There’s a few main reasons why you feel like you have the flu when going ketogenic. I’ve going to teach you guys my keto flu remedies that alleviated these symptoms. This painful stage of dizziness, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms has gained the term, “keto flu” because well, you feel like you have the flu when you first hop on the keto diet.
Do you guys remember your first hangover? Or your second? Or third?
“I feel horrible, I’m never drinking again.”
Everyone who’s gotten a hangover has said this before. Does that stop you from drinking? No, probably not.
Remember those days where you had decent nutrient dense foods throughout the day then went out drinking, stayed hydrated throughout the night and woke up with NO hangover whatsoever?
Yeah those are the best.
The keto flu is just like avoiding / having a hangover.
If you can prepare yourself with proper nutrients and electrolytes, you can mitigate the keto-flu. When I first started on the ketogenic diet I didn’t have the keto flu because I took every single precaution I could in order to avoid it.
So how will you know if you’re having symptoms of the keto-flu?
- Headache is one of the most common symptoms.
- Feeling fatigued
- Body aches and pain
- Feeling extra cold and having the chills.
- Struggling with focus (also known as the “brain fog)
- Extremely irritable
- Craving sugar
Any major dietary change you make will come with a variety of seemingly endless problems. It’s your responsibility to take necessary actions in order to make sure you alleviate these issues.
One of the main reasons that people give up on the ketogenic diet is because they can’t get over the initial “induction phase” where people begin to experience the feared “keto flu”.
It’s important to trust the process and realize that experiencing these symptoms is just a phase that will soon end. The true beauty and benefits behind the ketogenic diet come after this induction phase.
Why Do People Experience The Keto Flu? A couple reasons include:
- If you are like most people, you’ve been eating excess carbohydrates all of your life. This means your brain and body are all used to utilizing carbs for energy. When you switch to becoming fat adapted you are literally changing the chemistry in your body to have a more efficient process inside.
- You’re body WILL get used to burning fat for energy after a couple days. So be patient. It’s like they say, this too shall pass..
- Lack of electrolytes will also give you the keto flu. Another thing with the ketogenic diet and low carbohydrate diets in general, once you cut carbs out, your electrolytes begin to flush out of your system. I can’t emphasize how important it is to double up on all your electrolytes especially at the start of a ketogenic diet.
Coming from personal experience, I mitigated my symptoms of the keto flu because I made sure to keep my electrolyte levels up.
How Long Does The Keto Flu Last?
Everyone’s body is different so there isn’t an exact day and time in which the keto flu will magically vanish.
With that being said, the keto flu typically lasts 1 – 3 weeks. If you are nearing a month of the ketogenic diet and you’re still experience flu-like symptoms, then you need to assess your diet to make sure you aren’t missing any major steps to become fat-adapted.
Personally, I experienced the keto-flu for less than a day. Mind you, I made sure I did everything correctly. I crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s. I also am very athletic and have been dieting for years now.
If you are a beginner, as long as you follow the advice I give you, there’s no doubt in my mind that you can mitigate these symptoms and shorten the length in which you have them.
The Three Main Electrolytes To Keep Track Of:
Sodium, is obviously salt. This is the electrolyte that you need to consume the most of especially at the beginning of your ketogenic diet. When you cut carbohydrates, sodium is being flushed out of your body.
If you don’t replace the salt that is being flushed out, you start to have low blood pressure. If you start to feel dizzy, weak, and fatigued, you have low blood pressure. So keep your damn sodium levels up.
The mainstream dietary advice tries to tell us that we must consume minimal amounts of sodium. This is not true especially on the ketogenic diet.
As you cut back on carbohydrates, you no longer have the immediate rise in blood sugar whenever you eat. Because of this, your insulin levels are generally low whenever you are in a ketogenic state. When your insulin levels are low, your kidneys go into a mode where you begin to flush out electrolytes.
According to Lyle McDonald, the MINIMUM daily intake of electrolytes you NEED to have on the ketogenic diet are as follows:
- at LEAST 5000mg of sodium
- 1000mg of potassium
- 300mg of magnesium
Those numbers are the absolute minimum of electrolytes you should be consuming.
If you are very active, I suggest to increase the amounts above even more.
I can’t emphasize how important it is to KEEP TRACK of your electrolytes when going keto.
The biggest mistake I see when beginners are trying to adopt the keto lifestyle is assuming that they are getting proper amounts of electrolytes. If you aren’t tracking your electrolytes, then you are running the risk of experiencing the keto-flu for longer than you should be.
7 Keto Flu Remedies
- Exercise – It is smart to get a nice workout in even during this induction phase. By exercising, you are shifting your metabolism from being carbohydrate dependent to becoming fat adapted. Exercise simply speeds up the transition.
- More Electrolytes – If I haven’t drilled it in your head enough, you really need to be wary of your electrolyte intake. Most of my clients who complain about the keto flu usually aren’t tracking how much sodium, potassium, and magnesium they’re ingesting every day. Track Your Electrolytes.
- Drink Water – Equally as important as keeping track of electrolytes, if you aren’t replacing the water that your body is excreting by being in a ketogenic state, you will simply worsen your keto flu symptoms.
- De-stress – Since your body is already working in overtime trying to become fat-adapted, the last thing you want to do is stress out over external things. Make it a priority to be as relaxed as possible during this induction phase. Don’t try to make any other major lifestyle changes while just beginning on the ketogenic lifestyle.
- Small Amounts of Carbs – Especially if you are someone who exercises a lot, you can get away with eating small amounts of carbohydrates during the transition. The general rule is the lower body fat percentage you have, the more carbs you can get away with. The higher body fat percentage, the less you need.
- Slowly Restrict Carbs – While it will take you longer to transition into a keto-adapted state, it is always an option to slow restrict the carbs you are eating when adopting this lifestyle. You can start out by allowing yourself only 150grams of carbs a day for the first week then drop it down to 100grams the next week, followed by 50 grams the third week.
- Exogenous Ketones – This has been one of my biggest remedies for the keto flu. By taking exogenous ketones during your induction phase, you are simply giving your body additional ketones in order to become fat-adapted. I have been able to completely negate all flu-like symptoms just be supplementing with exogenous ketones. A keto-flu hack if you will.
Recommendations / Solution On Keto Flu Remedies
While it may seem a little daunting to adopt the ketogenic lifestyle because of the keto flu, trust me when I say it’s worth it.
I have a couple major remedies that has helped me with the keto-flu. A decent amount of my clients didn’t even experience any of the keto flu symptoms after they followed my advice.
1) Keeping Your Electrolyte Levels Up
My suggestion is to:
- drink one or two bouillon cubes every day. This will ensure that you are achieving the proper amounts of sodium.
- Alongside this, eat an avocado a day as well as some pistachios and/or grass-fed beef.
- Supplement with ZMA’s to keep your magnesium levels up.
- Eat spinach and copious amounts of salad.
2) Invest In Quality Exogenous Ketones
This has been the game changer for me.
By consuming exogenous ketones, my body is immediately converted into a keto-adapted state without having to completely cut carbohydrates right away.
While you CAN follow everything above by keeping your electrolyte levels up, exercising, de-stressing, staying hydrated, and slowly restricting carbs…
Utilizing exogenous ketones will negate the keto-flu symptoms equally as good, if not, better.
The only downside to exogenous ketones is that they cost money while my other recommendations are mostly free. You definitely get what you pay for.
With that being said, the exogenous ketones that I use alongside most other ketoers can be found here.
I mainly use Kegenix because they’re actually high quality BHB (beta hydroxybutyrate) ketones, unlike other exogenous ketones out there that sometimes have fillers in them. I ONLY recommend products I actually 100% believe in.
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