Keto Flu Symptoms and How to Get Rid of Them
The ketogenic diet is becoming more popular as a safe way to lose weight and improve health.
The diet has a low carbohydrate content, a high fat content, and a moderate protein content.
Although the diet is generally considered healthy, it is linked to certain negative side effects.
This article explains what the keto flu is, why it occurs, and how to treat it.
**This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.**
What is Keto Flu?
The keto flu is a set of symptoms that certain people feel when they first begin the keto diet.
The body transitioning to a new diet consisting of very few carbs induces these effects, which can feel like the flu.
When you eat less carbs, the body is forced to burn ketones instead of glucose for energy.
When you adopt a ketogenic diet, ketones are byproducts of fat breakdown and become the primary fuel source.
Fat is usually saved as a backup fuel supply for when glucose isn’t available.
Ketosis is the mechanism of converting from consuming carbs to burning fat for energy. It happens in such conditions, such as starvation and fasting.
Ketosis can, however, be achieved by maintaining a very low-carb diet.
Carbohydrates are usually limited to less than 50 grams a day on a ketogenic diet.
This dramatic reduction can trigger withdrawal symptoms, similar to those encountered when weaning off an addictive substance like caffeine.
What are the symptoms of Keto Flu
Switching to a very low-carb diet is a drastic change, and the body can take some time to adjust.
This time of transition can be particularly difficult for some individuals.
Within the first few days after cutting carbs, signs of the keto flu may develop.
Symptoms vary from person to person and can range from moderate to severe.
Although some individuals may be able to adapt to a ketogenic diet without experiencing any negative side effects, others may develop one or more of the symptoms mentioned below:
- Muscle spasms
- Feeling dizzy
- Concentration problems
- Stomach ache
- Soreness of muscles
- Sleeping problems
- Cravings for sugar
These symptoms are typical to those who have recently started a ketogenic diet and can be very distressing.
Symptoms normally last for a week, but certain people can have them for longer.
Although certain dieters can give up due to these side effects, there are ways to avoid them.
How to get rid of the Keto Flu symptoms
The keto flu can make you feel weird.
Fortunately, there are options to reduce the flu-like effects and ease the body during the adjustment time.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is important for good health and can also aid with symptom relief.
A keto diet will cause you to lose water reserves quickly, putting you at risk of dehydration.
This is due to the fact that glycogen, the body’s stored source of carbohydrates, attaches to water. Glycogen levels decrease as dietary carbs are decreased, and water is excreted from the body.
Keeping yourself hydrated will assist with fatigue and muscle cramps.
When you have keto-flu-related diarrhea, which can cause more fluid loss, it’s particularly necessary to replace fluids.
2. Avoid excessive exercise
Although exercise is vital for remaining healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, it can be discouraged if you are having keto-flu symptoms.
In the first week of adopting a ketogenic diet, fatigue, muscle cramps, and stomach pain are normal, so it’s a good idea to rest the body.
Intensive swimming, biking, weight training, and strenuous exercises can have to be placed on pause as the body transitions to new fuel sources.
Although vigorous activity should be avoided if you have the keto flu, light exercises such as cycling, yoga, or leisurely biking can help alleviate symptoms.
3. Replenish electrolytes
Electrolyte replenishing can help alleviate keto flu symptoms.
Insulin levels, an essential hormone that makes the body consume glucose from the bloodstream, decrease as you adopt a ketogenic diet.
The kidneys release extra sodium from the body as insulin levels drop.
Furthermore, the keto diet restricts certain potassium-rich ingredients, such as bananas, grains, and starchy vegetables.
Having plenty of these vital nutrients is an ideal way to get through the diet’s adaptation phase.
Salting food to taste and using potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods like green leafy vegetables and avocados in your diet are great ways to keep your electrolytes in control.
Magnesium is abundant in these ingredients, which can assist with muscle cramps, sleep problems, and headaches.
4. Get enough sleep
People who are adjusting to a ketogenic diet also feel exhaustion and irritability.
The stress hormone cortisol rises in the body when you don’t get enough sleep, which can affect your mood and make keto-flu symptoms worse.
Try one of the following suggestions if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep:
- Reduce caffeine consumption: Caffeine is a stimulant that may disrupt sleep. If you do drink caffeinated drinks, do so just in the morning to avoid disrupting your sleep.
- Sleep in complete darkness: To build a dark atmosphere and foster restful sleep, switch off mobile phones, laptops, and televisions in the bedroom.
- Take a bath: A soothing way to cool down and prepare for sleep is to apply Epsom salt or lavender essential oil to your bath.
- Wake up early: Getting up at the same time every day and preventing oversleeping will help you normalize your sleep habits and increase the consistency of your sleep over time.
5. Make sure you’re getting enough fat in your diet (and carbs)
When you turn to a very low-carb diet, you can crave foods like cookies, bread, spaghetti, and bagels, which are prohibited on the ketogenic diet.
However, consuming enough fat, which is the ketogenic diet’s main food source, will make you feel satisfied and reduce cravings.
Low-carb diets, in particular, have been found to help minimize cravings for sweets and high-carb foods.
Many people that are having trouble transitioning to the ketogenic diet may need to cut carbs out progressively rather than all at once.
Slowly reducing carbohydrates while increasing fat and protein in your diet will help you transition more easily and minimize keto-flu symptoms.
What causes the Keto Flu in some people?
Ketogenic diets affect people in various ways. While some people may suffer weeks of keto flu, others may transition to the new diet without experiencing any negative side effects.
People’s effects are linked to how their bodies respond to a new fuel supply.
Carbs typically supply calories in the form of glucose to the body.
The body burns ketones from fat instead of glucose as carbohydrates are drastically reduced.
Those who eat a lot of carbs, particularly processed carbs like pasta, sugary cereal, and soda, can struggle to stick to the ketogenic diet at first.
As a result, some people can find the transition to a high-fat, relatively low-carb diet difficult, whereas others are able to switch between fuel sources with little to no keto-flu symptoms.
It’s unclear whether some people respond to ketogenic diets more easily than others, although the keto flu is thought to be caused by genetics, electrolyte loss, dehydration, and carbohydrate withdrawal.
How long Keto Flu symptoms last?
Fortunately, most people’s discomfort from the keto flu lasts for about a week.
Some individuals, though, will have a harder time sticking to this high-fat, low-carb diet.
Symptoms can last several weeks for these people.
Fortunately, as the body responds to turning ketones into energy, these effects will disappear.
Although keto-flu symptoms are normal to those starting a ketogenic diet, if you’re feeling especially unwell and have symptoms like excessive diarrhea, fever, or vomiting, you can see a doctor to rule out other causes.
Who should avoid ketogenic diets?
The ketogenic diet can be effective for certain people, but it is not for all.
For example, unless used therapeutically under medical observation, the ketogenic diet may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or teenagers.
Additionally, people with certain health problems, such as kidney failure, liver disease, or pancreatic disease, should avoid this diet.
Those with diabetes who want to try a ketogenic meal plan should talk to a doctor to see if it’s healthy and appropriate for them.
Lastly, this diet will not be suitable for people who are hypersensitive to dietary cholesterol, a group that makes up about a quarter of the world’s population.
The keto flu is a group of symptoms that arise as the body transitions to a ketogenic diet.
Some individuals who are transitioning to a high-fat, low-carb diet report nausea, constipation, headaches, exhaustion, and sugar cravings.
Keto-flu effects may be reduced by staying hydrated, replacing missing electrolytes, taking adequate rest, and making sure you’re eating the right amount of fat and carbohydrates.