Potential Ketogenic Diet Side Effects

The ketogenic diet is a popular and effective way to lose weight and improve your overall health and well-being. However, due to making sudden and dramatic (though positive) changes to your daily diet, you may experience some mild, temporary side effects. These are usually limited to:

Headaches and Dizziness

Because sugar and caffeine both have addictive effects, when you give them up during the induction phase of your ketogenic diet (caffeine can in a lot of cases be reintroduced later), you may experience some withdrawal symptoms. These will only last for a few days and will not be severe, and once you’ve got through them, your addictions will be broken (at least from a physical perspective), so you shouldn’t find yourself craving sugar or needing coffee to feel alert.

Leg Cramps

Some people experience cramps in their legs, especially at night, during the early phases of a ketogenic diet. This is caused by a lack of potassium, and can be easily rectified by taking a multivitamin supplement containing potassium. It is recommended that you take a multivitamin when on a ketogenic diet anyway, just to ensure your restricted food intake doesn’t lead to any deficiencies.


Some people on a ketogenic diet don’t get enough fiber, which can lead to constipation. You must ensure that the carbs you eat to go toward your daily allowance come from green vegetables, which will give you some fiber, and also make sure you drink plenty of water – this will also help prevent or combat constipation. If the problem is severe, a gentle over the counter laxative can help.

Bad Breath

When you are on a ketogenic diet, your body burns up fat in order to use it for energy, by way of a process known as ketosis. A byproduct of this process is the release of substances called ketones, which leave your body in your urine and breath. One of the ketones released is acetone, which has a distinctive smell some people may notice on their breath. It isn’t a particularly unpleasant smell, like the smell of bad breath caused by halitosis or eating smelly food – most people liken it to the sugary smell of fruity candy – but you can easily get rid of it by chewing on fresh mint or parsley, or using a sugar free gum, breath spray or mouthwash if it bothers you.

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