Bad Breath And A Low Carb Diet

Being on a Low Carb, High Fat diet has many health benefits and is very effective when it comes to losing weight. And when you limit your intake of carbs you can put your body into what is called nutritional ketosis. This is a good thing as it means your body is in a fat burning mode. By staying in ketosis you will see the pounds begin to drop and you will lose weight.

Read more about nutritional ketosis here.

However when your body is in ketosis, it can cause severe halitosis in some people. The reason is when you are in ketosis the ketones show up in your urine which is why many people who are trying to get into ketosis use urine strips to see if they reached it.

But ketones also show up in your saliva which gives the breath a very bad odor. Yuck!

I notice it in myself and my boyfriend. It is a sort of sulfur like smell. And it really makes me feel self-conscious. I worry that I am offending people when I am having a conversation with them.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help deal with halitosis caused from a low carb diet.

  • Slightly raise your carb intake so you are still in ketosis but not so much that it is noticed in your breath. I up my carbs by adding a few berries to my diet. It is just enough carbs where I am in ketosis, yet my breath isn’t as bad.
  • Drinking a lot of water can help as well as it will help to dilute the ketones and make your breath smell fresher. Try drinking water with lemon or lime.
  • I find that chewing sugar-free gum like trident seems to help. I prefer cinnamon or original.
  • A strong mouthwash may help as well.

I want to note here that keto breath has nothing to do with how you care for your teeth or dental hygiene. It is about the odor caused by the ketones in your body.

Where you one of the unlucky ones who experienced bad breath while going through ketosis? How did you deal with it?

13 thoughts on “Bad Breath And A Low Carb Diet”

  1. Great post I see this helping many older people across the Internet with weight loss. It’s not the easiest thing to do. Especially with the older you get but you make it fairly simple on here. I will share this on my social media sites and also tell people in person. Who are older and looking to lose weight thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. Being on a low carb high fat diet can help you lose weight and has a lot of health benefits. It can actually put your body in fat burning mode, which is called nutritional ketosis. But for some people this can cause severe halitosis, which is very bad breath. It can make you feel very self-conscious when talking to people, and have you popping mints and chewing gum like crazy to mask the odor.

    There are things you can do to help prevent this. You can eat just a little bit of carbs, to keep you in ketosis mode but your breath isn’t as bad. Obviously brushing your teeth after meals and using a good mouthwash is important. You can chew a sugar-free gum like Trident. Or you can drink a lot of water to dilute the ketones and make your breath seem fresher. Also a natural breath freshener is parsley, so a little fresh parsley can be eaten after meals to cleanse the palate. This really isn’t about your oral hygiene, it’s about the ketones in your body and they way your body is choosing to expel them. Normally the first choice would be through your urine, but sometimes it also comes out in your saliva. Another trick is to drink water with lemon, lime, or orange in it. Citrus fruits are normally acidic, but when they enter the body they actually alkalinize the body, which may help with the ketones and your bad breath.

    Ketosis diets are when your body uses fats to burn energy instead of glucose which is the normal choice for your body’s energy source. Limiting carbs, which limits sugar, and increasing the good fats you eat like Salmon, avocados, olive oil, certain nuts high in omegas, coconut oil, fish oil supplements, they all help your body start using your stored fat for energy to help you lose the weight.

    1. I love the suggestion of chewing on or eating fresh parsley. I had always heard that it helps with breath. I certainly bet that would be helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I am totally in love with your website. I too share similar views as I am still building out my site as a beginner. My wife and I are past ketosis as we have “dropped” inches. Low carb diets really do work! I had several family members and friends slowly transitioning so keep up the great work!

    1. Congrats on the weightloss! It is exciting when entire families lose weight together. It seems my family is doing the same. Since many of my family members have seen our weight loss, many are seeming to jump on the low carb band wagon. And I am so excited and happy. You keep up the good work too! 🙂

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. I didn’t know water with lemon worked for bad breath. I know someone who does low carb diets from time to time, I’ll have to share this article.

    1. Thank you, Ange. Just be careful how you suggest it. If they have Keto breath and don’t know it, they may get their feelings hurt.

  5. Hi, Wendy!
    It’s nice to read this post and your suggestions about dealing with bad breath! What i do when i am on a diet is to drink a tea of fresh mint! I think that there are many types of mint gums but i like the most this kind of tea! I didn’t know that the water with lemon is good for the breath too! I use to drink it in order to loose weight! It’s good to know that too!
    Best wishes,
    Rebecca!

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