Keto diet has gained popularity for its effectivity and safety in losing weight and improving health. The diet is done by taking extreme low carbohydrate, high fat, and moderate protein which will bring you to the state of ketosis.
But while ketogenic diet has been proved by many to be effective, it is not excluded for some negative side effects. One of its unpleasant side effects is the keto flu, also known as carb flu. Most of the beginners of the diet experience this side effect but we will explore further in this article how it starts, what are its symptoms, and how to get rid of it.
Beginning the keto diet will bring someone’s body into a huge adjustment. Undergoing the diet requires a reduction of carbohydrate intake by under 50 grams a day and imagine what a shock the body have because of that. This adjustment period resulted in what the experts called the keto flu—a group of symptoms similar to flu that is usually experienced by keto diet beginners. It is also similar to withdrawal symptoms—a side effect typically happen to people who are withdrawing from the certain addictive substance. Coffee, for instance.
Normally, your body burns glucose to convert into energy. Fats are just secondary energy source of the body once glucose is unavailable. However, by reducing your consumption of carbs, your body substituted ketones (fats by-products) to burn for energy. The process is called ketosis. Most dieters achieve ketosis by extreme discipline including fasting and starvation, but it can also be attained by lowering the carb intake.
Keto Flu Symptoms
The body’s adjustment is significantly difficult for some dieters of the ketogenic diet. But its symptoms vary from one person to another. Some have mild side effects only, while some severe. But there are also instances where the dieter does not experience any symptoms.
Nevertheless, there are dieters who are unlucky to experience one or more symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weakness, irritability, muscle soreness, muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping, sugar cravings, and poor concentration.
How long the symptoms will occur also varies. Some experience it for a week while others have longer periods of enduring the symptoms.
Because of the adjustment difficulty, many keto diet beginners have raised their white flags. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease the symptom.
Getting rid of the keto flu
Reducing the symptoms of keto flu can be achieved by following these simple tips:
Drink Plenty of Water
Generally, staying hydrated have a positive impact on the body. But in doing a keto diet, drinking plenty of water is necessary for reducing the symptoms of keto flu. It is because, during the keto diet, your water storage shed water fast which put your body in dehydration danger. Additionally, your body may also experience diarrhea symptoms which also brings you in the risk of dehydration. Being hydrated will arm you against muscle cramps and fatigue.
Doing Mild Exercise
Partnering diet with exercise can result in a much-wanted effect. It can keep the normal weight and the body healthy. However, strenuous exercise is dangerous during the duration of keto flu. You should only be allowed to do mild exercise. Additionally, rest is vital in the process. The big adjustment in the energy fuel source is sensitive; so you just have to be careful in doing some activities. To reduce the symptoms of the flu, you better do mild exercises such as leisurely biking, yoga, and walking.
The ketogenic diet limits food intake that is mostly rich in potassium. During the diet, the insulin level in the body also drops. Insulin is a vital hormone for glucose absorption. Once it decreases, too much sodium is released by the kidney. To have a balanced amount of the mentioned nutrients, it is important to replace the electrolytes in the body. You can do this by eating keto-friendly food that is high in potassium. Green leafy vegetables and avocados are some of the food that you may add to your menu. It is full of magnesium and may improve a headache, sleep issues, and muscle cramps.
Getting Enough Sleep
Included in the symptoms of keto flu is having an irritable mood as well as fatigue. If you have insufficient sleep, this can cause your cortisol (a stress hormone) to increase. The upsurge of cortisol has a negative impact on the flu, making it worse. So, it is important that you have adequate sleep. If you find it hard to rest at night try to minimize your caffeine intake. Caffeine can stimulate your senses making your sleeping capabilities harder at night. You may also want to take a bath so that the body may relax. Cutting off the use of phone, television, or computer at night may also help you relax and snooze earlier. But if not, waking up early may improve your evening sleep.
Eating Enough Fat and Carbs
It was reported that some people craved for restricted food during the transition into low-carb food. This is quite normal. So, instantly turning your carb-intake into low from high may not be a good idea. To have a smoother transition, try to gradually eat fat and carbs until finally, your body has adjusted.
What are the driving factors of keto flu?
Practitioners of keto diet have different experiences when starting the diet. Most have mild to severe symptoms of keto flu while others have zero symptoms.
Those who experience mild to severe symptoms usually are adjusting with the transition of energy fuel source from glucose to fat. If these practitioners are used to eating pasta, cookies, and other high-carb food, then their body have to adjust big time.
On the other hand, the reason behind why other people experience zero symptoms is still a mystery.
Overall, experts are considering dehydration, electrolyte loss, genetics, and carbohydrate withdrawal as the driving factor of keto flu.