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Side Effects of a Low-carb Diet

Netrajit Laishram Mar 6, 2019
Low carbohydrate diets are a very popular means of weight loss. Despite their claimed effectiveness, there are some concerns regarding their side effects. These must be considered before indulging in rigorous weight loss problems. Read on to know more.
"Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments."
Bethenny Frankel
Low-carb diets are extremely renowned among those looking for a quick way of losing weight. They have been quite effective as compared to other diets, and are based on the concept that a high intake of carbohydrates is responsible for an increase in weight.
Though these are preferred by dieters over other programs, adverse effects of the same have been indicated by experts.

What Happens in a Low-carb Diet?

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy generation used by the human body while storing fats for future use. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 % of the total daily calorie intake. When a person cuts down on carbohydrates, the body starts using the stored fats for generating energy required to run the body.
Thus, in such diets, calories that were previously provided by carbohydrates, are substituted by fats and proteins. These diets cut the intake of carbs to a minimum of 20 to 30 grams in the initial stage, which increases up to 100 grams, which is lesser than 20% of the caloric intake from carbohydrates.
While such diets may help in inducing weight loss, dieters have complained of headaches, constipation, bad breath, muscle cramps, diarrhea, general weakness, etc.

Common Side Effects


Carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the human body, which are replaced by proteins and fats during these diets. It is difficult for the body to convert fats into energy, and in the process, there is insufficient supply of energy to the body. Without energy, bodily functions are hindered, thus resulting in fatigue.
Without consumption of food rich in carbohydrates such as grains, fruits, and veggies, a person is undoubtedly susceptible to tiredness and fatigue due to the absence of nutrients required for good health.


Low-carb diets result in a higher intake of protein, which results in an increased production of ketone, an acidic molecule found in the blood vessels. Ketosis occurs when the extra ketones produced in the blood, make it harder for the kidneys to perform their functions.

Bad Breath

A low-carb diet increases ketone, which can lead to bad breath in some people. Though it may not affect everyone, some dieters are infamously said to have a 'keto' breath.

Digestive Problems

Fibers are necessary for proper bowel movement. The aforementioned diet leads to a lowered intake of food rich in fiber, thus causing digestive issues. Food deprived of fiber causes diarrhea. Similarly, these diets can also lead to constipation.
Despite its questionable side effects, this kind of diet is still quite popular and has advocates who vouch for it without any concern.
Disclaimer: The information provided is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.