How To Get Over The Keto Flu
The ketogenic diet comes with the caveat of experiencing the keto flu. The keto flu can stop you from getting into ketosis quickly as it may place a psychological barrier in from of you preventing you from continuing with the diet.
What Is The Keto Flu?
The keto flu may lessen the likelihood of you getting into ketosis and experiencing the benefits of the ketogenic diet because you may presume it’s not working.
But the keto flu is simply a sign that the ketogenic diet is working.
There are some measures you can take to firstly, speed up how quickly you get into ketosis and secondly reduce the symptoms of the keto flu.
Ketosis (using fat for energy) occurs when your diet is comprised of high fat and low carb. Generally, this entails consuming 5% carbohydrates (or 50g per day).
The keto flu describes the symptoms (flu-like) which come when people transition from using glucose as their primary source of fuel to ketones as their primary source of fuel.
The body may fail to quickly enough as it struggles to use the dramatic change in macronutrient ratios effectively.
Symptoms may include fatigue: craving for sugary foods, nausea, headaches, brain fog (common), problems sleeping and also irritability.
How To Enter Ketosis Effectively
The keto-flu duration and severity are different for everyone and this is going to depend on a few key factors. The first is how drastic the reduction of carbs you inflict on yourself.
You will enter the state of ketosis much quicker this way, but the downside of this is that the symptoms of the keto flu are likely going to be more pronounced.
You could think about it like a withdrawal from carbohydrates.
Symptoms, dependent, again on the drastic of the cut of carbohydrates but also your age, gender, exercise frequency. The flu will generally last about a week, but upwards of several for some individuals, or as little as a few days if you are lucky or take measures (such as incorporating a prolonged c72 hour fast to reach ketosis quicker).
Eat more fat. You have to tell your body, with conviction, that it must use fat as fuel because it’s all that’s getting.
If you do intermittent fasting, reduce your fasting window, or simply increase calories. It’s easy to under-eat when you’re eating more satiety foods such as protein or more green vegetables (spinach, kale).
MCT oil (increases ketones) may help, but this is unnecessary.
You’ll lose a lot of water from your muscles as you reduce carbs. You may feel dehydrated and this will lead to some of the symptoms such as muscle cramps.
What you can do is increase your water intake, to balance the level of electrolytes, increase your salt (not too much) and also supplement with magnesium if these symptoms aren’t going away and you’re doing everything correctly or just as a precautionary measure.
Exercise Is Key?
Exercise if you can. This can help the metabolic switch of going from carbs to fat for energy, but do not overtrain yourself because this can lead to adrenal fatigue which will provoke even greater fatigue and stress.
A light jog for 20 minutes served me well when I was transitioning, as well as some callisthenics training.
Tip: Lemon in small amounts of water can be a good way to, firstly, reduce your appetite and secondly, reduce the increased risk of kidney stones when in a ketogenic diet (see sources below).
This increased risk occurs because of the increase of dairy products. Lemons act as a means to decalcify any developing stones.
Bone broth (which is super healthy) is a great solution for the keto flu. It packs a lot of water and a lot of salt (great also if you’re in winter).