Don't let your diet ruin your breath
SUMMARY: If you're on a low-carb diet, your breath may be stinking up the place
Posted: February 1, 2013
I'm sure you know that the food you eat is often reflected in your breath. After scarfing down a burger and fries, it's almost like you can still taste it lingering in your mouth for the rest of the night. Or if you snack on some celery and hummus, your mouth may feel clean and fresh. But have you ever noticed that you have bad breath when trying to lose weight? Halitosis creeps in during the strangest times, and depending on your diet during a weight loss plan, your breath may actually be negatively impacted.
Are you on a low-carb diet? This may be causing something called ketobreath. Diets like South Beach or Atkins cause the body to break down fat for energy, which creates ketones. One of these ketones, acetone, is often emitted out of the body through urine or your breath. If you feel like your breath can be easily compared to a rotten fruit - gross - you may be experiencing ketobreath!
If you're just cutting down on your carbohydrate intake, you shouldn't experience ketobreath. However, if your body is running primarily on fat for energy - instead of carbs - this is when the problem occurs. For some people, this is a sign of success because they are expecting to have symptoms of halitosis when trying to lose weight, but this can actually put a lot of stress on your kidneys because there is an excess of ketones.
This distinctive odor is linked to the increased amount of protein that individuals on low- or no-carb diets consume. When you eat more protein than is needed for the muscles to recover, the body breaks down the protein into carbs. Despite what some may believe, we don't need a ton of protein in our diet to stay healthy. However, individuals like long-distance runners or people who spend an extended period of time working out may need protein to build muscles, but they will likely still experience bad breath symptoms.
How to cure it
Luckily, ketobreath and other diet-caused breath odors are often temporary! There are a few things you can do to prevent this bad breath from ruining your evening, though. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water to rinse down any bacteria and keep your mouth moist. You also may want to take advantage of natural breath fresheners like mint, parsley, cloves or cinnamon. These spices can help freshen your breath quickly.
While low- and no-carb diets were all the rage a few years ago, research now shows that eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can be pretty harmful to your body - and your breath! Instead, you may want to try cutting back on carbohydrates and focusing on foods low in calories to shed pounds. By adding a bunch of fruits and vegetables to your diet, you'll not only realize that the weight is coming off, but your mouth will be much healthier as well! Many fruits and veggies help eliminate bacteria in the mouth and get rid of plaque buildup that causes tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
Oral health tips
When you're on a low-carb diet, you want to be extra careful that you're cleaning your mouth properly to ensure that your breath doesn't reek from other issues - like bacteria in the mouth or canker sores. You'll want to make sure that you're maintaining a healthy regimen of brushing, flossing and using mouthwash to combat any other issues that lead to bad breath. Instead of masking it with a candy or mint, keep a small bottle of mouthwash and floss on hand at all times and your breath will stay minty fresh!