The ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s. From fat loss to improved glycemic control and better health, its benefits are backed up by science. But is really that safe?
This eating plan is touted as one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. It may help reduce cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular function and ward off diabetes.
In a classic ketogenic diet, about 90 percent of your daily calories will come from fat. However, more flexible versions are available too. The whole point is to cut back on carbs, lead up on fats, and eat protein in moderation.
This approach switches your metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat for fuel. During this process, you may experience flu-like symptoms like weakness, fatigue, and brain fog.
Before switching to this diet, make sure you're aware of the side effects of keto. Here's what you should expect!
The Keto Flu at a Glance
When you cut back on carbs, your body goes through a transition from burning sugar to using fat for energy. The liver begins to produce ketone bodies by breaking down fatty acids. This metabolic state is known as ketosis.
In general, it takes 10 to 14 days to fully enter ketosis and reap its benefits. This process doesn't take place overnight. In the meantime, most dieters experience the so-called keto flu, which may cause:
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
- Lack of appetite
- Low energy
- Muscle cramps
- Sugar cravings
- Difficulty focusing
The good news is that keto flu symptoms go away on their own within a week or two. The faster you enter ketosis, the sooner you'll regain your energy and stamina.
In addition to the keto side effects listed above, you may have bad breath, urinate more often, and feel thirstier than usual. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to get into ketosis faster and relieve these symptoms.
How to Fight The Side Effects of Keto
Start by increasing your water and sodium intake. This will help balance your electrolyte levels and boost your energy. Eat plenty of bone broth, drink sugar-free electrolyte beverages, and add more salt to your meals.
Don't worry about fluid retention. By cutting back on carbs, you'll naturally lose water weight. Each gram of glucose holds up to three grams of water, meaning that a low carb intake will help flush out excess fluids.
If you're struggling with insomnia while on the keto diet, take magnesium supplements before bedtime. Unsweetened valerian or chamomile tea can help too. Read more about it here.
Maintain a high fat intake at all times to stimulate ketone production. Include coconut oil, MCT oil, and other healthy fats in your diet.
Another thing you can do is to try intermittent fasting. This eating pattern alternates between periods of fasting and feeding.
For example, you can take dinner at 8 PM and abstain from food until the next day at 8 AM. That's a 12-hour fast.
In clinical trials, this approach has been shown to induce ketosis and improve general health. Furthermore, intermittent fasting aids in weight loss and may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Don't Let the Keto Flu Stop You from Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals
Even though you might not be able to prevent the side effects of keto, there are ways to keep them under control. Simple things, such as drinking more water and getting plenty of rest, can improve your symptoms and restore your energy.
For more tips on weight loss and clean eating, check out our other blog posts! We're here to help you get in shape and feel your best.