What is Keto Breath? Causes and Solutions

If you are getting ready to use one of the several keto diet plans, then you have to know about keto breath.

It is a side effect that comes from the use of high-fat and low carbohydrates which is the nature of the keto diet.

A keto diet limits your carbohydrates to 30g a day. Yet, if you want to get to ketosis much faster, lower limits are recommended. Ketosis is the point where the body is burning fat to produce energy instead of carbohydrates. It is at this point that ketones are produced and where most users of the keto diet begin to notice the keto breath.

Would you like to know about Keto? If you do why don’t you check out my article on the ketogenic diet – the ultimate beginners’ guide to keto.

Keto Breath

What is Keto Breath?

Keto breath refers to a strong foul odor that is produced as a side effect of the keto diet. Unlike the Keto flu’ which has several symptoms, keto breath is bad breath and can be long-term. You can differentiate it from normal bad breath by a metallic taste in the mouth and nail polish-like scent.

Other users of the keto diet say it has a fruity smell, while others have experienced an acidic pungent smell. If you experience a change in your breath when you start on a keto diet, then it is likely to be keto breath. On the plus side, different studies have confirmed it to be a sure sign that your body has gone into ketosis.

What Causes Keto Breath?

Keto breath is caused by the changes in your body metabolism thanks to the new diet and its composition. Two main factors are the causes of keto breath and they can work independently or together.

The first cause is ketones release. As highlighted earlier, when fats are burned to produce energy, the energy is in the form of ketones.

Ketones are present in the body in three forms, acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate.

When they are produced in excess, which will happen thanks to the high amounts of fats you will be consuming, some of them have to be removed from the body.

Excretion of ketones happens through urine and exhaling. Acetone is an ingredient present in most nail polishes.

It could explain why when the ketones are exhaled from the mouth you notice the nail polish scent. It, however, does not mean that ketones can be harmful to your body.

Other Cause of Keto Breath

The other cause of keto breath is the excess amount of proteins in the diet. While fats make about 75% of the diet, proteins make up the bulk of the rest.

You then have little space for carbohydrates. Extra proteins also keep you satisfied and meet your nutritional needs. In a typical keto diet, they make up 20% of the food you eat every day with carbohydrates only having 5%.

The diet leads to excess proteins in your body which when broken down during metabolism results in ammonia.

Ammonia is known for its pungent acidic smell which can be smelt in your breath and even in your urine.

Bad breath occurs when the bacteria present in the mouth breakdown the food releasing volatile sulfuric compounds.

Proteins produce more of these volatile sulfuric compounds more than any other food group. With a food plan that has you consuming more proteins and fewer carbs, you will observe the pungent and acidic smell.

Foul and acidic breath is because of the prominence of proteins in your diet.

On the other hand, fruity smell and acidic feel the mouth originates from exhaling ketones. Either way, you need a plan to stop keto breath, or else your social life and dental hygiene will be affected.

Here are some tips on how to do that.

1. Drink a Lot of Water

Fats and proteins hold far much less water compared to carbohydrates. With a reduction in the number of carbohydrates consumed, your body retains far much less water than before.

Drink More Water

The compounds released during metabolism do not get diluted. In their concentrated forms, they lead to the foul smells that come from your breath.

The reduced amount of water retained in the body also causes a dry mouth which means there is no saliva to wash away the odor-causing bacteria.

Drinking a lot of water can also help restore pH balance which reduces the odor.

2. Reduce Your Protein Load

As seen above, more protein in the body results in higher amounts of ammonia and volatile sulfuric acids. To prevent this, you can reduce your protein load and counter this by eating healthy fats like the ones from nuts and avocados.

Doing this allows you to check the smell without going off the diet.

3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

You are probably doing enough of the regular hygiene work, however, with the keto diet, you may have to increase your efforts.

You should brush after every meal you take and increase the duration of the brushing. Flossing regularly is also important, also focus on the tongue since cleaning the tongue can help prevent bad breath than when you brush only.

Keto Breath Brushing Care

Improving your dental hygiene will lighten the odor and prevent the bacteria present in the mouth from worsening it.

4. Try masking the Odor with Mints, Mouthwash, and Gum

Given that the metabolism process is ongoing, you will have to exhale ketones more frequently than you can brush or even drink water.

Sometimes you will need to mask the bad breath. Use mints and gums which are sugar-free to avoid increasing your carbohydrate intake. You should also use mint scented mouthwash and toothpaste.

5. Be Patient and Wait Out the Keto Breath

In the end, you will have to be patient and wait until the bad breath from the keto diet ends on its own. It usually takes about two weeks, so it lasts longer than the Keto flu’.

As your body adapts to the new energy source the smell fades out.

Keto breath may be an unpleasant side effect of the keto diet, but it helps you to know you have finally hit ketosis.

The above tips when used in conjunction with each other will help prevent Keto breath whilst your body gets used to the changes that it’s undergoing.

Resources Used in This Article

  1. Guiding ketogenic diet with breath acetone sensors.
  2. Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals.

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