Keto flu is a term used to describe the range of flu-like symptoms that can occur when people transition to a low-carb, or ketogenic diet. It is commonly experienced by those who have adopted the keto lifestyle and involves symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty sleeping. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are also a sign that your body is adjusting to the changes in your diet and transitioning into ketosis.
This article will explain what keto flu is, the signs of its onset, and some tips for reducing its symptoms.
Keto Diet vs a Low Carb Diet
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high fat diet which has been demonstrated to have numerous health benefits. It works by forcing the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates as its primary energy source. This causes the body to enter into a state of nutritional ketosis, which can result in rapid weight loss and improved metabolic health.
In contrast, a low-carb diet is more relaxed and does not require the body to enter ketosis like the keto lifestyle. While still beneficial for weight loss, a low-carb diet doesn’t deliver as many benefits as a full-fledged keto diet and can result in cravings for carbohydrates.
Keto Diet Side Effects “Keto Flu”
Keto induction is the process of transitioning your body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat as its primary energy source. This transition typically occurs after a few weeks on the keto diet, but it can take longer for some people depending on their starting point. During this time, your body is releasing ketone bodies to be used as fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This process can cause a range of “keto flu” symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and nausea.
How to Reduce Keto Flu Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of keto flu are fatigue, headaches, nausea, difficulty sleeping and muscle cramps. While these symptoms can be unpleasant, they are also a sign that your body is transitioning into ketosis and will pass in a few days.
Here are some tips to help you ease the transition:
- Drink plenty of fluids – Staying hydrated is essential when transitioning to a ketogenic diet and can help reduce the severity of keto flu symptoms.
- Increase your salt intake – Eating more sodium-rich foods and adding extra salt to your meals can help prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate keto flu symptoms.
- Get some rest – Getting enough sleep will help your body adjust to the changes in your diet and reduce the intensity of keto flu symptoms.
- Eat more healthy fats – Adding more omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, can help boost energy levels and reduce inflammation.
- Increase your electrolytes – Eating foods rich in potassium and magnesium can help replenish electrolytes that are lost during ketosis.
How to Avoid Keto Flu?
The key to reducing your carb intake without experiencing withdrawal symptoms is to slowly wean yourself off of carbohydrates over time. Start by reducing the number and size of carbohydrate-rich meals you eat in a day and gradually cut down on snacks or treats containing carbs. Additionally, increasing the amount of healthy fats you consume on a daily basis can help you to feel fuller and reduce your cravings. Ultimately, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Monitor your Weight on Keto
When transitioning to a ketogenic diet, it’s important to keep an eye on your body weight. This is because the lower carb intake associated with this lifestyle can cause you to lose both fat and muscle mass if not monitored closely. To ensure that you are getting enough nutrients while following a low-carb diet, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes healthy proteins, fats, and vegetables. Eating high-quality foods in appropriate portions can also help you maintain your ideal body weight while enjoying the benefits of ketosis.
Be Aware of Stress Hormones
The keto flu can be exacerbated by stress hormones, so it’s important to manage your stress levels if you find yourself feeling worse than usual. Stress hormones are released when the body is under pressure and can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, leading to fatigue, irritability, and headaches. Taking steps to reduce your stress levels, such as exercising, meditating, and getting enough sleep, can help ease keto flu symptoms and make the transition to a low-carb lifestyle easier.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
It typically takes the body up to a few weeks to adjust to a new diet, depending on individual factors. During this time, it’s important to be aware of any keto flu symptoms that you may experience as your body adjusts. If these symptoms become severe, it is essential to seek medical attention as they could indicate more serious health complications. With proper guidance and nutrition, you can make the transition to a low-carb lifestyle safely and avoid life-threatening conditions.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to help with weight loss and improve cognitive function. Although the transition to this new lifestyle can be challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding. To ensure success on the keto journey, it’s important to stay hydrated and eat the right balance of healthy fats and proteins. Additionally, managing stress levels and being aware of the potential for keto flu symptoms can help you transition safely and avoid life-threatening conditions.
With proper guidance and nutrition, the ketogenic diet can be an effective way to lose weight without compromising your health.