There are many benefits associated with this low carb diet. These include weight loss, reduced the belly fat, enhanced fat loss during exercises, lowered blood sugar levels, and an increase in HDL or good cholesterol.
However, the high fat, low carb diet plan doesn't come without its drawbacks. Experts have warned that the diet is restrictive and can result in nutritional deficiencies, a surge in cholesterol levels and or even a severe condition called ketoacidosis (generally in people with type 2 diabetes). Some people who try the diet report adverse effects duped keto flu.
Your body goes through a lot as it changes what it uses as a fuel source (metabolic flexibility), so of course there will be a period where you need to adapt to eating more fat as your carb intake declines.
What Is Keto Flu?
Keto flu is a group or a collection of symptoms beginners experience shortly after adopting a keto diet. The side effects can sometimes be unnerving and as a dieter, you may be tempted to think the diet is not working for you. In the weight loss world, these symptoms have been coined the keto-flu.
Why does keto flu happen? Although data on what actually causes the condition is limited, experts have attempted to dig into it.
Once you have started the keto diet, the sudden drop in carbs will result in a sharp drop in energy levels. That explains why some people report fatigue and brain fog. As it is, the symptoms are the result of the brain attempting to adapt to the new source of energy as it begins burning fat, while at the same time trying to deal with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as you lose body weight.
Keto Flu Symptoms
The sudden switch to low carb, high fat diet is a major change for your body and it requires time for it to adapt to the eating plan. Although some people experience no side effects, some beginner dieters will experience keto flu symptoms within the first couple of days. In a study, dieters of low carbohydrate ketogenic diets have reported symptoms such as;
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle soreness
- Brain fog
- poor concentration
- Trouble sleeping
- Sugar cravings
- Bad breath
- Metallic taste in mouth
How Can You Beat Keto Flu?
Despite being temporary, keto flu symptoms as you begin entering ketosis can be pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, although it’s not possible to eliminate them entirely, you can control the effects.
If you don’t drink enough water when starting your diet, you might note your urine looks yellow. Drink more water to fight symptoms such as headaches, and fatigue that result from dehydration.
An imbalance or a sharp drop in the electrolyte levels only fuel these dreaded keto flu symptoms. Keto diet restricts foods rich in sodium and potassium which are minerals your body needs. As such, you might want to replace the lost electrolytes by adding salt to taste and incorporating foods containing potassium and magnesium to your diet. Bone broth is a great option to replenish electrolytes, and many people swear by pickle juice.
Go Easy on Yourself
During the first few days on a keto diet, your exercise performance might suffer as your body adapts to the diet. Avoid strenuous exercise as these will only lead to muscle cramps, stomach discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms.
Get Adequate Sleep
Fatigue and irritability are common symptoms among the new keto dieters. Worse still, having a difficult time sleeping will only increase the release of stress hormone cortisol that further impacts negatively on your mood worsening the flu symptoms. So sleep early, take a nap during the day, reduce caffeine intake to reduce the stress and fatigue.
Make Sure You are Eating Enough
When you cut carbs, you may find it difficult to replace those calories, but you absolutely must make sure you are getting enough fat and calories in your diet. You may find it helps to transition slowly off carbs instead of going cold turkey.
The Bottomline on Keto Flu
Undoubtedly, a ketogenic diet is full of benefits and it might help if you adopt it. And although there are symptoms associated with this sudden switch to a low carb high fat diet, you can fight them with the tips above. Eventually you will become keto adapted and begin to benefits from the effects of burning fat for energy.
On average many people report the keto flu to last around one to two weeks but your experience may vary depending upon how drastic your lifestyle change is and how well you combat the symptoms.