Keto Flu

Keto Flu is a collection of symptoms that usually appear after one starts off with a Ketogenic diet to lose weight. This Keto Flu condition is characterized by Headache, Muscle Cramps, Fatigue, nausea, sleeplessness etc.

But before we dive more into all about Keto Flu, let us find out all about the famous Keto diet and its effects on your body.

A Keto diet is a low carb/high fat diet that shares its similarities with the Atkins and the other low carb diets.  This diet involves a drastic reduction in the carbohydrate intake and replaces the carbs with fat. This change in your diet brings your body into a metabolic state called Ketosis. At this state there is an efficient burning of your body fat into energy and this energy is supplied to your brain.

A Keto diet is considered very effective for diabetes patients as it reduces the blood sugar level and the insulin levels in one’s body. At the same time it increases the ketones that results in some great health benefits.  The dietary macro nutrients in a Keto diet are divided as 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates.

Keto Flu Causes and Symptoms

After you have started the famous Keto Diet and you are waiting to reach your ideal weight target, you notice a fall in your health condition when you start feeling tired, develop a headache, you are not able to focus etc.

This condition is collectively referred to as the ‘Keto Flu’. However you do not have to worry as this is not really flu and does not exhibit the characteristics of a normal flu. It is not contagious or dangerous, but can make you feel unpleasantly different.

The Keto Flu symptoms plop up usually during the first or the second week of the keto diet, however this condition is temporary and you will be back to your normal self with more energy pretty soon.

It is seen that some people become victims of the Keto Flu within a few days of the diet, whereas there are people who do not experience any negative effects and adapt to the diet easily.

People who usually consume lots of carbs like pasta, sugary cereals or soda will find it difficult at the beginning of the keto diet and will develop the Keto flu faster than the others. Therefore, a sudden change from the carb diet to a high fat diet can lead to the keto flu. The other driving forces behind the keto flu are genetics, electrolyte loss, dehydration and carbohydrate withdrawals.

The symptoms of the Keto Flu are

  • Nausea or Vomitting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Less Focus
  • Pain in the Abdomen
  • Sore Muscles
  • Difficulty in Sleeping
  • Sweet Cravings/Sugar Cravings.

It is usually noticed that the above symptoms lasts for a week or two, however some people experience it for a longer period of time as it depends on specific body constitution.

Due to the above symptoms dieters usually give up on the Keto diet; however there are several ways you can reduce the effects of the Keto Flu and move on with your Keto Diet plan.

How can you get rid of the Keto Flu?

You can feel miserable and let down during a Keto Flu and that is because of the constitutional change in your body. One can follow the below tips to stay energized and focused during the Keto Flu symptoms:

1. Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated throughout can keep you energized and can remove symptoms like fatigue and muscle crampings. The Keto diet results in immense shedding of water, which is the reason you may feel tired and physically poor. Hence intake of water at regular intervals during the keto diet is a good way to stay away from the Keto Flu symptoms.

2. No rigorous exercises

Exercise is an important factor to lose weight and to stay fit, however one should avoid rigorous and strenuous exercises when having the keto-flu symptoms.  During the first week of the keto diet you may face tiredness, muscle cramps and abdomen pain, so it is best to take good rest and stay away from high intensity exercises. On the other hand you can indulge in light form of exercise such as yoga, slow walking or leisure biking etc.

3. Use substitutes for electrolytes

When in a Keto diet, your insulin levels decreases drastically and this leads to excess secretion of sodium by the kidneys. Moreover the keto diet restricts the intake of potassium rich foods such as fruits, beans and starchy vegetables etc. So it is better to find substitutes for these nutrients so that your diet is set with a balanced amount of missing electrolytes. You can use veggies like green leafy vegetables, avocados etc.

4. Sleep Well

Keto diet raises your fatigue and irritability level, so it is very important you get a good amount of sleep while on the diet.  Inadequate sleep raises your cortisol level which is a stress hormone in your body, and this can result in mood swings, headaches and other grave keto flu symptoms.

You can follow the below tips to practice a good and a healthy sleep pattern:

  • Cut down on Caffeine
  • Shut off your cellphones, televisions or any form of light that disturbs your eyes and sleep.
  • Have a relaxing and a rejuvenating bath using Epsom salt or bathing oil.
  • Do not oversleep and make sure you get up early and maintain aconsistent wake-up time.

5. Maintain a smooth transition

Try to reduce your sugar and high carb food cravings by increasing the intake of fat, which is the main fuel source in a ketogenic diet. Gradually eliminate the carbs intake and slowly increase the intake of fat and protein in your diet.

Keto-flu is not something you have to be scared off or it is not a downer for your diet plan, if you know how to manage the symptoms well. Follow the above tips to stay focused on your weight loss journey through the keto diet and enjoy the transition.


No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.