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Ultra-low carbohydrate diets have gained popularity in recent years. These "keto diets" aim to facilitate rapid weight loss by consuming a minimum of carbohydrates.
Keto diets have naturally become popular because of their fast results, as well as the practical benefits of consuming sufficient amounts of healthy foods, making hunger a less important issue than in the case of more conventional diets, to controlled calories.
However, keto diets are not without problems and one of the most common complaints comes in the form of "ketosis breath". In simple terms, many people using very low carb diets suffer from pungent and unpleasant breath.
The question is; What can be done to counter such a problem?
The cause of ketosis breathing
To learn how to get rid of keto breathing, we must first understand why breathing can feel under such a diet.
It turns out that there are two possible reasons(1)both can work independently or in conjunction.
Release of ketone
Glucose is the most typical source of energy used by the body. This usually comes from carbohydrates, where the digestive system breaks down complex sugars into simple glucose molecules.
On very low carb diets, however, the body is unable to use such fuel. Instead, the liver uses the fat present in the body as a source of energy, producing "ketones".(2). This is what is called "ketosis" – and it is the process from which keto diets get their unusual name.
These ketone bodies come in three common forms; acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone. In large quantities, they are eliminated from the body in the urine or by exhalation.
Ketones can have a rather characteristic smell. they often give Dieter's breath a very sweet and fruity smell, distinct from the typical halitosis.
Excessive volumes of acetone may, however, have a different smell. Acetone on the breath is most often equated with the smell of nail polish remover.
A second possible cause of ketotic breath is not directly related to the breakdown of fats as a source of energy.
Instead, it is a secondary problem caused by typical changes in the diet. While people on a keto diet try to minimize their carbohydrate consumption, the diet is often full of other constituents; most often fats and proteins.
A high protein diet can have two consequences on the breath. First, the degradation of proteins in the body produces ammonia; this can result in a particularly strong odor in the urine or breath. If your breath started to smell like a cat litter bin while you are on a ketosis diet, it may be your culprit!
Standard bad breath is most often caused by bacteria in the mouth. This bacterium breaks down its food by producing volatile sulfur compounds (VSC).
It is interesting to note that studies suggest that the most common source of VSC production is the specific breakdown of proteins, as opposed to other food sources. A diet rich in protein, especially in the absence of proper oral hygiene, can also have an impact on the breath.
How to stop the ketosis breath
As you can see, keto diets can have an impact on breathing in different ways. providing a food supplement for the bacteria, increasing the production of ammonia and releasing ketones and acetone.
The effective elimination of ketosis breath will depend largely on the specific cause of bad breath.
The following steps may be beneficial in getting rid of the halitosis caused by keto diets:
Get out of ketosis
Getting out of ketosis is of course the most effective way to get rid of ketotic breathing. By increasing your intake of carbohydrates smoothly, your body should stop producing ketones, which means fresher breath.
That said, if you are already on a keto diet, it is unlikely that this option will seem too tempting. After all, if you manage to lose a lot of weight because of your diet, who could you blame yourself for wanting to continue?
Reduce the bacterial load
If the bad breath caused by ketosis does not come from poor oral hygiene, it can be aggravated by oral bacteria. As a result, removing it effectively can soften the breath in some cases.
Here, there are a number of options in addition to standard brushing and flossing. Studies suggest that cleaning the tongue is almost twice as effective as brushing alone to eliminate bad breath. As a result, investing in a tongue scraper can be a worthwhile exercise.
Sinking water throughout the day is not only convenient from the hydration point of view, but can also help fight bad breath. Drinking plenty of water not only serves to rid your mouth of excess food particles, but can also effectively lubricate the mouth.
Reduce protein intake
If you have adopted a high protein diet to replace the carbohydrates you would normally consume, some experts say that increasing the weight of your diet while reducing protein may also have a beneficial effect on bad breath caused by dieting.
Unpleasant Odor Mask
If your bad breath is only caused by ketone production and you want to stay in your diet, one of the few remaining solutions is simply to mask the smell as much as possible.
Consider using mints or mints without calories and carbs, or use a flavored oral preparation such as a mint spray or a mouthwash.
Finally, it should be noted that some dieters believe that ketosis breath lasts only for a short time, usually measured in weeks. After that moment, it appears that some people's bodies are getting used to their new fuel source and the bad smell is disappearing.
As a result, no matter how many solutions you experience, it is reassuring to know that ketotic breathing can go away with enough patience.