Understanding the “Keto Flu” and How to Work Through It

Health & Fitnessby Subham Saha27 January 2021

Keto Flu

Although physically demanding and restrictive in the foods you can eat, the ketogenic diet is a strategy that many find effective for weight loss and well worth the hard work. However, many keto dieters experience an initial shock to their systems when they start the diet. Following the keto diet forces the body to utilize fats instead of glucose as its energy source. For some keto dieters, this transition causes symptoms known collectively as the “keto flu.”

What is the “Keto Flu?”

Keto Flu

Within the first two to seven days of following the keto diet, you may experience a group of symptoms often called the “keto flu” within the keto community. Though doctors don’t know precisely what causes the keto flu, it makes sense that a dramatic dietary change would come with transitionary symptoms. Common keto flu symptoms and initial side effects of the diet can include:

  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration and brain fog
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation

How to Overcome It?

Fortunately, the symptoms of the keto diet are usually temporary and dissipate after seven days. While experiencing these side effects, you can take steps to make the transition more comfortable.

Drink More Water

Drink More Water

When you reduce your carb intake, it shifts the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance, often causing dehydration. To make up for the depletion of water reserves, keto dieters should drink water throughout the day.

Avoid High-intensity Workouts

High-intensity Workouts

Although you may want to do challenging workouts to elevate your fat-burning capabilities, it may be difficult if you’re nauseous, exhausted, and have sore muscles. Before attempting any strenuous exercise, you may want to let your body adjust to the change of the keto diet. Instead of pushing your body, try to stick to lighter workouts, such as yoga or light aerobics, which can improve your mood and keep you active. Once keto flu symptoms wear off, you can start to normalize or further modify your workouts.

Watch Your Electrolytes

The keto diet cuts out many potassium-rich carbohydrate sources, such as starchy vegetables, fruits, and beans. Also, since insulin levels can drop on the diet, your body may release excessive sodium or urine, making you feel dehydrated and exhausted. A few keto-friendly electrolyte sources include leafy greens, avocados, and low-carb nuts.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Skimp on Sleep

Many keto-dieters complain of exhaustion and irritability. Skimping on sleep increases your cortisol levels and affects your mood, which may exacerbate irritability. If you have trouble getting enough sleep each night, try taking a relaxing bath before bed, reducing your caffeine intake, and eliminating artificial lighting before bed.

Eat More Fiber

Another common symptom that many beginner keto-dieters report is constipation. The body typically breaks down carbs for energy, and the switch to a low-carb, high-fat diet can put pressure on the gastrointestinal tract. Not eating enough fiber also contributes to irregular bowel movements. Because the diet drastically reduces high-fiber carbs, you will need to consume keto-friendly and fiber-rich foods like avocado, seeds, and leafy greens.

Make Use of Naturally-derived MCT Oil

When you start to crave restricted foods, you’ll want to ramp up your fat intake to fight the urge. Eating enough fat will reduce your cravings, keep you full, and speed up the transition of absorbing fat. MCT oil is a naturally-derived supplement extracted from pure coconuts or palm kernels. The tasteless oil provides a fat-rich addition to your meals and boosts ketosis. You can click here to learn more about MCT oil dosage and uses to help ease the transition to the ketogenic diet.

Practice Mindfulness and Don’t Give Up

While keto flu symptoms may make you feel awful, remember that it’s only a temporary, passing phase. Once you recognize that you have keto flu symptoms, you can take concrete actions to alleviate them. Remaining mindful and making changes as needed can help you stay on track for better health and reduce the discomfort often associated with the beginning stages of the keto diet. For your health and safety, it’s recommended that you consult with your doctor before and during the switch to keto. Find more tips about keto in this article from Proper Good.

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