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

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 >>

No Appetite On Keto? Here’s What To Do…

No Appetite On Keto? Here’s What To Do…

One of the (for me) amazing benefits of eating a ketogenic diet is a dramatic decrease in appetite. For some people, this can be a little scary, though, certainly if you are someone that is used to feeling hungry or wanting to eat a lot of the time. For other people, it is a blessed relief to not be thinking about food all the time! I have noticed that there seems to be 3 distinct phases in the changes of your appetite when you start eating keto. Not everyone experiences this but it does seem to be pretty common. Phase 1 – Increase in hunger If you experience this it is likely to be in the first few days after transitioning to a ketogenic diet. It could be that you seem to be ravenous for carbs – which is simply your brain trying to get you to eat those carbs that it is used to fueling itself on. This is perfectly normal and just a stage that you need to buckle down and get through in order to keto-adapt. Alternatively (or additionally) you may feel like you suddenly can’t get enough of all the fatty goodness you have started eating. I definitely experienced this following a few days of carb cravings. All of a sudden it seemed like I just wanted to eat fatty protein and vegetables with tons of butter every minute of the day! My theory on this is that once you start feeding your body the good stuff, a light switches on in your brain and you kind of go into overdrive. It’s like your brain and body saying ” Oh my goodness yes! This is the stuff!! Give me more!”. If you experience this, just go for it. Don’t try to hold back and restrict your intake. Give yourself permission to feed and nourish yourself as much as you like. in all likelihood, this will only last for 2-3 days. Phase 2 – Dramatic Decrease in Appetite At around 2-3 weeks into your keto diet and Continue reading >>

What Is Keto Flu? (plus 6 Ways To Cure It)

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 >>

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Reactive hypoglycemia is a condition in which the body reacts to a perceived catastrophic drop in blood sugar. I say perceived because during an episode, the blood sugar readings may be in the normal range, but still "feel" like low blood sugar to the person having the reaction. In my experience, hypoglycemia happens to most people when first beginning a low carb, ketogenic diet. It may be especially strong in people who have already developed insulin resistance or pre-diabetes from a chronic excess of carbohydrate intake. There are different types of low blood sugar causes. Transient hypoglycemia normally happens when most people who have been eating a high carb diet drastically reduce carbohydrate intake for the first time. This type happens during the first several weeks of carb reduction because the body has not had time to create the enzymes or metabolic state to burn internal fat stores for fuel. Basically there is a gap in the amount of carbohydrate available for fuel, and the process of accessing fat stores for fuel. The lack of fuel sources results in transient low blood sugar. Reactive hypoglycemia is more of an acute reaction to a very high carb meal. For instance, when a person eats 2 or 3 glazed donuts, there is a huge spike in blood sugar and compensating insulin secretion after such a meal. The large insulin spike drives blood sugar very low several hours after the meal. How Reactive Hypoglycemia Happens Insulin, a hormone, is secreted from the pancreas in response to eating food, especially foods high in carbohydrates. Its main job is to move the sugar your body makes from the food you eat into your cells so that this excess sugar can be broken down for energy or stored. Insulin is a very powerful hormone, and it acts very quickly. The amount of insulin Continue reading >>

What Is Keto Flu & How To Help!

What Is Keto Flu & How To Help!

Symptoms of Keto Flu: Keto flu is the name given to a set of symptoms some people experience when first starting keto. It’s not actually a flu and definitely not contagious, but it can become quite tiring. Keto flu symptoms are very similar to that of your regular flu and can last anywhere from a day to a few weeks! You may experience fatigue headaches cough sniffles irritability nausea Many people who experience these symptoms in the beginning of their ketogenic diet will believe the diet is to blame and carbs are good after all. Ironically, seeing these symptoms is a sign that you were very dependent on carbohydrates! Your body is going through withdrawal from sugar and carby foods. Subscribe for a FREE copy of our 14-Day Keto Meal Plan Withdrawal from Carbs There are studies that have shown sugar has the same effect on our bodies and brains as cocaine and heroine!1 The same areas of the brain are activated when one eats sugar as when one ingests cocaine. In addition, when we eat sugar, our brain sends messages for the release of dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. After some time, the release of dopamine is more or less regulated and less is sent out each time we eat sugar. The absence of large amounts of dopamine triggers our need to want more sugar, to get that same “feel good” feeling back. Coincidentally, drug addiction is exactly that. The brain remembers what made it feel good, even if you don’t- cravings aren’t random. When we stop eating sugar (or carbs altogether) our bodies can go through withdrawal. Many people report irritability and mood swings from the hormone surges, or lack thereof. Our bodies are recalibrating themselves without the influence of heavy factors such as carbs. Readjusting to Fat Headaches and fatigue can come from the sudde Continue reading >>

Cheating And You

Cheating And You

Cheating, or eating hidden carbs, whatever you want to call it. Let’s have a brief talk. What is cheating? Cheating is, in the most simple terms, eating a lot more carbs than you would normally. There’s no hard and fast figure, suffice to say that if you had somewhere in the realm of 50g – 100g you would likely break your ketosis, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It also stands to reason that you would possibly not have to go through unpleasant keto-flu again. How does it happen? Cheating can happen for a number of reasons, but there seem to be two main causes. Emotions Alcohol Comfort eating is something everyone I know does, and I’ll admit to eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s on my own, no problems at all, when feeling down. Though those days are also long gone. You could be stressed, sad, angry, or any number of other things, and may choose to seek comfort in sugary foods. After all, they raise your mood, though it’s only short term. You’ll probably feel down that you’ve stalled your progress or simply eaten foods that aren’t great for your body. You might even drink alcohol for a range of the same reasons, or, as is very often the case, it may be a social event. A birthday, after work drinks, oh how I could go on… One thing’s for sure, too much can and will impair judgement. The last time I cheated was definitely after a few refreshments and I said “Hey, you know what, chocolate is a GREAT IDEA!” But it wasn’t really. You’ll Feel Like a Failure – But that’s OK! The worst part is knowing that you’ve failed, but you must remember that it’s ok to fail, if you don’t, then you’re probably not doing a lot of trying or learning. I recently read some great advice on failing. It stressed one point, and one point only, Continue reading >>

3 Reasons You Might Want To Ditch That Ketogenic Eating Plan

3 Reasons You Might Want To Ditch That Ketogenic Eating Plan

Ketogenic eating might just be the most popular idea in the unconventional health and fitness movement right now. I get dozens of emails a week from people asking for Keto tips and tricks. I’m not convinced that most of these people should be Keto though. It’s been billed as a great way to lose weight, which has attracted a lot of attention, but it’s not all roses, unicorns, and fairy dust. Here’s three reasons why you might want to reconsider your plan to go Keto… 1. Ketogenic eating is obsessive. When I interviewed Jimmy Moore, author of Keto Clarity, this is one of the issues I brought up. Ketosis is notoriously difficult to get into, verify, and sustain without bringing back some of the old, obsessive Dieting strategies that we’ve been working hard to get away from. Tracking macros, monitoring blood glucose, and testing ketone levels are all required steps in the process for most people. This kind of protocol attracts people with disordered eating habits. It’s the perfect blend of effective, obsessive, and new. If you’re trying to get into ketosis for medical reasons, then you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. If you want to get into ketosis because you heard it’s great for weight loss or for some other non-medical reason, it’s too obsessive for my taste. 2. Ketogenic eating probably doesn’t fit your lifestyle. You know me—I’m not a huge fan of cardio or long workouts. I’m bearish on exercise as a modern concept, but I’m bullish on functional fitness and DWYLT. In other words, I want people to do active things they love with a little sprinting and short functional strength workouts thrown in. In order to actually enjoy those things and feel strong and healthy when doing them, you’ll need adequate glycogen. That’s something that Continue reading >>

8 Ways To Blast Through Low-carb Flu And Dive Into Ketosis

8 Ways To Blast Through Low-carb Flu And Dive Into Ketosis

Have you just started a low-carb diet? Do you find yourself feeling exhausted and overcome by tiredness? Perhaps you are thinking that going low-carb wasn’t a good idea after all… You might already know that these symptoms are not uncommon, especially if you are doing low-carb for the first time. Also known as “low carb flu” or “Atkins flu”, this phase is completely normal – although by no means pleasant. This condition occurs when you cut your carb intake sharply, to about 20-30g a day, in order to induce ketosis. What is low-carb flu? Your body is used to running on carbs. It’s been operating this way for decades. Cutting carbs in favour of fat is a huge change for your metabolism. Your body needs some time to adjust to this change. This period of adjustment can sometimes cause flu-like symptoms. Fatigue is the most common one, but you could also get muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness and mental fog. Some of these symptoms are markers of sugar withdrawal. Sugar addiction is real and common, so trying to break away can be difficult. Low-carb flu is not actual flu Please note that “low carb flu” does not include fever or respiratory cold-like symptoms such as coughing or sneezing. If you are experiencing any of these, it means that you might have actually caught an infection! So it would be a good idea to postpone starting your diet until you are all clear. How can you fight tiredness and other symptoms of low-carb flu? First of all, remember that it won’t last forever. Low-carb flu usually lasts around 3-5 days (although could be 1-2 weeks for some unlucky people with high metabolic resistance). Here are some simple tips on making this transition easier. 1) Eat more fat Fat is the key to this whole issue. You must eat lots of it – a lot more th Continue reading >>

Ketosis For Cancer: Week 3—being Sick On A Ketogenic Diet

Ketosis For Cancer: Week 3—being Sick On A Ketogenic Diet

The good, the bad, and the confusing…I am fascinated by this experience and I love this diet, but it continues to leave me with more questions than answers. This week, my biggest challenge was being sick on a ketogenic diet and the associated struggles with maintaining ketosis and energy. Note: this post was originally published on Aug 1, 2013. It was edited to streamline content and improve graphics, then re-posted in June 2016, therefore some older comments may pertain to content that was removed during revision. This post is part of a series describing my attempt to follow Dr. Seyfried’s dietary recommendations for cancer. To start at the beginning, please go to the first post: Seyfried’s Ketogenic Cancer Diet: My Fasting Jump-Start to Ketosis. Notes: Sleep was terrible—slept for 3 hours then wide awake from 1:30 am to 5:00 am, then back to sleep, slept through the alarm. Woke up with mild headache and dry eyes, and felt slightly bloated. Mild cough and sore throat. Not hungry at all in the morning. Day 16 (2/15/13) Notes: Mild headache and dry eyes in the morning. Slightly bloated. Cold symptoms continue. Appetite was nice and low and I was able to work a very full and busy day without any problems other than feeling a little irritable. Sleep horrendous again. Day 17 (2/16/13) Notes: A bit hungry in the morning (stomach growly, slightly lightheaded). Cold symptoms worsening. No dry eyes (no olives yesterday). One hour after eating leg of duck I felt sleepy and achey. I wonder if the meat wasn’t fresh enough (it was one of those vacuum-packed meats with a longer shelf life) or if the protein grams were too many too eat all at once? I checked my blood sugar out of curiosity and it was 84. I napped for 90 minutes. I avoided olives, vinaigrette, bacon, and avo Continue reading >>

Low-carb Side Effects & How To Cure Them

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 >>

Sick Day Management On A Ketogenic Diet

Sick Day Management On A Ketogenic Diet

School is out, flowers are blooming, fireworks are in the air and it couldn’t be a worse time to get sick. Let’s face it, we’ve all had those horrible summer sick days. Throw being on a ketogenic diet into the mix, and the result is far from a “summer break”. KetoVie’s ketogenic dietitian specialists, Rebecca Jennings and Mary Susan Spears, share their tips to help make your sick day more manageable. Rebecca and Mary Susan joined the KetoVie team in order to provide additional resources to our customers. Both are practiced ketogenic dietitians and are always happy to answer any questions you may have about the ketogenic diet! Their biographies and contact information can be found on our website here. While these tips are helpful, they do not replace the necessary communication needed with your keto team to ensure safety. Tip #1. Hydrate. Encourage fluids to avoid dehydration. Aim for at least 1 cup of fluids every hour, more if a fever is present. Use water or calorie free beverage choices. Diluted Powerade Zero can be used as an electrolyte replacement drink. Refer to the Charlie Foundation’s list of Low Carb and Carb-Free Products for more beverage options (Signs of dehydration include decreased urine output, dry eyes and dry lips. Tip #2. Maintain diet if possible. As long as the diet is tolerated, continue the diet as prescribed. If nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are a problem, you can try offering casseroles, soups or ketogenic formula such as KetoVie, so every bite and sip is in the prescribed ratio. You may need to temporarily offer reduced calorie or reduced ratio meals such as broth. Return to the prescribed meal plan as able. Contact your keto team if meals or fluids are not tolerated greater than 24 hours. Tip #3. You may see lower ketones during Continue reading >>

The Dreaded Keto Flu

The Dreaded Keto Flu

For all the excellent benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle, getting there can be a physically rough road. The primary reason for this is what is known as the “keto flu”. Almost everyone who has changed their life to the healthy ketogenic lifestyle has had to deal with the keto flu, and some have had a worse deal than others. Background The keto flu is the common name for the induction phase of ketogenesis. That means it’s the period of time when your body is getting used to the changes you have made to what you eat. When you change what you eat, you change everything about how your body operates and functions. Inside your gut (where close to 70% of your immune system lives) are billions of bacteria, and they are all battling for dominance. If your diet consists of highly refined carbs, the types of bacteria that thrive in your gut (e. coli, h. pylori, candida a, etc.) will be inflammatory and detrimental to your immune system. By changing your diet to be high in fat, those same bacteria die off rapidly, because they don’t have their preferred energy source. This massive bacteria death has consequences. These consequences are typically: Diarrhea Headaches Nausea Lack of mental focus and clarity Fatigue In short: You feel like you have the flu. That’s because, in a way, you do. Your immune system is taking a beating when you make the change, because it has grown accustomed to the way things have been. But once you get through the induction phase, and you start to feel better, your immune system will be several times stronger and more efficient. That’s one of the reason that Ketovangelists don’t get sick (and when they do, it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been). Changing Fuel Sources The best way to think about what you’re doing to your body is to i Continue reading >>

Ketosis Signs & Appetite

Ketosis Signs & Appetite

Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which the body begins breaking down fats, thus releasing carbon fragments known as ketones from the liver. The liver produces ketones as a byproduct of breaking down fatty acids. When your body is in a state of ketosis, your appetite is typically reduced. For this reason, some diets -- such as a low-carbohydrate diet -- aim to trigger a state of ketosis in your body. If too many ketones are released, however, this can have harmful consequences. Video of the Day Having diabetes, not eating or eating a low carbohydrate diet can induce ketosis. This is because ketosis occurs when your body does not have or is not able to use glycogen, which is the body’s stored form of carbohydrate. Because your body does not have glycogen, it switches to its next option: burning fat. This fat releases ketones in the body, inducing a state of ketosis. Because ketones are sweet by nature, one sign of ketosis is fruity-smelling breath. Nausea, fatigue and water and muscle loss are other symptoms. Another sign is an initial boost in appetite, followed by a loss of appetite. This is because when ketosis is induced, this signals the body that it is in a state of starvation. The liver and stomach send signals to the brain that it is starving, and keeps you from feeling satiated. However, over time the body becomes accustomed to its fat burning mode and adapts. Your hunger is then reduced after about a two- to four-week time period. If you are trying to lose weight, inducing a state of ketosis and reducing your appetite can be beneficial. This is because ketosis does not completely reduce your appetite, but instead helps to reduce your cravings for food that can sometimes lead you to overeat. The heart, brain and other muscle tissues “prefer” to burn keto Continue reading >>

Symptoms Of Ketosis:

Symptoms Of Ketosis:

If you are considering the ketogenic diet or have already started down this carb-free road, you may wonder what you can expect. Here’s the thing. Ketosis looks different for everyone, but I will share many of the most common symptoms with you today. If something other than what’s listed here is happening to you, just do a quick Google search for that symptom and keto. You should be able to find what you’re looking for! The Early Signs: The early signs of ketosis vary from person to person. The biggest impact on how quickly you notice the symptoms of ketosis will have a lot to do with how you ate before you started the diet. If your diet was very high carb, you might get hit pretty quickly and furiously with what we like to call the “Keto Flu.” This can last anywhere from 3 days to a week or more. Once your body has adapted to burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, you’ll be golden so don’t give up! Here’s what you can expect within the first 2-3 days of starting the Ketogenic Diet: Fatigue & Weakness (lack of concentration) Headaches Metallic taste or sweet taste in your mouth (I experienced this, and it tasted like blood in my mouth) Lightheaded / Dizzy upon standing Heightened Thirst Hunger / Sweet or Carb Cravings Dry Mouth possibly paired with “Keto Breath.” Stomach Discomfort / Mild Nausea / Cramping Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep (early waking) Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks) Frequent Urination Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up For the ladies: Period issues: You may experience a longer, shorter, earlier, later period because of Keto. Seriously it causes all of that. Each woman is different, and I have experienced every one of those issues with my period since starting ket Continue reading >>

What Can I Eat When I’m Sick?

What Can I Eat When I’m Sick?

Were you doing fine with fresh, whole foods…until the stomach bug going around the office caught up with you? Nobody wants to cook a huge and complicated meal when they’re sick – and even if someone else did the work, it’s not always easy to choke down the real food you know you should be eating. But it’s certainly possible to cook Paleo food for an upset stomach. You don’t have to rely on saltine crackers and Wonderbread to get some nutrition into you, even if you’re feeling under the weather! Before getting into the article, please remember that this is not a substitute for going to the doctor. If you have a serious illness – especially if you’re vomiting or having diarrhea, go see a medical professional to make sure you’re OK. Norovirus is not something to mess around with! But often the doctor will just send you home to recuperate on your own, and that’s where home remedies and Paleo foods come in. Broths and Soups Most dietary recommendations for serious nausea and vomiting start you off with liquids only until your stomach has settled down a little. Even if they didn’t, most people will gravitate towards liquids anyway, as they figure out by trial and error what they can actually keep down. And that’s all without mentioning the comfort value of a warm bowl of broth when you’re feeling miserable and gross. Translating a liquid diet into Paleo is actually pretty easy. Here are some suggestions: Bone broth. This should be the foundation of your “liquids only” phase because of its amazing health benefits. It’s easy to make and full of stomach-soothing proteins like gelatin. And it tastes delicious, too. Seaweed broth. For a slightly different taste, try throwing a piece of seaweed into your bone broth; it makes the broth taste richer Continue reading >>

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