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The Keto Flu & Remedies

Before you pull the trigger and embrace the keto life we need to first talk about the keto flu, and remedies for keeping it at bay.     

While I hate to be the bearer of bad news, some of you will experience flu-like symptoms when you first begin the transition. Unfortunately, it’s a totally normal part of the process.  I was one of the lucky ones, I only experienced a few days of low energy.  The reason you may experience the keto flu is that the body is adapting to a new diet which is very low in carbs.  

Reducing your carb intake can induce withdrawal-like symptoms in the body, similar to if you gave up alcohol or caffeine, but in this case you are giving up sugar.  For many folks, the keto diet can be a drastic change from the norm, resulting in a shock to your body, as it’s now burning ketones for energy instead of glucose. (check out our post on Ketosis to get the lowdown!) 

Photo Ava Sol Oreidapknaa Unsplash

What you should know is the keto flu is common, and there are things you can do to lessen your symptoms.  It should also be noted that the uncomfortable symptoms of the keto flu only tend to last about a week for some but not all (phew!).  Of course, everyone is different and some may suffer more than others.  If these symptoms persist and you experience prolonged diarrhea, fever or vomiting, you should contact your doctor to ensure that there aren’t any other underlying causes. But just know that this too shall pass! 

What are the symptoms I should be looking out for?
Feeling nauseous, vomiting, stomach upset including diarrhea, constipation, cramping, headaches, muscle soreness and cramps.  There could also be changes in mood, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and sugar cravings. This is what I call, “being tore up from the floor up!”

Remedies to lessen your symptoms;
The keto flu can make you feel miserable and like giving up.  But fear not, my sweets. Luckily there are ways to ease these symptoms and help your body get through the transition period more easily. We got you!

Photo David Mao Unsplash

  1. Stay hydrated – it’s cliche advice for a reason, drinking enough water is crucial for reducing symptoms and allowing your body to adapt.
  2. Try drinking chicken broth at night to add sodium back into your diet, which is commonly found in carbs. You can make some tasty keto friendly soups that will leave you full and stocked up on that oh so necessary sodium. 
  3. Add foods high in magnesium to avoid leg cramps and add foods rich in fiber to avoid constipation. Great examples of these that are keto-friendly include dark leafy greens, nuts, and avocados. They’re also a great source of potassium, so it’s a win win!
  4. Avoid strenuous exercise – of course we endorse keeping fit and following an exercise regimen.  But, don’t push yourself too hard while your body is learning to adapt to this new way of eating. Try something lighter like walking, cycling or yoga. Low and slow, baby!
  5. Sleep, sleep, sleep! Once more for those in the back, Sleep! It’s so important for many reasons, but getting more z’s will greatly help ease the symptoms of the keto flu to allow the body to adjust.  Not to mention aid in cognitive function to help boost your mood!
  6. Replace electrolytes – Salt food to taste.  Include potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods like green leafy vegetables and avocados.  They are an excellent way to ensure you are maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes. Electrolyte supplements may also help if you’re really feeling weak.   
  7. Eat plenty of healthy fats!  As fat is our new BFF and is one of the most important factors in the keto diet.  Do your research and carefully calculate your intake of fats to satisfy your cravings so you’ll feel satisfied and full.  Keep that hanger at bay!

Keto flu can suck, there’s no doubt about it.  We all know nothing worth doing comes easy and we’re here to support you.  We recommend consulting with your doctor before starting any diet.  Doing so also aids them in addressing any issues you might have while transitioning to this new lifestyle.