For a nontrivial number of people, the Keto diet comes with unwanted side effects. These headaches, cramps, energy drops, and GI problems are known collectively as Keto flu.
Because of Keto flu, many folks quit Keto before achieving their health goals.
If going Keto means I have to feel like THIS...no thanks! The weight loss and other benefits aren’t worth it.
It’s an understandable reaction, but fortunately, eating a Keto diet needn’t doom you to a lifetime of symptoms. Generally, the Keto flu is temporary, especially when you understand what might be causing it. Then you can apply the proper remedies.
What Is Keto Flu?
The Keto flu isn’t a virus. It’s a constellation of symptoms linked to low-carb dieting, especially the early stages.
Keto flu symptoms include:
- Muscle cramps
These signs and symptoms have a tendency to arise withinside the first few days of Keto dieting, however frequently they persist weeks or months into the diet. At the maximum simple level, the signs and symptoms are manufactured from carb restriction. Hormonally and metabolically, plenty modifications whilst you chop carbs. Blood sugar and insulin ranges drop, fatty acids are damaged aside and launched from fat cells, and your liver begins offevolved burning fats and generating ketones. It takes time to evolve to those modifications, and it’s now no longer usually a easy transition. Especially while you don’t account for the downstream outcomes of those modifications, like better electrolyte excretion.
With that during mind, let’s speak approximately what is probably inflicting your Keto flu.
1: The Brain Is Hungry
Normally, your mind runs 100% on glucose. But while you put off carbs, your glucose deliver is going down, and your frame begins of evolved making its backup mind fuel: ketones. With ketones available, your mind desires a good deal much less glucose to fulfill its massive power demands. From an evolutionary perspective, ketones helped our ancestors live energized and lucid all through instances of scarcity. But going from glucose to ketones isn’t like flipping a switch. In the primary 3 days of Keto dieting, decreased glucose to the mind can also additionally reason Keto flu signs and symptoms like fatigue and headache.
2: Sugar Withdrawal
It’s not crazy to call sugar a drug. Some research, in fact, suggests an analogy between the addictive properties of sugar and those of—believe it or not—cocaine.
The mechanism is interesting. By rapidly raising blood sugar and insulin levels, refined sugar stimulates the release of dopamine, a rewarding chemical that binds to your brain. Every time someone eats a sweet, the reward pathway is triggered, and the addiction is strengthened.
And the stronger an addiction gets, the more likely the addict will experience withdrawal symptoms. This is well-documented for other dopamine-driven drugs of abuse.
To be clear, there’s no published data linking sugar withdrawal to Keto flu symptoms. But if someone was eating a high-sugar diet before going Keto, sugar withdrawal could be a legitimate concern.
3: Electrolyte Deficiency
Keto dieters should pay unique interest to their electrolyte intake. Why? Two fundamental reasons:
Low-carb diets decrease insulin levels, which will increase excretion of electrolytes like sodium and potassium via urine.
The Keto weight-reduction plan restricts electrolyte-wealthy meals like fruits, potatoes, and salty snacks.
In different words: Less electrolytes in, extra electrolytes out. It’s a recipe for deficiency. The signs and symptoms of electrolyte deficiency (specifically sodium deficiency) are eerily just like what humans call Keto flu. Could those headaches, strength issues, cramps, confusion and insomnia be helped via way of means of ingesting extra salt? In many cases, probably.
Along with losing more electrolytes, Keto dieters also lose more water. The mechanism is similar: Low insulin has a diuretic effect.
The process of losing significant body water is called dehydration, and the symptoms of dehydration look a lot like Keto flu. We’re talking headaches, fatigue, cramps, etc.
We’ll return to dehydration later in the article, because many people take the wrong approach. It’s possible, in fact, to drink too much water, dilute blood sodium levels, and worsen the problem.
5: Not Enough Fiber
Constipation and diarrhea are not unusualplace Keto flu symptoms, and that they in all likelihood can’t be defined with the aid of using the reasons above. That’s wherein fiber comes in. Dietary fiber is the shape of carbohydrate that movements meals via the intestine, continues you regular, and feeds intestine micro organism that useful resource in digestion.[*] A loss of fiber may also partially provide an explanation for GI troubles related to going Keto. When you put off fruit, entire grains, and starchy vegetables—you put off a number of the quality reassets of fiber at the planet.