After my previous article explaining what is a keto diet, many have asked me to explain what is keto flu and how to avoid it!
In the original article above, I explain everything you need to know about starting a keto diet. What to enjoy. What to avoid. How to get started. There's even a free FAQ and diet sheet too.
What is keto flu and how to avoid it?
So, you are interested in starting the keto diet, but you want to know everything about it first, and how to start it, the right way.
You have probably heard about the amazing benefits of the keto diet. It is incredible for fast and sustained weight loss, not to mention all the incredible health benefits that you can expect to experience.
Unfortunately, you may have also heard about the keto flu.
Read more: What is the keto diet?
What is keto flu?
The keto flu is not the true flu, but rather a collection of symptoms that are similar to the flu.
Many people suffer from the keto flu and it often happens when you quickly jump into a keto diet. There are ways, however, that you may avoid keto flu.
Keto flu is feeling the symptoms of “withdrawal” from carbs. Your body goes through changes when it switches from burning glucose to burning fat.
These withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, muscle aches, nausea, and irritability. All of these symptoms are a completely natural reaction to the changes your body is facing
Do not despair though, these symptoms do not last forever and you will soon be seeing the benefits of your new eating style.
3 Simple tips to avoid keto flu!
Before you find yourself dealing with any of these keto flu-like symptoms, there are a number of things that you can do to help to prevent keto flu. These include:
- Start slowly. Don’t just make a harsh change in your diet and leave it at that. Start slowly. For the first couple of days, start with a typical lower-carb diet. Get your body used to lower carbs before you restrict them to the extent that you do during the keto diet.
- Stay hydrated. The most common reason that you develop keto flu is due to dehydration and loss of minerals. Be sure to drink lots of water and add plenty of electrolytes, salts, potassium and magnesium to your diet. Ensuring you are hydrated and have enough salts, minerals and micronutrients is imperative to stop cramps and nausea. When you give up junk food, this may be the number one source of salt in many people's diet.
- Eat more. Your calories being too low in general can also lead to keto flu symptoms. Be sure you aren’t reducing your calorie intake too much. Try not to go low-carb and low-fat. You will not achieve weight loss any faster, but instead, run the risk of weight loss stopping and feeling hungry, irritable and lethargic. When you live the keto lifestyle, remember to increase your intake of healthy fats. Read here for more info.
Read more: Ultimate Guide To Healthy Fats And Oils
How to treat keto flu?
If you find yourself already dealing with these symptoms, here are a few things that you can do to ease your discomfort:
- Electrolytes. Ensure you are getting enough salt and electrolytes. I enjoy using both Himalayan pink salt (which contains an amazing 84 minerals) AND regular iodised table salt - iodine is crucial for a healthy metabolism and it is lacking in so many diets. Sodium and potassium are crucial too. Why not drink bone broth, or enjoy extra bacon. An easy and yummy way to beat keto flu. Many people find taking a magnesium supplement can stop any cramping or discomfort they are experiencing.
- Drink lots of water. As I mentioned before, dehydration is a big part of keto flu. Fight it by drinking water and staying hydrated. Many people add a pinch of mineral salts to their water to help with the cramps and nausea.
- Eat some clean carbs. Go ahead and add in some clean, healthy, nutrient-dense carbs to your diet to help combat keto flu. For example, add in extra non-starchy vegetables, extra nuts and seeds, a few low-sugar berries. OK so you may go over your carb limit temporarily, but it may just help ease keto flu to allow you to continue in the long term.
- Exercise. If you feel like you can do it, you might try some light exercise. Some people have found that exercise helps your body become metabolically flexible, and eases the keto flu-like symptoms.
So, yes keto flu is a real thing, and if you find yourself dealing with it, you can expect to experience these symptoms only for a few days, or up to a week.
What can we learn from the keto flu?
If giving up carbs is tough, just imagine what a stronghold carbs are having on your body - and this "carb withdrawal" may be a necessary evil to go through to serve as a reminder to never go back to your old ways of eating.
It's yet another reason to stop eating and drinking the addictive junk carbs and sugar.
So now you know what is keto flu and how to avoid it, do you feel more prepared to deal with it?
How do you deal with keto flu?
What did you do to fight the keto flu? How long did you experience it - or did you breeze through the induction/starting phase without a hitch?
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