What Is The Keto Flu?
Now that you understand the Ketogenic Diet, know what you can and can’t eat, and understand the process of Ketosis, it’s time to delve into the not-so-fun aspects of the Keto Diet.
During the first week of your Keto Diet, you will experience the Keto Flu, or the Induction Flu.
The symptoms of the Keto Flu include:
- Muscle Cramps
- Trouble Concentrating /Mental Fogginess
- Sugar Cravings
- Heart Palpitations
You will also be VERY hungry, and have constant cravings for carbohydrates. The Keto Flu is real, but it doesn’t have to get the best of you.
Why Keto Flu Happens
To better understand how to beat the Keto Flu, it’s important to understand what your body is going through, and why you are experiencing your symptoms. In plain english, the Keto Flu is the result of two factors:
1. The Body’s Reaction to Carbohydrate Deprivation
2. An Imbalance of Your Electrolytes, Caused by your New Diet
Your body is stubborn. When you begin to deprive it of carbohydrates, it will fight you. Your body has been functioning off of the same type of fuel for many years. It is going to want to continue to function the same way, until it absolutely has to make the change. This means that it will use every last carb in your system, and crave carbs in an attempt to get you to consume
This is where mental discipline and strength are key. You will have to fight your body’s urges for carbs, even though you Will want them. Remember, if you fight, you will soon be detoxed.
If you give in, you will have to start from the beginning again.
You body produces insulin to, among other things, help move glucose through your system.
Since you will have less glucose to move, your body will begin to produce less insulin.
Another process that insulin regulates, is signaling your kidneys to store water and sodium.
Since you will have less insulin, your body will react by releasing the stored water and stored sodium in your kidneys. As your sodium levels drop, your body will be triggered to keep your potassium levels steady, and will release stored potassium as well.
Additionally, your new diet of keto-friendly foods, may have an effect on your consumption of magnesium and calcium. These four electrolytes: magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium, are all very important to the proper functioning of the body. When these electrolytes aren’t maintained at their proper levels, you will experience all sorts of negative side effects.
YOUR KETO FLU
When these two actions come together, it means that you won’t be feeling well for a bit. Remember, THIS IS TEMPORARY. Just like a regular Flu, once you make it through it, you won’t have the side effects any more. And unlike a regular flu, you won’t have to worry about it yearly. Stay strong, and remind yourself of your Keto diet Goals as you endure this initial speed bump.
In this module, we will discuss ways to make your flu easier to manage.
Follow the instructions closely, as they are proven ways to minimize your discomfort.
Electrolytes For Keto Flu
Electrolytes are mineral nutrients that assist our bodies to control blood pressure and volume, keep our nerves and muscles working properly, and carry electrical impulses to other cells by the heart, muscles, and nerve cells. They also help to keep us hydrated, and help to rebuild damaged tissues, among other functions. They get their catchy name from the fact that they conduct electricity when dissolved in water.
Electrolytes and the Keto Diet
In relation to your keto diet, the most commonly discussed electrolytes are Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, and Calcium.
Electrolytes are mineral nutrients that assist our bodies to control blood pressure and volume, keep our nerves and muscles working properly, and carry electrical impulses to other cells by the heart, muscles, and nerve cells.
They also help to keep us hydrated, and help to rebuild
damaged tissues, among other functions. They get their catchy name from the fact that they conduct electricity when dissolved in water.
Most humans are magnesium deficient. Even on a traditional diet, the current processing of our food and water has stripped most of our magnesium out of our diet. The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is between 320 mg (for women) and 420mg (for men) daily. The average US intake is around 250 mg daily.
Magnesium helps with many functions of your body. Magnesium deficiency shows up in the form of muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. More severe deficiencies can even show up in the form of depression.
You can see that magnesium deficiency can lead to almost every symptom of the Keto Flu. For this reason, it is essential to keep your magnesium intake at the proper levels.
The best ways to boost your magnesium intake is to eat nut and seeds (obviously in moderation), artichokes, avocados, leafy greens, and fatty fish and shellfish. You can even increase your intake by using dark
cocoa powder or dark chocolate in your fat bombs.
Many people find that taking a magnesium supplement is a great way to boost your intake. Frankly, if you are not already taking magnesium supplement, put this book down and go get yourself supplements! This will go a long way in helping with your Keto Flu.
As long as you are choosing your supplement carefully, this can be a great way to regulate your magnesium intake.
One of the awesome benefits of magnesium is it’s calming effect. It can act as a blood brain barrier to actually prevent the entrance of stress hormones to the brain. Because of this, it’s known as the calming electrolyte. Just remember, if you are struggling with the stress of your new diet, adding magnesium can help in more ways than one!
Calcium is another electrolyte that is very important to maintain proper levels of intake. During your initial transition into the Keto Diet, Calcium is another electrolyte that will be flushed with your water weight.
As long as you are eating a healthy diet, it should be easy to regain your body’s balance of calcium, but it’s important to be extra aware of your intake during your initial transition period.
Salmon, sardines, bok choy, broccoli, kale, and, of course, dairy, are great sources of calcium. Unsweetened and unflavored almond milk is another great choice. Calcium, like magnesium, is another “calming” electrolyte.
Healthy adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day, 1200 mg once over the age of 50.
Consuming more sodium, much like consuming more fat, seems counterintuitive. In the case of the keto diet, it’s necessary. We know that one of the benefits of a high-carb, low-fat diet is a reduction in insulin levels. Since our body needs less insulin, it produces less. This is
overall a good thing for your body. Unfortunately, insulin is also responsible for signaling the kidneys to hold on to sodium. Less insulin means more sodium being excreted.
To keep healthy, you’ll want to add 3000-5000 mg of sodium to your keto diet. To put this in perspective, a half teaspoon of salt is approximately 1000 mg.
You can do this by salting your meals, drinking bone broth, or eating shellfish.
Sodium can have a negative impact on your health if you ingest too much, so always be sure to see your medical professional for regular blood tests.
Common side effect of low sodium are constipation, headaches, fatigue, and heart palpitations.
When your body is low on sodium, the first place it draws from is your potassium stores. So once your sodium drops, your potassium will drop at an equivalent speed.
Potassium and sodium work closely together. When you have enough potassium in your diet, sodium stops raising your blood pressure. You would actually see more of a drop in blood pressure from consuming enough sodium, than from completely cutting out sodium. This is why you can consume more sodium, basically salting your heart away, as long as you are consuming enough potassium.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include: heart palpitations, skin problems, constipation, muscular weakness, depression and irritability, and muscle cramps.
Basically, you will feel like crap!
Avoid this by ingesting the recommended potassium intake of 4000 – 5000 mg per day. You can get this by adding a teaspoon of potassium salt substitute in a glass of water each morning, or by consuming avocado, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, nuts (in moderation), and salmon.
Why It’s Important To Stay Hydrated
Because your body is being signaled to release any water that it has stored, drinking water becomes even more important to keep yourself hydrated!
Though it will feel like you are drinking far more than you need, you are actually not.
Currently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that men drink 13 cups of water per day, and women drink 9 glasses. Scientists at the Mayo Clinic actually recommend even more: 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men each day, and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women each day.
These recommendations are for sedentary adults living in a temperate climate, meaning that if you live in a hot place, you will need more.
We all know the side effects of dehydration. Keeping yourself hydrated
will help you to ensure that you are not adding these effects to your keto flu
symptoms. On top if that, drinking water has actually been proven to increase resting energy expenditure (REE), and can assist in weight loss and weight management.
Not only does drinking enough each water daily help, not drinking enough water is proven to lead to obesity. A recent study found evidence that there is a significant link between improper hydration and obesity and increased BMI. Dehydration leads to weight gain, and more fat on your body.
When you start the Keto Diet, you will probably find yourself taking more supplements than previously. It is important to note that supplements aren’t regulated in the same way as medication, so manufacturers are able to make any claims they want, and only have to answer for these claims if there are issues, or if the claims are proven to be false.
For this reason, it is very important to be vigilant when choosing your supplements.
Additionally, many manufacturers will add sugar, or other fillers, to make the supplement go down smoother. This can negative affect your ketosis, and can also take up some of your carbohydrates for the day.
It is recommended to do your research before choosing a supplement. A good rule of thumb is: if it is sold at a convenience store, it probably isn’t high quality. Take the time to visit a local health store, or rely on independent research online.
Top Tips To Beat Keto Flu
1.) Drink Plenty of Water! LOTS AND LOTS! 9-12 cups for women and 13-15.5 for men, is what is recommended for normal consumption. Remember, since your body is releasing stored water, you may need to increase this intake.
2. Take Magnesium Supplements. A healthy individual intakes 320 mg (women) or 420mg (men) of magnesium daily. By keeping your magnesium levels up, you will decrease the severity of your muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. Magnesium is also a calming electrolyte, so it literally helps to relieve stress.
3. Keep an Eye on your Calcium Intake. You may need to take a supplement to boost your intake during the diet change. Healthy adults need about 1000 mg of calcium per day, 1200 mg once over the age of 50. Up your intake with a supplement if you are not ingesting enough.
4. Salt your Food. You need 3000-5000 mg of sodium per day in your keto diet. To put this into perspective, a half tsp is 1000 mg. Add a half tsp to a glass of water every day. It’s not the tastiest drink, but it will help with constipation, headaches, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Along with this, be sure to add salt to your meals whenever possible. As long as you are keeping your potassium levels up, this will only have a positive affect.
5. Drink more Water. Seriously, MORE!
6. Monitor your Intake of Potassium. Once again, a supplement may be in need. You need an intake of 4000-5000 mg per day. Try adding a teaspoon of potassium salt substitute in a glass of water each morning to aid with this, or consider a supplement to keep your intake up. Potassium helps with heart palpitations, skin problems, constipation, muscular weakness, depression, irritability, and muscle cramps.