- Can keto or low-carb diets improve acne?
- Is the Keto Diet Causing Your Skin to Break Out?
- Similar articles
- What Are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?
- Can a Keto Diet Cure Skin Disorders?
- Will the Keto Diet Cause Your Skin to Break Out?
- Can the Keto Diet Cause Rashes and Acne?
- The skin-friendly solution
- Some People Are Saying The Ketogenic Diet Causes Acne. Does It?
- Stay hydrated
- Limit lactose
- See a dermatologist
- What is Acne?
- What Causes Acne?
- Does Diet Affect Acne?
- How the Keto Diet Might Help Acne
- Top 6 Foods That Cause Acne
- Top 5 Best Foods for Clearing Up Your Skin
- Other Tips for Clearing Acne
- The Takeaway: Will the Keto Diet Help Acne?
- Is the Ketogenic Diet Good or Bad for Your Skin?
- What Is the Keto Diet and Why Is It So Popular?
- What Are the Proposed Benefits of the Keto Diet?
- Can You Expect Unpleasant or Harmful Keto Side Effects? And Is There a Wrong Way to Do Keto?
- How Cutting Carbs May Affect Your Skin
- How Increasing Fat Intake May Affect Your Skin
- Is Keto Good or Bad for the Skin?
- Low Carb Diet Side Effects
- Frequent Urination
- Fatigue and Dizziness
- Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
- Sugar Cravings
- Shakiness or Weakness
- Muscle Cramps
- Sleep Disturbances
- Kidney Stones
- Lowered T3 Thyroid Hormone Levels
- Heart Palpitations or a “Racing” Heart
- Hair Loss
- Low Carb Diet Side Effects Are Temporary
- Resources for More Information
- ‘Keto crotch’ and 5 other scary things that could happen to your body on the keto diet
- You might get the ‘keto flu’
- Keto limits your fruit and vegetable intake, which could cause your body to have micronutrient deficiencies
- It can cause dehydration
- There’s a chance you can get kidney stones
- You might experience ‘keto crotch’
- Following such a tedious diet can affect your mental health
- Keto – Dry Skin Solution!
- Keto Diet Rash: What You Need to Know
Can keto or low-carb diets improve acne?
In the case of acne, this system is impaired. Elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) cause increased sebum production, leading to oily skin. In addition, skin cell production ramps up, and dead skin cells aren’t shed in the normal fashion. Instead, these cells combine with excess sebum, causing blocks or plugs. While this process is occurring, bacteria that feed on sebum also enter the picture.
Similar to the gut microbiome, skin maintains its own bacterial balance. One type of bacteria known as P. Acnes lives deep within the hair follicles and is normally present in the outer skin layer in small amounts. However, during acne, concentrations of P. Acnes increase dramatically, causing inflammation that leads to whiteheads, pustules and cysts.
The role of diet in acne
Up until the 1960s, based on early studies, diets high in sugar and refined carbs were believed to worsen acne.3 However, after experimental research failed to show a link between specific foods and acne, diet was no longer considered much of a contributor.
Today, the tide has turned yet again, in light of mounting research published within the past decade suggesting that carbohydrates may be the main dietary culprit in acne due to their negative effects on hormonal regulation.4
For instance, a 2007 controlled study in 43 young acne-prone men by Smith, et al, found that a low-glycemic-load diet led to a greater reduction in acne lesions than a higher-glycemic-load diet.5 What’s more, the low-glycemic-load group experienced a decrease in androgen and insulin levels, improvement in insulin sensitivity, and weight loss. By contrast, the other group had increases in weight, insulin levels, and insulin resistance.
It’s important to point out that this wasn’t really a low-carb diet; the low-glycemic-load carbs accounted for about 44% of the total dietary intake. Would there have been an even greater improvement with a low-carb or keto diet providing less than 10% of energy from carbs?
Low-carb and ketogenic diets for acne
Although controlled research on carb restriction for acne has yet to be done, many people have reported that their skin has become much clearer as a result of following a low-carb or keto diet.6
Moreover, there are logical reasons why minimizing carb intake would be helpful for acne sufferers.
A 2012 article by Italian researchers discusses the potential benefits of ketogenic diets for acne, including the following:7
- Reduction in insulin levels: Elevated insulin levels stimulate increased production of skin cells, sebum, and androgens – setting the stage for acne eruptions. Ketogenic diets decrease insulin levels, often dramatically.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Inflammation drives acne progression. Very-low-carb and ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce inflammation.8
- Decrease in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1): Ketogenic diets decrease levels of IGF-1.9 Like insulin, IGF-1 increases sebum production and has been found to play a large role in acne.10
In a compelling 2013 review on therapeutic uses of ketogenic diets for various conditions, Paoli, et al, state that although the emerging evidence for the use of keto diets in acne is promising, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to confirm these benefits.11
Keto or low carb: Which is best for acne?
As there aren’t yet any studies on stricter low-carb or keto diets for acne at this time, it’s difficult to determine the degree of carb restriction needed to achieve the best results. Similar to losing weight or reducing blood sugar, the necessary carb reduction for potential acne control likely varies from person to person. It’s possible that stricter low-carb diets are more effective.
Tips for maximizing the benefits of a keto or low-carb diet for acne
Below are some additional dietary tweaks that may or may not be useful. They are based on preliminary evidence, small studies that need to be repeated to know for sure whether the suggested effects are real.
- Consume fatty fish often: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are potentially anti-inflammatory and have been credited with possibly improving acne.12 The best sources include salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and anchovies.
- Eat low-carb vegetables: Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables may help promote hormonal regulation and improve skin health. Notable dermatology researcher Bodo Melnik recommends a Paleo diet rich in vegetables for acne management.13
- Avoid or limit dairy: Dairy has been shown to increase levels of insulin and IGF-1.14 Although skim milk seems to have the the strongest link to acne, cheese has also been implicated as a potential issue.15
- Drink green tea: Green tea is an excellent source of the antioxidant EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). A 2016 study found that green tea extract appeared to significantly reduce acne lesions in adult women with moderate to severe acne.16
- Avoid or limit dark chocolate: Although earlier studies showed no difference in acne response when chocolate was compared to other sweets, a 2016 study found that even virtually sugar-free, 99% dark chocolate might significantly worsen breakouts in acne-prone men.17 For this reason you may want to limit even dark chocolate intake, just to be safe.
- Focus on fresh low-carb foods: Even if you don’t eat sugary and starchy foods, you may still be consuming ingredients that can cause skin issues. Bologna and other processed meats often contain sugar, corn syrup, fillers or other additives that raise insulin levels and potentially provoke inflammation. Stick to fresh food whenever possible, and read labels on processed meats and other packaged foods.
- Give the diet some time: Paradoxically, some people report a worsening of acne shortly after starting a keto or low-carb diet. However, this appears to be short-lived and may be part of the keto-adaptation process.18 Overall, breakouts seem to improve with carb restriction long term in the vast majority of people.
While the evidence is still somewhat preliminary, there are many reasons to believe that low-carb and keto diets may improve acne. Feel free to read several stories below from people who have tried it, and to use our free guides linked below to get started.
By choosing nutrient-dense, minimally processed, low-carb foods that minimize insulin levels and reduce inflammation, you may be giving yourself the best shot at clearer, healthier skin.
Trying a low-carb diet appears safe, and besides the cost of food, it’s also free. So why not try it out for a few weeks, and see what happens to your skin?
Have you already tried a low-carb or keto diet for acne? Feel free to leave a comment below, and share your experiences.
Franziska Spritzler, RD
Is the Keto Diet Causing Your Skin to Break Out?
Dr. Axe September 17, 2019 Bath & Beauty Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook
While there’s no doubt that the ketogenic (“keto”) diet is linked with benefits like weight loss and reduced hunger, some people who have tried the diet report that it caused them an unexpected side effect: worsened skin health.
Because the foods you eat are directly related to your gut health, immune function, hormone production and stores of important nutrients, it’s not surprising that such a drastic change to your diet could affect your skin in multiple ways.
To complicate matters, while some may experience issues like breakouts and redness from the keto diet, others find their skin looks better than ever. So what’s the bottom line on eating high-fat and low-carb for your skin: should you or shouldn’t you?
Does keto cause skin issues?
In case you’re unfamiliar with how the keto diet works, here’s what you need to know: it involves eating a lot of fat, preferably from healthy sources like olive oil and coconut oil, fish, eggs, avocado and nuts, and avoiding almost all carbs — including foods like grains, fruits, potatoes and anything with added sugar. Unlike most other low-carb diets, it’s a “moderate” (not high) protein diet.
The goal of “going keto” is to get into the metabolic state called ketosis, in which you burn fat instead of mostly carbs for energy.
The reason that the diet includes so much fat and so little carbs is because your body’s production of ketones (a sign you’re in ketosis) requires you to have depleted stores of glucose and glycogen, which come from carbohydrate foods. You start producing ketones within several days of drastically restricting your carb intake and upping fats.
Studies suggest there are a number of mental and physical health benefits that people experience when they are in ketosis, some of which include:
- Weight loss
- Reduced inflammation
- Decreased appetite and cravings, including for sugary foods
- Improved energy and less fatigue
- Enhanced blood sugar balance
- Improvements in hormonal balance
- And cognitive benefits including protection against neurological diseases
The fact that the keto diet helps to reduce inflammation, plus that it eliminates many inflammatory — foods such as those made with refined grains and sugar — are two reasons why it may help to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
For example, eating a high-sugar diet has been linked with increased acne breakouts, so nixing sweet stuff from your diet may be one way to tame the issue.
On the other hand, it may worsen skin problems in some people for several reasons:
- The diet is much higher in fat than many people are accustomed to, especially if they previously ate a relatively low-fat diet. This can cause digestive issues (the so-called “keto flu”) at first, as well as changes in the microbiome and the body’s sebum (oil) production, which all impact skin.
- The diet is low in fiber and also possibly vitamins and minerals that are important for skin, like vitamins C, E and A which are found in plant foods.
- Dehydration may also be an issue, since the Keto diet causes increases urine production and a higher than normal requirement of fluids.
- Certain people also seem to be susceptible to a side effect of ketosis called prurigo pigmentosa, which is an inflammatory skin rash that causes red, itchy bumps to form. It’s not exactly known what the cause is, but it’s suspected to be tied to an inflammatory response.
How to use keto for better skin
Focus on a “clean” keto diet:
Here’s the great news: there are plenty of keto-approved foods that are nourishing for your skin. Some of the best to emphasize include: low-carb vegetables, salmon and other fish, nuts and seeds, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
Focus on whole foods that are high in healthy fats and are minimally processed, as opposed to things like cheeses, bacon and poor quality oils and butter.
And while dairy products such as aged cheeses and sour cream may be allowed in small amounts on the keto diet, consider experimenting with whether or not avoiding all dairy helps improve your skin concerns.
Eat enough non-starchy vegetables:
Many of the antioxidants and nutrients that are most important for your skin are found in plant foods, which provide carbohydrates, whether a lot or a little.
You can still have 25-30 grams of carbs per day, so don’t skimp on things like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, squash and so on. These are also hydrating foods and important for providing you with fiber, which is needed for a healthy gut environment.
Drink plenty of water:
To counteract the fact that you’ll be losing more water while in ketosis, drink up! It’s okay to have some black coffee and tea while in ketosis too, but make plain water, seltzer, bone broth and unsweetened herbal teas the primary source of your fluids.
Consume probiotic foods:
Probiotics, or “good bacteria that mostly live in your gut, are capable of helping to prevent a wide scope of immunity-related diseases, including those like eczema and dermatitis that affect skin, due to their anti-inflammatory effects. They can also help you absorb nutrients from your diet better and may be helpful for managing acne and even allergies.
How can you get probiotics on the keto diet? Regularly eat probiotic foods like fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut, real pickles and kimchi), plus miso, tempeh, yogurt and kefir in small amounts.
Approach the diet holistically:
Last but not least, consider whether other factors may be contributing to your skin problems — such as the products you apply to your body, your stress levels, whether you’re over-exerting yourself, your alcohol intake and your sleep habits.
Remember that everyone is different in terms of what will trigger skin problems, but no matter what type of diet you follow, we can all benefit from healthy habits like using gentle skin products, getting enough rest, relaxing and staying active.
What’s the key to successful keto? Learn more from Dr. Axe, and other health and nutrition experts, in this FREE ebook. Download your copy now!
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He operates the No. 1 natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month, and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company that provides history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world. He’s author of the books “Eat Dirt,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the just released “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease.”
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He operates the No. 1 natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month, and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company that provides history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world. He’s author of the books “Eat Dirt,” “Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine” and the just released “Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease.”
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During a complete keto diet, your body is forced to enter a natural metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis, your body breaks ketones from the fats, which become your body’s primary source of energy, rather than carbs or protein.
While this dramatic change in diet habits have immediate effects on your overall health, it also has some particular impact on your skin. In some cases, a nutritious keto diet has helped individuals in reducing skin conditions like acne, while in others, a complete keto diet has elevated problems like rosacea and even skin rashes.
What Are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?
There are several health benefits of getting on a keto diet. A few of them are:
- Weight Loss: Ketones become your primary source of energy rather than carbohydrates or protein, which leads to weight loss.
- Easing Diabetes Symptoms: It reduces the need for insulin by improving blood sugar levels.
- Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease: Reduces blood triglycerides level in your blood, and improves the HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein), both of which lowers the risk of heart disease.
- Effective in High Blood Pressure: The keto diet lowers your blood pressure that reduces your risk of many common diseases, including hypertension, stroke, and kidney failure.
- Improves Skin Health: The keto diet is helpful in acne by reducing the insulin levels and related hormones.
Related Blog: Keto Diet Checklist: What to Eat and What to Avoid
Can a Keto Diet Cure Skin Disorders?
The keto diet has both positive and negative impacts on your skin. While an excess of keto diet can cause problems like skin breakouts, a nutritional keto diet, which includes other healthy food items too, can improve conditions like acne and dermatitis by reducing inflammation caused by the higher level of ketones.
Will the Keto Diet Cause Your Skin to Break Out?
The keto diet causes the secretion of sebum in excess, which is the food for the bacteria type P. Acnes that live deep within the hair follicles and outer skin layer. As these bacteria feed on sebum, their concentration dramatically increases that causes skin breakouts or acne.
Can the Keto Diet Cause Rashes and Acne?
The keto (or ketogenic) diet promotes the production of ketone in the body, which is loosely related with causing skin conditions like acne, rosacea (facial redness), and even skin rashes.
The keto diet delivers the desired results when balanced with other nutritious food items. Consult your doctor before starting a keto diet so you can get the desired benefits. Visit us to get a perfect diet chart prepared for you.
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Brian Coyne, MD. Dr. Coyne is a board certified family practice physician serves fpr Family Care Centers – Fountain Valley. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA before earning his medical degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Coyne spent 6 years in the US Air Force at Andrews and Luke Air force at Andrews and Luke Air Force bases, eventually separating as a Major. He enjoys working with patients of all ages.
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The skin-friendly solution
It’s important to note that unless you’ve seen changes in your skin that you want to address, you can keep-on-keeping on with your newly minted high-fat diet. If you do, however notice a difference, the recipe for good skin from the inside out is all about finding balance with whole foods. “The body’s wired to want a lot of vegetables, a little bit of protein and fat, and call it a day,” says Holey, who adds that healthy fats should still be eaten, but as part of a well-rounded plan. “It’s about a moderate diet of whole foods and a really wide variety of them for the best success.”
And Koff echoes this: “Your stomach is like a gas tank,” she explains. “When you give it too much of something at one time, the body can’t process it sufficiently. So your body starts storing the fat and it doesn’t break down as easily, which contributes to poorer skin and energy levels.”
By focusing on eating fats, you could also be side-stepping the necessary minerals (not to mention nutrients from other food groups) for a healthy, robust diet. “Despite fats being easier to digest than some carbs, when you avoid certain food groups and focus on others—like fats—you’re missing out on certain nutrients,” says Koff. “So when you’re over-eating fats, it can play out on the skin or in health issues. I’m noticing in patients doing the ketogenic diet that they’re not making up for daily essentials that they need.” And that’s exactly why you can wind up an imbalanced complexion in some people.
The moral of the story? For a happy glow—and a happy gut—it’s important to not go overboard on the avocados (sorry), and instead eat your fats in moderation (and in tandem) with other good-for-you food groups. Your body and skin will thank you for it.
When things are out of wack, these are the best spot treatments, according to dermatologists. And this is the way to beat acne if Proactiv isn’t for you.
Some People Are Saying The Ketogenic Diet Causes Acne. Does It?
From rapid fat loss, reduced migraines and greater mental clarity and focus, the benefits of the keto diet are seemingly endless. So much so, it makes you wonder —what’s the catch? (Apart from not being able to eat delicious carbs, obviously). But it seems that some ketogenic diet followers have stumbled upon an unfortunate and surprising downside: breakouts.
Yep, it seems that in some people, the keto diet sends the skin into overdrive. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, starting any new diet can make your skin freak out—especially one as drastic as keto. “The skin is a temperamental beast,” Ross Radusk Dermatologist at SoHo Skin & Laser Dermatology told Women’s Health.
“Any change in your diet, but particularly one that turns our usual percentages of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins upside down, can be inflaming.” Then, there’s the fact that a 2015 study found that high-fat diets like keto can send your body’s sebum production into overdrive, leading to breakouts.
Image via @ketoislife/Instagram
Additionally, a 2007 study found that high protein diets are associated with C-reactive protein, which can lead to skin inflammation. So, if you’re loading up on protein as well as fat, that could be the culprit.
The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice clear skin if you want to give the keto diet a whirl. In the article, Radusky gives a few tips for keeping your skin under control:
“I recommend patients increase their water intake to make sure their skin cells are adequately hydrated,” says Dr. Radusky.
“I also recommend a nighttime face wash that physically exfoliates the skin a few times per week. This helps clear your face of excess dirt, oils, and grime that may have accumulated throughout the day,” says Radusky.
“Try to avoid food that are high in lactose,” says Dr. Radusky. Studies show that milk and whey products can lead to breakouts.
See a dermatologist
If you’re doing this diet for the long haul, it may be worth seeking out the help of an expert. “She or he may recommend a product with a retinoid, a group of chemicals derived from vitamin A, that can help shrink pores, minimise sebum production, and help clear your skin,” says Dr. Radusky.
Acne is like your body’s warning sign that there’s something wrong inside your body.
Besides being uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing, severe acne breakouts are psychologically stressful and can take a toll on emotional health as well.
Acne can hit at any age. And that’s because there are several leading causes of acne, from hormonal to genetic, to dietary components like chronic high blood sugar and insulin levels.
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If you’re looking for ways to bust acne and boost skin health, read on. There’s good scientific evidence that diet affects acne and that changing up your food choices could be the biggest step you make in treating this annoying and painful skin condition.
What is Acne?
Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) is the most common skin disorder in the United States, with up to 50 million Americans affected each year. In fact, at least 85% of people between 12 and 24 experience acne.
Although you may think that acne is a condition reserved for teenagers, it can actually affect you well into adulthood and is becoming more common in adult women.
Here’s a little breakdown of how acne forms:
Acne affects the oil glands in your skin. These glands, also known as sebaceous glands, secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum is made up of fatty acids, cholesterol, and a compound called squalene and is secreted to keep your skin and hair moist and protected.
There are sebaceous glands everywhere that you have skin, except your hands and feet. Different areas of your body have varying amounts of these glands, but your forehead and chin have the most.
Tiny holes in your skin, called pores, connect to your sebaceous glands through small canals called follicles. Then sebum emerges from your pores to coat your skin.
All these aspects of your skin; sebaceous glands, sebum, follicles, and pores work together to make sure your skin stays hydrated and healthy.
However, the system doesn’t always work optimally, and your hair, sebum, and skin cells can end up clumping together and forming a plug. When this happens, bacteria in the plug can cause swelling, which turns into a pimple — otherwise known acne.
Most people experience acne on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulder — areas where you have the most sebaceous glands.
What Causes Acne?
Aside from a buildup of dead skin cells and sebum, the root cause of acne is still unknown. There are, however, several factors that can contribute to acne, including:
#1 Genetic Predisposition
Genetics is an important factor to consider in the development of acne. One study of 200 participants with adult acne found that 50% of the patients had at least one first-degree relative with acne.
Another study collected data from more than 5000 undergrad students to assess the risk factors for the onset of acne. Among the top risk factors were first degree and second-degree relatives with acne.
Heritability of acne was nearly 80% for students with a first-degree relative that had acne.
#2 Androgen Hormones
Androgens are steroid hormones that are responsible for traits typically associated with men, like underarm hair and muscle mass.
Although these hormones responsible for male traits, everybody has androgens — testosterone being the most well-known.
An excess of androgens can cause an increase in sebum secretion, which can clog your pores and cause acne.
This is a huge reason that you see a rise in acne breakouts during puberty — a natural surge in androgens.
Androgens in males can cause changes in body composition and hair growth, and in females, they typically convert to estrogen to increase female-like characteristics. And both sexes are subject to a rise in acne breakouts.
Although hormonal acne is most common in pubescent adolescents, androgen-mediated acne can happen at any stage of life where there’s a hormone imbalance.
One common cause of adult acne in women is PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), a condition that typically develops around child-bearing years.
With PCOS, women experience higher levels of androgens than normal, throwing off their sex hormones and leading to a host of physical issues — acne being one of them.
#3 Insulin-Like Growth Factor Hormone
Another hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF1), also increases during puberty and may contribute to the onset of acne.
IGF1 plays some interesting roles in your body. It acts like insulin when you have high blood sugar and helps with bone growth, which is essential during puberty.
But there’s also a chance that higher IGF-1 is responsible for an increase in sebum production and inflammation, which can contribute to acne.
You’re probably well aware of the impact that stress can have on your body. Too much stimulation and worry can leave you feeling depleted, foggy-headed, and tired — and it may also contribute to your breakouts.
Your skin has an intimate relationship with your nervous system and stress response.
When you’re emotionally stressed, the nerves in your skin can release neurotransmitter-like compounds which cause an increase in pro-inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals induce inflammation in your skin and may contribute to acne.
“While the research is fairly new, it seems like there’s a strong link between stress and breakouts.
Does Diet Affect Acne?
Diet and gut health can play a significant role in the development and management of acne.
Although everyone’s body is different, certain foods that trigger acne more consistently than others.
Diet absolutely affects inflammation and hormones. So, if you want clear skin, it’s crucial that you understand which foods are most likely to trigger a breakout.
Here are a few dietary influences that you should know about if you’re fighting the acne battle.
#1 Processed Carbohydrates And Sugar
There’s a clear correlation between a high-carbohydrate diet and acne — especially when it comes to highly processed carbs and sugar.
Foods with a high glycemic index are foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. The measure of a food’s glycemic index, plus the amount of the food you consume makes up the glycemic load of that meal.
The more your blood sugar rises, the higher the glycemic load. And there’s some evidence that a high glycemic diet may contribute to the progression of acne.
When you eat foods that increase your blood glucose, an increase in the hormone insulin follows. High insulin levels increase your levels of IGF-1 as well as androgens, two hormones that can lead to excess sebum production and the buildup of tissues that cause acne.
Insulin may also reduce proteins that bind androgens and IGF-1, which means higher concentrations of these acne-causing hormones in your body.
In contrast, a low-glycemic diet can improve acne.
In one study, researchers gave 32 patients with mild to moderate acne either a low-glycemic diet or a control diet for 10 weeks. At the end of the trial period, they found that the low-glycemic group significantly improved both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions, reduced the size of their sebaceous glands, and decreased overall inflammation.
Many people anecdotally report clearer skin when they remove dairy from their diet. And research shows a positive correlation between dairy intake and incidence of acne — especially in adolescents.
Milk and milk products can increase your IGF-1 levels, which can activate androgen signaling and subsequent increases in sebum production. This, along with the inflammatory effects of IGF-1 may cause breakouts.
Dairy milk also contains many growth-promoting hormones on its own. It makes sense — dairy is meant to increase the growth of calves. But these hormones aren’t specific to baby cows and can alter your hormone activity.
Many dairy cows in the United States are also treated with bovine growth hormone to increase their milk supply. Bovine growth hormone can increase your levels of IGF-1 further, which would result in increased sebum production.
If you do consume dairy, make sure it’s in moderation and avoid any dairy with bovine growth hormone.
#3 Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Inflammation is one of the primary aspects of acne. In fact, some sources suggest that acne is an inflammatory disease at its core.
The types of fat you eat play a key role in your inflammation levels. And when it comes to omega fatty acids, it’s all about your ratios.
Several sources suggest that humans evolved eating a diet with a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. In contrast, the standard American diet has a ratio of around 15:1, with omega-6 fats representing the vast majority.
As the Standard American Diet has shifted over the last 100 years, there’s also been a steady rise in obesity and chronic inflammation.
One of the changes contributing to the rise in inflammatory disease is the quality and quantity of omega-6 rich oils like soybean oil and other vegetable oils.
Excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids promote a wide range of diseases and are highly inflammatory.
But there’s hope yet — if you increase your omega-3s, it may help combat the adverse effects of high omega-6s.
When researchers gave a group of patients with acne fish oil supplements (which are rich in omega-3s), 8 out of 12 subjects reported significant improvement in inflammation and skin lesions.
Whether omega-6 fatty acids are causing inflammation or they’re inhibiting the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s — it’s still unclear. Either way, focusing on omega-3 rich foods while watching out for omega-6-rich foods may be the key to lowering inflammation.
#4 Western Diet
The Western diet is high in processed carbs, omega-6 fatty acids, and low-quality dairy products. It should come as no surprise then, that there is a strong correlation between the Western diet and acne.
No one pathway has been identified, but it’s likely that the combination of low-quality dairy, processed carbs, and omega-6 fats activate genes that can trigger the progression of acne.
And don’t forget fried food. Foods fried in poor-quality vegetable oils cause acne, plus a laundry list of other health issues, including heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.
It’s well established that dairy and sugar, two ingredients commonly found in chocolate candy, can trigger IGF-1. But the question of whether chocolate itself causes or exacerbates acne is still up for debate.
In an in vitro study, researchers found that chocolate increased inflammation in cells associated with acne, suggesting that chocolate itself may play a role inflammation and, subsequently, acne.
In another study, researchers gave either chocolate or jelly beans to college students and then assessed their acne development 48 hours later. The students that ate chocolate had a statistically significant increase in acne lesion, as compared to the jelly bean group.
If you’re struggling with acne, it may be a good idea to add chocolate to your avoid list, at least for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference.
How the Keto Diet Might Help Acne
A keto diet doesn’t just lower the glycemic load of your meals — it virtually eliminates it. Processed carbs and sugar are out — as are all grains, high-carb vegetables, and fruit.
The keto diet is known for reducing blood sugar levels and insulin response, which will also eliminate IGF-1-related increases in sebum production.
Ketones — the compounds that your body creates for energy when you run out of stored glucose — are anti-inflammatory. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the most abundant ketone your body makes when you’re in ketosis, has anti-inflammatory properties that may decrease systemic inflammation and may help with those breakouts.
Top 6 Foods That Cause Acne
If you’re currently struggling with acne, or you’re trying to prevent a breakout, first try avoiding these acne-triggering foods:
- Highly processed foods (white bread, white pasta, bagels)
- Sugar (foods that are high in sugar like cookies, ice cream, candy, cake, brownies, pastry)
- Dairy foods (butter, milk, cheese)
- Vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids (sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil)
- Fried foods
Top 5 Best Foods for Clearing Up Your Skin
Salmon and other omega-3-rich foods mackerel, sardines, chia seeds, and hemp seeds may help reduce inflammation.
#2 Pumpkin Seeds
Try zinc-rich snacks like pumpkin seeds, cashews, beef, oysters, turkey, and quinoa. Zinc may help prevent acne.
#3 Leafy Greens
Foods high in these vitamins A and E may help prevent acne. Food sources include nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, and liver.
This golden root may improve the health of your skin through its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
#5 Green Tea
Green tea and matcha can help decrease sebum production when used topically and may have the same effect when taken orally, but more research needs to be done.
Other Tips for Clearing Acne
In addition to cleaning up your diet, here are some other lifestyle tips that can help keep your skin acne-free.
- Keep a consistent skincare routine by washing your skin in the morning and evening to keep your pores open — especially if you have oily skin
- Avoid picking at pimples
- Don’t overexpose your skin to the sun
- If you have oily hair, keep it out of your face and be sure to shampoo often
- Wash your face after exercise or sweating
- Find ways to manage stress
- Keep your bedsheets, and especially your pillowcases, clean
The Takeaway: Will the Keto Diet Help Acne?
Switching to a low-carb ketogenic diet may help prevent and clear up acne. Hormones like insulin and IGF-1 are implicated in the progression of acne because they increase the oil production of your skin, and may trigger the growth of excess skin cells.
A ketogenic diet keeps these two hormones under control, and therefore could help you avoid the detrimental effects that high levels can have on your skin.
The anti-inflammatory effects of the ketogenic diet may also contribute to calming your skin and clearing your complexion.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Good or Bad for Your Skin?
We all know the saying “You are what you eat.” But does that mean you’ll get smooth, perfectly oiled skin by dunking a tablespoon of butter in your morning coffee? Some proponents of the high-fat, very-low-carb ketogenic diet seem to think so — even if it means putting butter on top of their butter.
With the diet rising in popularity, more and more people are starting to ditch the bread and pasta in favor of adopting a keto diet food list replete in fat-laden foods, like meat, avocado, and nut butter. The quick weight loss many people experience on the diet has been a common motivation, but the effect of the diet on skin seems less certain. Some dieters report having a clearer and brighter complexion while on the diet, while many others encounter a strange, itchy red rash across their torsos.
So the question remains: Is the keto diet healthy for the skin?
RELATED: 8 Must-Follow Steps Before Trying the Keto Diet
What Is the Keto Diet and Why Is It So Popular?
The thinking behind keto, according to U.S. News & World Report, is to train your body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates with the intention of losing weight and increasing feelings of fullness. By adding more fats to your diet and eliminating carbohydrates, you’ll send your body into a natural metabolic state called ketosis, during which the body breaks down fats into ketones. Ketones then become the body’s main source of energy, rather than carbs or protein, theoretically leading to weight loss.
The keto diet began gaining popularity around 2013, says Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, who is based in Orange County, California. She credits the fad diet’s growth to books such as The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Steve Phinney MD, PhD, and Jeff Volek, Phd, RD — two texts that lay out the potential health perks of going low-carb.
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Following a Low-Carb Diet
What Are the Proposed Benefits of the Keto Diet?
Although, according to previous research, the ketogenic diet was originally developed to help children control epilepsy, an article published in February 2018 in the journal Aging suggested increasing fat and lowering carb intake could be an effective tool for managing cancer, while another study found it to be effective at lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Still, experts aren’t in agreement on those results, and more research is needed.
For the time being, Abbey Sharp, RD, a blogger for Abbey’s Kitchen who is based in Toronto, Canada, points out weight loss is the most popular draw of the keto plan you hear about today. Still, she doesn’t recommend it to her clients due to its restrictive nature and potential for causing nutrient deficiencies. “When it comes to weight management, I don’t believe in taking on any super-restrictive diets that mean cutting out full food groups,” Sharp says. Spritzler, on the other hand, says she has anecdotally seen positive results from keto in her clients with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
Can You Expect Unpleasant or Harmful Keto Side Effects? And Is There a Wrong Way to Do Keto?
On these matters, Spritzler and Sharp agree.
For one, the reduction in carbs could lead you to consume too little fiber, says Sharp. This in turn could goof with your digestive system. “Constipation is very common on a keto diet — or any low-carb diet — because you’re cutting back on fiber-rich whole grains and fruit,” Sharp says. (Whole grains and fruit tend to contain more carbs than keto-friendly foods.) More seriously, the restrictive nature of keto could furthermore lead to disordered eating in some people; thus, it isn’t recommended for people who have a history of eating disorders.
Nutritionally speaking, keto may also be problematic. Spritzler says some people could interpret the fat-forward approach of keto as permission to eat as much processed food as they want — a choice that could affect their overall health, including that of the skin, she notes.
RELATED: How the Keto Diet May Affect Your Period
How Cutting Carbs May Affect Your Skin
Although it seems counter intuitive to eat more fats and fewer carbohydrates for clearer skin, to Jennifer Gordon, MD, a dermatologist in Austin, Texas, that’s exactly how keto may help improve your complexion — provided you’re cutting back on the right carbs and upping your intake of the right fats. By eliminating simple carbohydrates in particular, you’re targeting the body’s excess inflammation — which is a huge promoter of acne. “It’s usually simple carbohydrates that create inflammation,” she says. “When you lower inflammation in the body, you can see this in your skin as feeling more radiant, less red, and less congested.”
But following an anti-inflammatory diet may also be the cause of a side effect called prurigo pigmentosa — commonly referred to as “keto rash.” Sharp says this is “a rare form of inflammatory dermatosis” that often appears on people in the early stages of ketosis.
How Increasing Fat Intake May Affect Your Skin
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for both hair and skin, Dr. Gordon points out. “There are always people who worry that eating too much fat gives you acne,” she says. “This is actually untrue.” But again, that’s not license to go binge on junk food. Sharp and Spritzler agree that increasing healthy-fat intake (especially sources of omega-3s, such as salmon and walnuts) may help soothe dry, itchy, scaly skin. Sharp also adds that avoiding omega-6 fats, such as vegetable oils, has been associated with improvements in inflammatory acne.
RELATED: 10 Quick and Easy Keto Snacks Already in Your Fridge or Pantry
Is Keto Good or Bad for the Skin?
The consensus from Spritzler, Sharp, and Gordon is that while the keto diet has the potential to clear up acne, this benefit isn’t guaranteed. After all, everyone’s skin is different.
For instance, Sharp notes that the freedom to eat dairy products (such as butter, cheese, and cream) on keto might be a problem for some. “Some people find dairy triggering for acne,” she says. “The association isn’t the same for everyone. So try to experiment to see if cutting back on dairy makes a difference in your skin.”
Gordon notes that “this isn’t a diet to do for your skin.” Instead of trying keto to make your skin glow, Gordon suggests making simpler lifestyle changes, such as making sure you’re drinking enough water, avoiding highly saturated “bad” fats (think butter, margarine, and fatty meats, such as pork), and cutting down on simple carbs (like white bread, white pasta, cookies, and cake).
Regardless of your intentions for going keto, be sure to consult your doctor before starting because the keto diet can pose dangers for certain people. Notably, while some people with type 2 diabetes may indeed benefit from the diet, keto isn’t for everyone. Its concentration on protein, for example, may negatively affect people with kidney damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, a dysfunctional kidney would have a hard time digesting protein compounds. Others who may want to avoid the ketogenic diet include expecting mothers, young children, and people on certain kinds of medication.
Ultimately, if you’re hoping to use keto to help clear your skin, talk to your doctor and dermatologist before trying it out to see if it’s safe for you.
RELATED: What Are the Benefits and Risks of the Keto Diet?
Low Carb Diet Side Effects
Low carb diet side effects are manageable if you understand why they happen and how to minimize them. Understanding your physical reactions will help you avoid the worst of the symptoms, and keep you from quitting before you get out of the chute, so to speak. After several weeks, these side effects will subside as you become “keto-adapted” and able to burn fat instead of glucose for fuel. The list below includes the most common low carb diet side effects, and I’ve included tips on how to handle them.
The only caveat is that you have no contraindicated health conditions. I have detailed here who should NOT follow a ketogenic diet.
After the first day or so, you’ll notice that you are in the bathroom urinating more often. Your body is burning up the extra glycogen (stored glucose) in your liver and muscles. Breaking down glycogen releases a lot of water. As your carb intake and glycogen stores drop, your kidneys will start dumping this excess water.
In addition, as your circulating insulin levels drop, your kidneys start excreting excess sodium, which will also cause more frequent urination. (see this reference).
Fatigue and Dizziness
As you start dumping water, you’ll lose minerals such as salt, potassium and magnesium as well. Having lower levels of these minerals will make you very, very tired, lightheaded or dizzy, give you muscle cramps, and headaches. You may also experience skin itchiness.
Fatigue and dizziness are the most common of the low carb diet side effects, and they can be avoided for the most part by making sure you stay ahead of mineral loss. You can counteract mineral losses by eating more salt or sipping salty broth throughout the day, and eating potassium rich foods. (Dairy foods, green leafy vegetables and avocados are high in potassium).
As long as your carb intake is below 60 carbs a day, you will need to continue to eat a moderate amount of salt (5 gram/day which is about the same as the standard American diet provides). However, if you take medicine for high blood pressure, check with your doctor.
In addition, you may want to take 400 mg of magnesium citrate every night before bed. (Check with your doctor first if you have kidney or heart health issues).
It’s also really important to eat at least 2 cups of raw green leafy vegetables every day. These vegetables provide potassium and vitamin K, and will also help with hunger.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
If you’ve been eating a higher carb diet, your body is used to putting out a certain amount of insulin to take care of the sugar which gets created from all that carbohydrate intake. When you suddenly drop your carb intake on a ketogenic diet plan, you may have some transient low blood sugar episodes that will feel very scary. See my reactive hypoglycemia page for more information on the symptoms, and what to do.
While your body is adapting to ketosis, headaches can manifest for various reasons. You may also feel a little lightheaded, and may experience some flu-like symptoms for a few days. In my experience, it’s usually a mineral issue. To see if it’s sodium loss, try putting a quarter teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it. You should feel better in about 20 minutes.
Overall, it’s important at the start of the diet to increase your salt and water intake. It will get better after 3-4 days. If it doesn’t, add a little more carb to your daily total. This is one of those low carb diet side effects for which I don’t have a solid explanation, and it seems to vary by person.
This is another one of the most common low carb diet side effects, and is usually a function of dehydration, salt loss, eating too much dairy or too many nuts, or possibly magnesium imbalances. The magnesium mentioned under the fatigue entry above will help with this. If 400 mg of magnesium citrate isn’t helping, you may want to cut back on your dairy product consumption to rebalance your calcium intake to your magnesium intake, drink lots more water or cut back on the amount of nuts you are eating.
If these tips don’t help, Dr. Georgia Edes of Diagnosis Diet has a great post on this here with other suggestions.
As your body goes through the process of retrofitting itself to burn fat instead of sugar, there’s a two to 21 day transition period where carb cravings will be worse. Try some of the tips I recommend on how to stop sugar cravings. If you can wait it out, the cravings will subside and eventually disappear, as long as you don’t cheat. Eating a large amount of carb will bring the cravings right back, and for some of us, eating sugar in any amount will start the slide down that slippery slope to carb overload.
This low carb diet side effect is not unusual, and should resolve itself over a few days. It can happen just because of the change in diet, or if an unwise decision is made to also limit fat intake on a low carb diet, which results in eating too much protein. Eating a high protein, low carb AND low fat diet will cause the loose bowel symptoms of a condition called “rabbit starvation”. (Arctic explorers described getting this when only lean rabbits were available to eat.)
Make sure you replace the carbs you are cutting with more fat, preferably saturated fat such as butter or coconut oil. Following a ketogenic diet menu means you can choose fattier cuts of meat, and use heavy cream in your coffee.
To treat, try a teaspoon dose of sugar-free Metamucil or plain psyllium husk powder right before you eat a meal. The fiber will absorb the excess water in the colon and should help resolve loose stools.
Shakiness or Weakness
This is a side effect of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. It could also be a symptom of low mineral levels. Add some more protein to your daily diet to offset the drop in blood sugar levels, and eat more salt (put a 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it) and include more potassium containing foods. You could also take 1-3 potassium citrate supplements of 99 mg, but no more than that. It’s better to get potassium from food. Taking too many potassium supplements can stop your heart, so choose food.
This is another side effect of the loss of minerals, specifically magnesium. In their excellent book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable, Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney recommend taking 3 slow release magnesium tablets such as Slow-Mag or Mag 64 for 20 days, then continuing to take 1 tablet a day afterwards.
NOTE: if you have kidney problems or kidney failure, don’t take oral magnesium supplements without checking with your doctor.
Some people report that they can’t stay asleep when on a ketogenic diet. This may be an indication that insulin and serotonin are low. Try this solution: eat a snack which contains both protein and some carbohydrate right before bed. The carbohydrate will increase insulin, which will allow more tryptophan from the protein to get into the brain.
Tryptoplan is the precursor for serotonin which has a calming effect on the brain. See this article and this paper. Greek yogurt with a 1/2 tablespoon of fruit spread or a little square of 70% chocolate is one possibility. This is another of those low carb diet side effects which seems to vary by person. I wish somebody would do a study on this.
In addition, there may be a histamine intolerance involved. Low carb diets are higher in histamine containing foods, and some people react to higher intake of these foods with anxiety and sleeplessness. See this post on histamine intolerance.
I have also discovered that taking my vitamin supplements before bed is not conducive to sleeping well.
People critical of the ketogenic diet will bring this side effect up to convince people that low carb diet side effects are dangerous. They base this on the reports of higher rates of calcium based kidney stones reported by physicians who administer ketogenic diets for children with epilepsy. But this is not an accurate comparison.
First, the diets that are fed to epileptic children are close to 90% fat, and second, processed powders like Ketocal for making shakes are used extensively in the diets of epileptic children, especially in the hospital. A real food ketogenic diet is very different, and includes more protein. However, at least in epileptic children, the latest research on stone formation on ketogenic diets suggests a citrate supplement can minimize this risk. See this paper.
In addition, there are independent variables that have to be kept in mind. A paper here discusses some of these issues. In particular, if you are taking lots of vitamin D without corresponding amounts of vitamin A or K2, and magnesium, you are increasing your risk for kidney stones in general. In addition, it is a fact that for the first 6-8 weeks of being on a ketogenic diet, uric acid levels in the body will increase, since ketones compete with uric acid for excretion via the kidneys.
Inadequate hydration is also a huge factor for kidney stone formation. Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day.
Be sure you talk to your doctor before taking any potassium citrate or other citrate supplement, especially if you have kidney or blood pressure issues.
Lowered T3 Thyroid Hormone Levels
Although this side effect is usually presented as a negative, it is in reality just a natural consequence of being in ketosis and eating less food, which is what usually happens when you are keto-adapted and hunger is reduced. The same thing happens on calorie restricted high carb diets.
In addition, it’s possible that the body becomes more sensitive to T3 when you are in ketosis, so it doesn’t need as much T3 to get the same job done. Dr. Ron Rosedale discusses why lower thyroid “speed” is beneficial here, and there’s a great post here. There’s another nice post here on the Ketotic blog, and a more recent post by expert Dr. Steve Phinney here.
Heart Palpitations or a “Racing” Heart
Some people may experience heart palpitations or a racing heart when starting a ketogenic diet or after having been on it for few weeks or months. It’s been reported that this is more likely if the person normally has low blood pressure. There are several other factors which may be involved in this low carb diet side effect as well.
- Nutrient deficiencies may be involved. This is why a multivitamin containing the RDA for especially selenium and zinc, plus a magnesium supplement, broth or mineral water are strongly recommended.
- The person may be insulin resistant and lowering carbohydrate intake can result in transient hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can also result from not eating often enough or not eating enough protein and fat.
- There may be an electrolyte imbalance or you may be dehydrated. Getting enough salt, magnesium and potassium rich foods is your best defense. In addition, drink plenty of water.
- Some people may have “racing” heart reactions to excessive coconut oil or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil consumption. As you add these oils to your diet, start with small amounts and increase over time. Don’t rely on coconut or MCT oil for your only fat intake. Be sure to include other fats such as butter, ghee, olive oil, and animal fats as well.
- Although a ketogenic diet does allow for adequate protein, for some people, activity levels or other factors may necessitate a need for a higher protein intake. Heart palpitations may be an indication of this. In simpler terms, protein intake may be too low for daily needs. Try adding 5-10 grams of protein to each meal.
Some people report that they experience accelerated hair loss when on a low carb or ketogenic diet. This phenomena is not related strictly to a ketogenic diet, but is more likely associated with any major change in diet. It’s a process called “telogen effluvium,” medical lingo for hair loss due to a change in metabolism or hormone levels. Ketogenic diets lower insulin, one of the main human hormones, and hair loss may be one of the natural but temporary low carb diet side effects from normalized insulin levels.
Dr. Steve Phinney has mentioned in interviews that a zinc deficiency is another factor to check if hair loss occurs on a keto diet. He and Dr. Volek discuss this in Chapter 9 of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Dr. Andreas Einfeldt writes about this here, and Dr. Mike Eades also discusses it here.
Low Carb Diet Side Effects Are Temporary
So, there you are. If you plan for them, these low carb diet side effects can be minor obstacles, and after you adjust to the diet, they should get better and finally subside. After that, you ought to be feeling pretty darned good! See my list of ketogenic diet benefits here for a preview.
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Done with Low Carb Diet Side Effects, back to Ketogenic Diet Plan
‘Keto crotch’ and 5 other scary things that could happen to your body on the keto diet
- The popular keto diet can come with some drawbacks.
- The keto diet can trigger the “keto flu,” which might mean you feel nauseous and fatigued for about a week after kicking off the diet.
- The diet could also cause “keto crotch,” which can alter the pH of one’s body and alter their vaginal odor.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Surely you’ve heard of the keto diet — but you may not have heard of the negative effects this intense low-carb, high-fat diet can have on the human body.
The diet is called “keto” in reference to the ketogenic state your body enters when it gets essentially no carbs — its default form of fuel for energy — and instead, uses fat as its source of energy.
If you think about it, that’s a pretty dramatic shift for your body to make. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that aside from hastened weight loss, keto can bring with it some significant complications.
With that being said, here are some things that can happen to your body on the keto diet.
You might get the ‘keto flu’
Again, the dramatic shift away from carbs can shock your system — and for some people, that shock comes in the form of the keto flu.
The keto flu will typically last a week — though sometimes longer — and can cause symptoms such as weakness or fatigue, nausea, headache, diarrhea or constipation, muscle cramps, bad breath, skin rashes, and mood swings.
It’s best to keep your doctor in the loop regarding extreme diet changes and any possible symptoms you might experience.
Keto limits your fruit and vegetable intake, which could cause your body to have micronutrient deficiencies
The keto diet isn’t intended to be a long-term diet. Carsten Koall/Getty Images
On the keto diet, one apple, at 21 grams of total carbs, can account for your entire carb allotment for the day. After all, this is a diet that requires 60% to 80% of your food intake to be fat, according to Men’s Health, and less than 10% can be carbs.
This rule eliminates your ability to eat many fruits and vegetables, as many of them contain natural carbs.
A diet low in fruits and vegetables can put you at risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can also lead to your body not getting enough fiber, a type of carbohydrate often found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Without adequate fiber intake, you might experience constipation and be at risk for certain diseases.
It can cause dehydration
A lot of the initial weight loss from the keto diet is water weight. Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
This is because when your body burns fat instead of carbs, it produces ketones, which must be passed via frequent and increased urination. This can lead to dehydration and a loss of electrolytes.
There’s a chance you can get kidney stones
Excess protein may overload your kidneys. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty
The popular diet has been associated with an increase in kidney stones and other kidney problems.
Dr. Koushik Shaw, a urologist at the Austin Urology Institute, told a local Fox affiliate that he was seeing more and more kidney stones in recent years, which he attributes to ” high-protein, low-carb, keto-type diets.”
This may be because an increase in protein intake can put added stress on a person’s kidneys.
You might experience ‘keto crotch’
Keto crotch can cause a “fishy” smell. VW Pics / GettyImages
Another lesser-known possible side effect of the keto diet is what people are calling “keto crotch.”
Keto crotch, though not widely researched, may occur because of the change in pH levels that accompany the extreme change in diet.
“Foods change the pH of the body. When this happens, the body will emit certain odors,” Lisa De Fazio, a registered dietitian nutritionist, previously told Insider. “The keto diet change your vaginal pH, which alters your vaginal odor — and it may not smell like roses.”
Following such a tedious diet can affect your mental health
From drinking with friends to celebrating with cake, there are many common things that are forbidden on the keto diet — and this might make it difficult for some to maintain an active social life.
Further, the tedious tracking of carbs can be exhausting, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
This doesn’t just apply to the keto diet but dieting in general. Scientists at the University College London found that dieting can actually make you depressed, even if you do lose weight.
About the results of the study, researcher Sarah Jackson told the Daily Mail, “We can speculate that the experience of restricting food intake and resisting temptations is bound to be hard, despite the undoubted satisfaction of seeing the inches go down and getting fitter.
“Dieting requires considerable willpower and it might involve missing out on special meals and eating in restaurants. It is not necessarily the most pleasant experience for people,” she added.
- I lost more than 120 pounds on the keto diet. Here’s why I’m quitting it.
- What a day of healthy eating looks like on the keto diet, according to nutritionists
- 10 of the biggest downsides of the keto diet
Keto – Dry Skin Solution!
Hello! First of all I want to say THANK YOU to every single person on here because reading through your comments has helped solve countless problems for me! In fact I never heard of Reddit before starting Keto…what a wonderful and supportive community.
Anyway, I made an account on here because upon starting Keto – actually by day 2 – my face was EXTREMELY dry and red. I’ve always had sensitive skin, but I haven’t had any issues in the past year or so until this. I mean literally, my face and hands were like lizard skin, red and flaking. Truly truly terrible.
Long story short, I did a lot of research, and learned that I was probably missing electrolytes, along with potassium, magnesium etc. (I was, and still am, drinking about 3 litres of water/day). I ordered a product called ‘LYTEshow’ which is a liquid that you add to your water. Basically flavorless, unless you use a lot, then it makes your water taste salty. It also includes magnesium and potassium. The item just arrived yesterday afternoon, after which I drank 1 full litre of water with this stuff. I kid you not – ALMOST INSTANTLY my face was feeling better. Today, my skin is about 95% back to normal!!!
I’m not trying to push this product in particular, as I’m sure there are many others. But I didn’t want to have something like Gatorade, which has tons of chemicals and crap in it. This only has about 5 ingredients, all natural I believe. And a great price.
I apologize for the rambling, I just felt obligated to tell you guys after all the help I’ve gotten from you!! Thank you!
Well then, I’m almost a month into a strict ketogenic diet and for the past week I’ve noticed that my skin is really dry. Some areas are really bad, like my upper arms, shoulders and chest. I’ve never really had an issue with dry skin so it must have something to do with ketosis. The funny thing is that I really don’t like lotions or creams, it’s almost a phobia, so I need to look into other options.
So, after worrying for an hour about me turning into a dragon (possibly just a lizard) I decided to do some research and see if there’s anything I can do about the dry skin issue.
My findings are as follow:
- Drink more water – Ok, I’m guilty of not drinking enough so that could be my problem.
- Eat more salt – Really? I feel like I’m eating tons of salt with all the cheese, bacon etc. But I suppose it’s possible I’m not retaining enough water so I´ll give it a try. For science. And more bacon!
- Get more potassium. Ok, I already take a multi mineral supplement and try to eat potassium-rich foods like avocados. But I guess I can do better there. Potassium rich foods that are low carb friendly are for example: avocados, artichokes, almonds, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach and more.
- There are other supplements recommended but I’m already taking a multi-vitamin and I don’t want to go overboard with supplements.
So there’s plenty of food options to choose from for fixing my dry skin. Even if I live on a devils islands near the north pole I can find some of these things. Yes, they´ll probably be frozen and expensive, but my skin and creeped out husband will thank me. I’m already dreaming of a seriously delicious brussels sprout/bacon dish I could eat every day. If it´ll stop me from turning into a reptile that’s just icing on the low carb cake. I´ll make a recipe post for you the next time I make it.
This is an old post, here’s an update!
Keto Diet Rash: What You Need to Know
There are several at-home treatment methods for the keto rash, should you experience it:
1. Reintroduce carbohydrates
If you believe that a recent change to your diet is the cause of your rash, you may want to consider reintroducing carbohydrates.
A 2018 study found that incorporating carbs back into the diet significantly improved rash symptoms.
If you’re not ready to completely give up the keto lifestyle just yet, you can always aim for a moderately low-carb diet instead.
2. Correct nutrient deficiencies
Nutrient deficiencies may play a role in certain inflammatory skin conditions.
Deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C have been linked with both acute and chronic skin conditions.
If you’re eating an overly restrictive diet, your body may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Eating an array of colorful fruits and vegetables is a great way to ensure that you’re eating all the nutrients nature has to offer.
3. Eliminate food allergens
The keto diet places an emphasis on low-carb, high-fat foods. Some of the most common foods to eat on the ketogenic diet are eggs, dairy, fish, and nuts and seeds, to name a few.
Coincidentally, many of these foods also happen to be on the list of common food allergens.
With food allergies being a source of inflammation, it’s important to eliminate any foods you’re allergic to that may be worsening your rash symptoms.
4. Incorporate anti-inflammatory supplements
In addition to dietary changes, certain supplements may assist the body in fighting inflammatory conditions.
Probiotics, prebiotics, vitamin D, and fish oil supplements have all been used in clinical studies to help improve symptoms of dermatitis.
A 2014 review of the current literature on herbal supplementation found that evening primrose oil may also yield promising results for those with dermatitis.
5. Take care of your skin
It’s important to take care of your skin as much as possible. This is especially true if you have inflammatory skin conditions.
The National Eczema Association recommends using lukewarm water for bathing and showering, and cleaning only with gentle soaps and cleansers.
The group also recommends keeping your skin moisturized when dry and protected when out in the elements, such as the hot sun or cold wind.
6. Talk to your doctor about medication
If home treatments fail to clear up the rash, a visit to your doctor may be necessary.
Effective medications prescribed for prurigo pigmentosa are the antibiotics minocycline and doxycycline. Dapsone may also be used for treatment.