The ketogenic diet bandwagon has been at the forefront of weight loss programs for the past few years due to dramatic results in just a short period. Along with weight loss, the keto diet is also claimed to reduce metabolic-related illnesses. Is this just too good to be true? Does the keto diet come with unpleasant and intolerable side effects? One of the most common complaints from people on this diet is keto night sweats. Is it normal? Let’s delve a little deeper into some facts and find out if this is the one diet that will work for you and make you stick to it.
The Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is pretty similar to a low carb diet and the Atkins diet. This means it focuses on low carb intake but high-fat consumption to replace carbs. A low-carb diet is not as strict as the keto diet allowing you to consume 20 -60gms of good carbohydrates in a day. The keto diet on the other hand is a lot stricter with carb intake — taking it to a maximum limit of 20 gms of carbohydrates per day.
The entire weight loss principle of the keto diet lies in the premise of putting your body into a fat adaptive state called ketosis. When your body goes into a state of ketosis, it becomes a fat-burning machine that converts all your stored fats into energy which your body usually gets from eating carbohydrates. As this happens, your liver starts producing ketones from fat which then converts it into essential energy for your brain.
Because your body starts to lose stored fat, many swear by great improvement on their health numbers as blood sugar levels drop and insulin sensitivity levels are reduced. Controlled blood pressure is also reported as well as pregnancy among women having difficulty conceiving due to PCOS ( polycystic ovarian syndrome ) which is often also linked to obesity in women.
Keto is not just all about giving up carbs but this also comes with giving sugar the boot from your diet. Carbs and sugar have been blotted down to a mean criminal tandem on one’s health.
Shifting to either a low carb or keto diet will certainly yield improvement in several health risk factors you may be plagued with. But all this may just sound too good to be true. Does a low carb or keto diet come with any bad wrap at all?
Cutting down on carbs and sugar also comes with a slew of body changes you may experience. Some may be more annoying than most and can be managed without much fuss. Once you start your keto journey and your body begins to undergo ketosis, there are some side effects you may have to deal with until your body starts to fully adjust to your new way of eating. Most common amongst keto dieters on top of the onset of the keto flu, headaches, cramps, and keto breath is keto night sweats.
What Causes Keto Night Sweats?
This may seem alarming to a female not even near the perimenopausal stage but, as annoying as this may be, there is nothing to really “sweat” about it. Night sweats are a normal side effect of the keto diet. Because keto dieters will usually experience the keto flu, most often this will result in flu-like symptoms such as malaise, chills, and night sweats.
In other keto dieters who seem to have excessive sweating, this may be caused by the increase of ketone production. Typically, these sweat-driving ketones get expelled via urine, breath, and yes, through your sweat glands which in turn causes you to sweat more as your body tries to get rid of them. However, once your body starts getting used to burning ketones instead of glucose, the crazy sweating will eventually level out.
Night sweats are no fun, as this is but a sign of how your body reacts to the state of ketosis. You may experience other annoying side effects of night sweats such as sugar withdrawals, insomnia, dehydration, low blood sugar, and even a slightly weakened immune system. There are ways to manage these side effects and as pesky as these may be, it will pass.
How to Manage Keto Night Sweats
All these big changes your body is going through will affect you in many different ways, Some may be more pronounced than other side effects but the best way to kick your body into adapting well to these temporary keto bugs is to follow these few tips :
1. Ease up on cutting way too many carbs in your diet
Your body always prefers to burn carbs and sugar first, training it to burn fat/ketones may take a little patience as your body will certainly rebel against this by making you feel bad about it through lack of energy, focus, and yes night sweats. This may be a little more trying for someone who has been on a high carb/ high sugar diet because similarly, this is how your body busts out a tantrum due to sugar withdrawal symptoms.
Once your stored blood sugar levels plummet, how your body stores water is also affected. Because for every gram of blood sugar you store in your body, this equates to 4gram of water it can store. Keto dieters get more thirsty and tend to drink more water as the body also sweats more.
2. Load up on enough electrolytes
Because you tend to sweat more on a keto diet, this causes you to also lose electrolytes that are vital not only for energy but for your body chemistry to function well. Just as potassium, sodium, and magnesium are important for the body to function, electrolyte minerals keep the effects of keto flu in check. Your immune system also gets compromised when there is an insufficient supply of electrolytes in your body. Adding a little salt to your water and consuming bone broth also helps in easing many side effects of ketosis.
3. Hydrate more often
Drinking a lot of water must be a no-brainer for the keto dieter since you may sweat more profusely while in a state of ketosis. Being properly hydrated all day helps ease fatigue and can greatly improve night sweats. Make sure to drink about 8 oz of water every couple of hours.
4. Don’t go crazy on the exercises
Exercise does help you keep in shape, but no need to go nuts in the gym or maxing out on your CrossFit workouts. Remember this is a phase of adjustment for your body. Subjecting it to a rigid exercise regimen in this phase will most certainly drain you and cause your body to carry over all that intense exercise even through the night.
5. Pack in the good fats
The secret to keto is in the fat. The good fats, that is. During this initial phase of ketosis, your body needs to get the best out of everything you consume since you are no longer piling up on the extra carb junk to fill you up. Make sure to include food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as avocado, nuts and seeds, eggs, and fatty fish to ensure you get the right nutrients, as this helps to promote a dry restful night’s slumber.
6. Skip the spice
If you like the extra kick in your food, it may be wise to hold off on the extra splashes of your habanero sauce. Spicy food always makes you sweat because it’s the body’s way of cooling down. Capsaicin, which is an active component found in spices, causes our immune system to automatically flush it out through sweating. It is also important to note that t spiced processed meats are linked to excessive sweating.
7. Go easy on the caffeine
Did you know that caffeine plays a big role in the amount of sweat you produce each day? A lot of keto dieters that are coffee drinkers rely on bulletproof coffee as a high fat, zero carb energy drink but coffee by itself can dehydrate the body and cause excessive sweating as well as night sweats. You don’t need to go cold turkey on your cup of joe or your favorite tea, just cut back on the amount. Caffeine withdrawal can also cause you to sweat more.