You’ve just reduced your carb intake, increased your fat & from what people have told you, you are supposed to feel on top of the world.
Instead, you’re tired, irritable, and thirsty all the time. You have a splitting headache, muscle aches and pains, and you can’t think straight. Things are blurring, and you just want a block of chocolate, a bowl of mashed potatoes, or an entire cake!
You are questioning why did you do this? Maybe this keto thing isn’t for you, you feel terrible, and just want it all to go away.
Welcome to the Keto Flu!
What is the Keto Flu?
You’ve just reduced carbs from your diet and substantially increased your fat intake. Depending on what your diet consisted of before, this is very different for you, and your body may be struggling through some unpleasant side effects.
Reducing carbohydrates as your main fuel source forces your body to burn fat instead. This is called Ketosis. Your body will take time to adjust to this new fuel source, and what you are experiencing is carbohydrate withdrawal.
How long will the Keto Flu last?
Everybody will experience the keto flu differently. Some lucky ones don’t experience any symptoms at all, and others can feel the full force of many at the same time.
Keto Flu symptoms are at their worst for the first week or two as your body starts to adapt to the reduction in carbs. Some symptoms may linger a little longer, but you generally feel better overall, so any lingering effects are more tolerable.
Remember, the Keto Flu is temporary, and if you act to offset some of the symptoms, it will pass quicker, and you’ll feel great.
How to alleviate the symptoms of Keto Flu
Drink more water
In the early stages after a change to keto, a lot of the weight lost will be water weight. Keep water close by and drink every time you think you are thirsty. Dehydration can cause headaches, nausea and fatigue, so if you chose not to do anything of the other suggestions below, make sure you drink!
Increase your electrolytes
Reducing your carb intake reduces your insulin levels, which in turn, causes the kidneys to release more sodium. You’re also cutting out high carb vegetables which are high in potassium. You can replace sodium & potassium easily with salts or other supplements. Adding Magnesium will also help with muscle fatigue and headaches.
Eat more fat
It’s difficult to eat a lot of fat after being conditioned for many years to think fat is bad. You’ll skimp on the fat, and in the end, you won’t be eating enough. Check your macros and make sure you are eating enough fat.
Reduce physical activity
You’ve just changed the main fuel source for your body, and it is trying to adapt, so take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks. Stick to gentle exercises while your body gets used to it, and slowly increase intensity until you are back to your previous level. You may even find that your performance is better than it was pre-keto.
Ensure adequate quality sleep
Make sure you are giving your body every chance to adapt quickly. If you are not sleeping well, you will just feel worse. If you are struggling with getting and remaining asleep, try cutting out caffeine in the afternoons and evenings, minimise screen time before bed or meditate to help transition from awake to sleep mode.
Eat more carbs to slow transition
Keto Flu is temporary, and the symptoms will go away, but if you are having a hard time, try taking it a little slower. Start off with a few more carbs, and slowly reduce it until you reach your macro goal.
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