When starting the Keto Lifestyle, some people may experience what is called the Keto Flu. Symptoms of “Keto Flu” are: being tired and dizzy, you crave sugar and carbs, and you have a lack of concentration. It is understandable that you are wondering if starting a keto lifestyle is making you feel bad, and if this is how you will continue to feel. Rest assured, the “keto flu” is short lived (usually 1-2 weeks) and you will start feeling the benefits of the keto lifestyle very soon. Let us take a look at what the “keto flu” is and how to minimize its symptoms.
What is Keto Flu?
Keto flu are flu-like symptoms that people starting a keto lifestyle may experience. The symptoms are caused because your body is switching its fuel source from carbohydrates for energy to using fat and ketones for energy. Think of an engine in a car that has been running on bad gas. It has been running, but not efficiently. After finding the problem you start putting quality gas in the tank, but it will have to burn through a few tanks of gas before it starts running smooth again. Your body works the same way, you have been giving it bad fuel for years and there is an adjustment period to using the good fuel.
Some people say that starting a keto lifestyle feels like they are going through withdrawal (like a drug addict would) and that may not be far from the truth. Studies have shown that sugar stimulates the brain much in the same way that drugs do, and that sugar may be as addictive as drugs. So you may very well be going through withdrawal symptoms when you start a keto lifestyle. Do not worry, the symptoms will go away, and there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the symptoms.
How to Limit the Keto Flu?
There are several ways to help limit the effects of the Keto Flu:
Eat More Fat: as you switch from using carbs and sugar for fuel to using fat you may not be eating enough fat. Going back to the “bad gas” example, if you only put a little “good gas” into the gas tank at a time it will take longer for the car to start using the good gas. Add more good fuel (fat) to give your body enough fuel to make the switch, and to make the switch faster.
Increase your Salt & Electrolyte Intake: When you switch to a keto lifestyle your body starts to detoxify and flush out many of the toxins and electrolytes that are in your body. That is why many people lose weight very quickly in the first week or two , they lose water weight and as that happens you also lose valuable electrolytes. The electrolytes that you may become deficient in are Sodium (Salt), Potassium and Magnesium. The simple way to help increase your electrolyte intake is to add Pink Himalayan Salt to your diet. You can add it to your food throughout the day, or you can just add it to a glass of water and drink. Do not worry about over consuming salt, when you remove the processed junk food from your diet you will be amazed at how much less salt you are now consuming. If you want to you can also take Potassium and Magnesium Glycinate supplements, but the Pick Himalayan Salt should be sufficient.
Drink Water: Being dehydrated can cause headaches, nausea and can amplify other symptoms of the “keto flu”. Staying hydrated will help to lower your symptoms.
Exercise: I understand that when dealing with the “keto flu” exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. You are tired and worn out, why would you want to exercise? Exercise can help your body make the switch from carbs for fuel to fat and ketones for fuel faster.
The “keto flu” is not fun and can be challenging for a week or two, however, once you get through it the long term benefits of a keto lifestyle will greatly outweigh the short term pain of the keto flu. After you fight through the “keto flu” you will start enjoying the benefits of weight loss, increase energy, reduced/eliminated digestive issues, reduced inflammation and many other benefits.
Remember, that it took years of unhealthy eating for you to get to where you are, and it will take time to get to where you want to be. Anything that we want to earn, gain or achieve will take effort and time. Do not give up on losing weight and improving your health because of a few short term difficulties. Also, if you do slip up and eat something you should not eat; Do Not Give Up!! Put it behind you and keep living the Keto Life!