So, you’ve started a new Ketogenic diet plan; you’re working out, eating right, and waiting for those gains your buddies have been raving about, and then it strikes – Keto flu! Instead of feeling on top of the world and ready to fight tigers, you’re suddenly crippled with headaches, nausea, fatigue, and brain fog – leading you to wonder why you have the flu in summer.
Keto flu gets its name due to its strong resemblance to regular flu; and while not everyone gets affected, there is a chance while getting into Ketosis you might experience a brief bought of feeling under the weather. The trick is to learn how to identify Keto flu, as opposed to the traditional flu and understanding when to take preventative measures to stop you from feeling down.
Let’s look at what causes this annoying condition and what you can do to rest and recover, and stop it from happening to you next!
First things first; Keto flu is not contagious and is not actually a real disease. It’s a term widely used in the Keto community to describe what some people believe to be the side effects of carb withdrawal. As this flu strikes when you first go into Ketosis, the idea is that Ketogenic flu is caused by your bodies need or perceived threat of running out of fuel.
People can experience symptoms such as a headache, fatigue, and nausea, for a few days or weeks, and symptoms will ease as you become Keto-adapted, and your body learns how to use fat for fuel. If your flu symptoms return or last for a long time, it is always worth consulting with a Doctor. The good news is this is a worthy fight and one you can easily win with some easy conditioning.
Here is how to prevent Keto flu:
- Hydrate! The Ketogenic diet is a diuretic diet, and you need to exaggerate your water intake to account for this change in urination (this resolves the problem in many cases).
- If you are severely dehydrated, you will need to rebalance your electrolytes. You can achieve this by drinking a zero-carb sports drink or by taking magnesium and potassium.
- Lower your carb intake in stages if you are susceptible to the flu; many people go from hundreds of grams of carbs per day to almost zero. This will terrify your body, go slow.
Keto Flu Symptoms
To successfully treat Keto flu, you need to understand how to identify the real symptoms so that you can take those preventative steps we discussed earlier. In our modern lives, it can be difficult to spot when we are sick, when we are tired, or when we have flu caused by a low-carb diet. If your symptoms coincide with a reduction in carbs or dietary changes, you can assume Keto is to blame.
Another way to tell is if anyone else in your house is also sick. This type of flu is not a real disease and is not contagious; so, if you are the only person feeling the symptoms, it could be your bodies reaction to the change in diet. Hang in there and make sure you are hydrated and consuming enough salt to balance your body and revitalize your senses.
- Upset stomach
How to Cure Keto Flu
As your Keto flu is likely caused by a sudden reduction in carbohydrates, you have one of two options; you can increase your carb intake, and risk being kicked out of Ketosis, or you can buckle up and ride through the storm. In our humble opinion, it’s better to weather out the flu and remain in Ketosis than to flip-flop back and forth. Once you are Keto adapted, your body will thank you!
How to cure your symptoms:
- Increase your fats: Your body is shocked by the lack of carbs and needs to locate a source of fuel to power you up. Increase your fats to make sure your body has adequate access.
- Eat more calories: Restricting carbs can send a starvation signal to your brain to panic, instead, increase your calories during the flu to let it know your body know everything is ok.
- Add Salt: The Ketogenic diet is a diuretic, and you can quickly lose salt, which is a necessary part of your core function. Dehydration and salt imbalance will quickly trigger severe flu symptoms.
- Exercise: Avoid the temptation to give into the fatigue, and fight fire with fire. Being active will get your body focused on meeting your energy requirements, and off feeling fatigued.
Remember, these symptoms won’t last forever if you take action, and if you listen to your body's needs, you might be able to avoid it altogether.
Have you experienced Keto Flu? What did you do to feel better?