It is a common expectation that when you change diets or attempt to adapt a new diet program, you may experience some unpleasant side effects as your body begins to adjust to the new program. The same is true with the keto diet. Besides all the pronounced health benefits such as weight loss, cardiovascular disease prevention and managing a debilitating illness like diabetes, there some side effects of keto that you need to be aware of and know how to handle it. The most prominent of these is the keto flu and today we will discuss what it is and what to do when you encounter it at the beginning of ketosis.
Side Effects of Keto – What is the Keto Flu?
In the early stages of starting the ketogenic diet, there are a lot people who do experience having symptoms of the common flu. It usually is not the result of the real flu and so it is appropriately referred to as keto flu. The good news is that it does not affect every person who goes on the ketogenic diet. Just like not everybody gets the flu when it’s in season. So chances are you will not this keto flu. Don’t let that put you off.
And just so you know. Personally I don’t think it’s a flu. The symptoms people experience include nausea, bodily aches and pains, feeling dizzy and drowsy and having a short fuse. Carb cravings is one the biggest side effects of keto that you may experience. However these are not the really the real flu. It’s your body adjusting to the new diet you’re on, the withdrawal symptoms of a carb-heavy diet.
Does everybody ignore these faux flu? No! Some people actually give up at this point and go back to the carbs which defeats the whole purpose of trying to stay in ketosis.
Top 10 Common Symptoms of Keto Flu
How long does it take for keto flu to symptoms to rear its not-so-nice head? It generally reported within the first two days of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body begins to burn fat for metabolic energy or fuel instead of using carbs.
The top 10 side effects of keto flu symptoms include:
- Brain fog
- Muscle soreness
- Decreased focus
- Sleep disruption – difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
- Bowel issues; diarrhea or constipation
- Sugar cravings
Like I said, not everyone experiences the above-listed symptoms of keto flu. Some do experience for them for a few days, others for weeks and yet still more than a week. If you do experience the symptoms of keto flue do not despair and quit. After your body has adjusted to its new source of metabolic fuel (fat), the symptoms will go away.
There are also procedures to help you lessen the impact of keto flu on you.
Top Keto Flu Remedies
As awful as it may seem, do not let the keto flu overcome you! Here are the top 6 ways of dealing with the side effects of keto flu symptoms:
How to Beat Keto Flu #1 – Electrolytes
This is the most effective way of beating the keto flu completely. Electrolytes or fluid drinks are crucially important. Care must also be taken though. You need to track daily intake along with the macros (fats, proteins and carbs). The important electrolytes you need to take are:
- Sodium: Goal 5000-7000 mg daily. The best sources of sodium that are also keto-friendly are bone broth. If this is not available, supplement with sole water or bullion.
- Magnesium: Goal 300-500 mg daily. The most convenient and best way to get magnesium is supplementation in the form of pills. However, take care so you do not take magnesium citrate or magnesium stearate. These are usually used for constipation. You can also take the gel caps, but if you do, please add a 1 carb to the diary.
- Potassium: Goal 1000-3500 mg daily. The best way of getting this electrolyte is through these keto-friendly sources like avocado, raw spinach, pork tenderloin, mushrooms, salmon or sirloin steak. You can also take alternative sources such as lite salt/no salt.
How to Beat Keto Flu #2: Water
If you have followed any diet at all in the past, you know that at the beginning one of the substances you lose lots of is water. So to beat the keto flu, ensure you water with regular consistency. Always drink to thirst. How do you know you’re taking in enough water? Clear urine means you’re getting enough. If the color of your urine is yellow it means you need to increase intake.
Keto Flu Remedy #3: Increase Fat Intake
Yes, it might sounds counter-intuitive but it’s true. As the transition from carbohydrate-fueled energy to fat-based metabolic fuel takes place, increasing fat intake is a great way to beat keto flu. You just need to ensure that your sources of fat are all keto approved.
How to Beat Keto Flu #4: Exercise
You muscles become sore if you get the keto flu. It’s important to do light exercises, say 3 times a week to stay on top of keto flu. This will also likely make you more energetic and happier.
Keto Flu Remedy #5: Sleep
The fatigue associated with keto flu can be overcome with lots of sleep. So make sure you get full 7+ hours of snooze time. In any case you need the sleep for normal body functioning right. Overcoming the keto flu is just one more added incentive to get some good quality time in bed.
How to Beat Keto Flu #6: Up the Carbs
This is our last resort, obviously. If your body depends so much on carbs, then a drastic reduction to a mere 5%, can be traumatic to the body to say the least. So if this is your case, increase the carbs by eating clean carbs and then gradually up the ante. This will help in warding off the side effects of keto flu symptoms and allow your body to adjust nicely.
Side Effects of Keto Diet – What Next After the Keto Flu?
Again do not allow the keto flu to get one over you because the benefits to your health are so great. But it can a real challenge for lots of people. Take the steps we have listed above to beat the symptoms of keto flu. It is also possible to actually not experience any of the above symptoms if your macros are taken care of very well in the beginning of the keto.
As far we know, the keto flu is the only disadvantage of the ketogenic diet. Once you get past this phase (if you actually encounter the symptoms), you would see results. And oh yes, not just fat loss. You will get increase in energy, mental alertness and focus and increase in libido. Your cravings for carbs will also vanish! Isn’t all these benefits worth fighting for?
There are people who are more pre-disposed to suffering from the keto flu than others. If you had a more sedentary lifestyle, you’re more likely to get keto flu symptoms. If working out regularly is more of your lifestyle, the side effects of keto flu will be less in magnitude or perhaps not seen at all. Just remember that getting your body into ketosis works out differently from one person to the next. Whatever happens, don’t quit! Stay on the plan and sooner rather than later, you will be out of it. The results will speak for itself!