How Do You Prevent A Keto Rash Breakout? Food Choice Matters

by Josh | Last Updated:  October 12, 2020
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The “Keto Rash” is described by many on a ketogenic diet and lifestyle, but unlike keto flu and other early-onset issues with a dietary change, the keto rash tends to appear months in or at sporadic times.

This has led many to try to find out what is the root of the issue, many have theorized candida or some sort of skin infection, high acidic content in sweat, and plenty of other things over the years have been implicated.

How to go about preventing keto rash breakouts? By limiting the number and amount of oxalates in the food you consume on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. There has been some ties to a high volume of oxalates from spinach, nuts and other sources as a cause for the large red rash which can spread over varying locations on anybody and isn’t tied to one location or another.

Let’s expand on oxalates and cover the subject in much more detail as to the function of oxylates on the keto rash and why it has been so difficult to lock down as to the root cause for so long. This one has even left most of the doctors who love keto unsure of what is the problem.

Where Do Most People Develop A Keto Rash?

The Keto Rash itself has no main location or spot on a person, everyone when they get it develops it in different places. When it struck me it was my thighs, back by my shoulders, and on my forearms. I can tell you that for myself this wasn’t something in the first month or first 3 months.

The first time I got hit with the keto rash was I remember correctly about six months into my keto diet. It started one day after I ran and sweat hard so I just assumed it was an issue with the exertion. The days that followed though I skipped running and took at least two showers each day, the crazy thing is it didn’t get any better.

The next thing I did was to add on some skin creams trying to see if it could sooth the issue. Those were just expensive useless things to placate my thought process, though they provided me peace of mind that I was “doing something”.

The only thing that helped was time, plain and simple time. This isn’t the game breaker many of you were looking for but it is the gods truth. What you want to do is let your body pass the phase of irritation, this may be irritating but it is the most simple and uncomplicated way.

What Are Oxalates?

Oxylates are a natural part of plants, animals, and even humans. They have been able to be taken in through breathing, like in high pollution areas and we create them.

For example, we create them from amino acids and vitamin C which is used to produce oxalate in the liver. Your kidneys are the main processor of oxalates out of your body so that region tends to show when there are issues.

To ensure your understanding any references to “oxalate” or “oxalic acid” are just different terms for the same substance. So if you read here or other sources just make sure you understand that those are the same and not two different substances as that does matter.

Oxalates are the number one cause for kidney stones in humans and are essentially something that binds with other minerals in our body. I mentioned it can be formed from amino acids and protein provides high amounts of amino acids you may wonder if a larger protein intake could cause you issues.

In short, this answer is no for a large portion of the population. The answer though is more nuanced, as people with pre-existing problems around kidney stone formation have shown to be more affected by higher protein intake.

Of these people with kidney stone issues about a 1/3 do get unwanted increases in their urinary oxalate levels while consuming a higher protein diet.

Doctor Saladino speaks with Sally Norton About Oxalates and Their Dangers

Why Would Oxalates Cause The “Keto Rash”?

When your body starts ketosis and in general begins to clean up years of issues. These typically show in lowered inflammation, loss of visceral fat stores over time and other factors. As the body heals it starts to process out your lifelong stores of oxalates as the kidney can now use time to process them.

Unfortunately this process requires breaking the crystals back down and sending them through your bloodstream to be processed and further broken down to allow for them to pass in your urine.

When this process starts is when people following a “low oxalate” diet show signs that exactly mimic is feeling, size and location, the keto rash.

Keto starts to allow healing, most people lower their overall intake of high oxalate foods which allows with healing for the body to begin processing of all these harmful stored crystals to rid them.

Since this is a large flush of the crystals they cause inflammation and issues until fully processed out of your body.

What Else Can Oxalates Do To Keto Dieters?

Oxalate is a strong antinutrient which depletes calcium and iron levels in your body, stealing essential vitamins and minerals. They can cause renal system damage and they are neurotoxic.

They have been shown to activate your immune system, upset your GI tract, and destroy connective tissue.

Oxalates have been shown to cause various neurological symptoms which lead to disturbed sleep and impact coordination, memory, learning ability and overall concentration.

A large portion of people with a “leaky gut” will see an increase in absorption of consumed oxalate.

What Is A Low Oxalate Diet?

A low oxalate diet isn’t high or low carbohydrate, protein or fat. It is just aiming to consume foods which are lower in oxalate volume. This plan aims to remove items like spinach, nuts and other high oxalate containing foods from consumption.

High Oxalate Foods

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Miso soup
  • Grits
  • Baked potatoes with skin
  • Beets
  • Cocoa powder
  • Okra
  • Bran cereals and shredded wheat cereals
  • French fries
  • Raspberries
  • Stevia sweeteners
  • Sweet potatoes

Other Oxalate Links:

Final Thoughts on Preventing Keto Rash Breakouts

I would recommend that each person take a look at the concerns with their health that they currently experience frequently and to also make sure that they take a long look at their food intake.

Each person and their food choices are unique and that is why care must be taken to get healthy in the best way for yourself.

I have slowly been moving in a more carnivore style of eating and learning all of these little facts only makes me feel better about my choice. Unlike most, I haven’t dove in both feet first but have been taking measured steps slowly attempting to lower my vegetable intake.

This may be why people who switch to a carnivorous diet tend to have better mental stability as many with depression say it almost totally disappears.

Please share if this was interesting and/or helpful in any way. I always hope to bring you the most useful content possible to ensure you are making healthy decisions with your wellness.

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