Keto Flu Symptoms and How to Treat Them

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Keto Flu Symptoms and How to Treat Them


Keto Flu Symptoms and How to Treat Them

The keto flu is a condition that has nothing to do with the viral disease of the same name. It represents the body’s natural response to limiting the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet.

What is the keto flu?

Another name for the keto flu is carbohydrate flu. This is one of the stages of adaptation of the body to a sharp change in the menu. It is not possible to infect another person with the keto flu as it is not a virus or infection. The intensity of the keto flu is count on how metabolically flexible you are. The most metabolically flexible persons may not have any symptoms at all, whilst the least metabolically flexible persons may have difficulty getting out of bed.

Causes of occurrence keto flu

The main principle of the keto diet is to switch to a new source of energy. They are trying to replace glucose with ketones, which are formed during the breakdown of fat stores. At first, the body does not cope well with the production of these compounds, because it is accustomed to sugars. When glucose runs out, and there are not enough ketones to meet all the needs, an energy deficit occurs. Because of it, the symptoms of the keto flu appear.

Keto flu symptoms

When there is a lack of energy, the following symptoms are observed:

  • Headache. The intensity is most often moderate. Sometimes dizziness is observed, with a sharp transition to a diet, fainting is possible.
  • Great weakness. Some people have difficulty getting out of bed.
  • Bad mood. The person becomes irritable, loses motivation for anything. At this stage, a breakdown is possible.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Rarely observed.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle cramps. Painful spasms sometimes occur.
  • Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Often people notice that there is a strong desire to eat something sweet. If the person gives in, feelings of guilt develop, which exacerbate the bad mood and increase the cravings.
  • Confusion of consciousness. It becomes difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Labor productivity is declining, so the transition to a keto diet is best correlated with a vacation.

Remember that abrupt rejection of carbohydrates for the body is a serious stress. In the early days of the diet, immunity may drop. Therefore, nutritional adjustments should be made gradually. Better yet, transfer it to holidays or weekends, with the opportunity to relax and get used to the new diet.

How long does the keto flu last?

How long symptoms persist depends on a person’s metabolic flexibility, their original diet, and how quickly they transition to a new diet. On average, the duration of the flu is from 3 days to 2 weeks. For some people, the transition is gentle without significant symptoms.

A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms persist even after 3 months. Most likely, you will have to suspend the diet for a while or completely revise the diet.

How to treat the keto flu

If you have not been able to avoid a deterioration in well-being, the following recommendations will help to alleviate the condition.

Drink more water and salt

During the transition, the body strenuously secretes salt and gets rid of water. This contributes to the onset of symptoms. Replenishment of the deficiency will partially or completely eliminate the symptoms of influenza. In the first weeks, whenever you feel faint, dissolve 0.5 tsp. salt in a glass of water and drink. After 15-30 minutes, the symptoms will begin to subside. At least 2 glasses should be consumed per day. It is allowed to replace water with broth, and salt with salted butter.

Try to drink as much fluid as possible throughout the day. It can be not only water but also unsweetened tea, broth, or coffee. The optimal volume is calculated individually. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 25 and your weight is within the normal range, you need to drink at least 3 liters of water per day.

Don’t limit yourself to food

Many people mistakenly believe that strict dietary restrictions will speed up the adaptation and weight loss process. Some people experience severe hunger but endure, others lose their appetite due to bad mood, nausea, and headaches. Both extremes are dangerous: due to a calorie deficit, weakness will increase, the body will be less willing to break down fats since it needs reserves. It will become more difficult to play sports, the desire to train will disappear, and psychological discomfort will arise.

In the first weeks, you do not need to pay much attention to the energy value of food. The main task is to switch to the new menu as comfortably as possible. Constant thoughts of food, guilt, and limitations will only make your flu symptoms worse. If you feel hungry, it is better to eat the extra portion.

When the body switches to using ketones, it will receive a reserve source of energy, as a result of which the appetite will decrease. Serving sizes can be reduced without additional effort. However, try not to overeat.

Eat enough fat and carbohydrates

Most often, to eliminate symptoms, it is enough to increase the intake of fluids and salt, but if there is no effect, you need to increase the proportion of fats and carbohydrates in the diet. By switching to ketones, the body thinks it is starving. As a result, there is a strong feeling of hunger and fatigue, sometimes despair appears, the instincts of self-preservation are activated. To achieve balance, you need to consume enough fat with food, after which you will feel full. You should have enough energy for several hours.

You can reduce your fat intake when your flu symptoms are gone. This should be done gradually. After the body has adapted, it is necessary to find a balance in which you can balance between the feeling of fullness and hunger.

The proportion of carbohydrates is increased as the last resort if saltwater and fats did not help. With unbearable weakness, they switch to a light version of the diet. It allows the use of up to 50 g of carbohydrates per day. This will slow down the transition to ketones and weight loss, but even with this diet, the weight should start to go away. There will be a general recovery of the body due to the rejection of semi-finished products and sugar. After getting used to the lighter version, you can again try to slowly transition to the classic strict keto diet.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep leads to increased levels of cortisol in the blood. This is a stress hormone that makes the keto flu condition worse. It increases the likelihood of a breakdown. To prevent this, try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Pay attention to the quality of sleep: abrupt awakenings, heat in the room, and sources of noise or light should be avoided. Melatonin is recommended for people with irregularities. It can help improve sleep quality, reduce nighttime awakenings, and speed up the process of falling asleep.

Don’t overdo sports

Adherents of the keto diet report that they have increased overall energy and stamina levels. Beginners, following their example, try to speed up the process of adaptation and weight loss through exhausting workouts. This worsens the state of health and slows down the addiction since the body does not yet have enough energy to exercise. Overstrain is fraught with exhaustion and stress. Dr. Steve Finney has experimented and proved that in the first week after the transition, physical performance decreases even in professional athletes. It only recovers after a month.

At the same time, small exercises will help you keep yourself in good shape. Feasible loads cause the release of happiness hormones, which makes it easier to endure restrictions. It is recommended to prefer light yoga and walking.

Keto flu prevention

Unwanted symptoms can be minimized by taking a responsible approach to diet. Keto flu is often due to habit. To facilitate it, the transition to a new diet is divided into several stages:

  • Replacement of industrial sweets with fruits and berries.
  • Drinks are replaced with analogs without sugar.
  • Using low-carb sauces and desserts instead of the usual options.
  • The gradual elimination of flour and starchy foods.
  • Rejection of most fruits with limited use of berries.
  • Adding traditional keto dishes to the diet.

At best, the symptoms of the keto flu won’t even bother you, and at worst they will be mild and go away in 1-3 days.