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The "Keto Crotch" Conspiracy: What You Need to Know About This Bogus Health Claim

Blatantly false news stories do slip past the journalistic integrity filters from time to time. The most famous in recent history was "jenkem", a hoax about teenagers using gas produced by fermented human waste in order to get high. Despite how obviously dubious the story was, media outlets ran with it. Parents all across America feared that their children would soon become fart-huffing drug addicts. The hysteria eventually died down after the facts came out. Unfortunately, we haven't learned our lesson yet - and the keto crotch phenomenon is proof.

What Is "Keto Crotch"?

"Keto crotch", according to "news" sources that don't spend as much time fact-checking as they do thinking up cutesy, clickbaity headlines, is the myth that eating a ketogenic diet will make a woman's vaginal area smell very, very bad. Specifically, they claimed that eating a lot of meat and dairy products (which are staples of the ketogenic diet) will increase the acidity of your blood and/or vagina. In women, they go on to explain, this increased acidity will alter the vaginal flora in ways that produce:

  • Strong odors
  • A thicker, unpleasant discharge
  • Bacterial vaginosis (an itchy, unpleasant bacterial infection of the vagina)

If you're female, any abnormalities in your vaginal health should not be ignored or taken too lightly. But there are a million different things which can cause the aforementioned symptoms. If they happen to occur alongside a switch to a ketogenic diet, they could be coming from a number of other healthy lifestyle changes which usually accompany a change in diet - not necessarily the food itself.

In case you haven't guessed yet, we are here to alleviate your anxieties and let you know that the connection between those symptoms and the ketogenic diet does not exist. And we have the proof to back it up.

The (Lack of) "Proof" Behind Keto Crotch

Let's take a look at the reasons why news outlets feel that reporting on keto crotch as if it were real is a good idea and a thing they should do:

  • "Keto breath" is a real thing, so it makes sense that "keto crotch" could be real too...right?
  • An epidemiological study in the Journal of Nutrition found an association between higher fat diets and bacterial vaginosis
  • Reporters found several social media posts where women complained about experiencing unpleasant vaginal changes after starting keto

Let's take a moment to break these arguments down one by one, shall we?

Argument #1: Keto Crotch Is (Probably) Real Because Keto Breath Is Real

If you've ever had to study logical fallacies for any reason, then you may be familiar with the term "false equivalency". To put it simply, a false equivalency is an attempt to convince someone that two ideas are similar or identical "based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors". So when reporters claim "it's true that keto changes the way your mouth-hole smells, so it's probably true that keto can change the way your vagina-hole smells", it's the textbook definition of oversimplification.

The reality is that human physiology is much more complex than that. Saying that eating a ketogenic diet can cause bacterial vaginosis is about as ludicrous as saying that eating too much yeast or too many yeast-based products will make your saliva start to smell like fish and curdle up into an off-color discharge. But people drink beer and eat bread all the time, and this never happens. Funny how that works.

Argument #2: Keto Crotch Is Real Because a Study Said So

Sadly, misrepresenting legitimate scientific research is a very common occurrence in journalism. One fairly respectable news outlet bothered to do at least a tiny amount of research and used a study from the Journal of Nutrition in a weak attempt to connect keto crotch with reality. But there are several problems with this particular study, including:

  • It was observational, meaning it was based on the scientific equivalent of hearsay instead of measurable data (blood tests, vaginal exams, etc)
  • It wasn't studying the ketogenic diet specifically, but rather the difference between a higher fat and a lower fat diet and a possible connection to bacterial vaginosis
  • The study also found that eating a diet rich in certain nutrients helped lower the incidence of bacterial vaginosis, regardless of how much fat was in the diet

That last point is very important in the context of keto. People who don't know very much about the ketogenic diet wrongly associate it with Crisco, hot dogs, miracle whip, and bacon which has been bathed in salt and nitrates. An effective keto diet, on the other hand, is rich in healthy fats that come from whole foods like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and farm-to-table dairy products which come from free-range, grass-fed animals. Many of these healthy fats either contain or exist alongside the nutrients mentioned in the study. If anything, reporters should be using the study to prove the keto is good for your vaginal health, not the other way around.

Keto

We'd also like to note here that despite the clickbaity headlines, many of the articles we read which propagated the keto crotch rumor made a conscious effort to point out that "there's no research confirming that keto crotch is, in fact, a thing". Of course, they made those statements in tiny letters well below the fold. Telling, isn't it?

Keto Crotch Is Real Because I Read About it on Social Media

If you read through most of the keto crotch news articles on the internet right now, you'll see quoted text from Reddit posts in which "real" women complain about suffering from keto crotch. That's right, ladies and gentlemen; we're now living in the world where reporting on unverifiable Reddit posts is considered legitimate journalism. Try not to cry yourself to sleep tonight.

The truth is that anyone can post a fake story on Reddit if they want to. In fact, many companies hire people to write fake posts on websites like Reddit or fake product reviews on websites like Amazon in order to advance their agenda or sell more products. It's basically the reason why websites like Fiverr exist. Although Amazon tries to curb the problem by restricting reviews to confirmed purchases, Reddit doesn't vet its users. And these reporters obviously didn't vet the people writing these posts, either.

But you know whose testimony reporters can vet? The dozens of real and easily interviewable medical doctors who have become very outspoken on twitter about the keto crotch conspiracy. Even high-profile medical expert and nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung put his two cents in: "Interesting how I treat hundreds of people a week for 6 years and have NEVER heard of the phantom 'Keto crotch'." Maybe he should post that sentiment on Reddit and get his colleagues to reply to him if he wants reporters to take him seriously and report both sides of the story.

Sarcasm aside, we think we've provided more than enough evidence to strongly suggest - if not outright prove - that the keto crotch phenomenon does not exist in reality. As they say in Latin: Quod Erat Demonstrandum ("I've made my point").

So Where Did "Keto Crotch" Come From?

To make a long story short: companies who are losing money and/or losing ground in the "Plant Based vs. Low Carb Diet Wars" hired a PR firm to use "native advertising" in order to spread the word about keto crotch. This sneaky attempt at viral marketing was exposed by John Zahorik on Twitter and retweeted with insightful commentary by NYU Adjunct professor and scientific journalist Nina Teicholz. Please feel free to click on that link and jump down the rabbit hole. You might be surprised by what you find.

Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of "Keto Crotch" (or the Ketogenic Diet)

If you need to lose weight - especially if the majority of that weight is body fat - you have no reason whatsoever to be afraid of the keto diet. It's one of the healthiest and most efficient ways to train your body to burn fat for fuel so that you can slim your waistline and help reduce years of metabolic damage. It'll also give you a ton of energy and help supercharge your brain for better cognitive function.

Unfortunately, the transition can be rough for people who have been following a Standard American Diet for most of their life. That's why there are dietary supplements like Ultimate BHB Keto to help ease that transition. Supplementing your diet with exogenous ketones as you gradually lower your carbohydrate intake helps keep your energy levels up and protect you against the dreaded symptoms of the "keto flu". Exogenous ketones can also help reduce your appetite and give you energy to maintain your fitness routine while your body adjusts. Once you start living that keto life, you may never go back!

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