The keto flu is an array of undesirable symptoms (cramps, headaches, nausea, dizziness, constipation, cramps, tiredness and irritability).
Some people may experience them when they first start the keto diet, as they suddenly and almost completely remove carbs from their diet.
These symptoms might resemble the onset of the flu and may vary from person to person. They can last from a couple of days to a few weeks and are likely to occur in people who are used to a high-carb diet and consequently go through a significant metabolic shift.
These symptoms can be annoying but not dangerous in most cases. Once you are in ketosis, they will disappear and be replaced by the benefits of the keto diet.
But what causes them?
This phenomenon has different causes:
1. First, as carbohydrates normally contribute to the body’s energy needs, when we cut them in our diet, the body goes through a series of changes.
Once the glucose reserves are burned up (it takes 24 hours approximately), the body shifts into a fat-burning state which we call ketosis.
During this transition period, the blood sugar levels may drop, and this can cause a temporary energy deficit in the brain.
2. Second, while entering the fat-burning mode, the body can begin to expel the toxins (like pesticides, heavy metals, etc.) stored in our fat cells and this detoxification process may trigger the keto flu.
3. Third, the ketogenic diet may cause dehydration and electrolyte (minerals contained in body fluids, sodium, potassium, magnesium) imbalance.
Carbohydrate’s restriction reduces insulin release and with lower insulin levels, the kidneys store less water. This can cause dehydration as well as the flushing out of electrolytes.
On top of this, the keto diet eliminates many salty processed carbs and consequently we consume less sodium and other minerals.
So, how to get rid of the keto flu?
1. Drink PLENTY of water
2. Eat more healthy fat: by increasing your fat consumption, you can speed up the adaptation phase. MCT oil is highly recommended as it goes straight to the liver after digestion and is immediately transformed into ketone bodies.