Ever Wonder if There are Negatives to the Keto Diet?

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woman shrugging her shoulders

Is keto bad for you? Our Nutritionist is here to talk about the negative stuff!

People start following the keto diet for a number of reasons. Most are looking to improve their overall health or to lose weight. If you’ve spent some time researching low carb or are just starting out on your keto journey, you might have come across some articles sharing negative side effects of keto, and also articles talking about how keto is bad for you.

fatigued, tired person sleeping on couch

There’s such a thing as the “keto flu”… but you can avoid it!

The most common negative of the keto diet is the “keto flu”. A quick internet search will give you hundreds of articles on this downside of the keto diet. Reading about the keto flu can definitely be a deterrent to people who are thinking about starting keto. Why would you want to feel miserable for two weeks? But know that not everyone gets the keto flu, and there are several things you can do to combat it!

The first step to avoiding the keto flu is to make sure you stay hydrated. Everyone’s fluid needs are different but aim for at least 64 to 80 ounces of water a day. Your body doesn’t retain as much fluid when you’re burning fat for fuel as opposed to burning carbs for fuel. This can lead to dehydration, so keep that water bottle with you at all times!

woman holding the salt fix book pointing to front cover smiling

Secondly, make sure you’re getting enough sodium. When you first start keto and are losing water, you’re also losing sodium. Try drinking a cup of broth or salting your food to keep your sodium levels within normal limits. If you have any medical conditions that contraindicate adding extra salt to your diet, then continue to limit your salt intake.

Speaking of salt, The Salt Fix book is filled with so much insightful info!

Finally, to combat the keto flu, you can ease yourself into the keto diet. Instead of shocking your system by going from 200 grams of carbs a day to 20 grams of carbs or less, try gradually reducing your carb intake over the course of a few weeks. Start with 100 grams of carbs for a week, and then 50 grams of carbs for a week, and then 20-30 grams of carbs. This can allow your body to better adapt to burning fat for fuel.

woman wearing mask and glasses

Grab a mint, because you may have bad breath… but that doesn’t mean keto is bad for you! 

Another negative of the keto diet is that some people experience bad breath when they first start the keto diet. This is because you are exhaling ketones. Ketones are excreted in urine and your breath. If you notice your breath smells a little sweet or like fingernail polish remover or ammonia, you’re breathing out ketones.

This usually subsides within a few weeks once your body has adapted to ketosis. In the meantime, make sure you’re brushing your teeth regularly and find some good sugar-free mints or gum.

man on his back with dumbbell on lap

Why don’t I feel like going to the gym?

People might notice their athletic performance suffers when they first start the keto diet. This is usually because the body hasn’t fully adapted to burning fat for fuel and is still wanting to use glucose from carbs for fuel.

Depending on your fitness goals, you may want to consider using a Targeted Keto Diet or Cyclical Keto Diet to help fuel your workouts. Otherwise, stick with the standard keto diet and allow time for your body to metabolically adapt to ketosis to fuel your workouts. You may want to stick to lighter workouts for the first week or two when starting keto or consider gradually easing into the keto diet.

man holding loaf of bread and Grain Brain book

Am I going to miss bread on keto? 

One of the main oppositions to the keto diet is that people think it is too restrictive. Many health experts believe that a big negative to the keto diet is that it’s unsustainable, can cause nutrition deficiencies, and lead to excessive weight gain once a person goes off the keto diet. It often seems that people dismiss the keto diet without fully understanding it.

melted butter on keto ham and cheese roll

Pictured above: Our keto ham & cheese biscuits 🤤

You’ll find that there are hundreds of keto foods and recipes available to keep you from getting bored or feeling like it’s a restrictive diet. Pay attention to how you feel while on keto versus the Standard American Diet. The majority of people who follow keto diets report increased energy, no more brain fog, fewer food cravings, and improvements in their health. Those benefits sure speak to the many reasons why keto is not bad for you!

Read even more of the amazing benefits the keto diet offers.

A woman holding a blood ketone meter in a kitchen

You can do it!

The most important thing is to find an eating pattern that’s sustainable. Some people do better on a low-carb diet to start and can adjust to what best suits them for the long term. We’re here to help you on your keto journey so reach out to us if you have questions!

Text us at (775) 451-2824 – seriously!

And ignore the keto haters who love to tell you how bad keto is for you! 👊


keto quote


Read more from our Keto Nutritionist about ketones and symptoms of ketosis.


Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Idaho, holds 5 years of blogging experience, and has been featured in Every Day Health and Women's Health Magazine.


Join The Discussion

Comments 4

  1. Renee Martinez

    I love the Pop Tarts and Hershey bars comment! I am going to make that part of my arsenal for the nay sayers! This was a good article, thank you for sharing!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re SO very welcome! 💖

  2. Karen Hernandez

    I went on Keto in Nov 2019 for my seizures, it took my seizures down and lessened the severity. I notice that if I go off Keto I will have seizures. Have lost weight in the meantime which is okay with me. No one notices the seizures dropping they do notice the weight loss. Thank you for a great site!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing!

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