Here Are The Keto Flu Symptoms And How To Beat Them
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from a few low carbers who had questions about some issues they experienced. They all say that they had rapid weight loss, but some had severe headaches, some had joint pains, one even claimed they had diarrhea. One lady thought that I didn’t know these diets can do this, but alas I was fully prepared. These people were suffering from dreaded keto flu symptoms. Not only was she wrong in assuming I didn’t know about these pains, I’ve actually experienced all of these over the last few years. Some of these are easier to manage than others, but any one of these will send you running to the nearest fast food restaurant. That’s why I wanted to write everything I know about the keto flu and how to get over each of these common symptoms. Update: If you take a look at the comments section, you’ll see that MCT oil is my recommendation for many of the issues people ask about. So, I decided to write a few posts on what it is and why you HAVE to include MCT in your diet. Here’s the first post! Keto Flu Symptoms The format for this post will be where I list each of the common symptoms and I’ll describe it as best as I can. After that, I’ll write everything I know about how to beat the pain. Most of my recommendations come from my own experience while others will be from trusted sources. Also, I’ll continue to update this page as people reply with more symptoms. The Ketosis Headache Often describe as a migraine, the ketosis headache is one of the most painful of the keto flu symptoms – in my opinion. This mostly occurs in the first 24-76 hours of an LC diet. People suffering from this describe the pain as being in the head but hard to pinpoint it to any particular region. The entire outer head feels stuffy and the pain is ofte Continue reading >>
"keto-flu" And Sufficient Intake Of Electrolytes
People often ask me about potassium deficiency (or any other mineral deficiency) on a low-carb, ketogenic diet. I decided to summarise which minerals you should be aware of and what the adequate intake is... To pin or bookmark an easy to follow guide to keto-flu remedies, have a look at this post! What is "Keto-Flu"? Electrolytes (sodium, magnesium and potassium) are often underestimated on low-carb diets. As low-carb expert and scientific researcher Dr. Volek suggests, mineral and electrolyte management is the key to avoiding side effects typically associated with low carb dieting. When entering the induction phase of a Ketogenic Diet (50 grams or less of total carbs - about 20-30 grams of net carbs), most people experience "keto-flu”. This often scares them off and they start to think that low-carb is not right for their body. The "flu" is nothing else than a result of starving your body of carbohydrates. Stay strong! You can easily counteract these effects by replenishing electrolytes. Make sure you include foods rich in electrolytes in your everyday diet and take food supplements (if needed). Firstly, I would like to share my own experience with electrolyte deficiency. I have been really tired recently. It was actually so bad that I couldn't open my eyes and could barely get up even after 7-9 hours of sleep. Also, my energy levels at gym were very low. I woke up in the middle of the night and experienced heart palpitations (weird feeling that could be described as "heart beating too fast"). I knew what was going on: I was magnesium / potassium deficient. I have been on a low-carb diet for more than a year and always made sure I include food rich in these minerals in my diet. The truth is, I have been so busy recently that I didn't pay enough attention to my diet. Continue reading >>
- Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)*
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What is the ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate diet. This means eating under 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. By restricting your body of carbohydrates while eating higher amounts of fat, your body goes into a state of ketosis. Ketosis – when your body begins to use fat as its primary source of energy rather than glucose (from carbohydrates). Benefits of the ketogenic diet include: Increased energy – no more dozing off at 3PM. Clear thinking / improves ADD – “brain fog” is a common symptom of high-carb diets. You will quickly experience benefits of focused energy when starting a ketogenic diet. Those who have trouble focusing and are prescribed adderall for their ADHD should try out the ketogenic diet before writing yourself off as another person with an attention deficit disorder. Weight loss – crazy how much weight you can actually lose by eating MORE fat and cutting carbs out. The satiating effects of a high fat low carb diet will make losing weight effortless. Reduced inflammation – Inflammation has been linked to several diseases as well as an overall shitty feeling. Say goodbye to that bloated feeling after eating a ton of carbs. Preservation of lean muscle mass – Ketones have been shown to help preserve lean muscle mass even when protein is lower than on a high-carb diet. Significant decrease in anxiety and depression – Research has shown that being in ketosis produces more GABA in your brain which is the neurotransmitter responsible for helping you “chill”. Ketone bodies have also been shown to stabilize other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine further controlling your mood. Increases testosterone- You won’t be surprised if you feel all around more aggressive. For Continue reading >>
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 and imbalanced electrolyte adjustments that are along for the ride. Regardless, this buzz term is in the general consciousness now so we might as well keep using it for now. Before diving into the details, keep in mind that the following four books should teach you nearly everything you need to know about low carb and ketogenic diets, including how to handle the keto flu. The rest of the relevant science is dispersed amongst hundreds if not thousands of papers only a search away on PubMed. If you want to ask questions about it or be part of our community please visit Ask BreakNutrition. Sympto Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diets For Psychiatric Disorders: A New 2017 Review
If you have a brain, you need to know about ketogenic diets. The fact that these specially-formulated low-carbohydrate diets have the power to stop seizures in their tracks is concrete evidence that food has a tremendous impact on brain chemistry and should inspire curiosity about how they work. I first became interested in ketogenic diets as a potential treatment for bipolar mood disorders, given the many similarities between epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Ketogenic diets have been around for about 100 years, and have proved to be invaluable tools in the treatment of stubborn neurological conditions, most notably epilepsy. They have also shown promise in the management of other brain-based disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic headaches, as well as in metabolic disorders like obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But where does the science currently stand on the ketogenic diet and psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s Disease? How many human studies do we have, and what do they tell us? If you are struggling with mood, attention, or memory problems, should you try a ketogenic diet? If you are a clinician, should you recommend a ketogenic diet to your patients? A recent review article “The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry” by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia [Bostock et al 2017 Front Psychiatry 20(8)] brings us nicely up to date on all things ketogenic and mental health. I summarize the paper below and offer some thoughts and suggestions of my own. [Full disclosure: I am a psychiatrist who studies nutrition and eats a ketogenic diet.] First, some basics for those of you who are unfamiliar with these special diets. Definition Continue reading >>
If you have recently started a an All-Meat diet and you find yourself “lion” around – or wanting to – more than normal, rest assured that nothing is wrong. Switching from a diet high in plant foods to one low in or completely devoid of plant foods requires the body to shift metabolic gears. Many people who go on a high fat low carbohydrate ketogenic diet often experience a constellation of unpleasant symptoms which have come to be known as the “keto flu.” People who adopt an All-Meat diet, often experience a similar phenomenon, even if they have already become “keto-adapted” by eating a low-to-very low carbohydrate diet. Why this is remains a bit of a mystery, but it seem that some people are extremely sensitive to carbohydrates, or something in plant foods, and when they stop eating them altogether, they experience the “keto flu” all over again. This is not true for every one, of course, but it happens often enough that it is worth mentioning. More than likely, many people are actually addicted to some of these plant foods (or other non-food keto-friendly substances such as artificial sweeteners), and – as long as they continue to ingest even small quantities of them – they avoid experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal from these foods or chemicals. There are other reasons besides addiction for some of the symptoms people experience when first embarking on a low-to-no carbohydrate diet. These symptoms are more a result of the changes in fluid and electrolyte balance. Carbohydrates cause the cells to retain fluid, so when you abruptly reduce or eliminate them, the cells begin to release the excess water. A side effect of this process is the concomitant flushing of electrolytes from the body. It takes the kidneys a little while to re-or Continue reading >>
8 Low-carb Conundrums
Thinking of making the switch to low carb? Here's the lowdown on eight low-carb diet side effects. The good news? They're temporary. Low-carb diets are known to burn serious blubber. Many followers of the low-carb life experience quick fat loss, lower hunger levels, and stable energy. Since low-carb lovers cut out most "cheat" foods, like donuts and candy, they also have a fairly easy time controlling total caloric intake. Sounds like fat-loss paradise, right? As those who have undergone the "low-carb switch" can attest, the early fat loss often comes at a price. The first few days or weeks of low-carb living can be a bear, physically and mentally. As your brain and body struggle to adapt to post-glycogen life, you might be downright miserable. Don't pound a Mountain Dew in despair—the misery is often temporary. Before you pay thousands to have that "ketogenic 4 life" tattoo removed, check out this list of common short-term side effects that accompany the switch to low-carb. You won't necessarily suffer from them all, but knowing the signs can help you prepare. The first major side effect that you'll likely experience—usually about 2-3 days into your low-carb "induction"—is a mental lethargy often called "brain fog." You may find yourself staring at the wall for extended periods of time, feeling half-drunk, and unproductive at work. What gives? The primary reason this occurs is because your brain, if given the opportunity, will run almost entirely on glucose. Once your body makes the switch from burning carbs to burning fat, your brain will begin to use ketones as fuel—but not until you've burned up your body's glycogen stores. This is why people often go super-low carb at first: To use up that dwindling glycogen as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you are Continue reading >>
Keto Flu A-z: Causes, Symptoms & How To Get Over It For Good!
Keto flu: the ugly side of Ketogenic diet. Most people suffering from keto flu symptoms say things like “It feels like death”. Are you one of them? Well, rest assured knowing you’re not alone. But guess what? Keto flu is not actual flu, yeah the symptoms are pretty similar if not worse but it’s not the one caused by any flu viruses. It’s more like the side effects of Ketogenic diet. And guess what? Had you done some deep research prior to starting your keto diet, you could have avoided it by at least 80%. But it’s not too late. Once you finish reading this article, you will have a better idea of what causes Keto flu and how to get rid of it for good. What is Keto Flu? As far as medical research is concerned, the term ‘keto flu’ does not exist. BUT, it’s real. As mentioned before, It’s not real flu but some of the symptoms of keto flu are pretty similar to normal flu and that’s probably how it got its name. Before we get started, I just want to remind you that you’re not alone. The majority of people on the ketogenic diet go through keto flu at some point. You will feel crap, you will feel like it’s never going to go away and you’ll feel like giving up, but DON’T. Once your body gets adapted to ketosis, you will feel 100 times better and it will all be worth it. What are the signs and symptoms of Keto Flu? You may experience some or all of these symptoms. Headache Nausea: Remember, it will only get worse if you avoid eating. If you’re not feeling hungry because you feel nauseous and exhausted, remind yourself you must eat to get better. Dizziness Exhaustion Brain fog: Feeling like you can’t recall simple stuff or focus on your day to day activities properly? Do you feel like you can’t concentrate on a single thing? Lethargic Cravings F Continue reading >>
Is A Low-carb Diet Ruining Your Health?
I am adding some research gathered from other posts on this site regarding Candida, as I suspect it will help people whose Candida infections are getting worse, or are not improving, while on a low carb diet. As Jeff Leach has pointed out, when people switch to very low carb diets their fermentation drops considerably — which means that there is less acid being produced as Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). Candida is a dimorphic fungus, which means that it can be either benign or pathogenic (extending hyphae). Candida is only hyphal when it gut pH is extremely acidic (somewhat rare, but can happen with gut diseases like ulcerative colitis) or too alkaline (which happens from not eating enough resistant starches and fibers). If you read through the half dozen studies in that link, you’ll see that Candida has a number of growth genes that are sensitive to pH. These hyphal growth genes switch on when gut pH is too high or too low. In other words, Candida is benign when gut pH is normal. It’s the SCFAs from our fiber and RS fermentation that keep our guts slightly acidic. And it’s no coincidence that acids like acetate or caprylic acid are well known to inactivate candida. Virtually any acid would inactivate candida and it’s the SCFAs from our own gut bugs that do a particularly good job. So, people on very low carb diets have guts that aren’t fermenting and are therefore too alkaline, which as we can see from above promotes candida overgrowth. For these people, increasing their safe starch consumption and taking RS will increase SCFA (acid) production, which helps normalize gut pH and switch off the candida growth genes — returning candida to its benign and harmless state. Simultaneously, RS and fibers tends to bloom good bacteria (which also contributes to in Continue reading >>
What Is Keto Flu? (plus 6 Ways To Cure It)
You’re tired and dizzy, you crave sugar, bread, pasta, and your mind wanders like crazy. You just started a ketogenic diet (or a Paleo or other low carb diet) and you’re suspicious if your new diet is making you feeling this crappy. Removing carbohydrates from your diet all of a sudden may well be the reason why you’re barely able to concentrate on this sentence! This can happen even on a Paleo diet if you remove too many carbs from your diet. And all this feeling of crappiness is due to something people call Keto Flu (or Carb Flu). Read on to find out what is keto flu, how long keto flu lasts, and of course, how to cure keto flu. (CARB FLU = KETO FLU) KETO FLU INFOGRAPHIC – please pin! Please feel free to pin and share this infographic about the keto flu. WHAT IS KETO FLU? Keto flu describes the flu-like symptoms that people starting a low-carb diet often experience. These symptoms are caused by your body being too used to receiving carbohydrates from the food you eat and not being able to change your body’s energy source when you stop eating carbs. (If you’re interested in the science, then this article provides a very detailed explanation of why keto flu happens.) Some people explain keto flu as symptoms resulting from withdrawal from carbohydrates (think drug addiction here). And indeed, there are studies showing that sugars (which are a form of carbohydrates) can cause drug-like additions. But don’t panic if you think you have keto flu. I’ve listed several ways to shorten that period of feeling crappy below. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF KETO FLU? If you just started a low carb or ketogenic diet, then you might experience keto flu symptoms like: Fatigue Sugar cravings Dizziness Difficulty focusing (or Brain Fog) Nausea Difficulty Getting To Sleep Irritab Continue reading >>
Keto Flu Symptoms
I have fatigue, drowsiness, a light head and respiratory depression. I’m wondering now if the intense fatigue I had yesterday may also have been from this. They say that when in nutritional ketosis you have energy to burn. That has not been the case the last few days. I’m falling asleep during the day and just feel weird. On top of that, I did this to my glasses after I dropped them on the floor: That was one hour ago, a bummer. Oh well, I really needed to upgrade the prescription anyway. Guess that’s my cue to get it done. So, back to the ketosis flu. I belong to two Dr. Wahls Facebook groups, one is the Dr. Wahls Protocol Group the other is Wahls Paleo Plus – Ketosis. I went to the latter for advice and I received the picture above and a lot of very knowledgeable direction I found very helpful. Points I learned are to make sure I keep my electrolytes up, because they take a hit. I asked what are electrolytes? Answer: Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium are some and are three that take a hit if I am not eating adequately in ketosis. I looked over the sheet and figured this out: Magnesium: Yes – Fatigue No – Dizziness or Muscle Cramps Need dark chocolate, nuts, artichoke, spinach and fish Problem: Not eating enough fish Buy 85% dark chocolate I am taking Magnesium Glycinate Liquid daily for two weeks now Potasium: Yes – Heart Palpitations, Respiratory Depression No – Hypertension, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Skin Problems, Constipation, Depression and Irritability, Muscle Cramps and Weakness Need dark leafy greens, avocado, nuts, salmon, mushrooms Problem: 2000 mg normal, 1000 more on a ketogenic diet Not eating enough greens Eat avocado daily I eat a lot of nuts Eat a lot more Salmon, barely eating any More mushrooms Sodium: 3000 – 5000 mg Decreased insulin and d Continue reading >>
7 Ways To Prevent Keto Flu
7 Ways To Prevent Keto Flu Have you ever started a ketogenic or low-carb diet only to find that you feel sluggish and brain fogged? What happened to the promise of rapid weight loss, mental clarity, and endless energy? Well you may have encountered Keto Flu. This article covers how to identify it and 7 ways to prevent keto flu so you can reap the full benefits of a ketogenic diet. What Is Keto Flu? The experience of keto flu is often discouraging and can lead many people to fall off their nutrition plan completely. Due to a number of physiological changes that occur during the initial stages of a lower-carb diet, some people experience sluggishness, intense cravings, and many other flu-like symptoms. When many people think that maybe their body just doesn’t respond well to a ketogenic diet, there are typically three underlying causes: hypoglycemia, HPA Axis Dysfunction, and electrolyte imbalance. By addressing these three underlying causes, keto flu can be significantly reduced to improve your keto adaptation process and get you on your way to becoming a fat-burning machine! Keto Adaptation Most people beginning a ketogenic diet have been primarily burning sugar for energy their entire lives. When they all of a sudden stop consuming carbs, the body must then relearn how to burn fat for energy. Hypoglycemia occurs because the body quickly burns through stored sugars and hasn’t yet learned to burn fat, leaving you with an energy deficit (don’t worry it is temporary!) HPA Axis Dysfunction occurs because sudden drops in blood sugar will tend to promote cortisol release (cortisol raises blood sugar). If this happens too much, then your stress response can become dysregulated and stable blood sugar becomes harder to attain. Electrolyte Imbalance occurs due to a drop in Continue reading >>
The Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet
Who should go on a low-carb diet? Low-carbohydrate diets — like the ketogenic diet — are effective for weight loss and improving health. They are also especially helpful for anyone who: Is overweight or obese Is sedentary Has epilepsy Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or endometriosis Is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes Has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Has certain forms of cancer Has cardiovascular disease A typical low-carb diet limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to between 60 and 130 grams, while a ketogenic diet tends to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates. This is done by excluding or limiting most grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables from the diet and replacing them with added fats, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When we eat in this way, our bodies begin to change dramatically — especially for those who habitually eat plenty of carbohydrates with each meal. Not all of these changes, however, are going to be positive. When carbohydrates are restricted, it is stressful for the body because it must find another way to fuel itself. This can cause side effects, like nausea and headaches, that is commonly called the “keto flu”. The lack of carbohydrates will also lead to fluid and mineral loss and hormonal changes that can cause health issues if not addressed. The Most Common Side Effects The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are: Headache Bad breath Weakness Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer (up to two years), no side effects or co Continue reading >>
Ketosis For Depression
Depression is so common these days that it seems hard to meet anyone who hasn’t experienced it in some degree. While this has perhaps become the new normal, it doesn’t need to be. Our eating choices not only affect our physical health but our mental health as well—so if you’ve been wondering whether the ketogenic diet can positively impact your emotional state, read on for the use of ketosis for depression. Diet and Depression It’s no secret that most people are overworked, under-rested, and living on a poor diet. It’s also no coincidence that the modern advice to eat a diet high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and with constant snacking or small meals throughout the day has coincided with a rise in diabetes, obesity, and mental issues like anxiety and depression. Let’s take a look at why this difference in diet could be causing these problems—and how ketosis and a ketogenic diet can help. Ketogenic Nutrition and Depression Most of us can agree that a high intake of sugar has a negative impact on mood. Just think of the sugar highs and crashes that result from eating high-carb foods. What follows is feelings of crankiness, low-energy, and maybe even depression. Now, think about how a steady intake of fats from a ketogenic diet could have a positive impact on mood and endorphin levels. Many people who start eating keto have come from a background of eating the Standard American Diet and not exercising enough. Starting a ketogenic diet, removing high-carb refined foods, losing weight, and eating whole foods is bound to help with mood and make you happier. This alone could have benefits for those with depression. In addition, there are some interesting links between ketones and many conditions of the brain similar to depression, including epilepsy and Alzheim Continue reading >>
Keep Yourself In Ketosis
When talking about a Grain Brain lifestyle, and the very similar ketogenic diet, it’s frequently mentioned that we are aiming to keep our bodies in ketosis. However, if you’re new to my work, it may be that you’re not exactly sure what ketosis is, or why we should be worrying about getting our body into this state. Allow me to explain. Ketones are a special type of fat that can stimulate the pathways that enhance the growth of new neural networks in the brain. A ketogenic diet is one that is high in fats, and this diet has been a tool of researchers for years, used notably in a 2005 study on Parkinson’s patients finding an improvement in symptoms after just 28 days. The improvements were on par with those made possible via medication and brain surgery. Other research has shown the ketogenic diet to be remarkably effective in treating some forms of epilepsy, and even brain tumors. Ketones do more than just that though. They increase glutathione, a powerful, brain-protective antioxidant. Ketones facilitate the production of mitochondria, one of the most important actors in the coordinated production that is the human body. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our bodies are said to enter ketosis at the point when blood sugar levels are low and liver glycogen are no longer available to produce glucose as a fuel for cellular energy production. At this point, not only is the body doing the natural thing, and burning off fat, it’s also powering up the brain with a super efficient fuel. We can jump start ourselves into ketosis with a brief fast, allowing our body to quickly burn through the carbs that are in our system, and turn to fat for fuel. A ketogenic diet is one that derives around 80% or more of of its calories from fat, and the rest from carbs and prote Continue reading >>