Keto Flu symptoms are very real and sometimes it takes a while to bounce back to your normal self without a bit of helpful advice. Fortunately I have some tips up my sleeve that just might help you get through those annoying keto flu symptoms just a little faster.
I was one of the lucky ones and it completely passed me by but there were a few steps I took to keep my self clear of those dreaded keto flu symptoms. However not everyone is that fortunate so let’s talk a bit about what exactly Keto Flu is and how you get rid of it when it arrives on your doorstep.
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What are the Keto Flu Symptoms?
Keto flu is something that can rear its ugly head when you start your keto diet and your body starts to feel the lack of the carbohydrate comfort food it is used to, and has been relying on to produce sugar and subsequently energy to keep you fueled up and running.
So, when your body starts feeling the lack you may experience symptoms similar to a withdrawal process. Basically, keto flu symptoms (which is also known as carb flu) is being caused by your bodies reaction to switching between burning glucose (sugar) to burning fat (ketones).
If you are a recent convert to following a keto diet and are noticing that you feel nauseous, dizzy, irritable and achy, with drowsiness and headaches thrown in the mix try not to worry too much, they are pretty good indicators that you have keto flu.
Unfortunately, when we are feeling unwell we tend to start second guessing decisions that we think might have contributed to the current situation. Try to stay firm these keto flu symptoms DON’T last they are just a natural reaction to no longer having carbs to use for fuel.
I know its hard to stay motivated when you are feeling unwell but try to stay firm, keto flu generally only lasts a few days in most cases and you are seriously going to feel so much better once you get past this phase. Honestly, you will soon be feeling so good and energized from the fat loss that you will wonder why you didn’t start this keto way of eating years ago.
But you don’t have to suffer needlessly in pursuit of your quest to lose weight and be healthy. There are a number of things you can do to reduce the keto flu symptoms and I am going to lay them all out for you, especially those you can get started on today.
First however, let’s take a close look as to why this keto flu occurs when you drop to a low carb lifestyle.
What is Keto Flu and what caused it?
I know you’ve heard of bird flu, and this flu and that flu, but keto flu probably want one that had come across your horizon until recently, but yes, it is a real flu and it does exist, and there is no denying that keto flu symptoms can be uncomfortable for a while until you get on top of them.
But it isn’t anything scary like a virus or contagious, it is simply your bodies reaction to being deprived of carbs.
Until recently you would have fueled your body with carbs which it then would turn into glucose and then burnt as an energy source. However, when you stopped providing the carbs your body had to seek an alternate source for fuel this is where keto comes into play and supplies the fat in the form of ketones for your body to burn as an alternate source of fuel. After a few days of burning ketones your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis.
Reaching ketosis is the objective of a ketogenic diet and is the forerunner to a whole heap of health benefits, with more still being discovered. But the primary ones, which no doubt is what attracted you in the first place are the weight losses and increased energy and brain alertness.
Detailed Keto Flu Symptoms
So, you aren’t caught unprepared I am providing this comprehensive list of symptoms that you may or may not experience:
- Brain Fog
- Keto headache
- Keto breath
- Sugar cravings
- Poor focus
- Lack of concentration
- Stomach pains
- Muscle soreness
- Can’t sleep
How long will I be sick with Keto Flu?
That question is a bit like saying ‘how long is a piece of string” but on average the keto flu doesn’t last any longer than 3-10 days. It has been known to last up to a month in very rare cases but that’s extreme. The onset of keto flu is usually fairly quick once you cut out the carbs.
A lot depends on your previous lifestyle as to how much you are affected. For example, if you were previously used to a diet with a lot of sugar compared to a person who had a relatively low sugar consumption, you are more likely to have a faster withdrawal reaction. In fact, the person with the low sugar may have no reaction at all and either avoid the keto flu or else suffer only minor symptoms.
Then of course you have those who can change metabolic states easily and without experiencing any adverse health symptoms. Which means your genetics can enable you to side step the keto flu completely.
Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky, so lets look at what you can do to prevent the onset of keto flu if you haven’t as yet gone low carb, or reduce the symptoms if you are currently suffering.
Managing Your Keto Flu Symptoms
1. Drink Bone Broth
I’ve started this list with Bone Broth as I firmly believe this was the main thing that staved off Keto Flu for me. I had a cup every morning and another in the evening. Bone broth is exceptionally good for you and contains electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which are often in short supply when you are first transitioning to ketosis. It is also rich in protein with virtually no fat and no carbs.
Of course, homemade is always good, but if you don’t have time there are some really good ones readily available. Just remember to ALWAYS check the ingredients to ensure there is nothing sneaky in there to derail you.
2. Electrolyte Supplements
When you change to a low carb keto diet and stop eating starchy vegetables and fruit it is inevitable that you will be cutting out your previous sources of electrolytes.
Unfortunately, a shortage of electrolytes leads to a number of keto flu symptoms emerging, such as irritability, fatigue, cramps, nausea and dizziness.
One of the easiest ways to replenish the electrolytes in your body without affecting your ketosis transition is to make sure that your have a daily dose of an electrolyte supplements, particularly if you are working out, since this will help avoid dehydration and muscle cramps.
Its important to remember not all electrolyte supplements are created equal, so make sure you check the label to ensure there are no hidden nasties like sugar and it is keto friendly.
Try and find an electrolyte supplement that has calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as sodium. Be wary of sports drinks many of them contain sugar in various forms.
I can’t stress this one enough, but when you are on a keto diet, you must stay hydrated, not just electrolytes but with water and fluids in general. You might be surprised at the difference that staying hydrated will make to your keto flu symptoms. Especially when it comes to getting rid of headaches and that brain fog that’s been hanging around.
Make sure you always have a bottle of water handy, and if you lose track of how much you’ve had use MyFitnessPal like I do to keep track.
4. Are you eating enough fat?
When you first start your keto diet you probably feel you are eating loads more fat than you have previously been used to. But are you really eating enough? By using a macro counter (check this free one here at Ruled.me you can work out what amounts of fat, protein and carbs you need to consume each day.
If you are trying to transition faster and adapt your body to burning fat instead of glucose you might need to increase your fat consumption. Coconut oil and avocados can become your new favourite foods and can be easily included in your meals or drinks. Remember keto flu isn’t forever, it will end you just need to hang in there.
5. Exogenous Ketone Supplement
I’m only going to touch on this topic briefly as I will be addressing it more fully in another article. These exogenous ketone supplements can help minimize keto flu symptoms, but primarily they are used to raise energy levels and assist infighting fatigue. Don’t get confused though, ketone supplements are exactly that, supplements, not a replacement for your keto diet. They will help you maintain and stay in ketosis by providing energy. But be warned they can be a bit expensive.
Obviously since you are feeling pretty lousy you certainly aren’t going to feel like doing any exercise. But if you can climb over that small obstacle, you might find a gentle yoga class or a brisk walk might go a long way to restoring your motivation and improve the mood.
7. Sleep and More Sleep
As I have said several times during the course of this article not everyone is affected the same way by keto flu if at all, but immaterial of that, one thing that is important is sleep. When you get a good night’s sleep the whole world just looks a better place when you wake up in the morning apart from feeling a lot more relaxed and ready to tackle the new day.
If you struggle to sleep and the brain just won’t turn off when you climb between the sheets there are a few things you can try to help you unwind. Try drinking a keto friendly tea with a soothing blend of herbs, this can often help you relax, or even some gentle meditation.
Stop using all your electronics at least two hours before you want to sleep, and maybe read a book or listen to some relaxing music. Have a warm bath with some of your favourite oil and some Epsom salts to relax and wind down, really good if you have stiff sore muscles.
You Survived Keto Flu
Hopefully the suggestions in this article will help you cruise through keto flu without too much stress or discomfort and of course you maybe one of the lucky ones who have no problems at all.
And if you aren’t lets hope the keto flu is of very short duration and you can move forward with enjoying all the health benefits of your new keto lifestyle, and these last few days will quickly fade.