Ketosis Breath: Causes and Prevention

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Bad breath isn’t life threatening or a health problem but rather socially embarrassing. Usually, bad breath is associated with poor oral hygiene or from eating garlic for lunch. However, adopting a ketogenic diet may be the cause of bad breath.

The ketogenic diet has a plethora of amazing health benefits such as, improving fat burning, brain function and reduces inflammation.    

House of Keto Monitor™ is an accurate breath based device developed to measure the ketone levels in your system. Shortly after starting a ketogenic diet many people report foul breath or a bad taste in their math. This is extremely common and fortunately can be overturned.

Find out more: House of Keto Monitor™

Causes

Excess Protein

  • People often consume protein as their primary source of calories when adopting a ketogenic diet as they’re reluctant to eating high amounts of fat. When someone consumes higher amounts of protein, ammonia is set free from the body through the breath. The smell varies from fruity or similar to apples that are fermenting or rotting.
  • A high protein diet inhibits the ability to get into ketosis because excess proteins can actually be converted into sugar through gluconeogenesis. It’s also difficult to digest and can have negative impacts on the gut.

Ketone Release

  • When we begin burning fat as our primary fuel source as an outcome the body tends to churn out different byproducts. The main byproduct is the ketone compounds which are what are necessary for energy in a ketogenic diet. However, one type of ketone, acetone, is released into the breath and may have a fruity odor, just like the ammonia from the excess protein.

Solutions

Reduce Protein Intake

It’s completely possible to eat a low carb diet without producing a foul odor. The key here is to only eat as much protein as you actually need. Of course, this varies on whether your gender and age but generally, in a ketogenic diet, protein should only make up 10-25% of calories.

Drink Water

Drinking water can aid in fighting bad breath by getting rid of excess food particles and lubricating the mouth. Aim for 2-3 liters per day and you’ll be on your way to optimal hydration and better smelling breath.

Mask the Odors

Consider switching to a natural toothpaste, mouthwash, and sugar-free/carb-free gum or mints. Peppermint will mask odors and replace them with a minty, fresh aroma and also reduces any bacteria.

Be Patient

Many people report better smelling breath after 2-4 weeks. It seems the body becomes accustomed to the changes of using a new fuel source and the odor disappears.

Conclusion

No matter what you do, it seems bad breath will disappear after a few weeks of perseverance. But, to get you through it, be sure to drink 2-3 litres of water, reduce your protein intake and experiment with breath freshening agents. However, if none of these tips have helped it may be necessary to look further into your health. Excess bacteria may be caused by eating too much sugar or an inflammatory disease, both of which can be addressed by the diet.

References

  1. Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat : mechanisms and possible caveats, 1– PMID: 25489333
  2. Anderson, J. C. (2015, December). Measuring breath acetone for monitoring fat loss: Review. Retrieved September 10, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737348/
  3. Musa-Veloso K, e. (2017). Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12081817 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2017].