In previous articles we explained about ketosis and what it takes to reach a ketogenic state. Recognized as one of the perfect ways of losing weight and boosting your energy levels, ketogenic diets have many benefits and drawbacks which you should know before becoming involved in the program.
When preparing for a keto diet, carbohydrates are some of the foods you must eliminate from the equation. When this happens, the body switches from using glucose as the main fuel to burning body fats.
Of course, this transition does not take place without setbacks. Most people who undergo the transition complain of a regular headache, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and an overall sickly feeling. In fact, most people relate the feelings to those of drug addicts who’ve suddenly quit.
Now, what is keto flu?
Keto flu, also known as carb flu, is defined as the flu-like symptoms you experience when your body is transitioning from using glucose, to burning fats as the main source of fuel. These symptoms are as a result of the body’s natural reaction of switching from a carb-high diet to a very low carb diet. When you develop such symptoms, don’t worry or abandon the program. Instead, maintain your patience or simply choose any of the remedies which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Keto Flu Symptoms
Having talked much about a ketogenic diet, we will now highlight some of the most common keto flu symptoms you’ll experience on your journey to achieve ketosis.
Leg cramps is a very common issue that mostly occurs to those people on a strict low-carb diet. Although some specialists state that the issue is not serious, sometimes the pain can be extreme, forcing you to find medicinal ways of relieving it. What causes the pain? I believe most of you are asking this question. Now, leg cramps come as a result of a drastic reduction of minerals from the body—especially magnesium when it’s eliminated via urine. Three notable ways to reduce leg cramps include:
- Drink a lot of salty water to add magnesium to the body.
- Take magnesium supplements
- Consider eating high-carb meals.
For those newcomers to the low-carb diet program, one of the keto flu symptoms you’re likely to experience is constipation caused by a digestive disorder. You see, one setback of getting to a low-carb diet is depleting the body of glycogen which results in dehydration. Once the body is dehydrated, you’ll experience constipation. Now, to avoid constipation, you’ll need to:
- Drink a lot of fluids and if possible, add some salt.
- Eat plenty of vegetables especially those with fiber
Another keto flu symptom most people on a low-carb diet experience is a characteristic bad breath (fruity smell) that resembles that of nail polish remover. In the previous posts, I believe you’ve read something about acetone and how it’s tested via the breath.
Now, when your body gets to a ketogenic state, acetone is produced. Therefore, the smell you experience is due to the body’s state of burning more fats to produce energy. Sometimes, the situation can become worse and cause your own sweat to smell. To avoid this, you need to:
- Drink a lot of fluids and add some salt if possible
- Brush your teeth frequently
- Use a breath freshener more often
Another keto flu symptom you’ll experience during a keto diet is an elevated heart rate or increased heartbeat. During a ketogenic diet, your body is dehydrated and lacks salt. What happens as a result of this is that the heart detects a reduction of circulating fluid in the blood which forcing it to pump blood much faster to avoid low pressure.
- To counter this, simply consume a lot of fluids such as water.
A reduced physical performance
Another keto flu symptom you’re likely to experience in the first weeks of a low-carb diet is dizziness and a reduced physical performance. What happens is that your body is trying to shift from a sugar-burner to a new state of burning fats to produce energy. Since some of these fats are extracted from the muscles, it will be pretty obvious that you’ll feel tired and dizzy when preparing for ketosis. To solve this problem, simply:
- Consume a lot of water with at least 0.5 teaspoons of salt.
- Consume lots of proteins as they help to increase muscle mass during a keto diet.
As we conclude, let me mention that there are other keto flu symptoms which you’re likely to experience when getting set for a ketogenic diet. Some of them include elevated cholesterol, temporary hair loss, confusion, frequent urination, nausea, and vomiting. Now, with such information at the disposal, I believe that you’ll be able to understand each symptom and know how to deal with the situation to avoid any further issues as you progress with the diet.