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What Is The Keto Flu Or Low Carb Flu And What To Do About It?

Keto flu symptoms, mitigation and getting over excess carbohydrates Any major dietary or lifestyle change has the potential to cause discomfort or lets face it, even mess you up for a bit. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘flu’. It’s the most common time during which people will quit their dietary or lifestyle shift as many simply feel they are unable to function without significant carbohydrates and snacking throughout day. Here we’ll discuss the major downside to starting a ketogenic diet or a low carb one, and how to minimize the discomfort often accompanying this adaptation period. Like most people you’ve probably spent 20 – 60 years feeding your body a significant amount of carbohydrates and much of them from poorly chosen overly processed sources. Your cells, organs, central nervous system and brain have all adapted to it through hormonal and metabolic responses normally running in the background. Switching fuel sources, like eating less carbs and more fat, is likely to throw your body and brain for a loop. To be clear, the “keto flu” label is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more akin to carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms resulting from a shifting hormonal states Continue reading >>

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  1. MathWiz

    I wasn’t sure which section I should post this in, my strategy is what I call the 4–2–1 plan, I fast 2 day non consecutive days a week, eat a low carb but not calorie restricted diet 4 days a week to keep the fat burning benefits of ketosis going and then I give myself 1 day a week to indulge and eat whatever I want, usually a Saturday pasta dinner and wonderful dessert. I also walk 4 to 6 miles a day during the week and 10 to 12 miles on Saturday.
    Low Carb plans such as Atkins can be very effective for some people including me, many people who start a low carb diet experience get what’s called the “ketosis flu” or the “induction flu” in the first few days while the body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose.
    The basic symptoms are:
    – Headaches
    – Nausea
    – Upset stomach
    – Lack of mental clarity (brain fog)
    – Sleepiness
    – Fatigue
    It’s called the “ketosis flu” for a reason: you feel sick. I’ve gone through it and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Fortunately it only lasted 2 days but then suddenly I woke up feeling much better, less hungry and my energy level was really high and consistent throughout the day!
    The first time I thought to myself: “What the heck am I doing? I feel like I’m going to die!” but I persevered and when it was over I didn’t regret a thing because what I had gained mentally and physically was 100% worth it.
    For those of you that are going through the ketosis flu, don’t give up! I know you feel like it’s never going to get better but stick with it and you´ll be so happy you did! I’m telling you, waking up refreshed for the first time in years, not getting the afternoon “blah” feeling and stuffing my face with carbs to try to boost my energy is the best side effect of the low carb diet I’ve experienced. Okay, losing weight while eating good food, feeling full and satisfied is great too.
    First you have to understand why your body is reacting this way. Your body’s been burning glucose for energy so it’s basically full of enzymes that are waiting to deal with the carbs you eat, but now the body needs to make new enzymes that burn fat for fuel instead of carbs, and the transition period causes the flu-like symptoms.
    There are some things you can do to lessen the symptoms of the ketosis flu and to make it go away sooner (to force the body to transition sooner) Ok, let’s get to the good part – what to do:
    First of all – you’re probably dehydrated. Drink PLENTY of water while you’re on a low carb diet, and then drink some more.
    Watch your electrolytes. When the body is getting rid of excess insulin from your former carb-crazy diet you´ll lose lots of fluids that have been retained in your body. This causes the rapid weight loss most people see in their first few days of ketosis, it’s mostly water, sorry. When you lose all the retained water you also lose electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and potassium. When you’re lacking them you´ll feel like crap so when you’re feeling really ill on the ketosis flu try things like chicken/beef broth and look for foods rich in these minerals. Take a multi-vitamin and a multi-mineral.
    Ok, here is where people throw the red flag – Eat more fat – Yup, I said MORE fat. Have some butter, just not on a roll, eat some bacon and eggs for breakfast, just skip the potatoes and toast. This will force your body to hurry up the transition. You´ll think this is crazy and think you´ll never get lose weight eating this way, but you will.
    Don’t eat too much protein – The body can transform protein into glucose so if you eat too much of it in the first days it will slow down the transition. Go for fatty meat and cheese if you can, add fat to protein shakes etc.
    Drink water, replenish electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium) with food and supplements, drink broth, eat fat and not too much protein.
    I hope this helps, and have a great day
    Charles

  2. rockyromero

    @mathwiz
    ” Take a multi-vitamin and a multi-mineral.”
    I have been forgetting to take a multi-vitamin on fast days. Thanks for the reminder.
    “Eat more fat – Yup, I said MORE fat. ”
    I will have avocado more often.

  3. AussieJess

    Thanks for that info, very interesting

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