Get a cup of tea and settle down for a real chat. It’s about bad breath. Yup. If you’re considering starting keto, or you’ve just begun, you may be a little wary of what they call “keto breath”. Let’s just break this down simply to figure out why keto adjusts our breath, whether it lasts forever, what we can do about it, and if it truly matters…
Why does ketosis change our breath?
As you’ve surely read, or even experienced yourself, the ketogenic diet can cause our breath to become a little odd. Not necessarily bad, like what we associate with classic “bad breath”, but just…different (and sure, a little unpleasant). It’s most commonly described as fruity, sweet, chemically or metallic.
As you know, the keto diet causes our body to turn fatty acids into ketones which we use as energy. But what’s interesting is that these ketones are made up of acids such as acetone. You’ve probably smelled acetone before, in the form of nail polish remover. You know that kinda sweet, harsh, fruity, chemically smell? That’s acetone, and that’s generally what you’re smelling when you have keto breath. Ketones exit our body through the breath and urine, which is why we can take breath and pee tests to check if we are in ketosis.
It’s as simple as that. It just means you’re in ketosis and those lil ketones are making themselves known via your breath.
Will it last?
Good news, the strange odor coming from your exhalations generally doesn’t last. It’s really just a side-effect of the keto diet when your body is getting used to the new situation. Once your keto diet becomes the norm and everything balances out, your breath should return to normal. Just carry a few extra mints or mouth spray in your bag, drink lots of water, and you’ll be fine. But…perhaps save your first dates for a while.
Does it matter?
It only matters if it bothers you or makes you uncomfortable. As long as you’re following a thorough oral hygiene routine, then who cares if your breath is a little…interesting for a few weeks? It’s not a sign of anything serious or worrisome, it’s completely normal so don’t stress. If it hasn’t gone away when you feel it should have, then pop to the doctor for a check-up to ease your mind.
The keto diet does some pretty drastic things inside your body. It basically re-routes the way your body metabolises, finds and uses energy. Ketones are made of acetone (and other acids) which have a distinct, sweet odor which we smell through the breath. This doesn’t last forever and can be easily managed. It’s normal, nothing to fret about!