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Keto 101 part 2: Keto pros and cons

Now we know what keto actually is (check out part 1), it’s time to drill down into what it actually does.Knowing the pros and cons of a keto diet will help you make an informed decision as to whether this kind of diet is right for you.

From weight loss to keto breath, here are some benefits and potential side effects that you might experience on a keto diet. 

1. Weight loss

One things scientist generally can agree on when it comes to the keto diet is that it’s great for short-term weight loss. This might seem counterintuitive at first, considering how we’ve positioned fat as the primary cause of weight gain for decades. 

While it’s true that too much of anything is likely to have negative effects on our health, your body becomes more efficient at burning fat the more it does so. This means it becomes easier for it to access your fat stores and burn them off as well.

In fact, a 2013 meta-analysis suggested that people following a keto diet may lose more weight in the long-term than people following a low-fat diet.

2. Headaches (or lack thereof) 

Headaches are pretty common in the initial stages of going keto. This is usually just your body adjusting to having less carbs (and especially less sugar) to burn as quick energy. 

They’ll usually last for less than a week, but check with the doctor if they persist any longer. 

Interestingly enough, some recent research suggests the ketogenic diet as a potential treatment for migraines and cluster headaches in the longer term. But scientists agree more research is needed. 

Changes in energy levels 

As your body switches fuel sources in the initial stages of ketosis, you might feel pretty foggy and fatigued. Some go so far as to call this stage the “keto flu” – describing a collection of flu-like symptoms your body can experience as it adapts to your new eating regime.  

After a few weeks on the keto diet, you should notice a dramatic increase in energy. You might also start to feel fuller for longer and experience less peaks and troughs in your energy levels.

If you’re still feeling baseline crappy after several weeks, check in with your doctor, as fatigue could also indicate dehydration or nutrient deficiencies.

4. Bad breath 

Another common and not-so-great side effect of a keto diet is a nasty breath, especially at first. 

The silver lining is that bad breath (sometimes known as keto breath) is good way to tell that your body actually is in ketosis, because it’s the ketones themselves that are causing those unpleasant smells.

Try drinking more water, brushing your teeth more often or, if it’s really bad, slightly increasing your carb intake to keep the bad breath at bay as much as possible. 

5. Improved focus 

Once you’ve made it through the initial stages of ketosis, many people report significant increases in mental clarity, alertness and focus.

And the science appears to back this up. While more research is needed, initial studies suggest that a keto diet may enhance cognitive function and provide neuroprotective effects

Like what you’re hearing? Watch out for our next post, where we show you how a keto diet breaks down in the practical sense.

Check out some of our keto recipes.