10 Side Effects Of Ketosis: The Pitfalls Of A Keto Diet

side effects of ketosis
side effects of ketosis

When you follow a diet which drastically restricts the amount of carbs you consume, you will not have enough glucose in your blood to fuel your body. In this situation, your body turns to fats for energy. When your fats are broken down, small molecules called ketone bodies are produced, which act as an alternative source of energy. This condition is known as ketosis, and it is a natural state your body goes into. Since your brain requires a constant supply of energy, it would shut down if your body did not produce this alternative fuel source, but it cannot run on ketones forever. Low-carb diets or ketogenic diets, which help your body get into the state of ketosis, help you lose weight quickly but can adversely affect your overall health.

1. Fatigue

When your body is in a state of ketosis, you will experience fatigue as your body has to adjust to using an alternative source of energy apart from glucose. If you work out, your workout routine can suffer. Make sure to consume lots of water and salts when on this diet to fight fatigue and lethargy.


2. Headaches And Anxiety

You can experience splitting headaches within a few days when you follow a ketogenic diet. Your brain preferably wants to run on glucose; so it burns the last stores of glucose before switching to ketones for energy. You can feel anxious and find it difficult to concentrate as your brain adjusts to using this alternative energy source.

3. Bad Breath

You will know your body is in ketosis when your breath smells bad. There are certain chemicals released when fat is broken down and this causes your breath to take on a fruity smell, which, well may not be so agreeable.


4. Hunger And Constipation

Foods that provide you with fiber, such as legumes, whole grains, and beans, contain carbohydrates. This means that you will be skipping these extremely good sources of fiber when you want your body to be in ketosis. Fiber is the main component of your diet that makes you feel full and helps with a proper bowel movement. Without a sufficient supply of fiber in your body, you will feel hungry consistently and will suffer from constipation.

5. Leg Cramps

In order to get into a state of ketosis, you have to switch to a low-carb or no-carb diet. This means that you have to eliminate many sources of the important minerals that assist in proper muscle function, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, if you aren’t careful about getting these from other sources. The lack of these minerals can cause your leg muscles to cramp.


6. Dehydration

Being in a state of ketosis means that there is an excess buildup of ketones in your body. Too much ketones can be harmful for your health and are constantly removed through urine. Since you will be following a ketogenic diet, there will be an excess of sodium in your body, which is also removed through urine. Excess urination can cause you to become dehydrated and further deplete you of essential minerals.

7. Disrupted Menstrual Cycle Or Absence Of Periods

Being on a ketogenic diet means that you will lose an extreme amount of weight and your body will be under stress most of the time. This can disrupt your menstrual cycle. In extreme cases, you can experience amenorrhea, the complete absence of periods. You should eat healthy and consult a doctor if you experience amenorrhea.


8. Easy Bruising

Ketosis can change your blood composition by lowering your platelet count and platelet function. You can experience easy bruising when you continue a low-carb diet.

9. Bone Erosion

Unstoppable bone loss is one of the major side effects of being in ketosis. Firstly, you tend to decrease the consumption of calcium when you want your body to be in ketosis. Secondly, you eliminate fiber and many sources of important phytochemicals such as tannins, phytic acid, and oxalates from your diet due to which your gut does not readily absorb calcium. Your bones become weak and susceptible to fracture.


10. Kidney Stones

Ketosis lowers your blood pH level, which means that your blood becomes acidic. This acidic nature of your blood can cause the waste products in your blood to crystallize in your kidney, forming kidney stones.

There can be some benefits of starting a ketogenic diet, but you have to exercise caution. You should not follow a low-carb diet if you are diabetic. High levels of ketones in your blood can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious health condition that can lead to coma and even death. Children should never follow this diet as it can lead to stunted growth and other health conditions.