Too many dieters accept that they have to live with the intense bad breath nicknamed "ketobreath" if they are to continue losing weight. That's because they believe that the bad breath is a sign that they are in ketosis and burning off fat.
Unfortunately, the bad breath associated with low carbing is a major reason why the loved ones of low carb dieters may, after a period of patience, start undermining the low carbers' diet. The bad breath (which the dieter often cannot themselves smell) can be so unpleasant that it makes riding in a car with the dieter unpleasant--to say nothing about more intimate contact!
The usual advice that dieters give each other in online support groups is to drink more water or use breath mints. Unfortunately, these solutions often fail.
Ketobreath is Often PROTEIN Breath
Fortunately, for people who have found that low carb dieting is their only hope of losing weight, it is not necessary to give off dreadful fumes in order to diet successfully. Why? Because it turns out that what causes dragon breath is not excess ketones. It is instead too much protein.
When you eat more protein than your body can use to repair muscle tissue, that excess protein is broken down and converted into carbs. One of the major products of the process by which this protein is broken down is ammonia.
That is why, if you are eating too much protein, you will often detect a strong ammonia smell in your urine. In some cases this ammonia might even cause a diaper-rash-like irritation. The cause of dieter's bad breath is most likely that your bloodstream is carrying more of this ammonia and other protein breakdown products than your kidneys alone can dispose of, so it is also being excreted through the breath.
Other Diets Cause "Dieter's Breath" Too
Paradoxically, dieters whose diets have too little protein can also get "ketobreath." That's because when dieters don't take in enough protein for their bodies' needs, their bodies cannibalize their own muscle protein and break it down. That's why starving yourself on low fat diet--which recent studies have show will cause more loss of lean muscle than does a low carb diet--can also generate this telltale bad breath.
The Cure is Simple
Use the special low carb-oriented nutritional calculator you'll find on our Calculate Your Nutrient Balance Based on Your Carbohydrate Intake
page to determine how much protein your body needs.
Eat that much protein for a few days. You should see your bad breath problem clear right up. Be sure to keep your calories high enough that you don't slow your metabolism. This may mean you need to replace some of the calories you were getting from protein with healthy fats like olive or flax oil or nuts.