Keto Flu – What Is It?
Are you on a keto diet? Are you suffering from something called keto flu? Well, it is a name given to a set of symptoms that are experienced by those who start a keto diet for the first time. It is not medically a flu and not contagious at all but it can drain you out completely.
Just like a regular flu it can last from a day to a couple of weeks.
The symptoms are:
Most people with the above symptoms in the initial stage of their keto diet will blame the diet and feel that carbs are good. However, the reverse of this is true. These signs mean that you were very much dependent on carbs and your body is experiencing a withdrawal from carbs and sugar.
Studies show that sugar is as addictive as drugs like cocaine and heroine. When you eat sugar, the brain triggers release of the feel good hormone ‘dopamine’. After a while, the release of dopamine gets less regulated and less of it is released every time you eat sugar. A lack of large amounts of dopamine makes you crave for sugar, so that you get that goody-good feeling again. Now what is shocking is that drug addiction is just the same. The brain is able to remember what has made it feel so good even if you forget. That is why you have cravings.
Giving up sugar and carbs can make your body face withdrawal symptoms.
Getting used to fat
You can have fatigue and headaches due to the sudden drop in carbohydrates. It takes a little more time for the body to get accustomed to the fact that it should use fat for energy and not carbs. It is the process of getting adapted to keto. A person takes 2 to 5 days to enter ketosis. When carb intake is reduced below 50 g, the body starts the breaking down fatty acids into ketones, which is used as fuel. However, this does not mean that you are keto adapted yet.
Getting keto adapted
Your body becomes keto adapted when it readily and easily converts fatty acids into ketones. Initially the body may not be able to convert too well in spite of the fact we have fat converting hormones. When your body is keto adapted the amount of those enzymes increases drastically. This is another reason of the fatigue you feel during keto flu. The body is just trying to burn fat more efficiently.
A lack of fat converting enzymes can cause nausea. If you make a sudden shift to a low carb high fat diet, your body will not be able to digest all the fat you ingest and this leaves lot of fat undigested leaving you nauseous.
How to alleviate the keto flu?
A chief cause of the keto flu is a lack of electrolytes. They affect the body’s water content, the pH or acidity of the blood, muscle function and other essential processes.
Drinking water on a low carb diet is very important. The fat present in your cells will be replaced with water when you lose weight and that is why many people have water retention during ketosis. You can fight it by drinking more water as the body will let go of the emergency water it is storing when it knows that there is free flowing water. This may lead to loss of electrolytes. So, you either need to take supplements or consume foods that are high in electrolytes.
Hope this post helps you understand the keto flu!
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