KETO FLU is the name given to the withdrawal symptoms that may occur in people who start a restricted low carb diet. The Flu symptoms result from altered hormonal states and the electrolyte imbalances that may occur. In other words, it is a short period of adaptation to your new diet.
Keto stands for ketogenic, a very strict low carbohydrate eating plan. The purpose of the Keto or Ketogenic Diet is to go into a state of ketosis where your body utilizes your fat for energy instead of relying on incoming glucose from carbohydrate rich foods.
Symptoms of the Keto Flu
No two individuals are alike, so you may not experience any symptoms at all or you can experience anywhere from a mild to a full-blown flu. Symptoms include:
- Mental fog
- In some extreme cases, high blood pressure and arrhythmia
How Long Does Keto Flu Last?
The duration of the Keto Flu varies for each person. While some may have slight symptoms for a day or two, others might experience more of the symptoms for a week or more. The severity of the symptoms depends on how quickly your body adapts to a reduction in carbs.
Once the Keto Flu is over you can expect a huge surge in energy levels and you will start feeling better than ever. Your hunger pangs will disappear, your sugar and carb cravings will go away and the fat will start melting off your body.
Being patient as your body adapts is key. Knowing that the flu symptoms will pass in less than a week helps.
How To Reduce Keto Flu Effects
If you start experiencing the Keto Flu, you can reduce the symptoms employing some of the following tactics:
Replenish your electrolytes: Lack of electrolytes in the body is one of the main causes of the Keto Flu. Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining a balance of fluid inside and outside your cells. This balance is important to maintain hydration, nerve and muscle function, and a myriad of other body functions.
Low carb diets may cause your kidneys to discard excess water thus flushing out electrolytes, and causing sodium, potassium and magnesium deficiencies to occur. Make sure you keep on drinking water and replenish your electrolytes by:
- Adding salt: Normally, the average diet is overloaded with salt, but a ketogenic diet eliminates refined and processed food and focuses on eating whole real food. When you start a ketogenic diet you will naturally reduce salt intake, which reduces water retention.
- Approximately 5 grams, or one teaspoon of salt daily will replenish electrolytes. You can get this from drinking 2 cups of bone broth or adding a teaspoon of soy sauce to your meals.
- Bone broth works well, and is easy to make. Simmer chicken, beef, lamb or any meat bones in water for six to eight hours.
- Drippings from cooked meat have a high concentration of potassium, so use them to make sauces.
- Take 300 mg of magnesium in a supplement form. Magnesium is often missing from our diets. Taking a daily tablet will greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms.
If your Keto Flu symptoms get too severe, ease back. Add some healthy carbs back into your diet for a few days until you feel better. Then ease back into your keto diet a bit more slowly, giving your body time to adapt.
Don’t give up! The Keto Flu is just a sign of how badly addicted you were to poor quality carbohydrates. Let the bad stuff get flushed from your body and you will start feeling like a new person!
If you are diabetic or under a doctor’s care, please contact your doctor if the symptoms become severe.
How to Avoid the Keto Flu
Most people experience the Keto Flu when they go from a high carb and high sugar diet straight into a Ketogenic or severely restricted low carb diet. You can avoid Keto Flu by easing into a low carb eating plan over the period of a few weeks to a month.
First get rid of all sugar in your diet. Do this for a week. Then get rid of all grain products including cereal, bread, pasta … anything made from wheat or other grains.
Finally, get rid of any beans, legumes or rice products.
At each stage give your body time to adjust.
At this point … you can transition right into a more restrictive Ketogenic diet without any Keto Flu like symptoms at all!