If you have been researching the keto diet, or have partaken in this diet, you would have come across a term called “the keto flu.” What is this “keto flu” you might ask?
The keto flu also called the carb flu is a term used to describe the symptoms new keto adopters experience when beginning the keto diet. Some of these symptoms could include: nausea, constipation, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, and dizziness to name a few.
These keto flu symptoms might seem somewhat similar to the regular flu or coronavirus, but their sources are different. This keto flu is triggered by an adaptation of the body to a new diet composed of very limited carbohydrates.
The reduced-carb consumption that accompanies the keto diet, forces your body to burn ketones, instead of glucose for energy. Ketones are by-products of fat dissolution, and by adopting a ketogenic diet they are the primary source of food.
This dramatic decrease could come as a shock to the body and can trigger signs of withdrawal, comparable to those felt when weaning off an addictive drug.
However, do not be alarmed if you experience any of these symptoms!
First of all, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to test if you have the coronavirus to be on the safe side.
If you test negative for the coronavirus, then here are some tips to help you get rid of this flu:
Trick 1: Constant Rehydration
It is very common for keto adopters like yourself to get dehydrated easily, especially as we are approaching summer, and the weather is getting hotter.
This loss of water is caused when glycogen (A stored form of carbohydrates that binds to water in the body) plummets as a result of reduced carbohydrate intake. This glycogen reduction thereby increases the rate of water loss from the body.
Therefore, you are advised to always keep your water flask close to you and take some sips at certain intervals. This should be an easy task to keep up with as we are all currently under lockdown.
Trick 2: Starting slowly
The immense determination to reach ketosis as early as possible usually pushes some keto adopters to make harsh changes to their exercise intensity and diets. They do this thinking it will help them in their journey, but this is a serious mistake.
Experts have advised that new keto adopters should start slowly by taking low-carb diets for the first couple of days, before totally switching to high-fat diets. They also recommended that you should get more sleep and reduce exercise by avoiding high-intensity exercises until your energy level is increased.
Trick 3: Increase electrolytes intake
When following a ketogenic diet, levels of insulin, an important hormone that helps the body absorb glucose from the bloodstream decreases and this causes the kidney to release excess sodium into the body.
Since the keto diet restricts many foods that are high in potassium, including fruits, beans, and starchy vegetables, getting adequate amounts of these important nutrients is an excellent way to power through the adaptation period of the diet.
Salting food to taste and including potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods like green leafy vegetables, avocados, and broccoli are an excellent way to ensure you are maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes. These foods are also high in magnesium, which may help reduce muscle cramps, sleep issues, and headaches.
Trick 4: Eating More
Letting yourself get hungry, or stressing about the amount of food you are eating might make your keto flu symptoms worse. In fact, a low-calorie intake in most cases is directly linked to keto flu symptoms.
Be sure you are not reducing your calorie intake beyond what your body can handle. Try not to go low-carb and low-fat. Maybe you are wary of spending on food? Don’t worry, the hunger frequency will reduce as you reach ketosis. But for now, eat as much of the allowed foods as needed until you’re no longer hungry. It is also a good idea to have keto snacks like hard-boiled eggs available in case hunger strikes between meals while you are busy working from home.
Meanwhile, make sure to avoid stuffing yourself by eating slowly and paying attention to hunger and fullness signals.
Trick 5: Increase fiber-rich vegetables in your diets
Incorporating fiber-rich foods in your diets such as non-starchy leafy green vegetables like broccoli and kale can also help reduce constipation. Researchers have observed that “Ketogenic diets are often low in fiber intake due to restrictions on grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and many vegetables.”
Also, due to the limited supply of vegetables as a result of the pandemic, some have suggested that reaching for foods like flaxseeds and chia seeds, which are high in fiber and low in net carbs can help. Incorporating these seeds into recipes such as chia pudding, pizza crust, salads, or keto-friendly baked goods are better ways of ensuring adequate fiber is supplied to the body to prevent constipation and ease digestion.