Some of the initial side effects of a low carb high protein program like the Dukan Diet are still ongoing. This surprises me as I had imagined the body would acclimate somehow. The weird halitosis, the blockage on elimination, and the dry mouth are as present today as Day 1. I understand about the elimination issue and the dry mouth, but why the bad breath? If you find your friends moving away from you when you speak it’s a sure sign of Significant Onset of Halitosis Syndrome! And, this post is reaching you just in time you!!
Depending on which “medical speak” you’re familiar with there is a number, yet similar, reasons for the problem. One of the reasons is directly related to the increase in protein which, as you know, is the foundation of the Dukan Diet. Basically, we all have a large number of useful bacteria living mainly on our tongue and at the back of our throat. These bacteria are supposed to be there because they assist humans in digestion by breaking down proteins found in specific foods, mucus or phlegm, blood, and in diseased or “broken-down” oral tissue. When these “beneficial” bacteria come into contact with certain compounds, the odorous and “lousy-tasting” volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs’) are released from the back of the tongue and throat. Charming substances like Hydrogen Sulphide, Methyl Mercaptan, and other malodorous fiends!
Since the bacteria are meant to be in our mouth, there is no way we can remove them permanently. No amount of brushing or tongue scraping will get rid a person of their allotment of the VSCs. The only scientifically proven way of curbing your bad breath (Halitosis) is by attacking the bacteria’s ability to produce VSCs and then convert said VSC into non-odorous and non-tasting organic salts.
There are a number of ways in which the problem is worsened and the most common way is with dry mouth. This generally occurs while you are asleep and hence the reason you sometimes wake up with “morning breath”.
Although some cases of dry mouth are naturally occurring, most cases are caused by one of these factors:
- Prescription Medications (usually prescribed for high blood pressure or depression)
- Adult Beverages
- Mouthwashes with alcohol in them
When your mouth is dryer, you have less Saliva. Saliva naturally contains Oxygen, which keeps your mouth healthy and fresh. These bacteria are anaerobic, which simply means that they will thrive and make more sulfur in the presence of little or no oxygen. Thus if you have less Saliva, you have less oxygen, thereby creating an anaerobic environment, perfect for the bacteria to produce more of these odorous and sour/bitter compounds.
Because of the increase in higher protein foods, on an Atkins type diet, especially dairy products, the amount of Volatile Sulfur Compounds increases dramatically and as such your breath gets worse accordingly. The only way to fight the problem is to try and supply oxygen to the bacteria causing the problem and remove as much of the VSCs’ as possible.