Keto side effects: how to push through the keto flu

Isabel Aestelle received her B.A in Communication from Far Eastern University Manila in the Philippines. She fell in love with words when she first started writing poetries and short stories at the age of 10. Her passion in health and wellness are pretty much seen in almost everything she does.

keto flu symptoms

Ah, the keto flu. It’s one of the few unpleasant parts of going into the keto diet. And it sucks even more to find out that you usually experience the symptoms of the keto flu ON YOUR FIRST WEEK OF KETO! To think that your first week on a new diet may start off on the wrong foot may discourage others from actually pushing through the diet altogether. Luckily, these symptoms go away on their own what’s more is that there are a few easy fixes to help you push through the dreaded keto flu.

So without further ado here’s a quick primer on all things keto flu.

Keto flu symptoms

Let’s get right to it. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience during the first week of your keto diet.

  • Headache
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cramps
  • Stomach pains
  • Weakness

That’s quite a tall list isn’t it? Don’t worry it’s likely you’ll only one or two of these symptoms during the third or fifth day of your first week on keto. They also aren’t too severe and usually go away the further you go into your diet. But on the off chance that it does persist to a week or if you can’t wait out the discomfort, consider switching things up in your diet or with your regular routine. We’ll also give you a few helpful tips to ease your discomfort while experiencing signs of the keto flu.

Why keto flu happens

Before we give you our surefire ways to help you beat the keto flu, We felt it best to explain why you’re going through these symptoms in the first place. Here’s some of the reasons why your keto journey isn’t all that rosy.

  • It takes some getting used to – this is basically the reason why you’re having such an unpleasant experience on your first week, having to go from your standard western diet that relied heavily on carbs to a carb-restrictive one that requires a high-fat intake can be quite tough on the body. The switch from glucose to ketones as a source of energy won’t be as easy on the body and are usually the cause of headaches or concentration problems. It’s no cause for concern though as the body gets used to it and get near the ketosis state eventually all symptoms will go away on its own.
  • Dehydration – as you go further into the keto diet you insulin levels begin to lower due to restrictions in carbs which makes the body release excess water and sodium out, this process is completely normal albeit making you lose fluids in your body. Dehydration also leads to multiple symptoms of the keto flu to appear. So be careful!
  • Fluctuating hormone levels – as drastic changes begin to take place in your body it finds ways to find some sort of way to balance it all as it slowly starts to get used to being on keto. Cortisol levels may increase to increase blood sugar levels as glucose is rapidly depleting in your body due to carb restrictions.

How to manage the keto flu

  • Up your fluid intake – is extremely important since mild dehydration is common in the first few days of being on keto. Alleviating symptoms such as headaches or dizziness is as easy drinking a glass of water whenever you experience it so make sure you drink plenty of fluids on your first week.
  • Up your sodium intake – get adequate amounts of sodium since you’re going to be losing more of this during your first week. So pay attention to how much of food with sodium you eat during the first crucial days and you’ll probably never have to experience the unpleasantness of the keto flu.
  • Up your fat intake – we can’t stress this enough. Eating loads of fat during the first week could give you that extra boost to getting to ketosis faster, also increasing your fat intake may stabilize your ketone production levels which could make your body get used to ketones faster and prevent your hormones from going too out of whack.
  • Avoid strenuous activities – since your body’s experiencing internal turmoil it might be for the best to not put your body through too much strain by doing physical activities. If you can’t prevent doing that make sure you have enough fluids and enough to eat before doing workouts or anything to strenuous. Trust us, your body will thank you later.
  • Replenish electrolytes – foods that are rich in magnesium, potassium and sodium are important to have enough for you to power through the keto flu. So eating enough of them can help you with headaches and muscle pains.
  • Get enough sleep – this works wonders if you are experiencing fatigue during your first week on keto since it halts the production of cortisol which can negative impact your mood and make your keto flu symptoms worse. So catch enough z’s okay?
  • Try MCT oil – MCT is widely popular among people on the keto diet since it’s perfect for getting an extra boost of energy throughout the day. It also helps with digestive problems during the tough first week. So make MCT oil your best friend but be cautious with how much you use so the symptoms don’t worsen.

Dealing with the keto flu is never pleasant but if you have the know-how and loads of patience, powering through the dreaded keto flu will be a breeze.