What is the Keto Flu? And How To Treat & Avoid It!
Thanks for dropping by the ChipMonk Baking blog! This week we are going to discuss something called ‘The Keto Flu’ and how you can treat and avoid it. Let’s dive in!
What is the Keto Flu?
Occasionally people who practice the ketogenic diet may experience short term symptoms including nausea, fatigue, and headaches, often referred to as the keto flu. These symptoms usually develop early on when the body first enters ketosis.
But isn’t keto supposed to feel good? A ketogenic diet generally means easier fat burning, more stable energy and moods, and less hunger, but in the early stages of ketosis the body must cope with a temporary imbalance of energy sources, insulin, and minerals.
Keep in mind, carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, and on a keto diet one typically reduces carb intake to fewer than 50g carbs per day (compared with the normally recommended 200-300g per day). That’s a huge difference, so it shouldn’t surprise us that it can take time for the body to adjust to such a significant reduction in carbs.
What are the symptoms of keto flu?
Typical symptoms of the ‘Keto Flu’ include:
- Difficulty tolerating exercise
Some have also reported additional symptoms that usually peak between the first and fourth days of the keto diet. These symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Muscle cramps
- General weakness
How do you treat the keto flu?
Most people choose the keto diet to help lose weight, but many give up because they want to avoid these unpleasant, flu-like symptoms. Fortunately, the ‘keto flu’ is temporary, and there are several treatments and home remedies to ease your symptoms. Here are a few things you can do to reduce symptoms of the keto flu:
1. Eat the right kind of fats
If you are experiencing abdominal symptoms early in your keto diet, some dietitians may recommend changing the types of fats in your diet. High levels of medium chain triglycerides like those found in coconut oil, butter, and palm kernel oil, can cause cramps, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Eating fewer of those foods and more foods with long chain triglycerides (like olive oil) can help prevent abdominal symptoms associated with the keto flu.
2. Eat more fiber.
Dietitians also recommend eating more high fiber vegetables or taking fiber supplements to treat diarrhea and constipation associated with the keto diet. In general, a healthy intake of 25-30g of fiber per day is recommended.
3. Drink lots of water!
It’s easy to experience dehydration early in a keto diet, especially if you are experiencing other dehydrating symptoms like diarrhea. Make sure you are always consuming enough fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration!
4. Take supplements
One possible unwanted long term effect of a ketogenic diet is vitamin and mineral deficiency. That is why a doctor may suggest taking vitamin supplements to make sure the body is getting enough calico, vitamin D, and selenium. Some people find that specific supplements made for ketogenic diet are also useful.
How do you avoid the keto flu?
Fortunately the easiest way to avoid the keto flu looks very similar to its treatment. Make sure to stay hydrated, eat plenty of fiber, and that your diet includes a healthy dose of essential vitamins and nutrients. Symptoms of the keto flu are typically mild and won’t last longer than a few days, so if you are concerned or experiencing longer lasting or more severe symptoms, consult your doctor immediately! We are bakers, not doctors, so please remember that nothing we say should be taken as medical advice.