Why The Keto Diet Has This Unpleasant Side Effect (and It's Not Just Bad Breath)

It’s no surprise why the keto diet has grown in popularity; it’s helped countless people lose weight and get control of their blood sugar. But it also comes with some gnarly side effects; bad breath, known as “keto breath,” for one.

But there’s another unpleasant oral side effect that happens when you are on the keto diet and your body goes into a state of ketosis: dry mouth. This dry mouth or cotton mouth is the result of ketosis as well as what you’re eating to fuel your diet. Although this side effect isn’t supercommon, it can impact people who are following a keto diet, explained Steve Phinney, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at Virta Health.

Related: Curious to Try the Keto Diet? Here’s Everything You Can and Cannot Eat

“Due to the fact that nutritional ketosis increases sodium (salt) excretion by the kidneys, if a person severely restricts salt intake in combination with this diet, dehydration symptoms like headache, fatigue, exercise intolerance, dry mouth, and constipation can occur,” Dr. Phinney said.

Although these symptoms are unpleasant, they can be remedied pretty easily; he recommends drink one to two cups a day of salt-containing broth.

As always, you should consult with your doctor before making any drastic dietary changes, including embarking on the keto diet. Since there are some other negative side effects associated with the keto diet, it’s best to weight your options and get advice from a healthcare provider.

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