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Common Side Effects of the Keto Diet: Why They Happen and How To Avoid Them

In our previous issue, we shared a keto success story and highlighted supplements available to help you succeed with it. This triggered significant interest and many questions, so here is some additional information on this popular topic.

Side Effect: Dehydration

Cause

The decrease in insulin caused by a lower intake of sugar stimulates the urinary excretion of electrolytes, which also causes a risk of electrolyte deficiency (particularly sodium).

Suggestion

Take an electrolyte supplement, and don’t exclude salt from your cooking!

Side Effect: Kidney Stones

Cause

The excess of ketones from fat metabolism tends to acidify the body; what’s more, a high intake of protein can create an excess of uric acid.

Suggestion

Take a “green superfood” supplement, drink plenty of water, and avoid foods that are high in purines (go for plant proteins instead).

Side Effect: Constipation

Cause

The absence of foods that are naturally rich in fibre (fruits, grains, legumes) reduces intestinal motility and lowers the intestinal microbiota’s production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Suggestion

Take fibre supplements and increase your intake of leafy green vegetables.

Side Effect: Gas / Bloating / Diarrhea / Reflux

Cause

The transit of nondigested fat into the colon feeds putrefying bacteria and creates looser stools. Gastric emptying takes longer because meals are harder to digest, creating a lack of enzymes. 

Suggestion

Take an enzyme supplement and include fermented foods that are naturally rich in probiotics and enzymes.

Side Effect: Nausea / Apathy / Migraines

Cause

Hypoglycemia and toxemia. The transition from glucose to ketones for energy production needs a period of adaptation that, for some people, can result in “keto flu,” which goes away if the keto diet is followed correctly. When you lose body fat, this releases toxins into your body, so your detoxification and elimination organs have to work harder than usual.

Suggestion

Take an antioxidant and energizing supplement, as well as detoxification support with nutraceuticals like DHA, ALA, and liver-supportive plants.

How Can I Make Sure That Taking Supplements Won’t Impact the Amount of Carbohydrates Allowed (20 g per Day)?

Ensure that the supplement brands you use are able to inform you of the net content of carbohydrates (carbohydrate minus fibre) in their products. For example, in order to cover your possible deficiency in antioxidants, choose a naturally sweetened berry extract drink that won’t have a negative impact on your blood sugar levels and your diet (rather than a sugary drink that vaguely resembles berries).

What Other Tools Can I Use to Optimize My Keto Diet?

Daily fasting is a natural strategy that supports the body’s natural elimination processes: every day, give yourself an eight-hour feeding window, leaving 16 hours for the body to process the rich nutrients in keto foods and get on with detoxification as well as maintaining tissues. Another element that promotes weight loss is a hypocaloric diet. These approaches should be carried out with the support of a health-care practitioner, and only be considered as a midterm solution.

What Are the Contraindications for a Keto Diet?

Liver conditions, removal of gall bladder, intolerance to fats, kidney problems.

I Don’t Like Stevia’s Aftertaste. Are There Other Sweeteners That Are Compatible with a Keto Diet?

Every problem has its solution. Give erythritol a try. It’s a natural alternative to sugar, plant-derived, and contains 95% fewer calories (0.8 calories per 4 g portion). Erythritol has a crystalline texture similar to sugar and doesn’t have an aftertaste. Since its impact on blood sugar is negligible, erythritol is ideal as a sugar substitute for people looking to limit their intake in cooking, baking, or hot and cold drinks. With a flavour profile equivalent to around 70% that of sugar, it’s perfectly appropriate for a ketogenic lifestyle or to reduce your calorie intake, while still enjoying treats!

References

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