TBH, the keto diet looks pretty damn good on Instagram. First: OMG, the transformation photos (I see you, Jenna Jameson).
Then there's the delicious-looking meals (cheesy eggs, tons of bacon, avocado galore) and don't forget those super 'gram-worthy Starbucks creations.
For the record, keto breath is normal-in fact, it’s super-common to have it on the keto diet.
Here's what happens: When you’re in ketosis, there isn’t enough sugar in your body to provide energy to your cells (because carbs = sugar), so your body transforms fat to energy, says says Scott Keatley, R.D., of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. (ICYMI: The keto diet is about 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs.)
When your body breaks down that extra fat, it produces ketones, which are chemicals like acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone (yes, the same stuff that's used in nail polish remover).
Those chemicals are naturally produced by your body (so you don't have to worry that they're toxic or anything), but on the keto diet, there's just more of them, which means you're also peeing, pooping, and yes, breathing, out more of the stuff.
Acetone, in particular, tends to come out through your mouth. "Acetone, because of its small size, can also get into the air spaces of the lungs and is released by breathing,” Keatley says.
Voila-that's what gives you keto breath.
Well, what can I do about keto breath? Does it ever go away?
First: It's important to know that keto breath isn't necessarily typical bad breath. “It smells kind of like finger nail polish remover,” says Keatley (it's that acetone, remember?).
While it's definitely unpleasant, keto breath won't last forever-likely just as long as it takes your body to adust to the keto diet. You can expect it to last about the same amount of time as the keto flu-up to two weeks.
Another thing to remember: While your bad breath might be keto-related, it could also be a result of poor oral care. “First, good oral hygiene is important on any diet, so brushing and flossing after meals is important,” Keatley says.
That's especially true for diets that are high in fats and protein, and low in carbs. “Sometimes the breath can be caused by an increase in protein intake as protein bits left in your mouth are likely to be transformed into volatile organic compounds, which do not have a great smell,” Keatley says. An easy fix: incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet (as many as the keto diet allows, anyway) to make sure your body (and your mouth) gets a variety of foods.
But honestly feel free to wear this (temporary) keto breath as a badge of honor for, you know, actually achieving ketosis. Maybe just swish around some mouth wash before talking too closely with someone.