If you’re considering starting a low carb diet, you may be apprehensive when you hear about side-effects such as the keto flu. The keto flu is a real illness, and it can affect those who suddenly decrease their intake of carbohydrates. If you’re anxious about the keto flu, or you’d like to learn more, here are 5 survival tips to bear in mind.
What exactly is keto flu?
Keto flu is the name given to symptoms you may develop if you decrease the amount of carbohydrates in your diet very suddenly. This condition is likened to the withdrawal symptoms your body experiences when you take away something that it is dependent upon. In this case, when you remove carbohydrates, your body goes into shock as it starts the process of burning fat rather than glucose to produce energy.
Symptoms of keto flu include:
- Aches and pains
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Feeling irritable
- Sugar cravings
- Lack of focus
Symptoms can last up to 2 weeks, but most people start to feel better after a few days.
5 survival tips
If you suddenly start feeling sick, dizzy and tired, it’s natural to question whether you’ve made the right move with your diet. However, this is a normal response to a change in your diet. When you follow the keto diet, the aim is to encourage the body to burn fat to produce energy. If you’ve got symptoms of keto flu, don’t despair. These top tips will help you pull through.
- Top up your electrolytes: changing your diet can eliminate sources of essential electrolytes, and this can contribute to fatigue, dizziness and confusion. Use an electrolyte supplement to replace starchy vegetables and fruit.
- Stay hydrated: hydration is essential, especially when you’re under the weather. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and take at least 2 liters of fluid on board per day. If you’re active and you’re losing water through sweat during a workout, increase your fluid intake.
- Reassess your carb intake: if you’ve got keto flu, it’s worth reassessing your carb intake. You may find that you can add more clean carbs, for example, sweet potato or banana, to improve your symptoms without impacting on ketosis. If you’re used to a diet packed full of complex carbohydrates and refined sugars, cutting your carb count gradually could help to reduce the severity of symptoms.
- Increase your fat intake: if you’re craving baked potatoes, fries or sugar-coated doughnuts, increase your intake of fatty foods. This will help to eliminate cravings and speed up the process of burning fat for energy rather than glucose. Good examples of fats include avocado, bacon, egg yolks and coconut oil.
- Rest up: if you’re struggling with keto flu symptoms, ensure you get plenty of rest. Your body may be crying out for sleep, so don’t try and soldier on and rush around like a headless chicken. Take it easy until symptoms pass. If you do want to stay active, swap hardcore, intensive workouts for restorative exercises, such as yoga and Pilates.