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 >>
Keto Flu: Symptoms And Relief
Many people (not everyone!) who start a low carb diet experience what’s called the “keto flu” or the “induction flu” in the first few days while the body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose. What is keto flu? The basic symptoms are: headaches nausea upset stomach Lack of mental clarity (brain fog) sleepiness fatigue It’s called the “keto flu” for a reason: you feel sick. I’ve gone through it, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Fortunately, it only lasted four days (2 of them were pretty bad) but then suddenly I woke up feeling much better, less hungry and my energy level was high and consistent throughout the day! While at one point (or three or four) I thought to myself: “what the serious F am I doing? I’m going to die!” but I plowed through it, and when it was over I didn’t regret a thing because what I gained mentally and physically was 100% worth it. Keto and autoimmune disorders I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Fibromyalgia to top it off. So, I’m no stranger to brain fog and fatigue, but the fatigue and brain fog that comes with keto flu is a little different, and feel much more like having the regular flu. How long will the keto flu last? It depends. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all, but some suffer anywhere from a day to a week. In rare cases up to 15 days. Everybody’s bodies are different, and some people handle switching over better than others. You might consider starting keto on the weekend or sometime when you’re able to get good rest deal with the symptoms. For those of you that are going through the keto 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 r 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 >>
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 >>
"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)*
- Start Infusing Cucumber to Your Daily Water Intake: This Will Burn Fat, Protect the Heart and Prevent Diabetes!
- Proper Magnesium Intake Prevents Heart Diseases, Diabetes and Stroke
Serotonin And The Connection
According to doctors Olfson and Marcus of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons (Department of Psychiatry), "Antidepressants have recently become the most commonly prescribed class of medication in the United States" (August 2009 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry). By far, the most popular of this class of drugs are the SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). To see how these drugs work, go HERE. Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the relationship between OBESITY, DEPRESSION, AND LOSS OF LIBIDO. As typical, I suggested a LOW CARB OR PALEO DIET as part of the solution to this problem. Not surprisingly, I had a few people email me links to the research by Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT who has produced forty years worth of studies on sleep, mood, nutrition, and their relationship to neurotransmitters. He has studies showing that Serotonin (the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter whose lack is thought to be a huge factor in developing Depression), is released due to the ingestion of dietary carbohydrates. His wife is Dr. Judith Wurtman (also of MIT) who has published a book on the topic called The Serotonin Power Diet. As you might imagine, she advocates a higher carb / low fat, lower protein approach to eating in order to boost mood. There are many similar books on the market. We have Potatoes Not Prozac and Natural Prozac by Dr. Joel C. Robertson (he advocates a higher carb approach). But there are also books advocating a low carb approach such as Dr. Michael J. Norden's (Psychiatrist) Beyond Prozac. What is the truth? Our goal today is to sift the evidence and see what we find. One of the big reasons that I am such an advocate of Paleo-type eating is that it is a highly non-reactive diet (HERE). This is critical for those dealing with things Continue reading >>
Ketosis & Depression
According to the British National Health Service, or NHS, ketosis results when too many ketones build up in your blood. Ketones are chemicals that your body produces as a byproduct of burning fat for fuel. Ketosis is a goal of some very-low-carb diets. Some people may experience increased symptoms of depression during ketosis because their bodies may have a hard time producing the mood-elevating chemical called serotonin. Video of the Day Carbs are your body's fuel of choice. When your body has very little carbohydrate available -- as it would after a week or so on a very-low-carb diet -- it is forced to start breaking down and using fat for energy. This process is called fat metabolism. The byproducts of fat metabolism include ketones, which are acidic chemicals that exit your body through urine and breath. Depressed people typically have a persistent feeling of sadness, worthlessness and emptiness. There are many possible reasons for depression; in some cases, depression results from a lack of the brain chemical serotonin, a compound that makes people feel naturally happy. According to MayoClinic.com, having too little serotonin can disrupt communication between your brain cells, making depression worse. Your body has to make serotonin; you can't get it from the food you eat. MedlinePlus explains that your body uses tryptophan, a type of protein, to make serotonin. You can find tryptophan in protein-rich foods like turkey, eggs and fish -- all foods that are allowed on a low-carb diet. So it would seem that people on low-carb diets should have all the tryptophan they need to make serotonin in excess, but that's not the end of the story. There is a tiny amount of tryptophan available compared to all the other kinds of protein in eggs. Since only so much protein can cro Continue reading >>
The Science Behind The “low Carb Flu”, And How To Regain Your Metabolic Flexibility
Important note!my 2013 AHS presentation “What Is Metabolic Flexibility, And Why Is It Important?” Most of us who eat a low-carbohydrate diet—Paleo, Primal, Atkins, or otherwise—experience anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks of low energy as we adjust to it, an experience known informally as the “low carb flu”. And some people never seem to adjust. Here’s why—and here are some ideas that might help you if you’re having trouble adjusting! Note that low-carb isn’t an objective of a paleo diet: it’s just the usual consequence of eliminating grains and sugars. It’s certainly possible to eat a higher-carb paleo diet—and it’s a good idea if you’re doing frequent, intense workouts like HIIT, Crossfit, or team sports after school—but you’d have to eat a lot of potatoes and bananas to get anywhere near the same amount of carbohydrate you used to get from bread, pasta, cereal, and soda. Burning Food For Energy: Glycolysis and Beta-Oxidation Our bodies have several ways to turn stored or ingested energy into the metabolic energy required to move around and stay alive. This is called cellular respiration. The two main types of cellular respiration are anaerobic (which does not require oxygen) and aerobic (which requires oxygen). Anaerobic metabolism, also known as fermentation, is nineteen times less efficient—and we can only maintain it for short periods, because its waste products build up very quickly. This is why we can’t sprint for long distances. We spend most of our time in aerobic metabolism. Our two primary aerobic sources of energy are glycolysis, which converts glucose to energy, and beta-oxidation, which converts fat to energy. A Short Metabolic Digression Explaining The Above (Optional) Strictly speaking, glycolysis is the Continue reading >>
Does Anyone Else Get Depressed/anxious On Low Carb?
When I was first starting out with Paleo, I tried to it low-carb. Everything seemed to be well, but after about a month and a half, I started getting*very anxious and stressed out*. What ends up happening is your body must break down protein for glucose needs, and it releases a lot of cortisol to make this happen, leaving you feeling anxious, and stressed, which inevitably leads to depression. Do some carb refeeds. Around 250 grams twice or three times a week. Make your first one today. You'll still be "fat-adapted" with infrequent carb refeeds, but you won't suffer from low glycogen stores. I go through phases, during a low-carb streak... At first: I'm tired, a little depressed, a little cloudy, just sort of feeling overall like I'm missing something. I do get a little anxious after the tiredness passes, I feel that I have more energy than I know what to do with; I usually don't sleep more than five hours a night during this phase. This lasts the first couple days. After that: I break through a wall (low-carb flu) and start feeling really, REALLY good. I'm elated, I'm giddy, I'm clearer than I've been in a long time, I feel like I've figured it all out. A fatty meal makes me feel like I'm flying on several illegal substances. Still sleeping five - six hours a night, but could care less because I have energy. I mean I have ENERGY! This lasts another three or four days. At this point I'm seven - ten days in, and I start noticing that I'm snapping at people here and there. Irritability sets in; I'm not seeking trouble per se, but if anyone shows any sign of weakness or stupidity at all around me, I have ZERO patience and I pounce like a starving lion aiming to rip the throat out. If I continue in this phase, I feel like I might lose my job; it requires both patience and t Continue reading >>
Low-carb Side Effects & How To Cure Them
Are you struggling while starting out on a low-carb or keto diet? Do you get headaches, leg cramps, constipation or any of the other more common side effects? Use the information on this page to avoid them – and feel great while losing weight. The main solution to most common problems when starting low carb is to increase the intake of water and salt. It’s even better to do it preventatively during the first week. If you do, you’ll most likely not experience any of these problems, or they’ll only be minor. Use one of the shortcuts below for specific problems – or just continue reading for all of them. Top 6 common problems when starting Less common issues on low carb Low-carb myths Leg cramps Leg cramps are not uncommon when starting a strict low-carb diet. It’s usually a minor issue if it occurs, but it can sometimes be painful. It’s a side effect of the loss of minerals, specifically magnesium, due to increased urination. Here’s how to avoid it: Drink plenty of fluid and get enough salt. This may reduce loss of magnesium and help prevent leg cramps. If needed, supplement with magnesium. Here’s a suggested dosage from the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney: Take 3 slow-release magnesium tablets like Slow-Mag or Mag 64 a day for 20 days, then continue taking 1 tablet a day afterwards. If the steps above are not enough and the problem is bothersome, consider increasing your carb intake somewhat. This should eliminate the problem. The more carbs you eat though, the weaker the impact of the low-carb diet. Bad breath On a strict low-carb diet some people experience a characteristic smell from their breath, a fruity smell that often remind people of nail polish remover. The smell is from acetone, a ket Continue reading >>
What Is Lipolysis And Ketosis?
Ketogenic Diet What Is Lipolysis and Ketosis? The body typically gets its fuel from dietary carbohydrates, which includes foods like rice, bread, pasta, and other grains, along with fruit, sugars, and vegetables. When carbohydrates, specifically starches and sugars enter the body they are broken down into glucose, and used by the body for energy. The hormone insulin then steps in to remove glucose from the bloodstream and the body either uses it for energy or stores any that is unused. Any glucose that is not immediately used as fuel will be sent to the liver and muscles to be stored as glycogen as a fuel reserve, and any unused glycogen in the muscles, such as through exercise or energy expenditure turns to stored body fat. For people with a carb sensitivity or those with insulin resistance it’s a grim outlook that can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes… High carb diet = high glucose in the blood = high insulin = high amounts of body fat. Lipolysis and Ketosis An alternative source of fuel for the body is its own body fat, this process is triggered when the intake of carbs is limited, and their sources controlled, the body enters a state called lipolysis, the most efficient biochemical pathway to weight loss and a scientifically proven alternative to the body using or needing glucose for energy. Lipolysis occurs as the body begins to burn the body’s own fat stores for energy instead of dietary carbohydrates and the by-products of this fat burning process are ketones and so ketosis is the secondary process of lipolysis. When you eliminate carbs, the body is forced to use its fat stores instead, which literally turns into a fat burning machine. Ketones are the byproducts of ketosis and provide fuel for the body. The only true exception to the body not needin Continue reading >>
- Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Nutritional Ketosis
- Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-analysis
- Insulin, glucagon and somatostatin stores in the pancreas of subjects with type-2 diabetes and their lean and obese non-diabetic controls
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 >>
Dear Mark: The Low Carb Flu
Conquering carbs offers a whole constellation of rewards, not the least of which is a steady, brisk energy unlike most people have known before (well, maybe since the whirling age of 10 or so…). People tell me constantly that they can finally make it through the day without being down for the count every midafternoon. They enjoy enough vigor and vitality to weather a whole day’s worth of activity. The busyness of life becomes easier to handle: the energy demands of daily work or business travel, the mayhem and constant commotion of kids, a weekend’s worth of chores and errands, etc. A skipped meal doesn’t suddenly change the agenda to including procuring a bagel or other false pick-me-up. Nonetheless, for some folks, there’s a common, temporary but still bothersome bump in the road on the way to that Primal prize. Though it varies, it often means a couple weeks of mental fuzziness, fog and fatigue. Although your body might be off to the races, your brain can lag behind like a little brother in a stuffed snowsuit. It’s a game of “hey, wait up!” while the body’s mechanisms and metabolism align themselves. They call it “low carb flu,” and rest assured it’s just as temporary. Dear Mark, I just want to know if anyone who has been Primal for some time had any trouble with cognition in the first few weeks. I can hardly think straight, especially after eating, and I am also low on energy. Will this pass??? Besides that, my body feels great!” Thanks to Jessica for her question in response to Matt Garland’s excellent guest post last week. It’s a common subject of emails I receive. First off, I should mention that some folks experience the low carb flu, and others don’t. Overall, those who have been lower carb for some time seem to have fewer proble Continue reading >>
Surviving Wheat Withdrawal
Wheat withdrawal can be unpleasant business. Read the many thousands of comments on this blog describing the physical and emotional turmoil that develops in the first few days of wheat avoidance and you will come to appreciate just how awful it can be. It is important that wheat withdrawal is recognized for what it is, as some people say, “I feel awful. It must mean that I need wheat.” Nope. It is a withdrawal syndrome, a good thing, a transitional phase as your body tries to return to its normal state. Wheat withdrawal has been labeled by different names over the years–“Atkin’s flu,” “Paleo flu,” “keto flu,” “low carb flu,” etc. Because this only happens with the various forms of carbohydrate restriction (there is no corresponding “low-fat flu” or “Ornish flu”), it has often been attributed to the delayed conversion of a glycogen/glucose-dominant metabolism to that of fatty acid oxidation. This is true . . . but only partly. Yes, forcing the conversion from a constant flow of carbs from “healthy whole grains” and sugars to increasing the enzymatic capacity to oxidize fats does indeed cause several weeks of low energy–but how do we explain the depression, nausea, headaches, lightheadedness, dehydration, emotional outbursts, intensive wheat cravings, bloating, constipation, even intensification of joint pain, effects that are not likely attributable to hypoglycemia or poor mobilization of energy? Delayed ramp-up of fatty acid oxidation is indeed part of the reason for the phenomena of wheat withdrawal, but does not explain all of it. Most of these phenomena are caused by withdrawal from the gliadin-derived opiates in wheat, the 4- to 5-amino acid long polypeptides that increase appetite and cause addictive eating behaviors. You can a 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 >>