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What Is Keto Breath & Can I Avoid It? Experts Weigh In

Abby Moore
Assistant Managing Editor By Abby Moore
Assistant Managing Editor
Abby Moore is an assistant managing editor at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
What Exactly Is Keto Breath And How Do I Get Rid Of It?

The keto diet has been popular over the last couple of years. Proponents of the diet say it can increase energy, balance blood sugar, and support weight loss—to name a few perks. Despite its benefits, the keto diet may also lead to some undesirable side effects, including keto breath. 

We consulted doctor of osteopathic medicine Anna Cabeca, D.O., and functional medicine practitioner Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, to explain what causes keto breath and a few ways to remedy it. 

What is keto breath? 

If you're on the keto diet and notice your breath has a strong, almost alcoholic fruitlike smell, you're probably experiencing keto breath. The side effect also includes a metallic taste in the mouth. 

"Keto breath is not the same as ordinary halitosis or 'bad breath,'" Cabeca explains. "It occurs when the body reaches full ketosis." 

When your body reaches that state, "certain ketones like beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate can contribute to a rotting fruitlike odor on your breath," Cole explains.


How long does keto breath last?

Thankfully, keto breath should last for only a few weeks, while your body is getting used to burning fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. While it might not be appealing, Cabeca says, "It is actually a sign that you are doing great work on your keto journey."

So don't fret—once your body adjusts completely, Cole says the symptoms should dissipate.  

How can I get rid of keto breath?

"The only remedy is time," Cabeca says. However, there are ways to mitigate the symptoms, like keeping sugar-free breath mints and gum on hand, brushing and flossing your teeth frequently, and rinsing with mouthwash. 

Drinking more water can also help flush the ketones out through urination rather than your breath, Cole says. Just know that keto breath won't last forever.

Bottom line.

If you notice your breath starts to stink during your keto journey, it's totally normal and can take time to go away. It's also worth noting that, as with any diet, it's important to speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian before trying a ketogenic diet.

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