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Having Bad Breath with your Low Carb Diet?

By Karen Reed

If you’re on a low-carb diet, not all the outcomes are good. One of the side effects you could notice is bad breath. It’s commonly nicknamed ketosis breath, whether it happens when following the ketosis diet, but it can happen with all low carb/high protein diets.

In fact, bad breath is becoming an epidemic. This is because so many people now are following these low carb diets. So, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, scientists say that 40% of people on these types of diets report bad breath as one of the worst side effects.

I’ve been in your position before with my low carb diets. Your best friend likely has, too. We just get so embarrassed about our bad breath that we tend not to mention it. We just hope that we can mask it with some breath mints.

But what is the real cause of bad breath on the ketosis diet? Just why do low carb diets make us stink? And is there anything that we can do to stop the problem?

I can share some very positive news. You can stop ketosis breath becoming an issue. You don’t need to become part of the growing epidemic. I’m going to share everything that you can do to stop ketosis breath becoming a problem.

So, Why Do We Get Bad Breath?
Let’s start with how low carb diets work. When we stop feeding ourselves as many carbs, our bodies have to get the energy in other ways. They do this through the burning of fat, which means the release of ketones in the body. It’s a chemical process since the body can’t create the carbohydrates that it would need to help

It’s this process that is causing the bad breath. The great news is that you’re sticking to your diet and you will see a smaller waistline. It will be successful, and you will be able to lose weight. Of course, the downside is that you have to deal with the breath.

The most common diets that will cause bad breath include the keto diet, Atkins diet, South Beach diet, paleo diet, and the Okinawa diet. They all reduce your carb intake considerably. In fact, any diet where high fat and high protein is promoted as beneficial should be watched carefully. They will use the idea of ketosis to help with weight loss so you will end up with the side effect of bad breath.

You’ll likely know if the bad breath is linked to your diet. There are other side effects that you can commonly notice at the same time. These include constipation, leg cramps, and a reduced physical performance level. Most the side effects are noticed mainly in the early stages of the diet, but the bad breath is often the most persistent.

Your bad breath definitely isn’t an oral hygiene problem. Please don’t start panicking that you’re not brushing or flossing enough, especially if you do brush and floss twice a day. You don’t need to start using special mouthwashes to get rid of bacteria or hope that you won’t end up with tooth decay.

The bad breath is a chemical reaction within the body. It’s not a bacteria build-up, and no amount of brushing is going to stop the bad breath from forming completely.

I know that this isn’t what you want to hear. After all, if brushing isn’t going to stop it, what options do you have? Will you really need to deal with bad breath for the rest of your life—or for if you’re on a diet?

I also want to share that the bad smell may not just be in your breath. While it is most common in the breath, it can also come through your skin or sweat. Your whole body suffers from the chemical change, and when you workout you may find that the smell excretes a lot quickly.

It’s time to look at all your options to help control or get rid of the bad breath.

Start with Masking Your Ketosis Breath
Sure, it is possible to use toothpaste and mouthwash to help a little. Oral hygiene isn’t going to fail you completely. And a good oral hygiene routine will help to prevent bacteria build-up that will make your bad breath worse!

So, start by masking the bad breath through the use of mouthwash and minty toothpaste. Remember that this isn’t going to be a permanent fix. The ketones will eventually get back through, and you will still have the chemical imbalance.

When you do brush your teeth, opt for scraping your tongue. The crevices in the tongue are perfect places for bacteria to grow. You’ll end up create a breeding ground that allows bacteria to grow and makes your bad breath worse.

You can’t carry the toothpaste and mouthwash around everywhere with you. Another option is to use mints, candy, and lozenges help cover up the bad breath throughout the day.

When you opt for candy or mints, check that they are sugar-free. Not only will sugar affect your diet, but it will also affect your oral health. More sugar means that you’re more likely to suffer tooth decay. That’s the last thing you want when you’re just trying to overcome a side effect of your diet. And you don’t want to eat something that isn’t diet friendly. Otherwise the bad breath just hasn’t been worth the effort at all!

If you do opt for lozenges, make sure they don’t contain medicine within them. Some have numbing qualities to help with sore throats. You don’t want to take medicines without reason, just to help cure the ketosis breath.

When the smell is also in your skin, look out for scented sprays to help mask the smell. Bear in mind that this is only going to be a temporary solution.

Keep Your Mouth Moist
Saliva helps to keep any bacteria out of the mouth. It’s also good for protecting the health of your teeth. So, these reasons for bad breath will disappear if you don’t have a dry mouth.

A dry mouth can also make ketosis breath worse. Just think about how your breath smells on a morning when your mouth is usually at its driest. You want to make sure it’s as moist as possible, and that usually means drinking more water.

Water helps to keep the pH balance in your mouth, too. This will limit the bad breath side effect. Overnight, try a humidifier in your room to help keep the mouth moist.

Drinking more water isn’t just going to be food for your curing your bad breath. It will also support your weight loss efforts. The more hydrated you are, the better your organs will work. The body produces more ketones to help with the burning of the fat.

But won’t this cause your bad breath to get worse? Not at all! That water you drink has to go somewhere, right? Well, it needs to get out of your system through your urine, and the urine will take the ketones with you. So while they’re being produced to help with the fat burning, there will also be less hanging around in your body to cause the chemical imbalances.

Urinating frequently and remaining hydrated is good for the body anywhere. When you are fully hydrated, you’re less likely to retain water or try to pull it from other organs. You’ll feel more awake, and your skin will look and feel better.

Opt for More Carbs in Your Diet
While on a low carb diet, you may feel like the suggestion is going to ruin your efforts. I remember thinking that when I first heard it.

Let me just point out that the only way you can stop ketosis diet is by stopping the chemical reaction. This is the only way to get rid of the side effect permanently, and that does mean that you need to stop the production of ketones. You need to add more carbohydrates to your body.

The great news is that this doesn’t mean your whole diet must be thrown away. Eating carbs doesn’t mean eating high sugar, high glycaemic index foods. There are plenty of low glycaemic index foods or high protein carbs that are great for the low carb diets. Just take a look at the likes of the Atkins and Keto diets, and you’ll notice the range of fruits, vegetables, and legumes that you can eat.

You see, low carb doesn’t mean no carb. This is a common misconception when it comes to losing weight with any low carb diet. Our bodies do need carbs. If we allow too many ketones to build up, we actually put our lives at risk. We’re at risk of ketoacidosis, which can cause coma and death. Is your diet really worth that risk? Of course not!

So, you need to eat a few extra carbs but make sure you eat the best options. Legumes are excellent choices and will be allowed on the majority of low carb diets. They’re full of protein while helping to prevent a large build-up of ketones. In fact, most people don’t think of legumes as carbs.

Fruit and vegetables are among the best carbs that you can get. Yes, they really are carbohydrates! The majority of diets already recommend them. It’s worth looking for fresh options that have slightly higher natural sugar intakes. The odd portion of fruits that aren’t supposed to be on your low GI and low carb diets isn’t going to do you that much harm.

Look out for various other low glycaemic index carbs will be an excellent way to stay on track with your diet while stopping the ketosis breath. The Atkins diet and South Beach diet both have options already included because those who created them knows the importance of carbs in the diet. With them being low GI, they won’t cause a high blood sugar spike, so you don’t store calories for later use.

Is Your Bad Breath Still Going On?
Once you’ve followed the above tips, you should find that your bad breath disappears. Even if it doesn’t completely disappear, it shouldn’t be as noticeable or embarrassing.

If you don’t notice any change at all, you should seek medical attention. This suggests that it isn’t just ketosis breath and that there is another medical issue there. Bad breath can be a sign of an infection in the mouth/throat or could be a sign of diabetes and some other health conditions.

Your doctor will want to rule out all potential issues. He will need to know about your diet and anything that you’ve changed to try already to get rid of your bad breath. He’ll then be able to run some tests to find out if there is an underlying health condition.

Do give the bad breath two or three weeks to clear up. This is how long it can take to get the ketones out of your body—or at least enough to stop creating the chemical imbalance.

Ketosis Breath Is Temporary and Can Be Handled
The great news about ketosis breath is that it is a temporary side effect of your diet. In the majority of cases, it only occurs at the very start of your diet. This is when your body will go through the biggest changes and has to handle the sudden change in the ketone levels. If you keep going with the diet, you should find that it settles down eventually.

While you wait, there are ways to cover up the smell. Minty toothpaste and mouthwash is going to be your best option since it will be the most diet friendly option in the list. Water is also an excellent way and will keep you healthy overall.

If you haven’t found the bad breath goes away, consider increasing your carbs ever so slightly. You can stick to a diet, but just increase a little with some high protein or low sugar carb options. If you still have bad breath, speak to a doctor to rule out other health problems.

Article from: Positive Health Wellness

Note from MaryHoward RN:

  1. Drink more water and drink often. This allows your body to flush away the keytones. 
  2. High fiber vegetables can be eaten in large portions and are recommended on a low carb diet such as: Salad and green steamed veggies.
  3. Fruits with seeds such as berries are also great on a low carb diet (in 1/2 serving sizes) because they have the fiber content to slow the digestion of the sugars down.