The Keto Flu and How To Cure It

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There are a number of myths and about what happens when you start a low carb diet. One of them is how the diet makes you feel sick, weak, so it should be avoided.

This feeling of sickness is referred to as the keto flu. The great news is:

  1. Not everyone suffers from the symptoms of the keto flu
  2. Even if you do suffer from them they are only a temporary part of your body adapting to a new fuel source
  3. There are a number of tried and tested ways you can either avoid the symptoms of the keto flu or cure them when they do occur

So, what is the keto flu?

The keto flu, also called the carb flu, is a collection of symptoms some people experience when they first start a low carb diet.

These symptoms are the result of your body adapting to the minimal carb intake. They include nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, headache, vomiting, weakness, irritability, dizziness, poor concentration, muscle cramps and soreness, stomach pain, sleep problems, and sugar cravings.

 Many people do not experience the keto flu, but some develop one or more of the symptoms.

Now, if the keto flu hits you, do not throw in the towel and write off the diet as unsuitable for you. Soldier on instead!

These symptoms usually last about a week and then fade away. Once the keto flu has vanished, you will notice that you feel more energetic, your brain function improves, and other benefits of the diet start manifesting.

How to cure or avoid the keto flu

If you experience keto flu symptoms, there are some things you can do to alleviate them or even avoid them and go through the transition period more easily.

Stay hydrated

During the initial phase of the low carb diet, you are at higher risk of dehydration because your body rapidly sheds water. That is why some people lose between two and ten pounds during the first week of going low carb or keto.

There are various reasons for this water release. For instance, the low carb diet lowers glycogen levels, which reduces water retention inside muscle cells. It also brings down insulin levels, causing your kidneys to shed excess sodium.

Therefore, it is crucial to drink enough water. Consume at least three litres per day during your first week on the low carb and keto diet. This will prevent dehydration and relieve keto flu symptoms. After this initial phase, you can reduce your water intake a bit because your body will not shed much more of it.

Replace electrolytes

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Well-known ones are sodium (salt), calcium, and potassium. These electrolytes are crucial for the normal functioning of your body.

The thing is that if you are new to the low carb diet, electrolyte levels in your body may change during the initial phase. Sodium levels, for example, may decline. This is because the keto diet lowers insulin levels, which causes the release of excess sodium. Calcium and potassium levels are often influenced as well. These alterations can cause various keto flu-like symptoms.

The solution?

Consume enough electrolytes. Doing so can alleviate these symptoms and make adapting to the keto diet easier. To make sure you consume enough electrolytes, get some extra sodium into your diet, as well as low carb-approved foods rich in potassium, such as green leafy vegetables and avocados.

Get enough sleep

Irritability and fatigue are two of the most common keto flu symptoms. Lack of sleep can exacerbate them by elevating cortisol levels, so make sure to get enough sleep.

Eat enough healthy fat

Because your body relies less and less on glucose when you go low carb, your energy must come from another source. Many keto dieters go wrong by not consuming enough dietary fat. Failure to do so can not only cause hunger pangs but also lead to low energy levels and irritability. Make sure to eat enough healthy fat, in sources such as meat, fish, nuts, and healthy oils.

Avoid consuming the wrong fats

Fats are important, but not all fats. There is a long list of different types of fats some good and some very bad, and fats that effectively produce high levels of ketones in your body. Consuming wrong fats can result in producing more fat than burning them.

Simply said, avoid consuming hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats. Example of these processed vegetable oils, artificial trans fats and processed foods laden with artificial fats. Instead, reach for the good fats including saturated fat sources, MUFAs, PUFAs and naturally occurring trans fats.

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