One of the hardest parts of becoming keto-adapted is dealing with the flulike symptoms that present themselves when you start the ketogenic diet. These symptoms, while not life-threatening and likely to go away after a few days to a week, can make going about your daily business quite taxing. But don’t think for a second that there’s nothing you can do to combat the keto flu! These three remedies are known for their usefulness at combating the feelings of illness so that you feel better and don’t become discouraged along your keto journey.
There are essentially two causes behind the ketosis flu:
- The body’s initial craving for carbohydrates before becoming keto-adapted
- An imbalance of electrolytes that leaves the body dehydrated, which is caused by the sudden drop in insulin
These remedies target these two causes in different ways to help you feel better – and fast.
When your insulin levels drop in the initial stages of the ketogenic diet, this prompts the kidneys to release sodium (salt) and water. Increasing your water intake is good for anybody, and especially for keto dieters, but that alone isn’t enough to help balance what’s missing. Consciously adding more salt to your diet in some form or another will help dramatically.
- Add fine salt (sea salt or Himalayan salt, preferably) to a glass of water. You should only use ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon when doing this.
- Add more salt to the food that you are consuming.
- Consciously choose to consume foods that are inherently saltier, such as bone broth.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can take this low-carb diet and make it into a low-calorie one, too. This is not the case, because an increased fat consumption is necessary for the success of the ketogenic diet. Since your body is in the throes of transitioning from carbohydrates to fat as a fuel source, your body is going to need – and demand – that fat for energy.
You can add high-fat and healthy additives like coconut oil, olive oil and lard to your cooking to help your body obtain enough calories from fat on keto. Once you are meeting your body’s caloric needs in this way, you will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
This might sound crazy, since the ketogenic diet is known for being as low in carbohydrates as it gets but hear me out. Some dieters try to minimize their carbohydrate intake to such low levels and so suddenly that they don’t feel very good as a result. Remember, the phrase is “keto-adapted.” Your body has to adjust, to adapt, to its new way of functioning. For most people, this means slowly bringing down their carbohydrates rather than the all-or-nothing approach.
Of course, you don’t want to be eating carbs from unhealthy sources. But you can increase your intake of “clean carbs” by consuming fruits and vegetables that contain carbohydrates, such as:
- Green peppers
Over time, your body will become closer and closer to being keto-adapted and you can gradually decrease the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. Increase your intake of vegetables and berries while you’re afflicted with the keto flu and you will start to feel better.
The keto flu is an obnoxious part of becoming keto-adapted, but it doesn’t have to be a setback. Some people experience no symptoms or very mild ones, whereas others feel darn near debilitated by the ketosis flu. If you find yourself struggling against flulike symptoms when starting the ketogenic diet, consider the remedies above to make yourself feel great again.