In case bread and doughnuts and pasta aren’t a good enough reason to include carbs in your diet, perhaps the risk of ‘keto crotch’ might convince you.
That’s the name that’s been given to a rather unpleasant phenomenon being reported by several women who have switched to the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet.
So what is keto crotch? And why does it happen?
Forums, including Reddit, have been clogged with posts from women who have reported developing an unpleasant odour from their vagina. As one afflicted person described it, “my junk was funky”.
‘Keto’ is a popular health trend that has managed to persuade masses of people that carbohydrates are born from the searing fires of hell, and should be heavily restricted if you’re looking to achieve weight loss. It’s based on the premise that your body should rely on fat stores for energy instead of those derived from carbs.
And therein lies the potential problem.
While there is no comprehensive research to confirm ‘keto crotch’ as a direct side-effect, gynaecologist Jessica Shepherd told Women’s Health that a high-fat diet – like Keto – could influence the pH levels in the vagina, which in turn could lead to the growth of odour-producing bacteria.
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Oh, and let’s not forget there’s also the potential for ‘keto breath.’
As dietician Kate Save previously explained to Mamamia, “Ketosis is a metabolic state in which our body produces ketone bodies as an alternative energy source to glucose.
“One of the by-products of the breakdown of ketones is acetone (the source of any unpleasant odour). Acetone is exhaled through the lungs, thus making your breath smell a little like nail polish remover.”
Dietician Rachel Scoular also noted that, while there’s no evidence to suggest a ketogenic is dangerous, bad breath is among a number of reported side effects.
“Symptoms you may experience in the initial first days include fatigue, nausea, headaches and bad breath,” she wrote for Mamamia.
“These often pass after a week or so, but everyone’s experience is slightly different. The diet is also likely to lack key nutrients like fibre, vitamin B and calcium, so supplementation may need to be considered.
“You may also find the diet could affect gut health or metabolism, so it’s important you only undertake the diet with guidance of a health professional.”
Likewise, if you experience what seems like ‘keto crotch’, make sure you flag with your doctor, as vaginal odour can also be symptom of an infection. If it persists or you notice other symptoms like itchiness, burning or abnormal discharge, it’s time to make an appointment.