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Ketosis Breath

Have you noticed that people are handing you gum and breath mints since starting your 2018 New Year's Resolution Low Carb Diet?  Ketosis Breath is a common side effect of Ultra-low carb diets, and is a result of the body using existing fat to fuel itself vs a more traditional energy source (glucose).  The breakdown of fats produces ketones, which come in three common forms: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone.  When ketones are present in large quantities they are removed from the body in urine or through exhalation.  Ketones can make the dieter's breath smell sweet and fruity BUT if there are large amounts of acetone present it can smell like nail polish remover!

A second possible cause of ketosis breath isn't directly linked to the breakdown of fat as a fuel source but is rather a side effect of the diet change.  When people reduce the amount of carbs in their diet they will often increase the amounts fats and proteins.  A diet high in protein can cause the body to produce ammonia as a biproduct.  This can lead to urine and breath smelling less than desirable and some describe it as smelling like a kitty litter box!

What can you do?  Have a piece of bread.  Increasing carb intake will help reduce ketone body production but may take your diet train off the rails.  If you aren't willing to give in to the Carb Side, here are a few tips to reduce ketosis breath: chew sugar-free gum or mints, reduce protein intake, practice excellent oral hygiene, and use antibacterial rinses.  The good news is some dieters find that ketosis breath only lasts for a short period of time, usually measured in weeks.  After this period of adjustment, the body seems to get used to the new few source and the halitosis disappears.

Dr. Jeff Erickson Partner at CDD

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