There are a number of benefits which accompanies the adoption of low-carb ketogenic diet. Keto is a newcomer in the dieting space, but one that has attracted a lot of admiration as well as criticism from all quarters. This style of eating boasts of boosting fat-burning, enhancing cognitive performance, reducing inflammation and much more. But just with any other dieting plan out there, it comes with its side effects and if you are considering trying it out, it is important to know about the common side effects so that you have a clear picture of exactly what you can expect once you plunge in.
It is understandable that the side effects will vary from one person to another, just as the amount of ketones will also vary when determined with a ketone breath analyzer. With that said, here is a brief look at some of the common side effects of keto-:
During the first few days when the body is trying to adjust to keto, there will be a lot of fat burning from the stored glucose in the liver and the muscles and this process will lead to the production of a lot of water in the body. Additionally, the kidney will begin the excretion of excess sodium since the levels of insulin will also go down. Consequently, there will be need to remove the excess water and sodium and this will lead to frequent urination. But this should not be a great concern as the body will autocorrect itself as it adapts to the keto diet and the visits to the rest rooms will slowly subside.
Drowsiness and dizziness
While the body gets rid of excess water during the adaptation process, it will also eliminate minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium and these will likely make you feel fatigued, lightheaded and dizzy. But the good news is that all these can be avoided if you care to make a few preparations before embarking on adapting your body to keto. This can be done by eating foods rich in potassium such as broccoli, poultry, fish, avocados and leafy greens. It is also recommended that you add slightly higher salt than what you ordinarily consume to compensate for the sodium that will be eliminated during the process.
Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar and it is one of the initial effects to be realized during the process of keto adaptation. If you use a keto breath meter at the beginning to measure the ketones in your breath and at the same time you measure the level of your blood sugar, when you take the measurements a few days later, you will notice an increase of ketones, but a decrease in the blood sugar levels.
The reduction in blood sugar arises from the fact that the body will no longer be setting aside a certain amount of insulin to handle that sugars that used to come from the high amounts of cars you used to consume before starting on the ketogenic diet. When the amount of sugar is reduced in keto diet, episodes of low blood sugar are likely to occur and this can make you feel shaky, hungry, and temporarily tired until the body adjusts.
One of the long term benefits you will reap from ketogenic diet is that you will reduce the cravings for sugar as well as other unhealthy foods. However, it is possible that you will have very strong cravings for sugar during the initial stages as you make the transition. It may last for between two days and three weeks, but you must resist the urge at all costs. It will be amazing when you finally manage to reduce the urge or if when you eliminate it completely.
Reduced Strength and physical performance
When you take a breath ketone monitor and you see an improvement in your journey, but you find that you feel weak and lack in physical performances, don’t worry because your body is still in the adaptation period. During this time, the body is learning how to rely on a completely new source of fuel and one which it has never used before.
In the muscles and the brain resides millions of mitochondria which must now learn how to use ketones to provide energy for the body. Therefore, it is normal to feel a significant reduction in strength as well as in the ability to exert physical energy. But once your body adapts to keto, you will realize significant improvement in your energy levels and you will be surprised to realize that it may surpass the levels you had when you were still adapted to sugars.
Adopting a ketogenic diet will mean new adaptations to your digestive system, and constipation is a likely side effect at the early stages of the adaptation. The main reason for this is because you will release more fluids that may lead to dehydration. To avoid constipation during the early stages of ketosis adaptation, you should take foods rich in fiber, eat enough salts, drink a lot of water and eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables. If these doesn’t work, then you may have to reduce your intake of dairy products and nuts to try and ease the situation.
A good number of people will also notice heart palpitation during the early stages of keto adaptation and this can mainly be as a result of mineral imbalance, HPA axis dysfunction, and hypoglycemia. During HPA axis dysfunction, for example, the levels of hormone cortisol may become very high, and if it remains as such for long, the body may develop cortisol resistance. As a coping mechanism, the body will produce high amounts of adrenalin and this may cause irregular heart rhythm.
Muscles cramps will primarily be caused by the loss of minerals at the onset of keto the keto diet and the most pronounced ones will be leg cramps. To avoid this, it is recommended that you take a lot of water and increase your intake of salt to compensate for the lost fluids and minerals respectively.