Many ketogenic dieters are proud of the impressive results from practicing the keto diet. They share how this innovative diet program is more inclusive as compared to other diet plans and how it allows them to satisfy their cravings for meats and other protein and fat food sources. However, what they often miss when sharing their stories are the side effects that many experience while they transition to a keto diet from the usual diet.
To those who are new to this diet, it is best to explore the different negative impacts of keto diet on our body for them to better prepare. One of the most common side effects is the keto flu. To learn more about keto flu, here are some of the important facts that can challenge ketogenic dieters during their first days to the diet.
Signs That You Are Suffering From Keto Flu
What is keto flu? Considered as a cluster of side effects that affect those who are in transition from a high carb diet to a low carb high fat diet. The symptoms are comparable to the usual flu symptoms that we experience. Among the keto flu symptoms are either constipation or diarrhea, mood swings, skin rashes, muscle cramps, nausea, headache and fatigue. Severe weakness and bad breath can also be experienced by those who have keto flu.
Cause of Keto Flu
What causes keto flu? As mentioned above, the keto diet focuses on cutting our carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams on a daily basis. When this continues, the body will get into ketosis, a metabolic state wherein our body no longer turns to glucose from carbohydrates to be its fuel source, but instead to the fat deposits and turn them to ketones to have their energy need. This transition causes the symptoms as the sudden change in the metabolic state results to our body feeling burned out.
When does keto flu start? The time frame of getting into ketosis varies from one individual to another. This is because it is affected by several factors such as the adaptability of the body and our metabolism rate. Of course, keto flu starts some time after you get into ketosis. Studies show that keto flu symptoms can be experienced a day or two after a person practices this diet plan.
Risks Associated with Keto Flu
Medical experts and registered dietitians agree that keto diet is safe to practice. According to them, keto flu symptoms are commonly treated several weeks after you started in the diet plan. However, while suffering from keto flu, it is important to ensure that you have the keto vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. It is also important to watch out for signs of dehydration as this is the most alarming symptom that needs immediate management. Dehydration can happen as a sudden decrease in your carbohydrate intake will lead to fast water and electrolyte excretion by the body.
Effective Ways to Manage Keto Flu Symptoms
Although the occurrence of keto flu may be hard to be prevented, there are several effective ways that you can try to treat the symptoms.
1. More Water and Sodium Intake
During the transition to ketosis, our body will excrete more water. This is why it is best to pump up your daily diet with more water and sodium, which you need to replace the electrolytes needed during ketosis. Once you started to feel the symptoms like dizziness, nausea or a headache, it is best to drink a mixture of a teaspoon of salt with a glass of water to immediately eliminate the symptoms. Drink the mixture as needed.
A substitute to this water mixture is a cup of bone broth. To save yourself from the perils of dehydration, then it is best to ensure that you have three liters of water or soup at the minimum daily in your early keto diet days.
2. Additional Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Normally adding your water intake addresses the symptoms. But there are instances wherein this trick does not seem to work. In case you are one of those who have already boosted your water intake and yet the symptoms persist, then you might consider adding more healthy fat food sources to your daily diet. You can start decreasing your fat intake to what is being recommended once you feel that your body has not gotten or used to ketosis. Among the healthy fat sources that can easily be added to your daily diet is butter or oil such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
3. Regular Exercise Is Essential to a Healthy Keto Lifestyle
Simple exercises such as yoga and walking can help lessen or alleviate the keto flu symptoms. However, strenuous activities are discouraged in the early stages of keto diet as this could make you feel weaker. Plus, they add up to the fatigue that your body experiences as it transitions to ketosis. Once the symptoms are alleviated, boosting the frequency and intensity of activities is helpful to speed up weight loss.
4. Do Not Starve Yourself
It is a common mistake that people tend to starve themselves in the early stages of ketogenic diet. This is because they fear that if they eat the same level as they eat before will hinder them from losing weight. Starving yourself will not help as this is sometimes the reason why you are suffering from headache or nausea. Starving is also risky as it could worsen the keto flu symptoms that you are experiencing.
The key here is to ensure that you stick to your calories and at the same time get the vitamins and nutrients that you need as your body is still adapting to your new diet. Take your time. You will observe that your appetite will start to decrease once your body gets into ketosis.
Other Side Effects of Keto Diet
Aside from keto flu symptoms, there are other common conditions that keto newbies should expect. These include heart palpitations, less physical performance and lower alcohol tolerance. Gallstone problems, higher cholesterol level and hair loss are among the less common side effects of keto diet to watch out.