The keto diet, characterized by the low intake of carbs and high intake of fat, gained popularity as an effective eating plan for weight loss. However, it has also been subject to criticism and been linked to a number of unpleasant side effects.
As we know, the diet leads to ketosis, a state in which the body starts burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. During this process, the liver produces more of chemicals known as ketones — these include acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone.
In particular, acetone may ring a bell as it is commonly found in nail polish removers and paint remover. It has been suggested that the acetone could lead to something known as keto breath. While it is not exactly "bad" breath, experts do note that the smell can be rather strong and noticeable in some cases.
The good news is that this effect is temporary. In the meantime, you should make sure you are not slacking on oral hygiene as this could just end up worsening your keto breath.
"First, good oral hygiene is important on any diet," Scott Keatley, a registered dietitian of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, told Women’s Health Mag . Make sure to brush twice a day and consider extra steps like flossing or using mouthwash.
By sticking to these habits, one can counter the smelly effects of consuming more protein than usual. "Sometimes the breath can be caused by an increase in protein intake as protein bits left in your mouth are likely to be transformed into volatile organic compounds, which do not have a great smell," Keatley explained.
Another easy tip to follow? Try to include more produce in your diet. Look into what keto-friendly options you can choose from as the consumption of fruits and vegetables should not be compromised.
Ketosis has also been linked to body odor in some cases, although there is not enough research to understand this. Some women who start the keto diet have reported noticing an unpleasant smell emitted by their vagina. Could this also be attributed to acetone?
Probably not, according to Jessica Shepherd, a minimally invasive gynecologist in Dallas. Also speaking to Women’s Health Mag , she notes how the diet likely just changes the vaginal pH, which in turn, causes the odor.
As with keto breath, the general recommendation is to wait for a few days as this should disappear on its own. Importantly, do not try douching or using any vaginal hygiene products as they can do more harm than good .
Dr. Shepherd added that you should definitely see a doctor if you experience itchiness, burning, or abnormal vaginal discharge. These symptoms may indicate an infection or another underlying health problem which is not related to your dietary pattern.
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