The ketogenic diet is increasingly becoming popular around the globe for its various health benefits against several diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer. It is also proving to be an effective diet for losing weight, improving blood lipid profiles, and increasing mental focus in most individuals. The holy grail of the keto diet is to achieve a balanced state of ketosis. Ketosis is a process in which the body switches to burning fat for energy instead of glucose (the body's typical energy source).
An usually low-carb and high-fat diet pushes the body into ketosis.
Although the ketogenic diet is touted for its various benefits, many people experience several side effects when following a keto diet. One of these side effects is Keto-Flu.
What is Keto Flu?
The keto flu, also known as carb flu, is the body's response to a sudden decrease in blood glucose levels. Since the body is used to utilizing glucose as its primary energy source, a sudden change in diet triggers a starvation mode until it adapts to the new fat-dependent energy source.
Your body can feel a little confused as you transition into burning body fat for fuel. Once the body adapts and efficiently utilizes ketones as its primary energy source, keto flu symptoms subside.
The physical symptoms of keto flu are your body's way of signaling an unusual drop in dietary carbohydrates.
People often experience keto flu within the first day or two after beginning a ketogenic diet. However, it can last for up to two weeks or more. The duration of keto flu varies from person to person and largely depends on the carb dependency of a person before the keto diet.
Six common symptoms of keto flu
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms within the first few days of starting the keto lifestyle, it is most likely a manifestation of keto flu. The most common symptoms of keto flu are:
- Muscle cramps
- Fatigue and headaches
- Sugar cravings
- Mood Swings
The keto flu does not effect everyone in the same manner. Some (lucky) people can effectively switch to a ketogenic diet without experiencing bothersome symptoms.
Remedies to get rid of the keto flu?
Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the impact of keto flu and recover swiftly. These remedies include:
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Aim to drink at least half to two-thirds of your body weight in fluid ounces daily. Remember that the body stores carbohydrates as the water-binding molecules of glycogen. In the early phases of keto, water tends to be eliminated from the body more quickly because eating fewer carbohydrates equals less glycogen.
So, stay hydrated, particularly if you have diarrhea or constipation.
2. Consume more fats and fiber
When switching to a very low-carb diet, you may crave all sorts of foods that are meant to be restricted on the ketogenic diet, such as cookies, bread, spaghetti, and bagels. According to research, the cravings gradually subside by increasing fat and fiber-rich foods. By consuming foods like leafy green vegetables, chia seeds, and hemp hearts, you will be helping your digestive system to run smoothly.
3. Replace Bodily Electrolyte
Decreased levels of electrolytes can cause muscle cramps and dizziness. Keto flu symptoms could be minimized by maintaining dietary electrolytes.
Insulin, an important hormone that assists the body in absorbing glucose from the blood, decreases in the body when a ketogenic diet is followed. As a result, the kidneys remove far more salt from the body. Similarly, the keto diet restricts the intake of sugary fruits, beans, and starchy vegetables, which are high in potassium. It is essential that you supplement the body with potassium-rich sources to aid the body in its adaptation phase. Try adding a dash of Himalayan or sea salt to your drink or taking a high-quality magnesium supplement.
4. Get an adequate amount of sleep
The adverse effects of reduced levels of sleep amplify the keto flu symptoms, as it interacts with bodies hormones. Try reducing daily caffeine intake as it may interact with your sleeping patterns. Also, stay away from high-intensity exercise, especially during the start of the keto diet, to avoid a plurality of symptoms. It may also help to adopt a soothing bedtime routine. Limit your screen time in the evening to maintain adequate melatonin levels to help you fall asleep and enjoy a night of quality sleep.
It is vital to track that you are not exhausting your body. A balanced state of nutritional ketosis is essential to stay in a healthy state of ketosis. While many people may struggle to get into ketosis, several people may overdo it and fall into a dangerous form of ketosis, ketoacidosis. Keep track of your body's ketone levels with a combination of ketone tests, such as blood, urine, and breath. Ketonox™ urine ketone test is a simple, non-invasive, quick, and affordable test to check your state of ketosis.
So yes, don't give up on the keto diet because of the bitter experiences from keto flu. Try the above remedies and give your body enough time to adjust to the new diet regimen. You would be surprised how incredible our bodies are in adapting to new experiences.