12 Extreme Ketogenic Diet Side Effects That You Should Know Of
The ketogenic diet has been heavily publicized in the mainstream industry as the most effective and easiest way to shed a shit load of pounds in a very short time. From media outlets to social media, thousands of people are reporting the success they have had on the ketogenic diet.
However, many people who take on this diet to shift a few inches off their waistline rarely look at the ketogenic diet side effects. Below are some examples of the side effects that you may have to deal with.
1. Reduced Strength
One of the most common ketogenic diet side effects that you will notice soon in your diet is that your strength will be reduced. Ideally, when on a carb diet, the body usually synthesizes and extracts the needed energy easily from simple sugars that you eat. On a ketogenic diet, this source is eliminated, and therefore the body is forced to turn to fats to provide energy.
However, as this adjustment takes time, a dip in energy levels before they level out is common. Don’t worry, your strength will go back to normal after 2 – 4 weeks depending on how long it takes you to become fat adapted.
2. Heart Palpitations
The idea of having heart palpitations sounds scary because it is. However this is a ketogenic diet side effect that you could also come across. When people switch to a ketogenic diet, they usually drink less water because their hunger levels are reduced. With the reduction in water intake, there is less fluid for the body to utilize, especially in the blood.
This in turn makes the heart beat faster to compensate. So, easy peasy fix for this – just drink a hell of a lot of water. This is perfectly normal. Don’t overdo the water but, you will be drinking a lot more than you are used to.
3. Bad Breath
This can be a serious pain in the butt when you are on a ketogenic diet. Normally if you had smelly breath you would be panicking and wondering how the hell you got it but, this is one of the side effects of going into ketosis on the ketogenic diet. This is purely because the body is switching to fats for energy.
Ideally, it should only really last a few days before reducing and the going away for good. If the though of having stinky breath does not impress you then, simply reduce your carb intake over a longer period of time instead of doing it drastically.
This will help as your body will gradually ween itself of carbs but, this will take you a hell of a lot longer to become fat adapted.
4. Sleep Issues
When you decide to make a switch to a ketogenic diet, be ready for sleepless nights and restless days as your body adjusts to the new nutrition. This is mainly because when you are eating carbs, the body is supplied with a constant supply of glucose which in turn helps feed the brain with L-tryptophan that is responsible for the production of serotonin.
To take care of this, simply eat more veggies or try supplementing with some L-tryptophan.
5. Muscle Cramping
To many, muscle cramping is common right after intense exercise, brought on by the tearing and the straining of different muscles in the body. However, this is one of the most common ketogenic diet side effects that you will probably encounter, especially leg cramps.
This is basically a loss of minerals due to the change in your diet, mainly magnesium. so, drink lots of water, make sure you get enough salt, eat more veggies and you can always take a magnesium supplement.
Nobody likes having diarrhea but, this can sometimes happen as you switch to a ketogenic diet. This tends to be because of the drastic nutritional change that your body experiences and is unsure of how to synthesize the new kinds of food that you are eating.
This is just the body learning to adjust to the change in macronutrient ratio. Although, it only lasts for a few days, one way to completely avoid this is to replace the carbs you are eating with fats while increasing your protein intake. Simply put, don’t avoid fats while switching to a ketogenic diet.
7. Frequent Urination
When you initially start the ketogenic diet, one thing that will become apparent in just a few hours will be the constant need to urinate. As your body burns through stored glucose in the liver, the body releases excess water.
This is also accompanied by the excretion of excess sodium as insulin levels in the bloodstream drops. As this is unavoidable when cutting down your carbs, you need to make sure that you are drinking lots of water to stay hydrated at all times as your body adjusts and starts using stored fats for energy rather than glycogen.
8. Nasty Constipation.
The opposite of diarrhea but, can also happen when starting the keto diet. Considering your body has relied on carbs as a source of energy for a very very long time, there are bound to be various changes in the body when in forcing it to relearn a new way of getting energy.
Unfortunately, this comes in the form of constipation as your digestive systems adapts. On a ketogenic diet, cutting out carbs is a must however, this also means cutting out fibre rich foods from the diet. To fix this, aim to eat non-starchy vegetables, drink enough water and have a sufficient intake of salt.
9. Sugar Cravings
Arrrrghh, this is the one that caused me the most issues. Sugar is highly addictive and coming off it take a shit load of willpower. I failed a few times at first, I can tell you. When switching to a ketogenic diet, it’s very common to go a little bit crazy try to deal with not being able to eat pizza, bread and cakes etc.
This will hit you constantly and will test your resolve. It’s bloody hard to do. The only advice I can give is just do your best. If you fall off the wagon then don’t beat yourself up about it. Try to keep yourself busy doing anything and everything. This will help take your mind off it or, do what I did and make some chocolate walnut brownies! Yes, you heard that right!
Just because you are on a keto diet, it doesn’t mean you can never eat desserts again. You just add a little sweetener instead of sugar and voila, sweet fix, here we come. My go-to cookbook was a life saver when it came to this. It’s got recipes for everything but, its the deserts that I went for first :-).
Before starting on a ketogenic diet, you most probably had a lot of carbs that you ate whether you noticed or not. This in turn makes your body accustomed to releasing a certain amount of insulin to deal with this carbs. As it has done this for a long while, it will take your body some time to realize that the high levels of insulin isn’t required any more.
As it does this, you will have to deal with low blood sugars as your body adjusts and the insulin level balances.
11. Light Headedness
As expected with low blood sugar comes, the dizziness and fogginess and sometimes in extreme cases the fainting. As one of the ketogenic diet side effects, light headedness will be a major transitioning symptoms as your body is getting rid of the excess water and eliminating minerals such as magnesium, sodium and potassium.
As you adjust to this, indulge in foods like poultry and fish, avocados, leafy greens and dairy to increase level of mineral intake.
12. Keto Flu
Finally the one side effects of the ketogenic diet that you will most likely deal with is the keto flu which had been busted as a myth. The flu which mimics an actual flu has headaches, irritability, brain fog, lethargy and sometimes a runny nose as a symptom. As you cannot avoid this symptom, aim to reduce your carb transitionally rather than doing it drastically to suffer minimum effects.
Everyone who takes on the ketogenic diet goes through at least one of these symptoms. Hey, I never said it was gonna be easy but, if you stick to it and stay strong and focused, the rewards will be well worth it. Trust me.
Happy Keto-ing boys and girls!