Keto Breath: Top 7 Brilliant Home Remedies

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Keto Breath | Smell | Duration | Home Remedies | Conclusion | FAQ | Studies

One of the ketogenic diet’s most common side effects is keto breath. Although the bad breath is temporary, it can be unpleasant.

Keto breath is not a big deal since you can alleviate it with simple home remedies. You’ll find out exactly how that works in this article.

What Is Keto Breath?

Some people’s breath may change in the short term when they start a ketogenic diet.

However, this is not a cause for concern but a reliable sign that they are in ketosis (Musa-Veloso et al. 20021).

When you eat very few carbohydrates, your insulin levels drop, and the body can break down stored fat for energy (Jensen et al. 19892).

The broken-down fat goes to the liver, which converts some into ketones. The so-called keto breath is caused by one of these ketone bodies: acetone.

Because acetone is excreted through your breath, you can also use breath monitors to measure whether you are in ketosis.

How Does Keto Breath Smell?

Many people say the smell of acetone reminds them of nail polish remover. Others say their keto breath smells slightly fruity.

However, few people release enough acetone through their breath to make it smell like nail polish remover.

Therefore, not everybody can develop keto breath.

How Long Does Keto Breath Last?

Keto breath usually only occurs at the beginning of the ketogenic diet when the body is not yet using ketones efficiently. For this reason, more ketones are excreted through the breath.

It takes about 2-7 days to reach the metabolic state of ketosis (Cahill 20063).

Then the bad breath may occur.

The body will adapt to the new diet if you stay low-carb, high-fat.

Once your cells have learned to use ketones and the brain is sourced predominantly by them, you are fat-adapted.

Keto adaptation occurs about 3-6 weeks after switching to a ketogenic diet. Once this fat adaptation is accomplished, the bad breath disappears.

Keto breath may last for 2-5 weeks. However, straightforward home remedies exist by which you can shorten the duration.

Best Home Remedies for Keto Breath

The best ways to eliminate keto breath are simple. Here are five practical tips.

1. Drink Water

The easiest way to reduce keto breath is to drink more water. If you drink more, you will have to urinate more often. Through urine, ketones are flushed out as well.

This way, you can reduce the acetone content in the breath. Nevertheless, please do not overdo it. Excessive overhydration can be just as harmful as dehydration.

2. Use Lemons

Mint and lemon water works against keto breath

My pro tip is to use lemon water.

Lemons and limes can help eliminate unpleasant breath because they have antibacterial properties (Tomotake et al. 20064).

Therefore, drinking lemon water is doubly effective against keto breath.

You can dilute freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice or add sliced citrus to a water carafe. Optionally, you can add fresh mint.

3. Limit Protein

If you are consuming large amounts of protein while converting to keto, it can worsen your breath.

Protein is made up of amino acids. When these are metabolized, ammonia is produced, which smells unpleasant and is measurably exhaled (Spacek et al. 20155).

Less protein in the diet can improve bad breath, help get deeper into ketosis and help become fat-adapted.

4. Stay Keto

One of the worst pieces of advice is to increase carbohydrate intake again when you experience keto breath. This way, your metabolism needs more time to adapt to a ketogenic diet. Hence, the bad breath will last longer.

If you continue to eat high-fat until you are fat-adapted, the keto breath will disappear.

Stock your pantry with grass-fed butter, extra virgin coconut, and olive oil, and get keto-adapted more quickly.

5. Be Active

A man walks to eliminate keto breath

Many people make the mistake of taking it easy when switching to a ketogenic diet, especially when they experience the keto flu.

When you exercise, the body is all the more compelled to use stored fat for energy.

A 30-minute walk significantly increases ketone production (Koeslag et al. 19806).

The more you move, the faster the metabolic shift takes place. Once keto-adaptation is achieved, keto breath disappears.

6. Conceal Bad Breath

There are simple home remedies that can give your breath a fresher smell:

  • Mint
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Fennel seeds
  • Parsley

Due to their essential oils, these plants can positively affect your breath. That’s why it’s best to get these fresheners in pure oil. Capsules usually contain carbohydrates or other additives.

Chewing gum is not ideal since sweeteners promote cravings (Yang 20107).

7. Practice Oral Hygiene

Hygiene routines such as brushing teeth twice a day and flossing can improve ketosis oral odor. Regular tongue scraping may also help.

Those who want to put up with the sweetener can also use mouthwash.

Even though oral hygiene will not altogether remove the acetone odor, fewer bacteria in the mouth will improve the smell.

The Bad Breath Will Not Last

Keto breath can smell unpleasant but will go away. You can overcome the odor faster if you focus on healthy fats, drink enough, and exercise.

Keto breath is a definitive sign of ketosis. You are almost there, don’t stop your journey at this point.

Citrus fruits, herbs, and proper oral hygiene will help you through the temporary phase.

Eating more carbohydrates doesn’t make sense during this process because it may slow down the metabolic shift, and bad breath last longer.

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Keto Breath FAQ

What does keto breath smell like?

Keto breath smells like nail polish remover.

Does keto breath go away?

Keto breath goes away once you are fat-adapted.

How do you stop bad breath on keto?

You can stop keto breath by drinking lemon water, limiting protein, increasing fat, exercising, using essential oils, and practicing oral hygiene.

Do ketones make your breath smell?

In some people, you can smell ketone bodies on their breath when they first enter ketosis.


1Musa-Veloso K, Likhodii SS, Cunnane SC. Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):65-70. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.1.65. PubMed PMID: 12081817.

2Jensen MD, Caruso M, Heiling V, Miles JM. Insulin regulation of lipolysis in nondiabetic and IDDM subjects. Diabetes. 1989 Dec;38(12):1595-601. doi: 10.2337/diab.38.12.1595. PubMed PMID: 2573554.

3Cahill GF Jr. Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annu Rev Nutr. 2006;26:1-22. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.26.061505.111258. Review. PubMed PMID: 16848698.

4Tomotake H, Koga T, Yamato M, Kassu A, Ota F. Antibacterial activity of citrus fruit juices against Vibrio species. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Apr;52(2):157-60. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.52.157. PubMed PMID: 16802698.

5Spacek LA, Mudalel ML, Lewicki R, Tittel FK, Risby TH, Stoltzfus J, Munier JJ, Solga SF. Breath ammonia and ethanol increase in response to a high protein challenge. Biomarkers. 2015 Mar;20(2):149-56. doi: 10.3109/1354750X.2015.1040840. Epub 2015 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 26043432.

6Koeslag JH, Noakes TD, Sloan AW. Post-exercise ketosis. J Physiol. 1980 Apr;301:79-90. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013190. PubMed PMID: 6997456; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1279383.

7Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun;83(2):101-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 20589192; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2892765.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

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