The Keto Diet seems to be having its day, with many people turning opting to live a Keto lifestyle. It’s similar to a lot of the other diets out there at the moment e.g. The Paleo Diet, in the sense that it is a diet to be stuck to long term, not a quick fad diet for rapid weight loss. The Keto diet is essentially a ‘diet’ that focuses on eating foods that are very low carb but high in fat. Whilst you are eating foods very low in carbs, your body is put under a process called Ketosis which makes it incredibly efficient at burning fat fast. Click here to read more.
As with all diets/food lifestyle choices, although there are many benefits, there are also drawbacks and side effects. As with many diets, a lot of the side effects come within the initial period of starting out as your body is adjusting to the new ways of eating. Here are 7 side effects of the Keto Diet:
What is the Keto diet?
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1 – Increased Hunger
This may seem like an obvious one, but going from eating carbs daily to really cutting back can leave you feeling hungry, especially when your body is not used to eating so little carbs. A couple of weeks in, the body should know what foods to expect and hunger levels should even out. Whilst the body is hungry, it can leave you feeling lethargic and weak.
2 – Low Blood Sugar
When your body is used to eating a diet rich in carbs, the body produces a certain amount of insulin to help handle the sugar. When the body is shocked by the drop in carbs, a person may experience short terms periods of having low blood sugar. This can leave you feeling tired and shaky.
3 – Frequent Urination
Whilst your body is burning through the glucose that it has stored in the muscles and liver, a lot of water is released from the body so you may notice increased frequency of going to the toilet, especially during the beginning stages of the diet. Again, this happens a lot at the beginning but should regulate as there will be less stored glucose.
4 – Deficiency in magnesium
Whilst your body is getting rid of all of this excess water, many minerals will be exiting the body too such as magnesium. When minerals exit your body, it can leave you feeling light headed or dizzy. Make sure you stock up on foods high in magnesium in order to put minerals back into your body. Examples of foods high in magnesium are spinach, avocado and plain yoghurt. Some may also find it easier to take a magnesium supplement, but again, these may come with side effects.
5 – Loss of salt
Most diets tell you to steer clear of salt and in the past a diet including salt has been seen as something negative. With the Keto diet, because it reduces sodium in your body, you’ll lose a lot of salt. For those doing lots of work in the gym, this can be a problem because you’ll also be losing salt through sweat. It has been advised to add a little bit of salt back into the diet to make up for the loss.
6 – Deficiency in potassium
Similar to the above, when you start losing sodium on the Keto diet, you’ll lose potassium in parallel. This may leave you feeling weak and can therefore impact performance in the gym. An extreme loss of potassium can also lead to heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats. Be sure to stock up on foods high in potassium such as kale, mushrooms and spinach.
7 – Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea – a word that nobody likes but can’t be ignored. Again, in the first few days of starting out on a Keto diet, this may be experienced. Due to the change in macronutrients eaten, the body may react strangely. Some people also limit their fats and increase the protein too much which can also lead to diarrhoea happening.
In conclusion, it is good to know the possible side effects that may occur with any kind of diet. Knowing ahead of the diet change what might occur can ensure that you are armed with the right knowledge (and food) to determine whether this diet is right for you.