The “keto flu” is the name given to that bad feeling some people get when they have carbohydrate withdrawals.
Not everyone will experience this, in fact, I haven’t experienced it when I’ve gone low carb but I have a few friends who have.
My friends have told me how bad they felt when they went low carb and a few even gave up. Since I’ve never experienced this I admit at first I thought they were just making it up.
Since my friends don’t generally lie I decided I would do a little research to see if their symptoms could be normal when transitioning to a lower carb diet.
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Right off the bat, I learned that these “flu” like symptoms are happening as your body learns how to burn fat more efficiently. Your body has to adjust and become metabolic flexible.
Again, not everyone will feel bad when they are switching to a low carb or keto.
Check out what else I learned and if you are suffering from Keto Flu maybe what I learned will help you.
Symptoms Of The Keto Flu
These are some of the symptoms people report when their body is adjusting to low carb.
- Mental fog
- In some extreme cases, high blood pressure and arrhythmia
It’s safe to say that since none of us are alike that the “keto flu” experience will look different for everyone. So someone might get one or several of these symptoms or they may be like me and get none.
A Misunderstood Condition
People who experience keto flu after going on a low carb diet are sometimes forced to believe that they are suffering due to the diet they are on and carbs are good for the health after all.
However, this only shows how dependent they have been on carbs, as their body is trying to survive without carbs and sugary substances.
Carb intake, and especially refined carbs from processed food, sugary foods, and drinks is at an all time high. Carb addiction is rampant in the United States and other parts of the world.
Carbs are everywhere.
At this point, let me point out that I am not a proponent of low carb or keto diets as your long term plan. Eating really low carb can be helpful when you want to lose weight or recover from insulin resistance but it’s very hard to make it a lifestyle long term.
Plus, I side with some professionals who believe we need carbs. The quality of carbs is the issue for most of us.
But I got off on a tangent. I will cover that in another post.
How Long Does The Keto Flu Last?
The duration of keto flu varies for each person. While some may have slight and even unnoticeable symptoms for a day or two, others might have an over the top symptom for a week or more, it really depends on how quickly your body adapts and starts burning fat for fuel.
It’s been noticed that once keto flu is over you can expect a huge surge in energy levels, and once that sugar habit is fully kicked, often people feel better than ever.
Being patient as your body adapts is key. If your body doesn’t adjust within a few weeks you should seek the attention of a qualified medical professional.
How To Reduce Keto Flu Effects
Keto flu can be a pain, however, there are some things that you can do to reduce the symptoms.
1) Replenish Your Electrolytes
Lack of electrolytes in the body is one of the major causes of keto flu.
Electrolytes are the minerals found in the body such as potassium, salt, and magnesium.
They affect our bodies water content, the acidity of the blood, and functionality of the muscles.
Low carb diets do help lower insulin levels which can signal the kidneys to discard excess water, making you drink more and this results in flushing out electrolytes potentially causing you to become deficient in those important minerals.
You will need to replenish them by using supplements and food.
Salt: Normally, the average diet is overloaded with salt, but when you eat low carb and eliminate processed food your salt intake will naturally be less. Here’s how to get more in your diet:
-Drink organic bone broth
-Add 1/4 tsp of Pink Himalayan to your water and sip throughout the day
-Add salt to your food
-Eat cucumbers and celery which naturally contain salt
Generally, 5 grams of salt (potassium) daily is ideal for keto flu symptoms. Try or sipping on bone broth throughout the day
Potassium: Eat avocados, spinach, kale, mushrooms.
Magnesium: About 300 mg in supplement form is easy to take and since most of us are deficient anyway this supplement is good regardless of the keto flu or not.
Related: Benefits of Adding Apple Cider Vinegar To Bone Broth
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2) Reduce Sugar Tasting Foods
As I wrote this I just finished off a low carb chocolate cake in the mug. It was so good. However, sometimes too many “sweet treats” make the symptoms of keto flu last longer. Some say that the artificial sweeteners (sadly, even stevia) can affect your body like carbs do. That means your body won’t get efficient at burning fat as fast.
We want to get adapted to burning fat as soon as we can so avoiding sweet treats with artificial sweeteners will be helpful especially if you feel sluggish or tired when you are low carb.
3) Eat More Fat and Less Protein
When I first went implemented cycling my carbs, intermittent fasting, and allowing my body to get into ketosis I started out eating mostly foods in protein. As I researched more into ketosis and the benefits I realized I needed to eat more fat.
Fat is pretty easy to get. Try adding avocados, full-fat cream, virgin organic coconut oil, virgin organic olive oil, and butter to your diet. Be sure to get organic and grass fed dairy whenever possible.
Have you ever taken a walk when you were tired and it perked you up?
That’s the same when you are experiencing some of the symptoms of keto flu. Moving your body will energize you.
I mentioned above that taking magnesium will be helpful but there are a few other supplements you can take.
A high-quality green drink will fill in nutritional gaps and could help reduce fatigue.
It’s A Process
Getting used to a low carb diet is a process. Keto flu may be part of the initial side effects. It can’t be avoided for some but hopefully, you can use some of these ideas to reduce your symptoms while your body adapts.
Do Your Own Research
I’m not a doctor. I like to research and learn about health specifically things that help with anti-aging, cleansing, and weight loss.
If you plan to adopt any method of eating and getting healthy you need to research for yourself.
Don’t believe me or your doctor until you’ve read a few books and researched online.
Taking that responsibility will help you understand why you want to make the change and to be successful.
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