Side Effects of the Keto Diet

Potential Side Effects of Keto

The keto diet, or the keto diet for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. This weight-loss diet works by forcing the body to burn stored fat for fuel instead of carbs. While the keto diet has been praised for its rapid weight loss benefits, there are potential side effects to consider before jumping on the keto bandwagon.

Understanding the Keto Diet

What is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet, also known as the keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has gained popularity in recent years. The diet involves reducing carb intake and increasing healthy fat intake, which forces the body to burn fat for energy rather than carbs. This process generates ketones in the liver, which are used for energy.

Many people have found success with the keto diet for weight loss, improved mental clarity, and increased energy levels.

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

When following the keto diet, the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. This occurs when there is a limited intake of carbs, which are the body’s primary source of energy. Without carbs, the body turns to fat for energy, breaking down fat cells into molecules called ketones.

Once the body is in ketosis, it becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy. This can lead to significant weight loss, as the body is constantly using stored fat for fuel.

Additionally, the keto diet has been shown to have a positive impact on blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for those with type 2 diabetes. By reducing carb intake, the body requires less insulin to process glucose, which can help improve insulin sensitivity.

What Foods Can You Eat on the Keto Diet?

The keto diet involves consuming high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb foods. Some examples of foods that are allowed on the keto diet include:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (such as cheese and butter)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils (such as olive oil and coconut oil)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower)

It’s important to note that processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-carb foods (such as bread, pasta, and rice) are not allowed on the keto diet.

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

While the keto diet has been shown to have numerous health benefits, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.

Some people may experience side effects when first starting the keto diet, such as headaches, fatigue, and nausea. These symptoms typically subside after a few days as the body adjusts to the new diet.

It’s also important to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients while following the keto diet. This can be achieved by consuming a variety of healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables.

The keto diet can be a safe way to lose weight and improve health when done properly and under the guidance of a doctor.

Common Side Effects of the Keto Diet

The keto diet has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential weight loss benefits and ability to improve certain health conditions such as epilepsy and type 2 diabetes. However, like any diet, there are potential side effects that should be considered before starting the keto diet. In this article, we will explore some of the common side effects of the keto diet and how to manage them.

The Keto Flu

One of the first side effects that many keto dieters experience is the keto flu. This is a collection of symptoms that can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. These symptoms are caused by the shift in electrolytes that occurs as the body transitions from burning glucose to ketones. The keto flu usually lasts for a few days, but it can last for up to a week.

To manage the keto flu, it is important to stay hydrated and consume adequate amounts of electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Easing into the keto diet rather than jumping in can help reduce the severity.

Stomach Issues | Keto Diet

Another possible side effect of the keto diet is stomach issues. Due to the decrease in fiber intake, constipation is a common issue among keto dieters. Additionally, a high intake of saturated fats can cause diarrhea and other stomach problems.

To manage stomach issues on the keto diet, it is important to consume adequate amounts of fiber through low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach. Additionally, consuming healthy fats such as avocado and nuts can help reduce the risk of stomach issues.

Nutrient Deficiencies

The keto diet is often restrictive, and it could lead to inadequate nutrient intake. For instance, the restriction of carbs could cause low levels of important micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins C, K, and folate.

To prevent nutrient deficiencies on the keto diet, it is important to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Additionally, supplementing with vitamins and minerals can help ensure adequate nutrient intake.

Electrolyte Imbalances

The shift in electrolytes can also lead to side effects such as dizziness, muscle cramps, and cardiac arrhythmias. To prevent these effects, keto dieters are advised to supplement with sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

In addition to supplementing with electrolytes, it is important to stay hydrated and consume adequate amounts of water. Consuming bone broth or adding salt to meals can also help prevent electrolyte imbalances.

In conclusion, while the keto diet can be an effective way to lose weight and improve certain health conditions, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects. By managing electrolytes, consuming adequate fiber and nutrients, and staying hydrated, many of these side effects can be minimized or avoided altogether.

Long-Term Health Concerns of the Keto Diet

The keto diet has become popular due to its potential for weight loss and other health benefits. However, there are also potential long-term health concerns associated with the keto diet that need to be considered.

Impact on Kidney Function | Keto Diet

One of the potential long-term effects of the keto diet is its impact on kidney function. Since the keto diet is a high-protein diet, it could lead to an increase in blood pressure, which may cause damage to the kidneys. This is especially true for individuals who already have kidney problems or are at risk for kidney disease. It is important to monitor kidney function regularly while on the keto diet and to consult with a healthcare professional if any concerns arise.

The keto diet may cause an increase in uric acid levels in the blood, which can lead to kidney damage. It is important to consume enough fluids and to limit alcohol intake to help prevent this potential complication.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease

The keto diet may increase the risk of heart disease. The high intake of saturated fats could raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which could lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. This buildup can eventually lead to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. It is important to monitor cholesterol levels regularly while on the keto diet and to consume healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, instead of saturated fats.

In contrast, shifting to a plant-based, high-fiber diet, has been demonstrated to reduce heart disease and other chronic diseases. A plant-based diet is rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and promote overall heart health.

Bone Health and Osteoporosis

The keto diet could have negative effects on bone health since it is usually low in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for bone health and a deficiency in either of these nutrients can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Consuming calcium from plant foods and exposing oneself to sunlight for 15 minutes per day can help prevent osteoporosis. It is also important to consider taking a calcium supplement if necessary.

In conclusion, while the keto diet may have short-term benefits, it is important to consider the potential long-term health concerns associated with this diet. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet and to consume a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet for optimal health.

Mental and Emotional Effects of the Keto Diet

Mood Swings and Irritability

Low-carb diets, like the keto diet, could lead to changes in mood and cause irritability due to low-carb intake. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is involved in the regulation of mood and appetite, and a lack of carbs could decrease its production. Low-carb diets have also been found to increase cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland, which has been linked to mood disorders and anxiety.

Brain Fog and Cognitive Function

Keto dieting can also cause brain fog, a condition characterized by cognitive difficulties, lack of focus, and confusion. The lack of glucose from carbs may cause brain fog since it’s the primary energy source of the brain. However, after adaptation, many keto dieters report increased focus and cognitive clarity.

Sleep Disturbances

Lastly, sleep disturbances are another side effect of the keto diet. Not having carbs could result in an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can cause sleep disturbances. The solution is to have a good sleep routine to help transition your day.


The keto diet is a popular weight loss diet, but it comes with potential side effects to be aware of. In the short term, keto flu, stomach issues, nutrient deficiencies, and electrolyte imbalances could occur. In the long term, kidney damage, heart disease, and osteoporosis are possible. Finally, the keto diet could cause mood swings, brain fog, and poor sleep quality. Understanding the side effects of a keto diet is key before starting any weight loss plan. A diet rich in plant-based food and whole grains has been shown to provide adequate nutrition and improves health overall.


*The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is important to always consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical conditions, symptoms, or concerns you may have. This website does not provide medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice, and reliance on any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

Amanda Dawn

HI! I'm Amanda. A trained chef, nutritionist, and writer who is passionate about helping people live a healthy lifestyle. I lost 75 lbs in my journey and I love to help others enjoy great, wholesome food!

Recommended Articles