The Ketogenic diet is one that involves cutting out a high amount of carbs in order to allow the body to utilize fat for energy. The more the fat is used up, the more a person loses excess weight. The diet works by utilizing tiny molecules called ketones to produce energy. These ketones are produced in the liver. And besides all the benefits of the Ketogenic diet, almost everyone has to go through a state called Keto flu.
Keto is one of the few regiments which you can genuinely believe in. This is attributed to the fact that people all over the world showcase their results on social media. Just type in the hashtag keto on Instagram and you will find hundreds of photos and accounts dedicated towards the ketogenic lifestyle. Below is all the information you should know about this diet.
Keto Flu Symptoms
The keto flu is actually not the real flu. It is also not contagious. It is a result of the body’s adaptation from burning sugar to burning fat for fuel. Some even call it carbohydrate and sugar withdrawal. This withdrawal causes the negative side effects.
Even though your brain adapts quickly, your other organs need more time to accept the changes in fuel. Within the lowered insulin levels, your body goes into a state of ketosis. The keto flu is caused by a decline in water and sodium levels in the body. Some common keto flu symptoms are:
A person experiences low energy levels because their body was previously dependent on glucose for energy. With the new decrease in glycogen levels, the body has to adapt to using fat as an alternative energy source.
Add fiber and non-starchy vegetables to your diet to prevent constipation.
• A headache
Most of the vital mineral such as potassium and magnesium are being lost in high amounts through urine. Add foods high in potassium and low in carbs to manage these headaches. Drink a mixture of water and Himalayan salt and add spinach to your diet.
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This can be cured by taking activated charcoal and digestive enzyme supplements.
• Heart palpitations
In some people, an increased heart rate is a common side effect. The heartbeat also seems to be beating harder than normal. People should not panic when they notice this. It is a common side effect caused by dehydration and lack of electrolytes.
• Muscle cramps
Muscle cramps mostly occur in the legs. They occur due to the loss of magnesium and can easily be treated by taking magnesium supplements.
• Lack of motivation
A lack of motivation stems from the fact that this diet which was essentially supposed to make you more fit, is making you sicker. It is very common after getting the first symptoms of keto flu and many people throw in the towel at this point. Do not despair, there is hope and the rewards of perseverance is a great one.
The risk of contracting gout while on ketosis is slightly increased.
• Temporary hair loss
A big change in one’s diet can cause temporary hair loss. It normally begins 3 to 6 months after starting the ketogenic diet. It is just a temporary situation and should end within a few weeks, or in some cases months. Only a small percentage of hair will fall off or begin to thin. The hair should grow back soon and regain its thickness and volume.
• Increased cholesterol
Increased cholesterol levels have been documented by a lot of people undergoing ketosis. This reduces their risk of contracting heart diseases such as atherosclerosis.
A few percentages of people have increased cholesterol beyond what is medically termed as normal. It can be due to factors such as the genetic makeup of the individual in question.
A great way to reduce cholesterol levels is by minimizing the intake of coffee or stopping altogether. A person can also minimize their intake of food through methods like intermittent fasting (OMAD). Use of unsaturated fats (olive oil and cod liver oil) for cooking and general use is also a great way to reduce excessive amounts of cholesterol in the body.
• Reduced alcohol tolerance
People on a low carb diet notice a change in how much alcohol it takes to get them intoxicated. A theory suggests that this is due to the liver working to produce ketones and therefore has less capacity to allow burning of alcohol. You should, therefore, be very careful not to overindulge if you are experiencing ketosis.
Other Keto Flu Symptoms are:
• Dry skin and eyes
• Light Nausea and Vomiting
• Poor concentration
• Stomach pain
• Muscle soreness
• Sugar cravings
• Keto Rash
How to Cure Heto Flu?
The keto flu does not always go away on its own. Without properly managing keto flu, you could end up experiencing it indefinitely. Methods one can employ to do away with the flu include:
• Increasing electrolyte intake
There are many electrolyte supplements available over the counter in most countries. If you find this too expensive, you can drink a concoction of salt and water. You can also drink bone broth and small amounts of apple cider vinegar.
Making keto lemonade, (whose recipe you can get online) and at least one teaspoon of sea salt at a day will help with fatigue, and dizziness.
Incorporate electrolyte-rich foods like avocados, nuts, fish, dark green vegetables and fermented vegetables into your diet.
• Increase intake of water
Because a significant amount of water is lost through urination, you need to hydrate regularly to restore the water level in your body. This will help with reducing symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, and heart palpitations. Increased hydration will also significantly help in the treatment of constipation.
• Increase your fat intake
Increase in fat in your diet will help you burn off most fast, therefore reducing keto flu symptoms like brain fog, carbohydrate cravings, and irritability.
Do this in moderate amounts and do not focus on high-intensity training. Cardio helps in burning excessive ketones and eliminating any remnants of glycogen in your body.
• Avoidconscious restriction of food
Regulate the amount of fiber in your diet to prevent issues such as diarrhea and constipation. You should however not starve yourself in the process of diet regulation.
• Take mineral supplements
This will help ease the symptoms and discomfort brought about by mineral deficiency. You can buy magnesium, potassium and sodium supplements.
How Fast Can You Get Keto Flu?
You can get the keto flu as early as three days into the diet. It usually shows up within the first week and can disappear with proper management. It can also persist for months at a time if it is not properly dealt with.
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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ketosis?
People respond to ketosis in different ways. Some experience no symptoms at all but most of them do experience a lot of them. These symptoms of ketosis are the first clue that your body has gone into a state of ketosis.
• Increased thirst and dry mouth
As a result of rapid water loss, thirst may increase in people going through ketosis. It is advisable to hydrate even more to help ease the dry mouth
• Reduced appetite
A number of people have experienced a suppressed appetite during this diet due to the fluctuations of the body’s hunger hormones. For this reason, most people combine this diet with intermittent fasting for even better weight loss results. Appetite reduction saves both time and money spent on food and binge eating, while still promoting weight loss.
• Rapid weight loss
Being a diet, the main end goal is to lose weight. Studies have revealed that individuals go through short term and long term weight loss on this diet. A lot of fat and water weight is lost during the first week of keto. Weight loss should consistently continue to occur as long as your body is in a caloric deficit. The average person loses 1-2 kilograms within the first week. It should, however, be noted that this is water weight and not fat. After the excess carbs and water are shed, your body will begin to steadily lose fat.
• Bad breath (keto breath)
People experience bad metallic breath a few days after starting keto. This is caused by the increase in ketone levels in the body. The specific cause of this bad breath is a ketone known as acetone which is secreted through the mouth. Acetone is a great way to test for the presence of ketones in your body by use of breath ketone analyzers. You can manage this bad breath by brushing your teeth several times a day, using breath spray, chewing mint leaves and also chewing sugarless gum. Eating whole cloves and cinnamon sticks can also help with bad breath.
• Digestive issues
A ketogenic diet involves the massive change in the foods you eat and your entire diet in general. This may cause side effects like diarrhea and constipation. These issues may diminish as you progress more into the diet. You should take note of foods that worsen these symptoms and avoid them as much as possible.
Ensure your diet is diverse to avoid nutritional deficiencies and digestive problems.
• Increased ketones in your urine
The electrolytes in your body are mostly lost through urine. When insulin levels drop, the liver begins to secrete more insulin leading to increasing the presence of sodium in the urine. It also leads to more water production and therefore people on keto find themselves urinating more than usual. Urine is a great way to test for the presence of ketones in your body. You can purchase specialized strips and conduct a home test for this.
• Increased energy and focus
People who have been on this diet for prolonged periods have reported increased focus as well as increased energy levels. In studies conducted in the medical field, ketones have been seen to be a very key fuel source for the brain. It has been observed that ketones greatly contribute to the treatment of brain-related issues such as concussions and memory loss. It is therefore understandable that ketones help in increasing focus on people.
• Keto flu
The keto flu is a result of lack of electrolytes in the body. It can increase fatigue, headaches and other symptoms. It is a mostly temporary situation and goes away after your body has adapted to ketogenesis.
• Fatigue (short term)
This symptom occurs almost immediately after a person begins this diet. It is however short-term and only occurs because your body has not yet adapted to the change in the energy source. Fatigue is one of the biggest reasons people quit this diet. Full ketosis can occur anywhere from one week to a month. To reduce fatigue, dieters take electrolyte supplements; sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
The fatigue levels gradually drop and strength levels return to normal. The ability to burn calories during exercise also increases. A study revealed that athletes who started the ketogenic diet burned 230% more than they did before the onset of the diet.
• The decrease in performance(short-term)
Due to the decrease in strength, performance is also highly affected. A reduction in muscle glycogen stores leads to fatigue because they are the main source of fuel required for high-intensity workouts. This, in turn, leads to decreased physical and mental performance.
It usually subsides after a few weeks and energy levels spike up above where they were before, therefore increasing performance in the long run.
During the beginning of the diet, your sleeping patterns may drastically change. A lot of people experience sleepless nights or reduced amounts of sleep.
This will usually end in a few weeks and your sleeping patterns will be as they were before.
• Increased ketones in your blood
With the reduction in blood sugar levels, there is an increase in ketones. You can measure the ketone levels in your blood using a blood ketone meter. It analyses the levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate(BHB) in your blood.
Is Being in Ketosis Safe?
When the body produces ketones, it is said to be in ketosis. Ketosis is considered safe unless a person is:
• Taking diabetes medication
• Taking hypertension medication
• A child
• A Teenager
• Having any kidney disease
• Having any liver disease
• Having any pancreatic condition
The signs of Ketosis will help you identify when your body goes on to a state of ketosis. Most of the side effects subside as time goes by and are easily manageable. Consistency is key if you truly want to see and maintain results. After you experience ketosis, you will need to get on a sufficient diet to prevent Keto Flu from flaring up every now and again. Research enough on many different diets to encourage diversity and break monotony to keep things interesting.