to physiological changes caused by a drastic switch in diet.

As the body gets used to the state of ketosis, these symptoms clear up on their own

The good news is it’s a reversible and easy-to-manage condition; just like cases of the flu, these symptoms can be alleviated by drinking a lot of fluids and getting proper sleep.

2. Diarrhea

If you are on a Keto diet and rushing to the bathroom more often than others, you are certainly not the only one experiencing the issue.

Numerous people around the world have reported Keto diarrhea and this is major because the body is using fat as an energy source instead of Carbohydrates.

The cause of keto diarrhea can be multifactorial:

The most important cause, as already mentioned, is a high-fat diet:

The more fat we consume, the more energy and bile our gut needs to digest and absorb it since it can’t keep up with the mass of fat and bile secreted from the liver acts as a laxative – all these results in diarrhea

Artificial sweeteners:

This is especially noteworthy for those with a sweet tooth who have trouble letting go of candy and tend to use many sugar alcohols as constituents for carbs.

Accordingly, the Scientific Committee for Foods (SCF) of the European Economic Community (EEC) stated– “excess consumption of alcohol sugars may have a laxative effect.”

Altered gut microbiome

At the start of the keto diet, some of our”friend” gut bacteria might die off and release toxins, which are washed off by diarrhea.

Dairy product consumption

Some people start their journey of keto with high amounts of low-carb dairy products, which causes them to experience discomforting diarrhea since dairy is a well-known trigger of GI distress and inflammation.

    There are certain things you can do to decrease the frequency and severity of diarrhea:
  • Ease into the keto world – it gives the body more time to adapt to the transition
  • Cut down on dairy
  • Add probiotics to your ration to replenish the microbiome
  • Avoid boluses of fiber- since insoluble fiber can activate the bowel movements
  • Artificial sweeteners in moderation
  • Minimize saturated fats

Most importantly, during diarrhea of any cause, you must replenish fluids and electrolytes.

So don’t forget to stay hydrated!

3. Low energy levels during workouts

As we already mentioned, at the beginning of the keto diet, you might experience short-term fatigue due to the body’s adaptation to change.

However, that exhaustion can sometimes stay longer and affect your workouts; this is especially remarkable for physically active people or those who do sports for a living.

Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts have reported low energy and strength levels during workouts and athletic performance.

This may be due to the low carb content while on a Keto diet.

Various researchers claim that the keto diet can benefit you if you’re an endurance athlete but can work against you if you do high-intensity anaerobic workouts – where carbohydrates are the main energy source.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in November, Jenna Gillen, an assistant professor, states:

“Low-carb and high-fat diets are less than optimal for performance, especially considering that athletes rely almost exclusively on carbohydrates for intense and high-energy expenditure activities, translating into overall lowered performance and results.”

Unfortunately, there’s still not enough evidence of the keto diet being beneficial and safe in the long run for physically active people.

4. Ketoacidosis

Side Effects of Keto Diet - Ketoacidosis

Side Effects of Keto Diet – Ketoacidosis

If you are someone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetic conditions, you must not follow the keto diet without the permission of your doctor or physician.

According to research, a low-carb, high-fat diet can have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels and insulin resistance despite the fact there are substantial risks.

During keto, people suffering from diabetes and taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents can suffer severe hypoglycemia if the medications are not appropriately adjusted before initiating this diet.

While a low-carb diet for type 1 diabetes has many proven benefits, some health professionals believe it is controversial.

The main potential risk is hypoglycemia and diabetic Ketoacidosis – ketone body accumulation, an emergency that must be treated promptly.

So, insulin dosages should be adjusted and discussed with a healthcare professional.

For those with Type 2 diabetes, the keto diet is considered safe and beneficial since it can aid patients with weight loss and metabolic state.

From another point of view, diabetics who are insulin-dependent also have a risk for Diabetic Ketoacidosis, just like in type 1 diabetes and need to keep track of their blood sugar levels daily.

All types of metabolic disorders require us to be extra careful when making such radical changes to diet, so be sure to consult your endocrinologist.

So, is the Keto diet good for you or not?

The Keto diet is good in specific ways and it delivers for all your weight loss goals. Still, the person following the keto diet may have to consume certain unhealthy fats like red meat, which is unhealthy by any means.

There are also no studies and observations regarding its long-term effects, which is why people have only followed it for the short term.

This is where it’s always recommended that you follow a healthy, sustainable diet for a long time.

Follow the Keto diet to achieve your short-term fitness goals only.

To sum up
Follow a healthy and balanced diet, which includes fresh fruits, veggies, lean meat, nuts, olive oil, and lots of water instead.

Not only would this help you get better health over a long period, but it will also avoid any unwanted health issues throughout the process.

See Also

Keto Food List for Beginners

28 Day Keto Meal Plan

Keto Diet Plan