How to Avoid Keto Flu & How to Prevent it

In this article, I’ll discuss about three key questions many have about the keto diet. I’ll first go into detail about what is keto flu, and how to avoid keto flu. For some already on the keto diet, you might experience symptoms of the Keto Flu and you might want to find out how you can stop Keto Flu quickly.

I’ll also tell you in detail how you should transition into the keto diet to avoid Keto Flu.

Much of this site has been talking about how great the keto diet is. I’ve already discussed the important things everyone needs to know about the ketogenic diet here (keto 101) and here (ketosis).

If you’re new to this site and the keto diet, I’d strongly suggest you to click on the links above to have a better understanding about it before coming here. It’ll help you to understand what’s being discussed about Keto Flu too.

Many come on board the keto diet quickly when they hear and see all the good things about the keto diet: healthy eating, positive effects on your mental and physical health, and weight loss.

Just like how you would always forget to read the terms and conditions associated in the purchase of a flight ticket, people forget to read and understand that there are also certain things that have to be taken into mind when starting keto.

Keto, just like many other diets, is not all good without bad.

How to Avoid & Prevent Keto Flu
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But the good thing is, I’m here to discuss about the bad. And what you can do to avoid the bad before you start on your keto diet.

For those who have already started on your keto diets, you’re reading this blog probably because you’re already experiencing some keto flu symptoms — headache, fatigue, cloudy memory/brain. This article will help you understand how you can stop keto flu and get yourself back on track as fast as possible.

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What is Keto Flu?

Symptoms of Keto Flu
Symptoms of Keto Flu

Keto Flu is a very real issue that most people face when they’re on the Keto diet. It’s common amongst people who’re very new to the diet.

It usually comes on as a problem whenever someone tries to get onto the keto diet abruptly. Some people might be over-excited about the positive effects of keto that they often (unintentionally) overlook the fact that they’re changing their way of life and their eating habits.

As a result, these people fail to plan. I don’t want to nag but the cliché fits: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

By failing to plan how you should get started on the keto diet, you expose yourself to such risks by changing your diet so quickly. Some people are especially sensitive about such changes.

In this case, the onset of keto flu is most often than not the sudden withdrawal from carbs in your diet. As I mentioned in this article on ketosis, you should never first start by restricting your carbs down to a minimum.

As your body undergoes ketosis, your body is also trying to get used to the “new” way of energy production. Remember that an insufficient amount of glucose (from carbs) in your body will make your body turn to fat storages to produce ketones for energy. This shift in method of energy production can have a toll on your body depending on how sensitive it is to such changes.

(I list out many ways you can go about activating ketosis and how you can measure your ketone levels to check whether you’re in ketosis.)

To be on the safe side, you should always remember to plan a gradual shift in your eating habits as you get used to being on a keto diet.

Symptoms of Keto Flu

But first, let us look at the major symptoms of Keto Flu, and how you can possibly recognise and identify that you could be suffering Keto Flu.

This by no means is an exhaustive list:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog/ poor concentration
  • Sugar cravings
  • Sleep difficulties

A sure sign of keto flu is when you start experiencing an extended period of weakness and exhaustion throughout your day despite having eaten foods. This is your body telling you that you could be having low blood sugar (because of the low carbs).

All in all, these symptoms can sometimes last up to a week. And that’s if you do something about it. If you ever feel like it’s been around for too long, definitely see a medical professional and take a pause on the keto diet.

That said, it doesn’t mean that having keto flu is the end of your keto diet journey.

On the contrary, it can be the best moment to learn more about your own body, how it reacts to such external changes, and about keto.

In fact, there are steps you can take to prevent keto flu even before you get it. And you would want to note these down.

(Share these tips with your friends and family so they know what to expect as well. Pin the graphic on your Pinterest board so more can be aware!)

Three steps you should take to avoid Keto Flu:

1. Plan

Remember to plan. You want a gradual shift into the keto diet. You don’t want to cut carbs out of your diet immediately.

Recall the macro components for your daily intake (the number in grams is based off a recommended daily nutrient intake of 2000 calories):

  • 10% of calories from carbs: 50g
  • 65% of calories from fat: 144g
  • 25% of calories from protein: 125g

That said, you would ideally want at least one week’s worth of transition as you shift into the keto diet. And I’ll tell you how.

Take at least 2-3 days to measure your daily macros. You want to calculate the average number of carbs you’re taking.

For example, your average may be around 250g carbs (yes, that’s entirely possible) a day.

During your transitional phase (which should be a week), you will want to cut down on your daily carbs intake by 20% everyday. At the end of the week, you should have cut down your carbs intake down to approximately ~50g carbs.

This way, you ensure that your body undergoes a very gradual change and it has sufficient time to get used to having less and less carbs each day.

Imagine how horrible your body feels when you cut your carbs down to 50g from 250g. Such a sudden drop will certainly make you feel horrible too.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The same old rule applies. At least 8 glasses of water (roughly 3 litres in total) everyday.

There is no going around this one. Hydration is key to help your body adjust to new changes.

You do not want your body to experience dehydration at any point in time, especially when your liver is working doubly hard on energy production.

Hydration also helps to replenish any minerals or electrolytes your body might have lost during the transition.

Importantly, hydration also aids your body in fending off keto flu symptoms that might hamper your moods to continue with the diet.

Calorie count still matters

I understand that weight loss is on the minds of many but calorie count is still an important gauge to your body’s overall progress towards ketosis.

You don’t want to be eating too much (that you’re on a calorie surplus at the end of the day) or eating way too little (a very high calorie deficit).

The general idea to losing weight is to be on a calorie deficit diet. But it’s impossible for your body to produce energy and keep your body running if your body doesn’t have enough fuel.

Remember: weight loss is a long-term objective. There is no hastening the progress without your body suffering in the process.

You will not lose weight any faster on a high calorie deficit. You will actually go on to possibly suffer malnutrition or any other illness from the lack of important nutrients or foods.

Importantly, if at any point during your transitional phase or during your keto diet, you are always allowed (and I do encourage) to eat more and go on a calorie surplus day (if needed) if you’re feeling unwell.

For athletes or individuals who commit to sports, you’re at higher risk of missing out on important nutrients. When you eat less, make sure you are continuing to eat sufficiently for your macros (i.e. protein).

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How to treat Keto Flu?

How to treat Keto Flu
How to treat Keto Flu

This section is largely dedicated to individuals who are already on a keto diet. But you’re encouraged to read on to prepare yourself in advance.

When you notice yourself getting the symptoms I listed above, it’s likely that you’re experiencing keto flu.

In this case, your steps would be to respond and treat these symptoms.

Generally, there are some steps you can take to deal with them. However, you should continue to monitor yourself and seek a medical professional’s advice if needed.

Hydration. Again.

Hydration is at the top this time around. Because it’s a key part of your body’s immunity system. You don’t need effects of dehydration to bother you when you have keto flu.

Another thing about hydration is that you have to ensure that you’re also consuming sufficient electrolytes. These are what actually restores certain minerals and enhances the hydration.

So you would be looking at coconut water, avocados, watermelon, bananas, dairy (milk, yoghurt), and even possibly salt (like himalayan pink salt, or table salt).

Actually consume clean carbs

This might sound strange because you’re on a low-carb diet.

But the only reason you’re going through keto flu is probably because you’re body is experiencing certain withdrawals.

And that means you need to feed your body, to feed what your body is craving. Never fight head on unless you want to be more sick.

Clean carbs would be referring to whole foods. I’ve previously written a long list of whole foods you can take on a keto diet without sabotaging your ketosis efforts.

Continue to stay active

This is important whether you’re on a keto diet or not.

Staying physically active is a key component to a healthy life. As I mentioned in Keto 101, the two biggest components to a healthy lifestyle are physical fitness and healthy eating.

Besides, exercising keeps your metabolism up. That helps you to lose weight quicker than if you didn’t.

7-day Keto Meal Plan To Activate Ketosis And Start Losing Weight

I’ve developed a 7-day meal plan for you to get started on a keto diet. Each recipe has been curated specially for beginners. They’re easy to prepare, and demonstrates the fact that going on a diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste.

7 Days Keto Diet Plan To Activate Ketosis
7 Days Keto Diet Plan To Activate Ketosis

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If you’re looking to lose weight through a structured keto diet plan, or just want to learn more about keto diets, you’d want to keep yourself in the loop by joining our mailing list. Subscribers would also get exclusive access to an ebook detailing everything you need to know about the keto diet, as well as a sample 7-day meal plan. This will be launched some time soon!

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