Keto Breath: How To Do With it?

keto breath

Ketogenic diets and other low-carb diets can help you lose weight faster, but they can come with some side effects. Keto breath is an unpleasant side effect that can occur when a person starts following a ketogenic diet.

What does Keto Breath Smell Like?

Keto breath is a common side effect among people who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet. It differs from your typical bad breath in that there is a very distinct smell and taste and you are not going to like this smell test.

Keto breath symptoms include:

  • metallic taste
  • nail polish remover smell (mani/pedis anyone?)
  • fruity or sweet smell (think rotting apples, not fresh citrus)

What Causes Keto Breath?

So why does it smell bad? Your body’s metabolism is adapting to have fewer carbohydrates, which creates certain compounds that cause those smells.

When following a ketogenic diet, you eat foods high in fat, plus a moderate amount of protein and very few carbohydrates.

For ketogenic followers, only 5 to 10 percent of the day’s calories should come from carbohydrates. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, this would be about 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates. For reference, a slice of white bread contains almost 14 grams.

Ketosis occurs when you restrict your carbohydrate intake and your body converts fat into fuel. During ketosis, byproducts called ketones increase and leave your body through your urine and breath.

How does this make your breath smell like a nail salon? Acetone is a type of ketone body and an ingredient in nail polish remover.

One of the weird benefits of having keto breath is that it indicates that you’re actually in ketosis, which is the whole purpose of the keto diet. Note: If you’re not on a keto diet, keto breath can also be an indication of diabetic complications caused by diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

How Long does Keto Breath Last?

 Fortunately, keto breath is a temporary phenomenon. As your body adjusts to the new diet, the acetone-like breath will subside, usually in about 2 weeks.

However, you may still experience “regular” bad breath at any time due to poor oral hygiene and a poorly clean tongue. Therefore, whether you are in the adjustment phase or not, it is wise to follow these following tips so that you can always feel confident about your breath.

How to Stop Keto Breath?

Here are a few simple tips to reduce bad breath while your body adjusts to a low-carb diet.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Instead of exhaling those smelly ketones, flush them out. Drinking enough water is super important on a keto diet, not only to help with “keto breath” but also to avoid dehydration and digestive issues.

The general guideline is to drink enough water so that your urine is light yellow. (Note: if you take vitamin B supplements, this will turn your urine bright yellow anyway).

Tip: Add a pinch of salt to your water to help your electrolyte balance on a keto diet.

2. Increasing Carbohydrate Intake

When a person drastically reduces their carbohydrate intake, they break down fat for energy, which produces ketone bodies. However, a person does not have to avoid all carbohydrates to achieve ketosis.

If a person consumes 2,000 calories per day, how many carbohydrates they can eat without coming out of ketosis will be different for each person, but could be 20 (grams) to 50 grams.

Eating more carbohydrates should mean that a person produces fewer ketone bodies. Therefore, they should exhale less ketone bodies and have less keto breath.

3.Cut back on Your Protein

When protein is digested and broken down, your body produces ammonia, which is released when you breathe and urinate. This is also the culprit of bad breath.

Try to keep your protein intake to about 30 to 35 percent of your daily calories. If you do go to the gym, add a little more.

4.Brush Your Teeth and Floss

Keep your hygienist happy at your next dental appointment by brushing and flossing regularly. Doing so won’t actually make keto breath go away, but it will get rid of any bacteria lingering in your mouth that is causing additional bad breath

5. Mask Odor with Mints and Gum

You may want to suck on mints and chew gum until your body has adapted to a low-carb diet. Make sure you choose sugar-free mints and gum.

Be aware that some gum and mints contain small amounts of carbohydrates. If you chew or suck on a few throughout the day, this may increase your daily carbohydrate intake and take you out of ketosis.

6.Be Patient

Sometimes, you can’t get rid of keto breath. So if you’re committed to a low-carb diet to lose weight, be patient and let your body adjust to the new fuel source. After a few weeks, your bad breath will improve.

The Takeaway

While keto breath is definitely not fun, it is a sign that you are eating the right way. Follow these tips while you’re waiting out ” keto breath” and you’re sure to notice a big difference in the freshness of your breath.

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