Chapter 4: The keto flu

So, you have been few days on a keto diet.
You eliminated almost all carbs from your diet, raised your protein and fat intake, and all was going well.

You felt good, light on your feet, and hopeful for the amazing benefits keto would bring to you.

Then, a few days into the diet, you started feeling like crap. You couldn’t focus on anything, you were tired, you had mood swings, and your athletic performance was nowhere to be found.

But how can that be? Everyone reports feeling amazing on the keto diet. Are you doing something wrong? What’s the deal here?

What you experienced was the keto flu. And before you turn back, understand that it’s a natural process of going on the keto diet and it’s going to pass soon enough.

What is The Keto Flu?

Unless you’re one of the few lucky people out there, you’ll experience what’s called the keto flu once you eliminate carbs from your diet.
To explain what it is, you first need to understand the primary source of energy for the body – carbs.

With a normal diet, your body’s primary source of energy is carbs. Once you consume them, the body uses them in the form of glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (energy stored in the muscles and liver).

But, once you eliminate carbs, your body is forced to find a new source of energy and this is where ketones (or ketone bodies) come in.
Ketones (hence the name of the diet) are made in the liver and are a byproduct of your body breaking down fats.

They are just as superior of an energy source as carbs are, but since your body needs some time to adjust, you experience a plethora of side effects, collectively put under the ‘keto flu.’

Now, the good news is that the keto flu will pass within a week. For most people, it usually goes away in 3-5 days.

How to Ease the Symptoms

As I mentioned, the keto flu usually goes away within a week, but there are certain things you can do to ease the process:
Stay well-hydrated throughout the day. The general recommendation is at least 3 liters for men and 2 for women. Of course, how much you sweat and how warm your country’s climate is are important factors to keep in mind.Increase your sodium intake and take magnesium supplements to offset the fatigue and brain fog and make sure you either get enough potassium from the foods you eat, or be prepared to supplement with potassium as well.

Consume more fats during the first week of keto dieting. Great options include nuts, fatty fish, butter, oils, and whole eggs. This will provide your body with more ‘building material’ for ketones and hopefully offset the fatigue to some degree.Take it easy at the gym. Do lower intensity work and treat it as a recovery or deload week. Once you’ve adjusted to ketones, you’ll go back to the gym stronger and more energetic than ever. Plus, taking it easy once in a while is a great way to make steady progress for a long time.

If possible, avoid very intense physical activity such as long bike rides, hiking, running and swimming. Understand that you’ll feel a bit off for a few days and adjust your activity level accordingly.

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