The keto diet is probably one of the most popular ways to naturally lose weight and boost your health. You take reasonable amounts of protein, go high on fat, and keep the carbohydrates at a minimum.
But your body loves carbohydrates and restricting them can trigger some unpleasant side effects. These side effects are commonly known as the carb flu or the keto flu. They appear at the beginning of the diet and might even compel you to give up.
On the bright side, there is no reason to suffer or throw in the towel. The following article delivers tried-and-tested methods on how to get rid of keto flu. Plus, you’ll get a better understanding of the natural mechanism behind this flu-like condition.
What Are the Causes?
By reducing carbohydrates, you push your body to use ketones for energy. Ketones are a byproduct of the body breaking down fat. When you’re doing a keto diet, they become your primary energy source instead of glucose. Under normal circumstances, the body uses ketones only when there’s no glucose.
Those who fast, starve, or take up the ketogenic diet of fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day, put their body into a state of ketosis. During ketosis, insulin levels drop. And it takes the internal organs and the brain some time to adapt to the new circumstances.
Don’t be surprised by the increased urinating frequency. This happens because there is more sodium in your urine due to low insulin levels. Losing sodium and water is one of the main reasons behind all the unpleasant side effects and the keto flu.
Keto Flu Symptoms
People have different responses to the keto diet. There are those who don’t experience any side effects at all, or merely feel a bit tired for a couple of days. On the other hand, some might develop symptoms that seriously impair their daily lives.
Keto flu can start with irritability, a lack of focus, and overall weakness. Headaches and dizziness are also common. It is not unusual to vomit, feel nausea, and struggle with diarrhea or constipation. You might find it difficult to sleep and experience muscle soreness or cramps.
The hardships usually last for a week, but they are known to persist even longer than that. Nevertheless, there are ways to put a stop to the ordeal. You just need to learn how to get rid of keto flu.
How to Cure the Symptoms
As your body adapts, the symptoms are likely to disappear by themselves in a few days. But it’s also possible to speed up the process.
Check out some top tips to remedy keto flu.
Make Sure You Stay Hydrated
Remember, losing water and salt is one of the main reasons for the side effects. You need to replenish what’s lost to eliminate or, at least, ease some of the symptoms.
As soon as you feel dizziness, cramps, or fatigue, stir half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it. This quick remedy also helps with diarrhea, keto headaches, lethargy, etc. And it is perfectly safe to do it twice a day if necessary.
A mix of water and salt is not exactly palatable but there are some tasty alternatives. You can make bone broths, beef or chicken stock soups, and you can add some salty butter to your taste. In fact, consider making these a staple of your diet, to stay one step ahead of the symptoms.
Get Enough Sleep
When you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, your body produces more cortisol – the stress hormone. This might actually make other keto flu symptoms worse.
The first step to ensure proper sleep is to cut down on your caffeine intake. You should only grab a quick coffee in the morning to avoid jeopardizing your sleeping pattern. Take a bath before you go to bed and add some lavender essential oil because it’s calming for your nerves.
Remove any distractions from your bedroom, including cellphones, tablets, and laptops. Don’t forget to keep the TV off. Getting up early also helps improve your sleep quality, so try to stick to the same early-bird routine every day.
Take Enough Proteins and Fat
It is not uncommon to feel a sudden craving for forbidden foods like pasta, bagels, and cookies. But you need to resist the urge and compensate with fat and proteins. Soon enough, your cravings will be gone.
A 2011 research provides evidence that a low-carb diet significantly reduces the desire for sweets and other carbohydrate-rich foods. Some people still find it hard to adjust, so it is best to take things slow. Start reducing your carb intake by eliminating processed foods and sweets. Make sure to give your body a few days to adapt.
From there on, you can slowly eliminate bread, pasta, and other carbs to reach less than 50 grams a day. This way, you can help your body transition more easily and reduce the risk of dramatic keto flu symptoms.
Take It Easy at the Gym
A sensible fitness routine is necessary to maintain optimal health and lose weight, but it can backfire during the first week of the keto diet.
If you feel muscle soreness, fatigue, cramps, or dizziness, it’s best to put the gym on hold and give your body time to rest. This tip applies to exercises like running, biking, and weight lifting. On the other hand, you can take walks and give yoga a try since it’s a good way to keep your mind off the side effects.
Go back to the gym once you get rid of the keto flu, and in a month or so you might realize that your performance is much better.
An Extra Tip
Nausea and headaches make you feel less hungry, especially at the start. A week into the diet and you’ll feel hungry a lot. It’s important not to consciously restrict your intake of the allowed foods. Some people make the mistake of focusing on the calories while their body is still adapting to the diet.
In fact, you can eat as much as feels good, as long as you stick to the allowed foods. Otherwise, you might suffer from some of the keto flu symptoms for a long time.
The Bottom Line
How to get rid of keto flu? Dealing with the symptoms is not as difficult as it might initially seem. Make sure to ease your body into ketosis and don’t rush to cut all the carbs at once. Drinking plenty of water helps as well.
The tips and tricks in this article should make your transitioning process a breeze. So, feel free to take up the keto diet, if you haven’t already started.