At present, the ketogenic diet is gaining much popularity among those who want to improve their overall health and lose excessive weight.
The keto diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, offering a moderate portion of protein. Although this type of diet is safe for most people, there are some known side effects associated with it.
One of these includes keto flu, which is also known as carb flu. Here, we will explain what is keto flu and how to avoid it.
What is Keto Flu?
The term keto flu describes flu-like symptoms, which usually appear after starting a low-carb ketogenic diet. In fact, this illness relates to a collection of symptoms that people experience when starting a keto diet.
Most of these symptoms are similar to the flu and are caused by the adaptive behavior of our body to compensate for a low-carb diet. The reduction of carbohydrates in our body triggers the burning of ketones instead of glucose.
Ketones come into existence as the byproducts of fat breakdown. The body starts to utilize them as the main fuel source when we start undergoing a ketogenic diet. Usually, fat is a secondary fuel that our body burns in the absence of glucose.
This process of burning fat for energy is referred to as ketosis. It happens during particular circumstances, like fasting and starvation.
During a specific ketogenic diet, the total intake of carbohydrates is limited to just 50 grams per day. This abrupt reduction disturbs the normal process of energy generating. As a result, the person consuming the keto diet experiences the symptoms of keto flu.
Symptoms of Keto Flu
The most common withdrawal symptoms of keto flu include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, muscle aches, and irritability. These symptoms are the natural reaction of our body to a possible change in diet.
These symptoms don’t last too long. However, the transition period can be difficult for some people. Usually, the signs of the keto flu start to appear within a few days of withdrawing carbs.
Symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on the capacity of our body to accept this change. This is the reason why some people experience side effects, while others undergo this transition without any issue.
How to Avoid Keto Flu
Luckily, you can reduce the risk of keto flu in various ways. These simple methods can help you pass through this transition phase quite easily.
Prior to experiencing the symptoms of keto flu, you must try to prevent such an issue. Here are some of the ways in which you can avoid it.
Always Start Slowly
Try to avoid making abrupt changes in your diet. This suggests that you should start introducing the keto diet slowly. During the first week, start your low-carb diet in small chunks. It will help your body get used to a low-carb diet.
After that, you can restrict your body to the keto diet for a few weeks. If everything goes well, continue with this approach until you observe more noticeable results.
Try to Eat More
The intake of low calories may also lead to keto flu. Hence, try to meet the daily calorie requirements of your body by eating more. Don’t switch to a low-carb or low-fat diet without strengthening your body.
This is so, as switching to a low-carb diet or reducing your calorie intake won’t help you lose your excessive weight. Instead, you will stop your weight loss program due to a sensation of increased hunger.
The low-calorie diet promotes irritability and lethargic behavior. The keto diet requires increasing the intake of healthy fats to give your body the required strength.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Drinking sufficient water is essential for reducing keto flu symptoms. A keto diet tends to dehydrate you at a fast pace.
Hence, staying hydrated is the perfect way to minimize the effects of such a diet. Increasing the intake of water is especially important if you experience diarrhea, which is one of the keto flu symptoms.
Avoid Strenuous Workouts
Although exercise plays a key role in keeping your body fit and healthy, indulging in a strenuous workout regime isn’t a good idea when taking a keto diet.
Activities such as running, intense biking, weight lifting, and strenuous exercises disturb your body’s ability to adapt to the new fuel.
The common first-week discomforts associated with keto diet include muscle cramps, fatigue, and stomach disorders. Hence, it would be appropriate to give your body a chance to relax and rest.
Replace Dietary Electrolytes
You can reduce the chances of experiencing keto flu symptoms by replacing your electrolytes. While consuming a ketogenic diet, the level of insulin decreases drastically.
This particular hormone helps your body absorb glucose from the bloodstream. With a decrease in insulin production, kidneys start releasing an additional amount of sodium from the body.
This is another reason why the keto diet promotes the intake of potassium-rich foods. By replacing dilatory electrolytes and nutrients, you are actually helping your body pass through this adaptation period.
Adding salt according to your taste and consuming potassium-rich foods is a great way to replace electrolytes and maintain their healthy balance.
Leafy vegetables and fruits like avocado are also rich in magnesium. Consuming keto-friendly food tends to reduce the chances of issues like sleep disorders, headaches, and muscle cramps.
Have a Good Night Sleep
While consuming a ketogenic diet, people usually experience fatigue and irritability. Furthermore, a lack of sleep turns out to be one of the most common symptoms when people restrict their bodies to a low carb diet.
Due to lack of sleep, our body starts to produce a large amount of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. It may negatively affect our mood or worsen keto-flu symptoms.
When experiencing a sleep disorder, you can resolve this issue by following these simple tips.
Try to get up early: Avoiding oversleeping and waking at the same time can help you regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
Take a Shower: Taking a hot bath before going to bed is highly recommended for normalizing your sleep pattern.
Minimize caffeine consumption: Caffeine acts as a stimulant to keep you active and less sleepy. In order to improve the quality of your sleep, try to avoid excessive intake of caffeinated beverages.