Eat to Evolve - Blog Post
December 7, 2021
challenge,keto

What is the Keto Flu?

You’ve probably heard of the dreaded Keto Flu: that crummy, terrible, no-good, very bad feeling that comes in the first few days of a transition into ketosis. But while it might sound scary, it’s often not as bad as most people make it out to be. In fact, the term “Keto Flu” is misleading because the phenomenon isn’t what it sounds like at all!

Let’s take a closer look at what the Keto Flu really is (and how to avoid it).

How do people “catch” the Keto Flu?

Contrary to its name, the Keto Flu is neither contagious nor an actual flu. The term is used to describe a group of symptoms that frequently occur in people who’ve just started the Keto Diet. The Keto Flu crops up within the first two to seven days of going Keto. 

Many people feel ill at the start of Keto as their bodies adjust to the transition from carbs to fat as the main energy source. Nutrition experts speculate that the flu-like feeling is actually a type of withdrawal: a sign that your body is “detoxing” itself from carb overload, as well as an electrolyte imbalance, mostly from sodium. 

Symptoms of the Keto Flu

Doctors have yet to recognize the Keto Flu as a legitimate sickness. For that reason, the list of symptoms associated with the Keto Flu isn’t set in stone. Symptoms vary from one person to the next, and some might not get the Keto Flu at all. If you’re getting ready to put your body into a state of ketosis, keep a lookout for the most common symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances

How to fight the Keto Flu

No one should have to suffer in their quest to achieve ketosis! Even though the Keto Flu lasts only a few days, the headaches and sleep deprivation can be enough for some to give up on Keto altogether. Give these remedies a try to keep your spirits high as you enter ketosis:

  • Drink plenty of water: Headaches develop when a person is dehydrated. Some diets lead to dehydration, and the Keto Diet might be one of them. You should always drink to thirst, but this becomes even more important during the first week of Keto.
  • Eat when you feel hungry: Many people are too strict on themselves when they start the Keto Diet. From day one, they severely restrict their caloric intake. This can not only exacerbate symptoms of the Keto Flu, but also force you to succumb to carb cravings. As long as you stick to the proper macronutrient ratios, you’re free to eat however much and whenever you want. Adjust first; calorie counting comes later.
  • Mind your electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium are the big 3 that tend to be the most deficient in your body when you transition into ketosis. Check the labels of anything you’d like to incorporate into your daily routine and make sure there are no sugars lurking around that could derail your progress. 

Don’t worry, the Keto Flu will pass

The Keto Flu is annoying, but thankfully, it’s temporary. Dieters can overcome it even faster by giving the body what it needs and easing into Keto at a slower pace. Remind yourself that the Keto Flu is a normal side effect from the lack of carbs, and your body is perfectly capable of burning fat as an alternative energy source. Once the symptoms pass, you’ll feel better than ever. 

Reserve your spot for our next Keto Challenge!

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