Is Carb Flu Normal?
I often get this question from people who are new to a healthy way of living and are experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms. Especially if you are switching from a conventional low-fat, high grain diet, you might be noticing that you are tired and have some uncomfortable symptoms like headache, fatigue, achy muscles or brain fog. Don’t worry… you don’t have the flu… at least not the viral one! This discomfort during the transition phase is often called “carb flu” and should pass in about a week or so. The good news is that you’ll feel much better on the other side and once you start to feel better, all the symptoms go away almost instantly. The bad news is that there isn’t too terribly much you can do make it go faster. The other bad news (I’m not sounding very positive today, am I?) is that there are things you can do that will make the carb flu worse! Cheating, even a little, at this point will make the fatigue and headache better temporarily, but will make the symptoms worse. It is completely normal to experience these symptoms as your body switches from burning glucose to being able to use fat and protein instead. As Mark Sisson explains: If your body is used to employing easy glucose carbs and now must create glucose from fats and protein (a slightly more complex but entirely natural mode of operation), it can take some time to get up to speed. Rest assured that our bodies can and are doing the job. It simply takes time to work efficiently. The transition actually shifts metabolic related gene expression, increasing fat oxidation pathways and decreasing fat storage pathways. (That’s nothing to shake a stick at!) Within a few weeks, the body should be fairly efficient at converting protein and fat for the liver’s glycogen stores, which provid Continue reading >>
Quick Guide To Keto-flu Remedies
Hi Everybody, Together with out talented designer Ola, we created yet another infographic for you. It explains what keto-flu is, who may experience it and how to lessen the common symptoms like headaches or muscle cramps. I've had keto-flu myself so I know how bad it can make you feel. Once you give up most carbs, make sure you include foods like avocados (potassium), nuts (magnesium), bone broth or sauerkraut (sodium) in your diet. If you want to learn more, have a look at my post here: "Keto-flu" and Sufficient Intake of Electrolytes Please, feel free to pin it and share it with your friends. You can find the Carbs vs Fat infographic here. Have any comments? Let us know! :-) Do you like this post? Share it with your friends! I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food. Continue reading >>
Why Ketones (and Ketosis) Can Cause Stomach Pain
This is not a “feel-good” post. We are going to talk about some of the not-so-pleasant side effects of transitioning into ketosis, especially looking at why ketones (and transitioning to ketosis, in general) can cause stomach pain. We will also talk about what you can do to solve the issues. Some are practical solutions; others have to do with summoning the mental strength to just deal with a little discomfort to get the rewards and results you want. If Captain Jack Sparrow were doing the ketogenic diet, he would probably say. “The stomach pain is not the problem… it’s your attitude about the stomach pain which is the problem.” I’ve been there too. The first time I ever tried exogenous ketones, I was about 16 hours removed from carbohydrates (In-N-Out burger) and I was feeling awful. I thought Perfect Keto would make it all better. I took a heaping scoop of Peaches and Cream and waited 30 minutes. The results? Significant stomach issues, to put it kindly. I thought surely these ketones are bad and I quit my attempt to “go keto” on the spot. Why Ketosis Causes Stomach Pain The short answer is dehydration. The process of keto-adaptation is going to dehydrate us. Remember that one purpose of taking exogenous ketones is to speed up keto-adaptation. This means taking ketones will also speed up the side-effects of keto-adaptation. Why Does Ketosis Dehydrate? Transitioning to keto means we are moving from using glycogen and carbs to using fat and ketones. There are two reasons this dehydrates us. 1) One of the main inefficiencies with glycogen and carbs is that it must be stored with water. It takes 4 grams of water to store a gram of glycogen. As you run through your glycogen you will lose tons of water (not literally tons but you get the point). 2) High Continue reading >>
Is Ketosis Safe And Does It Have Side Effects?
Some people think that ketosis is extremely dangerous. However, they might be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is completely different. While ketoacidosis is a serious condition caused by uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a natural metabolic state. In fact, ketosis and ketogenic diets have been studied extensively and shown to have major benefits for weight loss (1, 2). Ketogenic diets have also been shown to have therapeutic effects in epilepsy, type 2 diabetes and several other chronic conditions (3, 4, 5, 6). Ketosis is generally considered to be safe for most people. However, it may lead to a few side effects, especially in the beginning. First, it's necessary to understand what ketosis is. Ketosis is a natural part of metabolism. It happens either when carbohydrate intake is very low (such as on a ketogenic diet), or when you haven't eaten for a long time. Both of these lead to reduced insulin levels, which causes a lot of fat to be released from your fat cells. When this happens, the liver gets flooded with fat, which turns a large part of it into ketones. During ketosis, many parts of your body are burning ketones for energy instead of carbs. This includes a large part of the brain. However, this doesn't happen instantly. It takes your body and brain some time to "adapt" to burning fat and ketones instead of carbs. During this adaptation phase, you may experience some temporary side effects. These are generally referred to as the "low-carb flu" or "keto flu." In ketosis, parts of the body and brain use ketones for fuel instead of carbs. It can take some time for your body to adapt to this. In the beginning of ketosis, you may experience a range of negative symptoms. They are often referred to as "low-carb flu" or "keto flu" because they resemble symptom Continue reading >>
What Is Keto-flu??
Sustained, long-term ketosis can have side effects in some individuals, but these are usually easily managed and are most common during the first few months, when the individual is gradually becoming keto-adapted. Most of the problems people have with the ketogenic diet are experienced early on and can usually be remedied by proper hydration and mineral supplementation. – Dr. Dominic D’Agostino (research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition) As you transition from burning glucose for energy to producing ketones, you may experience a “cross-over” point that brings some undesirable side effects. This phase is often referred to as “keto-flu” and it is temporary. As glucose levels dip, you may experience constipation, carb cravings, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea and gas, disrupted sleep, bad breath, increased urination, and mental fogginess. It’s important to realize that you may or may not experience any of these, but even if you do, it’s normal and likely won’t last more than a week or two. If these symptoms persist longer than a few weeks, you may have never reached nutritional ketosis and you’re stuck in purgatory between being a sugar-burner and a fat-burner. Adjust your diet accordingly to ensure you reach ketosis as quickly as possible. The ketogenic diet improves your insulin sensitivity. Thus, insulin levels will drop quickly without the reintroduction of carbohydrates and your kidneys will begin to dump excess fluids. Combine this with the fact that glycogen stores excess water, so the removal of said glycogen results in a decline in water weight. The result is the need to urinate….a lot. It’s important to realize that you need to increase sodium intake to compensate for the extreme loss of sodium as you excrete th 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 >>
Remedies For Keto Flu Sore Throat
My throat started hurting a couple days ago. Until today, I considered a sore throat as a sign of success. I’ve gone through keto induction four times. Every single time I’ve gotten a rotten, awful sore throat. It’s pretty much like, “oh! my throat hurts! must be in ketosis!” Pee on a keto stick. Confirmed. But it still hurts like hell, and today I connected the dots and realized that it’s a symptom of a bigger keto problem. Searching through the internets will give you a bunch of people who will ask “does keto give you a sore throar?” Followed by a bunch of keto-ers and low-carbers who will tell you going on keto won’t give you a sore throat, and neither will keto flu. I can’t blame them, they’re just speaking from their personal experience. But they’re a little wrong, and that’s the puzzle piece I figured out today. A keto diet naturally lowers your pH, which can do a whole host of bad things to your body. Last year I went to a natural health clinic where they tested my blood and pH. This was about a month after being in ketosis. One major red flag that came up was my pH. My pH was around 6 when it’s supposed to be between 6.4 and 7.4, ideally closer to the 7.4. In fact, they say Cancer dies at a pH of 8. A pH of 6 might not look far off, but it is. A reading of 5.5 is acidosis. Guess what one of the side effects of having a pH around 6? Oh you know, just a SORE THROAT, amongst lots of other issues, like being a magnet for infection and sickness. Did you know that when your pH is low, you also absorb 20% less oxygen, too? So regardless of whether your sore throat comes from your low pH balance directly, or because you got sick based on your low pH balance – this is something to watch. It’s not healthy, in fact I think eating bread and s Continue reading >>
Keto-flu: Cheating On Keto Will Give You A Bad Time
“Keto flu” is very common state during induction phase of Ketosis. This state is also followed by dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, or muscle cramps. Ketogenic life is real science, but don’t let loose yourself in a whole bunch of numbers. This article is very important for beginners, because they often have higher goals than experience. For some keto beginner’s, “Keto-flu” can be a real challenge for continuing or stopping with keto diet. Normalize your blood pressure People who ends up on Keto diet automatically ends up with cutting a lot of processed food rich with sodium. Reduced intake of carbs causing proper leveling of blood sugar, for that reason our body doesn’t need to elevate levels of insulin to stabilize blood sugar. The final effect is, low blood pressure In normal conditions our kidneys tend to store high levels of sodium. But on low insulin levels, kidneys change their behavior. There are a lot of hormonal activities which the kidneys put in diuretic type mode. In this mode kidneys release stored levels of sodium, potassium, and water through the urine. The major function of the salt is maintaining blood pressure, but if you do not replace your daily needs of salt as a side effect you can feel dizziness, fatigue, or weakness. For that reason introduce salt and fluids in your diet. Fluids are essential part for right leveling blood pressure. There are certainly kind of beverages that are carb-free or very low in carbs. Check out a few ideas in the link below (Premium Collection of Keto Beverages) Another easy way to overcome this state is preparing (Natural Sugar-free Ketogenic Electrolyte Drink). This drink refuels your daily needs for sodium, magnesium and potassium. Prevent nausea and diarrhea Some people have bad experience with Keto-flu foll Continue reading >>
Those of us who have done low-carb for years are happy to sing the praises of the low-carb lifestyle--decreased weight and increased energy, plus improvements in blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL and blood glucose numbers. But in much the same way that the joy of having a new baby diminishes our memory of the pain of childbirth, we find it easy to forget that one of the aspects of low-carbing is very hard. It's called Induction flu, or Atkins flu. On the Standard American Diet (very aptly named the SAD diet) we are used to eating low fat, moderate protein and high carbohydrate. Our body's primary source of energy comes from the burning of hundreds of grams of carbohydrates we consume every day. When we change from a SAD diet to a low-carb diet, we abruptly remove the macronutrient that has provided most of our energy. Eventually our energy will come from the fat we eat, but in the meantime our bodies have a huge transition to make. Every nucleated cell in our body contains 46 chromosomes with over 3 billion base pairs of DNA. In that DNA is the information needed to make the enzymes required for us to metabolize both carbohydrates and fats into energy. Although the information is there, it is not translated into enzymes unless those enzymes are actually needed. A person eating a SAD diet will have all the enzymes he or she needs to convert carbohydrates into energy, but very few of the enzymes needed to convert fat into energy. Typically a low-carb diet is begun at a level of 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrate a day. Suddenly the carbohydrate conversion enzymes no longer have a substrate. They initiate Plan B, which is to utilize the glycogen stored in the liver and muscle tissue. Glycogen is converted to glucose, which is converted to energy. After about a day, glycogen i 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 >>
Low-carb Diets & Muscle Aches In The Legs
Low-carbohydrate diets can lead to weight loss, but they are not without risk. If you cut your carb intake too low or you eliminate certain food choices completely, you may find yourself struggling with muscle aches, pains or cramps. Tweaking your diet to address the reasons behind aching and cramping can help. However, if your muscle aches become concerning or do not subside over time, contact your doctor. Video of the Day If you are very active, your muscle aches may be occurring due to a lack of carbs. Your body stores carbs in the muscles in the form of glycogen, which is used during exercise for energy production along with stored fat. The proportion of fat and carbs used for fuel during exercise varies depending on the intensity. Higher-intensity exercises, like interval training, rely more heavily on stored glycogen. If you are not eating enough carbs to give your muscles the energy they need, you will likely struggle through your workout routine and end up with sore, achy muscles in the following days. The only two fixes for this problem are to increase the amount of carbs you eat each day or to reduce the intensity of your workouts. Initial Dehydration The initial weight loss in low-carb diets is mostly water weight, as carbs are stored in the muscles with molecules of water. A significant reduction in carb intake and concurrent weight loss may result in mild dehydration. Some researchers believe dehydration may play a role in muscle aches and cramps. To address this issue, stay well hydrated every day. The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink approximately 3 liters and women approximately 2.2 liters of fluid per day for optimal hydration. Lack of Potassium If your muscle ache occurs as a cramping sensation, then the problem could be a lack of potassium. Continue reading >>
Keto Flu: An In-depth Guide To Beating It
When starting a ketogenic diet, some people experience initial side effects from carbohydrate restriction known as ‘keto flu.’ These symptoms can have some mild and potentially severe effects on the body. While the condition is popularly known as keto flu, people also commonly refer to it as induction flu, low carb flu, and Atkins flu. This article will explain what it is, why it happens, and the best strategies for avoiding or beating it. What is the Keto Flu? Firstly, it is not the real flu. It just shares the name because it has several of the same symptoms. Coming from a high carbohydrate diet, the body is well-adapted to using glucose for fuel. However, when restricting carbohydrate, the supply of glucose falls before the body has adapted to burning fat for fuel. In other words, your body is in ketosis but not fully keto-adapted. If you are curious about this, you can find out your level of ketosis by using ketone strips. The liver and gall-bladder need time to upregulate the number of fat-burning enzymes to burn larger amounts of fat efficiently. Severely restricting carbohydrate is a massive change to the way the body works and your body needs time to adjust to the metabolic changes. When Does it Start? There is no exact timeframe, but symptoms may appear as quickly as 10-12 hours after starting to restrict carbohydrate. For some people, it might be slightly earlier or later. Of course, there are also people who won’t experience the dreaded keto flu at all. How Long Does it Last? Based on anecdotes, this induction flu lasts somewhere between two days and about two weeks. The worst symptoms appear in the first few days and then taper off. Regarding the intensity of the symptoms, this likely depends on the previous diet, hormonal state, and prior carbohydrate Continue reading >>
Got The Keto Flu? Here’s 7 Easy Ways To Deal With It
Diets can be ideal for shedding weight or kickstarting healthier habits. But, sometimes making significant changes can have a real impact on your body. Among the popular diets around today is a Ketogenic Diet (Keto Diet). A low-carb diet designed to help you lose weight, give you more energy and reduce the amount of acne you might be suffering from. If you’ve started a ketogenic diet recently, perhaps even for the first time, there’s a good chance that you might be feeling a bit tired and lethargic. If you’re curious as to what this is, these are symptoms of a collective experience known as the keto flu. What is the Keto Flu? Essentially, it’s your body’s reaction to dealing with a low-carbohydrate diet. When starting out on the Keto Diet, due to the minimal carbohydrate intake, your body is effectively adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose writes Lilja in a post on Lilja’s Low Carb Food List. Although not everyone will experience the Keto Flu, if you’re used to filling up on foods with carbohydrates it’s likely you will experience symptoms of the Keto Flu. One of the main reasons for this is because carbohydrates (carbs) are like drugs. Besides, who hasn’t been a little addicted to bread and cake? The problem is, when you take them away, your body probably won’t be very happy for the first few days—or even weeks while you’re adapting to it. These carb withdrawal symptoms are not the actual ‘flu,’ but it will certainly feel like it. Just ask the people voicing their discomfort on Twitter. Nobody warned me about keto flu. Nobody. — Lucy (@LucyMuckyKnees) January 15, 2017 Keto flu is the worrrrst — Doug Chipponeri (@dougigem) December 20, 2016 The keto flu phase can last from a few days to a week or even longer. But, rest assured, Continue reading >>
The Keto Flu: Common Keto Diet Side Effects & 6 Feel Better Remedies
Have you ever heard of the keto flu before? Also known as induction flu, you may be experiencing it and not even know! The keto flu can happen when you all of the sudden remove carbs from your diet. The name stems from the ketogenic diet, a very low carb, high fat diet people use to lose weight. In the keto diet, you basically replace your carb intake with fat, and in turn, your body becomes efficient at burning fat for energy. The keto flu is also known as the carb flu or low carb flu (as you can see, it goes by name names), and happens when your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat. Symptoms like nausea, dizziness and drowsiness often occur as your body’s natural reaction to removing carbs from your diet. But don’t fret, it won’t last forever. What is Keto Flu? To dig a little deeper, it’s important to first point out that the keto flu doesn’t affect everyone. If you recently started a low carb diet such as keto and aren’t experiencing any symptoms, you’re one of the lucky ones! And when the flu does hit, it affects every person a little differently. They call it the keto flu because you experience flu-like symptoms when you’re on it. Your body is used to getting carbs from the foods you eat, so when it no longer does, it’s not always able to change your body’s energy source right away. The keto flu may also occur due to electrolyte deficiency. When you switch to a keto diet you’re filling your body with wholesome foods and cutting out processed foods, which can lead to lower electrolytes. People with the keto flu usually feel pretty crappy, and some even say it’s so bad because it’s basically a withdrawal from carbohydrates. And since sugar is a form of carbs, that’s definitely not surprising. If you’re feeling low energy, i Continue reading >>
What Does Lower Back Pain Have In Common With Low Carb Eating?
Strange question, huh? Before you get too excited, I’m not about to tell you that a low carbohydrate diet is a remedy for back pain. Instead, I am going to explain a remarkably parallel experience I’ve had. I never made the connection until this week when a reader asked an unrelated question about lower back pain. The best, worst experience of my life As my third year of medical school was winding down, and I was just about to embark on a bold fourth year curriculum of back-to-back-to-back-to-back surgical sub-internships, I was on top of the world. I was 27 years old, living in Palo Alto, California with my best friends, I had a wonderful girlfriend, I was working hard to prepare for my application to a surgical residency, and I still found time to work out like a wannabe Olympian. What more could I ask for? One sunny, June afternoon I got out of the pool after a good workout and felt a very strange pain in my lower back. After riding my bike a few hundred yards to the weight room, it wasn’t getting better. Actually, it was getting worse. So bad, in fact, I did something I’d never done before – I decided to skip my workout and pedal home. I iced my back, took some ibuprofen, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up only to realize I literally could not get out of bed. After struggling for some time I had to call my roommate to get me out of bed and help me to the bathroom. I called my chief resident and apologized that I would not be able to come in to the hospital that day, and assured him I’d be fine the next day. But I wasn’t. Nor was I fine the day after or the day after. A few days later I managed to limp my way into the hospital for rounds and with the help of the residents and nurses who were kind enough to give me intramuscular injections of a Continue reading >>