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Gross Side Effects of Low Carb, High Protein Diets

After starting a low-carb diet and losing weight, your newfound confidence helped you land a date with your long-time crush. The date has gone well, but just as you lean in for a goodnight kiss, you realize that your breath is awful. Talk about a buzzkill.

Don't blame your dentist for your malodorous mouth — blame your diet. Low-carb, high-protein diets such as Atkins, Paleo and Dukan increase the odds your body will go into a state of ketosis (a metabolic state in which the body gets its energy from ketone bodies in the blood), which can cause stinky breath. There's more: If you've been working out—maybe a little too much—to accelerate your weight loss, you might also be dehydrated, meaning there's less saliva in your mouth to scrub away odor-causing plaque and bacteria. In short: It's making matters inside your mouth even worse.


Fear not, dieters. You don't need to axe your weight loss and workout plan in your quest for better breath. Though your first instinct may be to reach for breath mints or gum, that's not the answer. The sugar in these products only adds fuel to the fire, creating more bacteria. And the sugar free varieties cause bloating.

"For most people, doubling the amount of water they drink would immediately cure their bad breath," Dr Uchenna Okoye, clinical director of London Smiling Dental Group told The Daily Mail. And of course, the obvious: good brushing and flossing habits. Another easy on-the-go fix: "Chewing on crunchy, raw foods like carrots and apples…clear[s] plaque and stimulate[s] the production of saliva," explains Okoye. Adding spices like cinnamon and herbs like parsley, fennel and dill to your diet can also improve bad breath as they contain compounds that kill the odor-causing bacteria.


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Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh