So you’re here because you have keto flu, or you’ve heard about it and want to prevent it from happening.
I know what you’re going through, I’ve been there too!
We all agree that no one wants to start the keto diet only to be hit with feelings of unwell and sickness soon after.
But don’t fear, you don’t have to suffer. We can help!
There are a few steps that we and many others have discovered that you can take to avoid the dreaded keto flu!
First, let’s understand what keto flu is.
What Is Keto Flu?
Keto flu is the feeling of unwellness that arises at the beginning of the ketogenic diet from restricting carbohydrates and going into ketosis. Keto Flu can include one or several symptoms that range from a lack of energy to bodily aches and pains.
The ketogenic diet works by restricting carbohydrates and increasing fat intake to achieve a state of ketosis.
By doing this, our bodies switch from using glucose as energy to burning fat in the form of ketones for energy.
What also occurs when we start to enter ketosis is that our bodies cease to hold on to essential electrolytes.
When you notice a rapid weight loss at the beginning of the keto diet, most of that is water and the electrolytes that go with it.
This is when most people see the first symptoms of the keto flu.
Electrolytes are responsible for a whole range of processes in our body. Including energy production, metabolism, muscle contraction, heart health, and much more.
So when our bodies lose these electrolytes without replenishing them, we begin to start to feel lethargic, weak and sick.
Without addressing the issue the problems usually snowball from there into what we call keto flu.
Keto flu is responsible for so many people giving up the ketogenic diet altogether.
If only they knew what we’re about to tell you!
The symptoms of keto flu generally subside once a person has achieved a state of ketosis and managed to get their diet in check.
To know when you’re keto-adapted you should use a good ketone meter to monitor ketosis.
You can prevent or at least lessen the effects of keto flu by ensuring that you include certain vitamins and minerals in your diet.
What are the Symptoms of Keto Flu?
The symptoms and severity of keto flu vary between individuals. Some of these symptoms are just biological factors such as metabolism.
But mostly, the reason people suffer the symptoms of keto flu is through lack of knowledge about what they should include in their diet.
If you begin to suffer any of the symptoms below, something needs to be addressed.
The symptoms of keto flu are:
- A dull headache
- Muscle aches and pains
- Carb cravings
- Lack of concentration
- Low blood pressure
- Brain fog
Not everyone suffers keto flu, and the severity of the symptoms vary from one person to another.
The length of time keto flu symptoms last can differ between people.
You might just wake up foggy or lethargic and put it down to an off day.
But keto flu can also be much severe and last longer than a week for those who don’t know how to deal with it.
Keep in mind that you may also have a genuine cold, in any case, you should always see a doctor.
Bodybuilders Get Hit With Keto Flu Worse Than Most!
It’s little wonder bodybuilders preparing for competitions complain so hard about keto flu.
In an effort to have their skin appear paper thin, vascular, and show every crevice between their muscles. Bodybuilders restrict sodium and mineral intake to the extreme.
That is why they feel so terrible; they have no essential mineral or electrolytes flowing through them.
I have seen bodybuilders and known them, the furthest thing from a bodybuilders mind “pre-comp” is electrolytes.
I’ve known bodybuilders suffering severe keto flu, to not even drink regular bottled water. Instead, buying demineralized water (the stuff with no minerals in it that you put in car batteries) to achieve the dehydrated look that they’re after.
The Symptoms of Sodium Deficiency (look familiar?)
- Muscle Weakness
- Brain Fog
- A headache
- Low Blood Pressure
Sodium Deficiency Symptoms Mirror Keto Flu
Take a look at the symptoms of documented sodium deficiency above. Do the signs of sodium deficiency ring any bells? The symptoms of sodium deficiency are identical keto flu symptoms.
Of course, some people reading this will be thinking, “We’ve been told our whole lives that salt is bad for us.”
Well, that is true if you’re consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and your body hangs on to it.
Carbohydrates need sodium to facilitate glucose production.
Like we stated earlier when in ketosis our metabolism changes and becomes more efficient at excreting water and salt, so it must be replenished through our diet.
This was never an issue with primitive cultures as they never paid any attention to watching their sodium intake.
Primitive cultures (and still some cultures today) got their electrolytes through bone broths, blood and mineral springs.
How To Cure & Prevent Keto Flu
Of course, prevention is greater than the cure. If you set out from the start armed with good information, have your cupboards and fridge stocked with the essentials and make a plan, you’ll be in good stead.Keep up fluids, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals and always make sure your macronutrients are on point.
If you can’t always be on point with your diet. Read this good article on keto supplements you might want to keep on hand to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients.
Restricting Calories Can Cause Keto flu
When beginning a keto diet, you want to give your body a chance to adapt to ketosis.
Being kind to yourself as you make this change will help to avoid keto flu.
Too many people have tunnel vision for weight loss and think that they should be applying every fat loss method they’d ever heard of in the keto diet.
Restricting your calories to below maintenance levels is a sure fire way to getting keto flu.
Relax, nurture yourself and get plenty of energy from good healthy foods.
Not Drinking Plenty Of Water Can Cause Keto Flu
A significant cause of keto flu is dehydration. Some people see this rapid weight loss and want to keep it that way.
Yes, a good portion of your weight loss is water weight, but don’t avoid water because you think you’ll put it straight back on.
That’s not how it works; drinking water will not make you retain water. Actually, the opposite is true.
Hydration is an essential part of flushing out toxins and staving off keto flu.
Replenishing Electrolytes Prevents Keto Flu
One of the leading causes of keto flu is people failing to replenish electrolytes. As fluid is flushed from our system and the levels of insulin are decreased in our body so is sodium which is the bodies primary electrolyte.
In saying that your sodium consumption shouldn’t be over the top.
It’s not just sodium that you require to stave off keto flu, other electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium are essential too.
You can get those electrolytes from the keto approved foods you eat also.
The keto diet primes your body to be efficient at replenishing electrolytes as they are part of the day to day menu.
When in ketosis our body no longer stores electrolytes, so we need to get them from things such as meats, vegetables and keto superfoods such as bone broth.
Bone broths are something that I always have on hand for cooking or as a pick me up on their own.
They are an excellent preventative, cure and remedy for keto flu; they provide your body with so many nutrients to keep you healthy.
Everyone should learn to make it, here a free lamb bone broth recipe.
Making several liters of bone broth and drinking it liberally while you get keto adapted is one of the best ways to stave off keto flu.
Bone broths are filled with essential electrolytes and other minerals for good health, not only that; they’re cheap and easy to make
Exercise Lightly But Don’t Over Do It
Strenuous exercise will sap your body of much-needed energy and make you more vulnerable to keto flu.
When initiating the keto diet, you want to allow your body to take on one change to the system at a time.
Like I said earlier, “be kind to yourself”.
Shocking your body with a bunch of changes all at once is bound to make you feel ill and suffer keto flu, you won’t sustain it for long.
Walk and move, one thing at a time.
Resting To Remedy & Prevent Keto flu
Of course, keto flu is basically a loss of energy. Your body is transitioning from its preferred fuel source of carbs to fats.
So it’s natural that you may feel more tired at times than you usually do.
If you’re beginning to feel, tired take a rest, going like a bull at a gate will only draw more on your already low energy and give keto flu another reason to rear its ugly head.
And make sure you get a good 8 hours sleep every day with no distractions.
A very important note on keto flu
Always consult a medical professional before embarking on any dietary changes.
If you feel sick, always consult your doctor, whether you think its keto flu or not. Online (this included) is no substitute for professional medical advice.
As well consult your medical professional If you suffer from or have a family history of any illness or disease.
Don’t let keto flu get to you, take measures to prevent it because once you’re in ketosis the benefits, you’ll see are amazing.