Keto Flu: What Is It?
You've probably heard about a lot of people talk about their success stories on the keto diet - but before diving into another one of those diets, you want to make sure that you know everything there is to know how this works.
When it comes to weight loss, keto is definitely on the top of the list of these diets, in addition to the weight loss benefits, one can experience while on this type of diet.
While all of these sound good, you may also have heard about what others refer to as the keto flu.
The Keto Flu: Defined
Does it exist? Yes - and it does occur to those people who immediately jump into the keto diet. Don't worry though, there are different ways on how you can completely avoid keto flu.
Simply said, keto flu is where your body starts to react to the withdrawal from all the carbs that it's used to eating. When you're used to eating carbs and you immediately cut it off from your diet. Your body starts to switch from burning glucose to fat.
The keto flu or its withdrawal symptoms may include but are not limited to irritability, drowsiness, dizziness, muscle aches, and nausea. Are these normal? Yes - they're your body's reaction because of the changes that it's been going through. The good thing though - you won't have to go through these things forever. Give it some time, and you'll soon notice that you're towards a better eating style.
Restricting Carbohydrate Intake Is Hard
This may be true as carbs are considered to be your body's, first love. These carbohydrates provide your body with a hint of sweetness, comfort, and energy that we need for our daily lives. Let's put it this way - carbohydrates may promise you love, but what you're feeling may not be love at all. It may be lust, and it just puts your health at risk and increases the risk of obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes. So what do you need to do before things get worse? Get rid of it - you have to let go of what you thought was your first, true love; you have to break up with it. Alternatives like Carbquik can help, see our review!
Similar to a real heartbreak, it can be really challenging and difficult. You're wanting more, you're craving for it. It's hard not because your body needs it, but your body is just used to having carbohydrates.
But life moves on - you have to proceed and live life without your first love. Give it some time - weeks and months will pass by, and you'll start to realize that you can live without what you considered to be your first love.
Adapting To The Keto Lifestyle
The truth is, carbohydrate-restriction is tough - nobody said it would be easy. But just like in a breakup, you resort to your friends and family, and probably even find a new date. In this case, your friends and family are fats and proteins, and a new date would be ketones. You'll sooner realize that your life is way better than what you were used to before.
This is what your body is going through when you restrict your carbohydrate intake. Your cells are used to burning carbohydrates, but now that you're not putting them in your body any longer, it's not used to it, thus the keto flu.
Your body will adapt, eventually. But it goes through different changes and it starts with your cellular level, all the way to your hormonal level. This entire process is similar to your "heartbreak" adjustment period. After a breakup, you may have a list of heartbreak symptoms, and for your body, it's called the keto flu.
Symptoms Of The Keto Flu
Keto flu is common, especially if you're a beginner. As mentioned earlier, your body goes through different changes and it's trying to adapt to these changes especially with your food intake. Some of the common symptoms of keto flu may include but are not limited to:
- Muscle Soreness
- Muscle Cramps
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Stomach Pain
- Confusion or Dizziness
- Brain Fog
- Lack of Concentration and Focus
- Cravings for Sweets
- Trouble Staying Awake
- Low Energy Levels
You may experience these symptoms immediately - as fast as on the first or second day of your new diet. Depending on the person, these symptoms may go away on varying lengths.
Some people don't even get them - while some others may experience them in their first week, sometimes even more.
Either way, don't worry about these symptoms. They should go away on its own when your body is well-adapted to these changes.
3 Easy Ways To Avoid The Keto Flu!
Before you even jump into a keto diet, bear in mind that there are some things that you can do to help prevent the keto flu. These are 3 simple things that you can do to avoid it:
1. Take It Slow
Making harsh changes in your body will make it react differently. With that in mind, make sure that you transition these changes slowly. Instead of completely getting rid of carbohydrates, limit your intake. Start with a low-carb diet instead of a no-carb diet. Get your body used to the limited carb intake before you completely get it out from your system.
2. Drinks Lots Of Water
One of the possible reasons for the keto flu is dehydration. During this phase, you lose a lot of nutrients and minerals from your body. Whenever starting a keto diet, make sure that you drink lots of water. Increase your electrolyte intake, potassium, salts, and even add magnesium to your diet. Doing this helps prevent nausea and muscle cramps. Giving up "junk", aka carbohydrates may not be easy, but it can be battled by upping your liquid intake.
3. Increase Your Servings
Can you think of another diet that promises you weight loss, yet requires you to eat more? Yes, it's the keto diet. Because of the limited and restricted carbohydrates intake, your calories go down, and when this happens, you'll experience the keto flu symptoms. So instead of compensating for the carbohydrates as your source of energy, turn to eat more healthy fats and increase your caloric intake. Read this to learn more.
What Foods Should I Avoid When I'm On A Keto Diet?
While you can eat most of the meat and fats that are out there, there are certain foods that you need to avoid when on this specific diet. First on the list, are packaged foods. These types of foods contain a never-ending list of chemical ingredients - and most of these ingredients make it hard for your body to be on its ketosis stage. This means that if you continue eating packaged foods, it can just lengthen your keto flu symptoms, or sometimes even make it words. Other foods that you need to avoid are:
- Starchy Vegetables - carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, corn, potatoes
- Beans - pinto, lima, kidney, chickpeas, black
- Factory Farmed Meat - processed meats, grain-fed meats, farm-raised fish, etc.
- Processed Foods
- Grains - oats, rice, buckwheat, barley, quinoa, sprouted grains, rye
- Most Tropical Fruits - grapes, papayas, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, oranges
- Sugar - cane, raw, sweet syrups, corn syrup, maple syrup
- Low-Fat Dairy Products and Milk
- Unhealthy Vegetable Oils - canola, grapeseed, sunflower, sesame, safflower, soybean
- Sweet Beverages - alcoholic and non-alcoholic
Takeaway: Keto flu can be easily triggered by macronutrient deficiencies. You can battle keto flu by making sure that you include a nutritious and nutrient-dense keto diet.
How To Treat Or Cure Your Keto Flu
If you've already started the keto diet and find yourself suffering these symptoms, here are some of the things that can be done in helping to ease the discomfort:
Upping Your Electrolyte Intake
Make sure that you're drinking lots of fluids and increasing salt and electrolyte intake. You may add Himalayan pink salt and iodized table salt to your food. Iodized salt is rich in nutrients and is important for a healthy metabolism.
You'll be surprised that they're not commonly seen in most diets. Potassium and sodium are also important aspects. You can get this from your favorite bacon, or drink some bone broth - eating up and drinking more is the easiest and fastest way to deal with the keto flu.
You may also opt to drink magnesium supplements. Of course, drinking more water is crucial too. Like we've discussed earlier, dehydration makes the keto flu symptoms worse. For added magnesium and to relieve symptoms of nausea and crams, you may also add mineral salts to your water.
Eat Clean Carbs
Temporarily, you may add some carbs in your diet, but make sure they're the clean and healthy ones, just to help get rid of the keto flu symptoms. Examples are nuts, low-sugar berries, and non-starchy vegetables. Eat Good Fats bars are a tasty snack that's very low in carbs and allowed on a keto diet.
If you're feeling like you need a bit more, while you're on this period you can temporarily go over your carb limit, but bear in mind that you're only allowed to do this to ease the symptoms.
Do Some Exercises
If you think that your body is capable of doing some light exercises, do it. Some people have noticed that doing mild exercises can actually relieve them from the flu and makes their metabolism more flexible.
Keto Flu Takeaways
If getting rid of carbs is difficult, just imagine what kind of effect it does on your body. Just like other vices, such as smoking, you have to go through the withdrawal process, no matter how hard, to make sure that we go to a cleaner and healthier way of eating.
This should give you more reasons to ditch the junk - sugar, and carbs aren't doing you any good.
Now that you're familiar with what the keto flu is, why it happens, and how you can avoid or relieve its symptoms, do you think that you're ready to take the challenge towards healthier eating habits?