Changing your diet to the Keto diet comes accompanied with some important health and fitness benefits such as weight loss, heart disease prevention and diabetes management.
However, along with those health benefits, the ketogenic diet might also bring with it some unwanted side effects.
Those who have experienced this keto side effects commonly call it the Keto flu.
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What is the keto Flu
The keto flu is the collections of symptoms similar to a flu that your body undergoes as it adapts to the keto diet.
Normally, your body burns glucose for energy, during your normal carb-rich diet. But when you get into the keto diet, which restricts your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day, and increases your fat and protein intake, your body no longer has glucose to burn for energy.
Instead, it starts burning ketones which are by products of fats breakdown for energy.
This is a change. Your body is not used to this, so you experience some symptoms, which is commonly called the Keto flu.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Sugar cravings
- Stamach pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle soreness
Although some people may experience these symptoms for a longer period of time, for most people, they only lasts for about a week.
So, if you’re experiencing these symptoms after starting the keto diet, it’s not a cause for you to stop the diet, since they will disappear in a week or so as your body adapts to the diet.
How to get rid of or reduce the keto flu or reduce its effects
This transition period of the keto diet might be difficult to take, but like I said earlier, it’s not enough reason to abandon the diet.
Here are a few ways you can reduce these symptoms to the barest minimum and help your body transition properly into the keto diet.
Drink enough water
The keto diet can cause you to lose a lot of the water in your body which might lead to dehydration. These will in turn lead to muscle cramping and fatigue.
Drinking enough water daily to replace this lost water can go a long way to make sure that you don’t experience those symptoms.
Eat enough fat and carbs
The keto diet is a very low carb diet which restricts food that have high carb content. You might start craving these foods after starting the keto diet, which is perfectly normal.
But to curb that craving, make sure you eat foods rich in fat as they will help reducing your cravings for the high carb foods.
Transition slowly into the keto diet
Just jumping right into the keto diet might make the keto flu more serious. To reduce the effects of the keto flu, you can instead try to transition into it slowly rather than transitioning at once.
Instead of eliminating all the carbs from your food, try to reduce your carb intake slowly until your body gets used to it.
Replace dietary electrolytes
Because the keto diet restricts foods with high carb content, it may deprive the body of certain important nutrients and hormones needed by the body to function properly.
Hormones such as decreases in the body. Nutrients such as potassium and magnesium also reduce due to restrictions in foods that contain them, such as fruits, starchy vegetables and beans.
It’s important to get this nutrients back by adding foods that contain them to your diet such as avocados and green leafy vegetables. Keto supplements that contains these nutrients can also prove to be very helpful.
These will also help to reduce the keto flu symptoms such as muscle cramps, headaches and sleep issues.
Get adequate sleep
People who are adapting to the keto diet and experiencing the keto flu symptoms also complain of difficulty sleeping, fatigue and irritability.
The stress hormone known as cortisol increases in your body if you don’t sleep properly, and that can lead to fatigue and irritability, which are all symptoms of the keto flu.
To get better sleep and reduce these keto flu symptoms, try to reduce your caffeine intake if you do take caffeinated beverages, as caffeine might negatively impact your sleep.
Also try to wake up early in the morning and avoid oversleeping. This will normalize your sleep patterns and improve your overall sleep quality.