Have you ever heard of the keto flu before? Also known as induction flu, you may be experiencing it and not even know! The keto flu can happen when you all of the sudden remove carbs from your diet. The name stems from the ketogenic diet, a very low carb, high fat diet people use to lose weight. In the keto diet, you basically replace your carb intake with fat, and in turn, your body becomes efficient at burning fat for energy.
The keto flu is also known as the carb flu or low carb flu (as you can see, it goes by name names), and happens when your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat. Symptoms like nausea, dizziness and drowsiness often occur as your body’s natural reaction to removing carbs from your diet. But don’t fret, it won’t last forever.
What is Keto Flu?
To dig a little deeper, it’s important to first point out that the keto flu doesn’t affect everyone. If you recently started a low carb diet such as keto and aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you’re one of the lucky ones! And when the flu does hit, it affects every person a little differently. They call it the keto flu because you experience flu-like symptoms when you’re on it. Your body is used to getting carbs from the foods you eat, so when it no longer does, it’s not always able to change your body’s energy source right away.
The keto flu may also occur due to electrolyte deficiency. When you switch to a keto diet you’re filling your body with wholesome foods and cutting out processed foods, which can lead to lower electrolytes.
People with the keto flu usually feel pretty crappy, and some even say it’s so bad because it’s basically a withdrawal from carbohydrates. And since sugar is a form of carbs, that’s definitely not surprising. If you’re feeling low energy, irritable, unfocused, or all of the above, you may be experiencing keto diet side effects. Let’s take a look at some of the most common keto flu symptoms and what you can do to remedy them as quickly as possible.
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Keto Flu Symptoms
There are a few common low carb diet side effects that could signal you have the keto flu. Keto flu symptoms usually kick within the first week of eliminating carbs from your diet and last a few days to a week. It could even last up to 3 to 5 weeks, but it depends on the person. Symptoms range from low carb fatigue to low carb diet constipation, but let’s look at the list below.
- Upset stomach
- Brain fog
- Sugar cravings
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- Ketosis breath (bad breath)
- Leg and muscle cramps
- Heart palpitations
- Reduced physical performance
- Temporary hair loss
- Low alcohol intolerance
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Keto Flu Remedies
It’s not all bad news if you have the keto flu. There are remedies that can help you feel better quick. Check out the most beneficial remedies:
1. Drink More Water
Let’s just admit it – water is the key to ailing almost everything. Increasing your water intake helps with symptoms like headaches, nausea and fatigue. Make sure you’re drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to ensure you stay hydrated. On the keto diet, your body is eliminating fluids faster than it was when you weren’t on the diet, so you need to work extra hard to replace your fluid levels.
2. Add Salt to Your Foods
The addition of salt is necessary since your body won’t be holding on to as much sodium as before. Your insulin levels tend to go down on a low carb diet and you also get rid of any excess water you were holding on to. To combat sodium deficiency, add some salt to your diet, just don’t go overboard. You’ll already be eating a lot less sodium than you were before the diet, so adding some in won’t do any harm.
3. Eat More (Healthy) Fats
Since your body is relying on fats for energy, instead of carbohydrates, eating more healthy fats will speed up your body’s transition process. If you’re feeling sluggish and hungry, this is likely the culprit. You need to make up for the caloric intake you’re losing by eliminating carbs. Healthy fats include coconut oil, nut and seed butters, olive oil, avocados, ghee and tallow.
4. Increase Your Mineral Intake
One of the reasons you may feel crappy on the keto diet is that since you’re losing more water, you’re losing electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. To remedy this, make sure you’re getting an efficient amount of these minerals from foods like chicken/beef broth, bananas and spinach. You should also ensure you’re getting sufficient calcium, chloride and phosphorus from either supplements or the foods you eat.
5. Exercise (If You Can)
When you’re feeling low energy and sluggish, the last thing you probably want to do is exercise, but physical activity increases metabolic flexibility, which is your body’s ability to switch between using carbs and fat as an energy source. Since this is the main cause of the keto flu, regular exercise will help get you back on track.
6. Eat Some Clean Carbs
Just like other types of withdrawals, cutting out carbs all at once may be too much for your body to handle. Sure, it helps with quick weight loss, but if it’s making you feel really sick, reduce your carb intake at a slower rate. I’m not saying you should go binge eat a large pizza, but have some clean carbs such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, lentils and high fiber cereal.
Are you experiencing keto flu symptoms? Not to worry. These remedies (along with time) will help eliminate them as quickly as possible!
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The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel
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