The Flu That Comes With The Ketogenic Diet
One of the hardest parts of becoming keto-adapted is dealing with the flu-like symptoms that present themselves when you start the ketogenic diet for your long-term weight loss program. These keto flu symptoms, while not life-threatening and likely to go away after a few days to a week, can make going about your daily business quite taxing. But, dont think for a second that theres nothing you can do to combat the keto flu! These three remedies are known for their usefulness at fighting the feelings of illness so you feel better and dont become discouraged to continue your keto journey.
What Causes The Keto Flu
In the early stages of the keto diet, the body needs to adapt to using fat instead of carbs for energy. Our bodies are so used to convert carbohydrates into glucose that when we are deprived of carbs, we go through withdrawal, and this is the cause of the keto flu. New dieters might feel fatigued, headaches, cramps, dizziness and nausea, as well as a little irritable from the craving for carbs.
These symptoms dont usually last longer than a week, but the flu-like misery has caused many people to give up on the diet. Their mistake is that they think nothing can be done to alleviate the keto flu. There are many steps one can take to reduce the symptoms!
Potassium Rich Foods For Keto Flu
Potassium has serious side effects if you overdose on it, so a whole foods based approach is best for this electrolyte in particular .
Daily Potassium Goal: 3500-4700 mg per day
Here are some of the best keto-friendly sources of potassium:
- Potassium chloride This is a table salt replacement , such as this one. Only use this if you already have enough sodium AND you are watching your intake to make sure you dont go over 4700 mg potassium in a day. Just 1/6 teaspoon has 530 mg potassium, so it adds up fast!
- Avocados An avocado has a whopping 974 mg potassium!
- Bone broth In particular, this chicken bone broth has 530 mg of potassium per serving.
- Spinach A cup of raw spinach has 186 mg potassium, which doesnt sound like much, but you can easily have a few cups. And if the spinach is cooked, youll need much less for the same amount of potassium, since it shrinks so much.
- Broccoli Broccoli has 288 mg potassium per cup! My favorite simple way to serve it is sauteed broccoli with garlic.
- Mushrooms A cup of raw mushrooms has 223 mg potassium, yet only 1.6 g net carbs.
- Leafy greens The amounts vary, but many leafy greens are rich in potassium. For example, just one cup of cooked Swiss chard has 961 mg.
- Zucchini One of my fave low carb veggies is also one of the best potassium sources, at 325 mg per cup. Try making zucchini boats or zucchini noodles!
- Beef or pork 3 ounces of beef has 270 mg potassium, while the same amount of pork has 360 mg.
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Is Keto Flu A Sign Of Ketoacidosis
Keto flu is not the same as ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is a condition in which the body produces large numbers of ketone bodies. This causes the blood to become more acidic. Ketoacidosis can be a life threatening condition.
Typically, people on the keto diet do not have ketoacidosis.
The keto diet can help a person lose weight, but some people are put off by keto flu symptoms. These are temporary, and treatments and remedies can ease them.
The following strategies can help:
From Keto Flu To Ketosis Success Checklist:
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When Does Keto Flu Hit
Personally, the keto flu hit me about a week into my journey with feelings of sluggishness, nausea, leg cramps, and exhaustion. I read about supplementing my electrolytes and knew I needed sodium among several others. I made Keto Queso Easy Taco Soup for dinner that night and began to feel better fairly quickly. Im guessing due to the sodium content from the broth. The soup, along with supplementing needed electrolytes made facing the keto flu much easier, and my experience was short lived.
Symptoms usually occur within the first week or two when starting a Ketogenic diet. A few days after youve dramatically lowered your carb intake, your body will begin its transition into the metabolic state known as ketosis.
Can You Stop Keto Flu
You know, for some of us, the keto flu is something we just have to go through for a few days. Think of it as a detox because bottom line, that is what is happening. You are detoxing from sugar, carbs, wheat, all those things that are holding you back from optimal health.
But even though you likely cant stop keto flu, you sure can minimize the symptoms! Drink lots of salty chicken broth. Use a magnesium supplement. You need potassium which you can get in No-Salt. You will be amazed at how helpful this will be!
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How To Beat Keto Flu & Feel Your Best On A Keto Diet
When embarking on the keto journey, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement…everywhere you go you hear about someone who has experienced significant weight loss, has more energy, and is experiencing greater health and vitality with this lifestyle change. But there is a potential obstacle you may face when embarking on this keto journey.
Entering ketosis is an extreme adjustment for your body. When consuming carbohydrates, our primary fuel source comes from glucose. However, with carb restriction, your body is then forced to switch from using glucose to ketones for fuel. These are two completely different metabolic processes. Your body is certainly capable of handling BOTH fat and carbohydrates as its main source of energy, but this involves a period of adjustment. The body has been used to glycolysis , and now we are shifting gears.
When you start a ketogenic lifestyle and alter the metabolic process your body is accustomed to, this tends to come with some unwanted side effects until your body fully adapts to the change. When undergoing this transition, dont be alarmed if you experience symptoms like:
Risk of Dehydration
Many people do not realize that carbohydrates are responsible for retaining water in the body. When you follow a ketogenic lifestyle, you immensely restrict carbohydrate intake, depleting glycogen, which depletes water along with it.
So What Is Keto Flu Anyways
I posted this What is Keto Flu article below back in the summer of 2013 when I had no idea what I was doing or what keto flu was. All I knew is that I was sick as a dog! Ive learned so much since then and so many people manage to find this article, so I thought I should update it with the solutions that work!
The Keto flu is also called Ketosis Flu, Ketogenic Flu, Induction Flu and Carb Flu depending on what groups you hang out in. It normally is what happens after your first couple of days without carbs. Not to every single person, but most people go through some sort of carb withdrawal and/or carb detox.
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Bump Up The Sodium Intake To Avoid Keto Flu Symptoms
When your Fat Storing Hormone levels drop in the initial stages of the high-fat diet, this prompts the kidneys to release water and sodium . Increasing your water intake, or staying hydrated, is good for anybody, especially keto dieters. Unfortunately, that alone isnt enough to help balance whats missing. Consciously adding more salt to your diet in some form or another will help dramatically reduce or avoid keto flu symptoms
Ways to Increase Your Sodium Intake:
- Add fine salt to a glass of water. You should only use ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon when doing this.
- Add more salt to the food you are consuming.
- Consciously choose to consume foods that are inherently saltier, such as bone broth.
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- The keto flu occurs in the first days of going keto as your body adjusts to burning fat for energy.
- Symptoms of the keto flu include fatigue, irritability, nausea, constipation, and dizziness.
- To avoid or treat the keto flu, stay hydrated, eat more electrolytes, and avoid intense exercise.
The keto flu is when you experience flu-like symptoms as your body transitions to the new diet.
Here is what you need to know about the keto flu from common symptoms, how long it will last, and prevention tips.
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Keto Flu Cause: Reduced Insulin Levels
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body absorb glucose from your bloodstream. When you have less glucose in your system, you don’t need as much insulin to process it .
That’s why when you switch from a high-carb diet to a diet thats super low in carbs, your insulin levels usually drop drastically.
That’s a good thing. It’s one of the main reasons the ketogenic diet is so beneficial. People often notice improved brain function, greater energy, stabilized blood sugar, fewer seizures, and much more.
Thats because when glucose is no longer available as an energy source and your insulin levels are very low, your liver starts converting fat into ketones. Most of your cells can use these ketones in place of glucose for energy.
Once your body is mainly using ketones and fat for energy, you’ve entered ketosis.
But it takes time for your brain and some of your other organs to adjust to using this new fuel source.
When your insulin levels drop, your body reacts by ridding itself of excess water and sodium . This is why you may urinate more often in the first week after starting a keto eating plan .
This also explains the weight loss that often occurs in the early stages of the diet. Youre mostly losing water weight due to lower sodium levels.
Losing sodium and water weight can actually bring on the unpleasant symptoms of the keto flu.
Eat A Few More Clean Carbs
While cutting down your carb intake all at once may result in faster weight loss, the simple fact is youre not going to lose any weight unless you stick to that low carb or Keto diet. So, your first priority should be to ensure youre not going to give up on the diet because you feel too crappy. If thats going to be the case, then try reducing your carb intake slowly.
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Putting It All Together Into A Keto Flu Remedy
You can relieve the symptoms of the keto flu by doing these six things:
- Drink more water
- Increase your intake of sodium, potassium, and magnesium
- Eat more fat
- Go for a walk every morning
- Meditate every day
- Make sleep a top priority
If you do these six things, then your keto flu symptoms will be reduced or completely relieved. That being said, it is possible to negate these positive effects and provoke the keto flu as well. Without addressing these factors, keto will be more difficult to adapt to than necessary.
Less Glucose To The Brain
When you eat carbs, your brain runs primarily on glucose. But when you enter a ketogenic state, you lower your intake of glucose. As a result, there is a possibility that less glucose may be available to the brain.
Thats where ketonesyour backup brain fuelcome in. Ketones fuel the brain with clean, efficient energy.
Still, the transition from glucose to ketones doesnt always happen smoothly. This transition, researchers believe, may cause symptoms during the first few days of keto dieting.
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But while feeling sick and awful is not at the top of anyones list, its not a signal that you should quit. Many times, its a result of working toxins out of your body and changing where your body gets its energy from. If you quit too early, youll never know how your body could change and the health benefits you could see.
So while it can take several days to pass, stick with it! Youll feel better soon and go on to see your body change by being consistent with your diet. Youll probably go on to have more energy than before you started!
Common Keto Flu Symptoms
The most common Keto flu symptom that beginners report is fatigue. This can be caused by a number of factors. It is very easy to fall into the trap of being calorie deficit, for example, because being in a state of Ketosis also reduces appetite. Not eating the recommended amount of calories when metabolism has speeded up can leave you feeling low-energy, listless and tired.
Overexercising is another well-known cause, as is dirty Keto, which may seem okay when it comes to your daily macro allowances, but they also introduce a bunch of unhealthy, processed foods in your diet with unnatural additives.
2) Low Blood Sugar
Every human cell depends on glucose for energy. However, when a person follows a Ketogenic diet and severely restricts carbohydrate intake, a Keto side effect during the early transition phase can be that their blood sugar levels drop too low. This condition, known as hypoglycemia, can cause a range of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and brain fog. It can also lead to irritability, anxiety and mood swings.
3) Hormone Imbalance
Dehydration is a common symptom of carb flu during the early phases of a Ketogenic diet.
When there is a drastic from a high carb diet, your bodys glucose store, known as glycogen, reduces as well. Now glycogen acts like a sponge that absorbs a lot of water molecules. So when its presence depletes in the body from lack of carbs, you lose all that water as well.
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What Is Keto Flu: All You Need To Know And How To Avoid It
Published: · By Libby Jenkinson May contain affiliate links.
If you are starting keto for the first time, you might experience fatigue, irritability, and a couple of other symptoms. Sound familiar? You might have the keto flu! You might be asking yourself: what is keto flu? Well, keep reading and learn all you need to know.
If you are new here, you might want to read “everything you need to know about the keto diet“. I explain everything you need to know about starting a keto diet including what to enjoy, what to avoid, and how to get started. Theres even a free FAQ and diet sheettoo!
I shared a few facts about possibly getting the keto flu when you first start out and many have asked me, “What is keto flu?”.
What Are Keto Flu Symptoms
When you begin a keto diet, you may experience keto flu symptoms after a day or two. This can include:
- Sugar cravings
Keto flu symptoms can last for a day or up to an entire month.
How long these issues last depends on your eating habits beforehand, the flexibility of your body to use different sources of fuel, and how you carry out the keto diet.
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When Does The Keto Flu Start
For me, I got the keto flu around day 7. But it varies a lot when you get it. Usually somewhere during the first 10 days.
It can be jarring, because when you first start eating keto youre so excited about your new healthy regime, and actually feel pretty great the first few days. But after your body has burned through the last of its carb and sugar energy sources, the keto flu can hit.
Remember, dont let this cause you to quit!