The keto diet is a popular choice for weight loss. What most people don’t know, however, is that the keto flu can be an unpleasant side effect of this diet. The good news is that it’s not dangerous and you can avoid keto flu by taking some simple precautions which we are going to discuss in this article.
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What is Keto Flu?
Keto flu is a set of symptoms that include fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps. Keto flu can also trigger digestive issues like nausea or constipation which make sticking to the diet even more difficult. Unfortunately, many people think they are having an allergic reaction (to something in their new keto-friendly food) when this isn’t the case.
Keto flu is caused by the body’s transition to burning fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates, which it has been doing all its life up until this point. Since carbs are our body’s preferred energy source, the sudden drop in consumption of them can cause some unpleasant side effects like keto flu or mood swings (in certain people).
Tips How To Avoid Keto Flu
Keto flu usually passes after a few days and in some cases, it may last up to two weeks. However, if you want to avoid this transition period altogether (or at least make it more bearable), there are certain things that we can do:
If you want the transition to happen more smoothly, try drinking bone broth which is high in electrolytes (sodium and potassium). You can also take magnesium or sodium supplements if you are feeling particularly lethargic. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If possible, drink at least one liter of water before you go to bed. There are sports drinks on the market which you may prefer to normal water as they contains electrolytes which may help you deal with keto flu symptoms.
Eat more fat! This may sound counter-intuitive but it can actually help your body adapt faster to the diet, especially when you are feeling low on energy and moody from keto flu symptoms. Choose healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados or fatty fish (like salmon).
Consume Rich Foods
Consume sodium, magnesium and potassium rich foods. You can find these in high quantities in bone broth, dark leafy greens (like spinach or kale), nuts/seeds, avocados and fatty fish like salmon.
Consume Keto Friendly Sweeteners Only
Choose keto-friendly sweeteners over regular sugar since they don’t affect your blood glucose levels and can help you beat cravings for sweets which is especially important when you are in ketosis (as opposed to being on the Atkins diet, where you need to avoid carbs altogether).
Limit Your Physical Activity
Avoid Exercising when You Are Feeling Particularly Tired or Weak Because This May Cause Cramps, Nausea or Dizziness. if Possible, Try to Focus on Resting Rather than Going for A Super Intense Workout Session. This Will Help You Avoid Muscle Cramps and Give You More Energy for The Next Day. You Can Go Back to Exercising as Usual Once Keto Flu Symptoms Have Passed. Try Not to Eat Too Much Protein. It Can Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels and Trigger Cravings Which Will Make It Harder for You to Stick to The Diet (and Stay in Ketosis).
Check Your Ketone Levels
If they are lower than 0.25 mmol/L, you may need to limit the amount of protein that you eat or increase physical activity (to burn more carbs). Try having some caffeine if this doesn’t help.
Keep Yourself Busy
It’s tempting to collapse on the sofa when we feel tired and cranky and this is normal when we are in keto flu. However, the best way to get over it faster is to keep yourself busy with other activities (besides eating) so try visiting a friend or going for a walk outside if possible.
If you are following a keto diet, chances are that at some point, you will experience the dreaded keto flu. Don’t worry! It’s just temporary and you will feel better soon enough. In some cases, keto flu may last up to two weeks but it’s usually gone after about three days. If you are still experiencing symptoms after this time (or they don’t pass), please consult your dietitian or doctor for advice.