What is the keto flu?

What is the keto flu?

On the keto diet, some people experience symptoms known as the "keto flu" when transitioning to this diet. This guide will provide a comprehensive and detailed overview of the keto flu and how to alleviate its symptoms.

Keto Flu

What is the Keto Flu?

Some keto-flu symptoms include fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and irritability. The keto flu is caused by the body adjusting to the new metabolic state of ketosis, as well as the lack of electrolytes and dehydration caused by the elimination of certain foods and increased urination.

Who is at risk of getting the Keto Flu?

Anyone can experience the keto flu, but specific individuals may be more at risk. These include:

  1. People who have a history of eating disorders or disordered eating
  2. People who have a history of yo-yo dieting
  3. People who are already dehydrated or have low electrolyte levels
  4. For people with kidney or liver problems,
  5. People who are not eating the correct foods on keto or eating processed "keto" foods. It may be worth looking at our keto 2.0 article, which discusses more nutrient-dense keto foods. 

What does the Keto Flu feel like?

Keto flu can include fatigue, headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms are similar to the flu and typically last a few days to a week. The cause of the keto flu is thought to be a lack of electrolytes and a decrease in insulin levels as the body adjusts to the new diet. For a more in depth guide on electrolytes, see our guide on keto electrolytes.

How to get rid of the Keto Flu

There are several ways to alleviate the symptoms of the keto flu. Here are a few tips:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help replace fluids lost through increased urination and to help prevent dehydration. You can also add a pinch of salt to your water to help replace lost electrolytes.
  2. Increase Electrolyte intake: Make sure to increase your intake of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. You can do this by eating foods high in electrolytes, such as avocados, leafy greens, and nuts, or by taking supplements. We also recommend our own brand of keto electrolytes to buy. 
  3. Eat More Carbs: If your symptoms are particularly severe, you can try eating a small number of carbs to help alleviate symptoms. This can include low-carb fruits like berries or vegetables like leafy greens.
  4. Get Enough Sleep: Get enough sleep during the transition period to the keto diet. Insufficient sleep can worsen the symptoms of the keto flu.
  5. Be patient: The keto flu is a natural response to the body adjusting to the new metabolic state of ketosis. The symptoms will pass, and you will start to feel better.

References

  1. Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(8), 789–796. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.116
  2. Lyle McDonald. (2018). The Ketogenic Diet.
  3. Volek, J. S., & Phinney, S. D. (2012). The art and science of low carbohydrate living: an expert guide to making the life-saving benefits of carbohydrate restriction sustainable and enjoyable. Beyond Obesity LLC.
  4. Westman, E. C., Yancy, W. S., Mavropoulos, J. C., Marquart, M., & McDuffie, J. R. (2008). The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5, 36.
  5. D’Agostino, D. P., Vasilaras, T
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