There is no chance you have not heard of one of the most popular diets around, the keto diet. The incredible benefits it brings and the dramatic weight loss it creates, make it one of the most widely followed diet plans ever. However, there is more to the story you need to know which is about Keto Flu Symptoms Remedies.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the keto diet is the keto flu. It is not caused by any virus. It is due to the drastic metabolic changes that take place in your body as it switches from a high-carb intake to very low-carb. Especially during the diet’s initial days, you may feel dizziness, lack of concentration, mood swings, lethargy, muscle ache, and a feeling of fatigue. The symptoms are different for everyone. For most people, symptoms last 2 to 3 weeks. However, once the body has adapted to its new lifestyle, you will be back on track and benefit from your new lifestyle.
This blog is going to cover what causes the keto flu, its symptoms, and its remedies.
What Is Keto Flu, And Why Do We Get It?
To eradicate or ease the symptoms, firstly, you need to be aware of why you get them in the first place. Whether your metabolic rate is flexible or not, your body will go through the following:
1. Carb Resistance
Before you start following a keto diet plan, your body is heavily dependent on carbs to derive its energy. Subsequently, the body tends to take energy from sugar and then convert it into energy.
However, when you switch from a high carb diet to a low carb diet, your body will crave carbs as if they were the primary source of energy for your body. Body organs, especially the brain, will take some time to get familiar with the new source of energy, which is protein, fat, and ketones.
2. Water And Sodium Are Flushed Out Of The Body
Carbohydrates are the key micro ingredient to produce insulin. What insulin does is consume sugar into a cell. It not only assures cells they have more than enough energy, it also affects the kidneys. And by effects, it means, insulin directs our kidneys to hold water and salt.
Furthermore, during the keto diet process, insulin level decreases, which results in excessive flushing of water and sodium out of your body. Your body can lose up to 10 pounds of water weight during the first 5 to 10 days of the keto diet.
On the other hand, glycogen and body fluids also go hand in hand. One gram of glycogen is held together by 3 grams of water. Hence, during the breakdown of glycogen, water is released from the body during the initial stages of the keto diet.
Glycogen is a source of energy for cells due to excessive breakdown of glycogen. The body will flush out even more fluids. Due to this great loss of water, you will tend to feel dizziness, cramps, body aches, and other digestive issues.
3. Cortisol Level Increase
When you follow a keto diet, your body will go into a starvation period; thus, cortisol production will increase. Cortisol is a stress hormone that affects energy levels, so an increase in cortisol production will also trigger your energy levels. As a result, you will feel more irritated and may suffer from a lack of sleep.
But don’t worry, it is temporary. Your body will adapt to the new lifestyle and new source of energy-ketones. The cortisol level will automatically decrease. The process may take up to 3 weeks. After that, you will feel relaxed and energetic.
Symptoms Of Keto Flu
On average, keto diet symptoms can last up to 6 to 7 days, but they may go up to 30 days in rare cases. Some major symptoms experienced are as follows:
- Brain fog
- Body aches
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle cramps
However, there is nothing to worry about. Most people do not feel any symptoms at all. On the other hand, even if you feel these symptoms, they will not last very long.
Keto Flu Affects Everyone Differently
Keto flu symptoms are unique to every individual. For example, they may start showing up within 24 hours of beginning the keto diet for one person, but they don’t even show up for others. Let’s see why?
The main reason behind this is metabolic flexibility, which means how easily your body will adapt to this new lifestyle.
Let’s consider 2 friends; one is living a more active and healthier lifestyle while the other is lazy. So, for both of them, the symptoms will be different. One who is already living a healthy lifestyle will get mild symptoms while eating processed and unhealthy food the other will get severe symptoms.
Other than that, genes also affect metabolic flexibility. Some people are lucky enough to have genes that help them adapt to the new energy source- ketones. Others are not blessed with great metabolic flexibility.
Keto Flu Symptoms Remedies
Now you are fully aware of what is the keto flu, its causes, and its symptoms. Let us look through the keto flu symptoms remedies.
1. Staying Hydrated
Loss of water and salts is the key reason for most keto diet flu symptoms. Your body will lose considerable weight during the first few days of the keto diet. So, you will feel dizzy and lethargic if your body is dehydrated.
Whenever you feel dizzy, nauseous, or any other previously mentioned symptoms, all you need to do is drink 2 to 3 glasses of water. Besides, you can also add a pinch of unrefined salt to it. It will ease the symptoms within about 20 minutes.
You are not restricted to drinking plain water. You can also add alternatives such as carbonated drinks (without sugar), chicken broths, beef broths, and flavored water to bring some taste.
Hence, increasing water intake is one of the top keto diet symptoms remedies.
2. Incorporate More Fats In Your Diet
Drinking enough water with added salt will cure most of your symptoms but if you are still feeling sick, eat more fat. Since our birth, we are told that “fat is bad.” This creates fatphobia in most people going from a high to low carb diet.
During ketosis, your body enters into a starvation mode because of the low carb diet. Hence, a balanced keto diet must contain an ample amount of fat intake to replace carbs. You will feel energetic as well.
But once your body adapts to the new lifestyle and switches to fat and ketones as a primary energy source it will automatically decrease your hunger.
3. Get Enough Sleep
One of the best keto flu symptoms remedies is to get adequate sleep. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day will decrease cortisol levels. Therefore, leaving you more relaxed. During the day, if you feel drained and sluggish, allow yourself to take a 30-minute nap. Proper sleep will also decrease hunger pangs and sugar cravings.
If you have insomnia, in that case, magnesium-based supplements will help. They will assist in getting you a more sound sleep.
4. Adding Carbs Won’t Disturb The Keto Diet
Still, experiencing keto flu symptoms despite trying all the mentioned keto flu symptoms remedies?
If the answer is yes, then increase the carb intake up to 20 to 50 grams per day. There is a chance it might slow down the ketosis process. However, in most cases, you will still be able to gain from the keto diet as long you abide by the recommended daily intake of carbs.
5. Take It Easy On Physical Activity
Although the keto diet lifestyle claims to increase energy and elevate stamina, high-intensity workouts are not recommended during the diet’s early stages. It may worsen flu symptoms.
A study conducted by researcher Dr. Steve found energy level decreases during a low carb diet during the initial stages. But luckily, it is restored within 3 to 4 weeks or even increased.
Gentle stretching, yoga, and easy walks are the best physical activities to go for during the keto diet’s initial days. High-intensity exercises such as aerobics, HIIT training, and weight training are not recommended during the keto diet’s initial stages.
When you start your keto diet journey, you may feel irritated and stressed during the early stages. It is because of high cortisol levels. The recommendation is to spare 15 to 30 minutes a day for meditation.
All you need to do is put your mobile phone away and focus on your breathing. This will help decrease the cortisol level. Ultimately you will feel more relaxed, and your concentration will also improve. You can also try online meditation apps.
Increase The Intake Of Sodium, Magnesium, And Potassium
Lastly, loss of sodium and magnesium is evident during the keto diet due to a low insulin level. This will cause symptoms such as lightheadedness and constipation.
A diet full of green leafy vegetables and avocados can make up for potassium loss. Also, add a pinch of salt to every meal to fulfill your sodium needs.
You cannot let keto flu to deprive you of the many benefits the keto diet offers. Most people are lucky enough not to experience the keto flu symptoms at all. However, even if you follow the keto diet, these flu symptoms remedies can be of great help in dealing with the situation.
Have you ever experienced any keto flu symptoms? Do let us know what do you prefer to counter that in the comments section below!