When beginning the keto diet, some people may feel nauseous, fatigued, or even encounter muscle pains and headaches. These side effects vary from person to person and are triggered when users cut carbs out of their diet too quickly, and are often signs an individual is experiencing keto flu. This is not the true flu. The experience simply means your body is learning to rely on ketones for fuel and starting to burn fat.
Here, we’ll explain what keto flu is and how it will affect anyone looking to optimize their body, mind, or athletic performance through lifestyle changes. We’ll also give the best advice for getting through any keto flu symptoms and offer a simple roadmap for steering clear of the keto flu and preventing it altogether.
What is Keto Flu?
Some people may experience the keto flu during keto induction. Keto induction is a brief, initial phase your body undergoes as it transitions away from carbs and begins burning fat for fuel.
Keto flu occurs because your body does not have enough time to adapt to running on a very low-carb diet and lower levels of insulin. This can trigger uncomfortable symptoms of the keto flu. Some people may also lose higher levels of sodium, potassium, and water through their excretions. As a result, it’s important to combat dehydration and mineral deficiencies by staying hydrated and ingesting electrolytes.
How Long Does the Keto Flu Last?
While it can take as little as 2 - 4 days for new users to start producing their own ketones, keto induction may last up to 14 days.
Ultimately though, any keto flu symptoms will be very temporary for most people as their body adjusts to new, healthier, more balanced ways of eating and fueling their day. Still, there are several things you can do to avoid keto flu — or to mitigate any early symptoms.
Common Keto Flu Symptoms
As mentioned, symptoms of keto flu usually appear within the first few days of starting a keto diet. For some, the problems with sleep, digestion, and comfort are severe; for others, they are very mild. Early keto flu symptoms may include:
- Stomach Pain
- Reduced Energy Levels
How to Treat Keto Flu: 5 Keto Flu Remedies
For many people, mild keto flu symptoms are a sign that the diet is working, and inducing a state of fat-burning ketosis. As a result, most learn to endure and overcome the symptoms without trouble. There are many keto flu cures supporting the body during this period. Here are a few we’ll cover:
- Staying Hydrated
- Boosting Electrolytes
- Taking Breaks
- Eating Fiber
- Changing Fats
While beginning a keto or low-carb diet you may excrete more water and risk dehydration. Typically, you can access glycogen from carbs. Glycogen traditionally binds to water molecules to help your body retain water. So when glycogen is depleted, water will be excreted from the body. Many of the symptoms of the keto flu are triggered by dehydration, so make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
When you are on a keto diet, your insulin levels will naturally decrease, and your kidneys will release excess sodium. To increase salt intake, add salt to food, or eat salty foods such as broth, bacon, or pickles.
Moreover, because a keto diet may also restrict many foods rich in potassium and magnesium, it’s important to replace them with substitutes like:
- Leafy Greens
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Peanut Butter
In addition to drinking more water, Kenetik concludes our list because it’s packed with hydrating electrolytes to help you cut cravings, keep working out, and power through everything from keto induction to ketosis.
Take it Easy
If you aren’t getting enough sleep or may have over-exerted yourself with exercise, one of the best keto flu remedies is to take a breather. You’ll want to avoid too much exercise and too little sleep as your body is already under considerable stress. It needs plenty of time to adapt to these changes in your diet.
Stressful activity and sleep deprivation can prevent you from recovering and cause your keto flu to worsen. Consider doing some light and refreshing activity, like taking a short walk or enjoying a mild yoga class.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber helps regulate digestion. It can help waste flow through your intestines smoothly. So, as you change the way you eat, it can be wise to supplement with fiber to help ease any potential constipation or irregularity. Having regular digestion will make you more comfortable with your new diet.
Choose your fats wisely. Foods like coconut oil, butter, and palm oil can cause cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting because they are high in medium-chain triglycerides. Opting for long-chain triglycerides like olive oil may help calm your stomach.
How to Proactively Avoid Keto Flu
To avoid keto flu, you should start planning your journey early. Although these flu like symptoms vary from person to person, taking these steps before beginning your keto diet will ease your body into the change and come out on top of keto flu:
- Phase out carbs slowly
- Plan your meals in advance
- Talk to your doctor or dietician
- Opt for exogenous ketones
Each of these steps can – and should – be done in conjunction with our top five remedies for the keto flu. So if you want to coax your body into a keto lifestyle as carefully as possible, staying hydrated, rested, and full of healthy electrolytes, long-chain triglycerides, and fiber while exploring the following steps.
Below are some of the key ways you can prevent the keto flu.
Phase out carbs slowly.
You should plan to reduce your carb intake slowly. Start on a typical low-carb diet before switching to a fully keto diet. This will help the body adjust over time instead of shocking the body with a major change.
Plan your meals in advance.
In order to prevent the keto flu, you should plan two things: to eat enough fat and to not worry about calories. When you cut out carbs, you need to compensate with fat to ensure your body doesn’t get over-stressed by restrictions. Also, many people are not used to consuming healthy fats, so allow yourself plenty of time to figure out your new go-tos and favorite recipes at your own pace.
Talk to your doctor or dietician.
The keto diet is a big lifestyle change. Talking to an expert may help you avoid any deficiencies going into the diet. Additionally, these specialists may be able to explain how you can avoid any particular keto flu symptoms on a case-by-case basis.
Opt for exogenous ketones.
When adapting to the keto diet, the body hasn’t yet learned it will be getting increased energy levels from ketones –– not glucose. Giving your body exogenous ketones (i.e. ketones made outside your body) will allow it to access ketone fuel before it learns to make its own – making it the perfect solution for preventing the keto flu. Once your body adjusts to the fuel source, you will no longer experience the keto flu, and will have no trouble maintaining symptom-free energy throughout the day.
Kenetik is the only ketone drink approved by the American Brain Council. It’s also keto-friendly and rich in the powerful electrolytes that can help stave off keto flu symptoms.
So if you want to enjoy great taste, premium ingredients, and keto-friendly energy — try Kenetik. Packed with energy-rich exogenous ketones, Kenetik is all you need to power through your adjustment to the keto diet, next workout or upcoming meeting.