Keto flu is a disease that has nothing to do with the viral flu. It is the body’s natural response to limiting the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet. Due to a lack of carbohydrates, the keto flu appears. So what are its symptoms and how to cure it?
What is the keto flu?
Another name for the keto flu is the carbohydrate flu. It is one of the stages of adaptation of the body to a sudden change in the menu. It is not possible to infect another person with the keto flu because it is not a virus or an infection. The severity of symptoms and the duration of adaptation depend on metabolic flexibility, the availability of additional training and the measures taken.
Causes of keto flu
The main principle of a keto diet is to switch to a new source of energy. One tries to replace glucose with ketones, which are formed during the breakdown of fat stores. At first, the body poorly manages the production of these compounds because it is used to sugars. When glucose runs out and ketones still aren’t enough to meet all of your needs, there’s a lack of energy. It causes keto flu symptoms.
Symptoms of the keto flu
With a lack of energy, the following symptoms are observed:
- Severe weakness. Some people find it difficult to get out of bed.
- Headache. The intensity is most often moderate. Dizziness is sometimes observed, with a rapid transition to a diet, fainting is possible.
- Bad mood. A person becomes irritable, loses motivation for something. Disruption is possible at this point.
- Nausea and vomiting. Rarely observed.
- Muscle cramps. Sometimes painful cramps occur.
- Confusion. It becomes difficult to concentrate on a task. Labor productivity declines, so the transition to a keto diet correlates better with vacations.
- Craving sugar and carbohydrates. Often people say that there is a strong desire to eat something sweet. If a person succumbs, there is a feeling of guilt, which worsens the bad mood and increases cravings.
The main difference between the keto flu and the standard flu is the absence of fever. Sometimes, due to the weakness, there is a slight decrease. With a carbohydrate deficiency, there is never a cough, runny nose, sneezing, or other symptoms of infection. When they appear, it is necessary to consult a doctor and slow down the transition to a new nutritional system, since the body will need strength to fight pathogens.
The duration of symptoms depends on the person’s metabolic flexibility, their initial diet, and the rate of transition to a new diet. On average, the ketosis flu lasts from 3 days to 2 weeks. In some people, the transition is smooth without severe symptoms.
How to treat the keto flu?
If you have not been able to avoid this well-being deterioration, the following recommendations will help alleviate the condition.
Don’t limit yourself to food
Many people mistakenly believe that strict nutritional restrictions will speed up the adjustment process and weight loss. Some people suffer from severe hunger, while others experience bad mood, nausea, headache, and their appetite disappears. Both extremes are dangerous: due to a calorie deficiency, this weakness will intensify, the body will be less willing to break down fat, because it needs reserves. It will become more difficult to do physical activities, the desire to train will disappear, and psychological discomfort will manifest itself.
In the first few weeks, you don’t need to pay much attention to the energy value of foods. The main task is to switch to the new menu as comfortably as possible. Constant thoughts of food, guilt, and limitations will only make your flu symptoms worse. If you are hungry, eat an extra portion.
When the body switches to the use of ketones, it will receive a reserve source of energy, which will lead to decreased appetite. The portions will be reduced without additional effort. However, try not to overeat.
Eat a lot of fats and carbohydrates.
Most often, in order to eliminate the symptoms, it is enough to increase the intake of liquid and salt; but if it doesn’t work, you need to increase the proportion of fats and carbohydrates in your ketosis diet. Due to the transition to ketones, the body thinks it is starving. As a result, there is a strong feeling of hunger and fatigue, sometimes despair appears, self-preservation instincts ignite. To achieve balance, you need to consume such an amount of fat with food, after which there will be a feeling of fullness. You should have enough energy for several hours.
When the ketogenic flu symptoms go away, you can reduce the amount of fat. You must do it gradually. After adjusting the body, you need to find a balance in which you can balance between feeling full and hungry.
The proportion of carbohydrates increases in extreme cases, if salt water and fats do not fight the flu. With unbearable weakness, you should switch to a light version of the diet. It allows you to consume up to 50 g of carbohydrates per day. This will slow down the transition to ketones and weight loss, but even with this diet the weight should start to drop. General healing of the body will occur due to the rejection of cooked meals and sugar. After getting used to the lean version, you can try slowly switching to the classic strict keto diet again.
Consume more salt and water
During the transition, the body intensely secretes salt and gets rid of water. This contributes to the onset of symptoms. Treating this the deficiency will partially or completely eliminate the symptoms of influenza. During the first few weeks, whenever you feel weak, dissolve 0.5 tsp of salt in a glass of water and drink. After 15-30 minutes, the symptoms will start to subside. You should consume at least 2 glasses per day. Furthermore, you can absolutely replace water with broth, and salt with salted butter.
Try to drink as much fluids as possible throughout the day. It can be not only water, but tea or broth. The optimum volume is calculated individually. If the body mass index is 18.5 – 25 and the weight is within normal limits, you should drink at least 3 liters of water per day.
The higher the body weight, the higher the bar will be. Drinking water will also help cope with constipation, which often occurs in the early stages of the transition. After the first week, you can gradually reduce the amount of fluid to 2 – 2.5 liters.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep leads to an increase in cortisol levels in the blood. This is a stress hormone that makes the condition worse with keto flu. This increases the likelihood of a failure. To avoid this, try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day. Pay attention to the quality of sleep: you should avoid sudden awakenings, heat in the room and sources of noise or light. People with processing disorders have the option of using melatonin. It will help improve the quality of sleep, reduce the number of nocturnal awakenings and speed up the process of falling asleep.
Don’t overdo training
Followers of the ketogenic diet note that they have increased overall energy and stamina. Beginners, following their example, try to speed up the process of adaptation and weight loss through exhausting workouts. This worsens your well-being and slows down addiction because the body does not yet have enough energy to exercise. Overwork is fraught with exhaustion and stress.
Dr Steve Finney conducted experiments and proved that the first week after the transition, physical performance is reduced even in professional athletes. It is only restored after a month.
At the same time, small exercises will help keep you in shape. Permitted loads cause the release of happiness hormones, which facilitates tolerance to restrictions. Thus, you should prefer light yoga and walking.
For whom a ketogenic diet is contraindicated?
Strict contraindications apply for people with the following diseases and conditions:
- Porphyria. It is a pigment exchange disorder. Most often, the disease is inherited. Due to the pathology, photodermatosis, gastrointestinal and mental disorders, as well as hemolytic crises occur. An increased level of excretion of porphyrins in feces and urine is charateristic of the disease. The skin of the patients turns scarlet and clears up. When exposed to the sun, it bursts; scarring and ulcers occur.
- Pyruvate carboxylase deficiency. The patient inherits it. There are 3 types: A, B and C. The first is characterized by slow development and high levels of lactic acid in the blood. Doctors detect Type B immediately after birth. It is accompanied by deviations incompatible with life. Type C is the less critical variety. It is characterized by a slight increase in the level of lactic acid.
- Defects in the oxidation of fats. The patients inherit it. Due to metabolic disturbances, other organs stop functioning. Damage to the liver, heart and central nervous system occurs.
With caution, they switch to a diet for diabetes. This is due to the increased content of ketones in the blood. After changing the menu, their number additionally increases, which can cause ketoacidosis. Before switching to a keto diet, you need to get permission from your doctor. He or she will establish a program and ensure the well-being of the patient. It is advisable to take regular tests.
It is unwise to drastically change the menu during pregnancy and lactation. This can only be the case if the pregnant woman has already eaten low carbohydrate foods. The transition is carried out under the supervision of a doctor or a capable dietician and adjusts the diet so that mom receives enough vitamins and minerals.
With caution, change the menu for chronic kidney and liver disease. It is advisable to follow a diet under the supervision of a doctor. It is necessary to postpone the reduction of the carbs portions in the menu when taking medication.