What is and how to treat Keto Flu?
Have you just started the keto diet and, contrary to everything you've been told, do you feel tired, have a headache, get irritated easily and have trouble concentrating?
Congratulations! You have the keto cold or keto flu ; Before you start looking for medicine, you should know that this is only the name that has been given to this set of symptoms, since they are the same present in the flu or common cold, but it is not contagious and it is not really a flu .
This set of symptoms usually occurs in the first week of the keto diet and we have good news for you, they are temporary and there are quick and easy solutions to end them. So don't stop reading!
Let's start at the beginning, what is Keto Flu?
The keto cold or keto flu is the body's response to the restriction of carbohydrates in the daily diet and usually lasts about a week, although there are cases in which it lasts up to a month, but it is very rare that this happens.
The duration and intensity of symptoms change from one person to another and this is due to the metabolic flexibility of each organism; that is, the body's ability to switch glucose use to ketones.
Metabolic flexibility can be determined by different factors, but we will focus on the two most common:
- Genetically , each body produces different amounts of enzymes, which greatly influences the ease of adapting to a different diet or the metabolism of certain foods.
- Lifestyle , on the other hand, influences the severity with which you experience these symptoms; For example, if you are used to eating a lot of sweet things or sugars in general, your body will feel a greater decompensation when starting the keto diet.
Usually one or two symptoms are experienced, among the most common are:
Are there any remedies for keto flu?
Fortunately, if there are ways to reduce or eliminate keto cold symptoms, but they are not magic, each one has its explanation as to why they help you feel better.
1. Water and salt.
You probably know what insulin does to sugar, but you don't know what it does to the kidneys; Well, insulin is also in charge of helping the kidneys retain water and sodium, so when you decrease carbohydrates, and therefore insulin, your body begins to discard water and sodium through urine.
It is estimated that during the first 5 days of the keto diet, your body discharges approximately 4.5g of water, which causes some of the symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, cramps, headaches and some gastrointestinal problems.
All those symptoms can be minimized with a simple remedy, consume a little more water and salt . You can achieve this in many ways, but the simplest is through broths (chicken, beef or bone) once or twice a day; If you are not a fan of broths, you can mix a teaspoon of salt in a large glass of water and drink it in the same way for the first week. This remedy will help you reduce or eliminate symptoms in approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
2. More fat and less protein.
Protein uses insulin for its metabolism, so if you eat a lot of protein, your body may use glucose as an energy source instead of ketones, so it is important to reduce your consumption of this.
On the other hand, when you start the diet, it is likely that you feel that you are left a little hungry or with little energy, this should not be the case; an effective solution is to cook with butter or coconut oil, as this will add a little extra fat and help you feel full and energetic.
Although the information that exists is purely bibliographic, it is said that the body generates a greater amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, during the change of diet to a low carbohydrate, so it is normal that you feel a little irritable.
Exercise can be your great ally in this regard, as it will help you reduce cortisol levels and feel better; It is important to remember that if you are not used to exercising, the healthiest thing to do is to start with something low impact, for example going for a 30 minute walk daily or doing exercise such as yoga.
If you are used to exercising regularly, remember not to overstress your body in case you feel low energy, dizzy or nauseous, be patient, remember that this only lasts while your body gets used to the new diet.
4. Sleep should be a priority.
Remember that sleep is the way your body recovers energy, make this action one of your priorities, remembering that the healthiest thing is to sleep between 7 and 9 hours uninterrupted daily.
If you have trouble falling asleep, we recommend the following:
- Avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon and evening, as this can influence your lack of sleep.
- Turn off all the lights (including your cell phone, computer and television) 30 minutes before going to sleep and use that time in your bed to relax, meditate or simply enjoy the silence, in this way, your body and mind will catch up. idea that it is time to sleep.
- One of the most common reasons for insomnia is stress from things that we leave behind; Before going to sleep, write down all your earrings on a sheet or on your cell phone to be able to review them and solve them the next day, when you lie down forget all your earrings and relax.
- Try magnesium dietary supplements as there are studies showing that magnesium has positive effects on sleep quality and time.
5. Every body is different
If your body continues to have symptoms, you may need to give it a little more time to adjust to the idea of a new diet; In other words, start over but this time a little more slowly, to give your body an opportunity to assimilate the new intake.
It sounds difficult but I assure you that it is easier than you think; There are times when it is more difficult to cut carbohydrate intake, which causes a decompensation in your body, so the idea is to give them again and gradually remove them, for example:
- 1st week: Leave sugary drinks, such as soft drinks.
- 2nd week: Leave desserts and foods with a lot of sugar, such as chocolate.
- 3rd week: No more fast food, like pizza, pasta, potatoes, fried foods.
- 4th week: Say goodbye to bread.
- 5th week: Begin to reduce the intake of fruits with many carbohydrates.
- 6th week: All set! You can continue on the keto diet and you will soon enter ketosis. Remember that in case of presenting any of the symptoms you can use one of our previous tips.
Going Low-Carb too Fast May Trigger Thyroid Troubles and Hormone Imbalance. - Dr. Cate.
Cortisol increases gluconeogenesis in humans: its role in the metabolic syndrome- - NCBI
Refeeding syndrome: what it is, and how to prevent and treat it. - NCBI
The effect of insulin on renal sodium metabolism. - Springer Link
Metabolic flexibility and insulin resistance. - NCBI
What is the Keto Flu & How to Remedy it? - Dr. Frank Aieta.
The keto flu and how to remedy it. - Dr Andreas Eenfeldt.