What is Keto Flu? Learn the Symptoms and Remedies
If you’re beginning the keto diet, good for you! It’s truly changing lives. Keto is helping people across the world lose weight and feel better.
If you’re reading this and feeling like junk, you’re probably in the first week of keto and most likely, you are suffering from symptoms of the keto flu. I wish I could tell you that the keto flu is a myth, but sadly it’s not.
Some people start the ketogenic diet and never have a moment of unpleasantness (you can see what happened to me when I started the ketogenic diet). They feel great right from the start, and every day they only feel better. Others feel miserable as they are entering into ketosis and suffer symptoms of:
- Nausea; and more (learn more about the ketosis flu symptoms below).
When Does Keto Flu Start
If you’ve had a lifelong love affair with yummy bread, soft-baked cookies, gooey candy bars or salty bags of potato chips, I’m sorry to say that the keto flu is a real possibility for you. For me, keto flu started by the middle of day two.
Everyone experiences keto flu differently and for different lengths of time, but there are things you can do to combat keto flu! I’m going to lay it all out there and tell you what the symptoms of the keto flu are, what causes it, how long the keto flu lasts, and things you can do to feel better quicker.
As a bonus, I found several cool Keto t-shirts on Amazon to help PUMP YOU UP as you suffer the first little bit. If you can push through the first week of Keto, you’ll be stronger and more committed than ever! (PS, if you want a Keto T-shirt, click on the image to see it on Amazon).
What Is the Keto Flu?
We could go into all the science behind why people sometimes get the keto flu, but if you’re like me you’d prefer to cut to the chase. I think the only really important thing you need to know is this: your body is freaking out without all the carbs!
It’s used to burning carbohydrates for energy and now you’re forcing it to switch over to burning stored fat instead. If you’d like to do a deeper dive into the science behind keto, I recommend this article on Scientific American.com as a starting point.
Keto Flu Symptoms
It isn’t called “flu” for nothing. It really can mimic the flu without the fever. Common ketosis flu symptoms are:
- Brain fog
- Diarrhea (known as Keto Diarrhea)
- Headache (this is what I suffered with… BIG TIME)
- Irritability (this was another side effect for me… I was dangerous)
- Problems with concentration and focus
- Sore muscles
- Stomach pains
- Sugar cravings (don’t we all suffer from this?)
How Long Does the Keto Flu Last?
Thankfully you’ll probably only experience this disagreeable period for a week to two weeks at the most. For me, it was just about three days. (phew!)… push yourself through it.
See my other tips for starting the ketogenic diet. AND if you find you’re really struggling, or your symptoms don’t go away after two weeks, go see your doctor. Something else might be going on.
What You Can Do to Ease Keto Flu Symptoms
There’s no end all be all keto flu remedy, but these things will surely help ease your symptoms.
Balance Your Electrolytes
When you start keto, your kidneys are going to “let go” of all that water weight you’ve been carrying. The great thing is that gives you a sweet little weight loss gift pretty quickly.
The unfortunate thing is that losing the fluid and the salt that goes along with it can send you straight into the keto flu. Your sodium, potassium and magnesium levels need to be maintained and you may need to help that along.
To get more sodium, add a pinch of lite salt to your water. Morton Lite Salt is a good one, but there are others. Some people drink bone broth to help balance their electrolytes. Personally, that is what I prefer. Take some magnesium citrate and potassium, combined with that sodium from the bone broth or your salt water.
You may think you’re drinking enough, but unless you’re measuring you can’t know for sure. A healthy adult needs 64 ounces of water a day. That is 8 cups. You can buy water bottles that have measuring lines on them, or you can simply make a note each time you finish a glass.
Related reading: Tips for drinking more water!
Get enough sleep
I know that’s easier said than done, believe me. But your body is going through some big changes right now. Amazing things can happen to our bodies as we sleep. Check out the effects of sleep deprivation on the human body if you doubt how important sleep is.
Eat More (good) Fat
Enjoy some eggs and bacon, have some avocado, or start adding MCT oil to your coffee. Increasing your fat consumption will help speed up things up so your body starts burning fat for fuel instead of carbs.
I don’t drink coffee but added MCT oil to my morning jump start drink (which is hot water, freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 drops of lemon essential oil, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar). MCT oil is a natural way to boost your ketone levels.
Eat Some (clean) Carbs
Are you sure you’re getting enough carbs? That may sound counterintuitive, but while your body is adjusting you may need to eat a few more carbohydrates. Don’t eat potato chips, but do try an apple or a half a banana.
Take an Exogenous Ketone Supplement
Taking an exogenous ketone supplement could help your body get into ketosis faster. I purchased this Perfect Keto supplement, and then I mix it with:
- Crushed ice
- About 8 ounces of water; and
- 2 ounces of heavy whipping cream using my immersion blender
I only use a half scoop of the supplement (to avoid stomach upset and to make it last longer).
Check out my other Keto Diet Tips for Beginners
Those are my tips for dealing with the keto flu. The most important thing to remember is that it’s short-lived and it WILL go away. Don’t give up! Don’t let the temporary unpleasantness of the keto flu prevent you from making this important change in your life.
Now I’d like to ask you: Have you experienced the keto flu? What worked for you? Is there anything you’d like to share with people who are in the midst of it right now? Leave a comment below!
You might also like my easy Keto Recipes!
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