The keto Diet is a popular way to lose weight and stay healthy. It’s the way of life I have chosen as of late. For those of y’all in the dark, keto is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. While it is a safe diet for the majority of folks, it does come with an unpleasant side effect- dun.dun.dun…the Keto Flu.
What Is the Keto Flu?
The Keto Flu is a collection of flu-like (hence the name) symptoms that some folks may experience when they first start the Keto diet.
What Causes the Keto Flu?
The Keto Flu is caused by your body’s transition from burning sugar to burning fat for the majority of its energy needs. Going from a high-carb daily intake of about 225 grams of carbs per day to approximately 20-50 grams of carbs per day, will lower the insulin levels in your body. Lower levels of insulin will cause your liver to convert fat into ketones, meaning that you’re then in a state of ketosis. What is ketosis? According to Medical News Today, “Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.” Starting a Keto diet also causes electrolyte imbalances in the body. Why? Well, according to HVMN Blog, “The key reason is that dietary carbohydrate restriction reduces insulin release. Insulin signals cells in the body to absorb glucose in the bloodstream, but it also signals the kidneys to reabsorb/store more water. Lower insulin levels (as a result of decreased carb intake) means the kidneys now store less water. This results in dehydration and the flushing out of electrolytes in the process.”
What Are the Symptoms of the Keto Flu?
Symptom of the Keto Flu will vary from one person to another, but the most common symptoms include:
Constipation or Diarrhea
Muscle Cramps and/or Soreness
Poor Concentration and/or Focus
How Long Does the Keto Flu Last?
How long the Keto Flu lasts will vary from person to person, but generally symptoms will start within a day or two after starting the Keto Diet and will last anywhere from a few days up to a week. The Keto Flu is only temporary, and symptoms will go away once your body adjusts to the changes in diet.
What Are Some Remedies for the Keto Flu?
When you are dealing with the Keto Flu, there are a few things that you can do to reduce (or possibly eliminate) your symptoms, including:
Eating More Fat– Your body will need more fat now for energy, since it won’t be getting it from carbs any longer. This means you’ll need to get calories from Keto-friendly fats like avocados, bacon fat, cacao & grass-fed butter, chia, flax & sesame seeds, coconut, fish, olive & palm oil, eggs, fatty fish, heavy cream, lard, macadamia nuts, pecans and walnuts.
Replenishing Electrolytes- As mentioned above, starting a Keto diet will result in electrolyte imbalances in your body. Because of this, you’ll need to replenish your body with electrolytes. To achieve this, one thing you can do is to increase your sodium intake. Also, eat calcium-rich foods, like almonds, broccoli, chia seeds, sardines and Swiss cheese; magnesium-rich foods, such as cashews, dark chocolate, halibut fish, pumpkin seeds and salmon, as well as potassium-rich foods, like avocados, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, spinach and zucchini.
Also, be sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep! Keto flu affects everyone differently, so listen to your body’s cues, yo.