Keto influenza is your body’s natural reaction to a carbohydrate restriction diet.
You may experience symptoms like headache, brain fog, chills, dizziness, digestive problems, irritability and insomnia among other things.
The symptoms typically last from a few days to two weeks.
Metabolic flexibility, which means your ability to adapt to different fuel sources, dictates the severity of symptoms.
Keto influenza agents include: proper hydration, bone broth, electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium and sodium; eat more good fat as MCTs, rest and sleep, do mild exercise or meditation, take activated charcoal, exogenous ketone supplements and, in some cases, eat more carbs.
You started a keto diet and just don’t feel it. Instead of all the amazing ketogenic benefits – higher fat burning, keto clarity, increased energy, and just well-being – you are irritable at the dinner table, dizzy all day and tired.
The culprit of this miserable feeling? Oh, right: the keto flu. It is a natural reaction that your body undergoes as it changes from burning sugar to fat for energy. Your body needs to make a few changes in the way it runs.
Read on to learn what is in store as you rev up your internal engine, keto style.
What is keto flu?
Keto Influenza is your body’s natural response to carbohydrate restriction. If you have started, you probably know that a keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and low on carbohydrates and involves burning fatty acids for energy instead of glucose coming from sugar and other carbohydrates.
While fat is typically a spare fuel source, you will get it if there is not enough glucose in your diet. Ketosis is a fancy word to burn fat instead of carbs, and that is the secret weight loss weapon for the keto diet.
- What are the symptoms of keto flu?
How long does the keto flu last?
The keto influenza generally kicks into the 24- to 48-hour mark.
The symptoms typically last from a few days to two weeks. Most people experience these symptoms one or two days – depends on your metabolic flexibility, which means your ability to adapt to different fuel sources.
Metabolic flexibility is influenced by both genetics and lifestyle habits. For example, how you ate before going keto can predict the severity of your flu-like symptoms. If you ate a diet that is low in refined sugar and starch, you are likely to experience only mild symptoms. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can set you up for greater symptoms (especially from the sugar).
What causes keto flu?
What exactly causes keto-flu symptoms? When you limit carbohydrates, your body needs to learn how to burn its backup energy source.
Changes that occur when you cut carbohydrates:
Water and Sodium Flu: When you use fewer carbohydrates, insulin levels fall and signal your kidneys to release sodium from the body.
This results in a loss of up to approx. 10 pounds of water weight as water shuttle sodium from your body.
All this usually happens in the first five days.
Glycogen pathways and low insulin levels cause dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, headache and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Drink plenty of salty fluids and electrolytes – it will relieve some of these cellular symptoms.
T3 thyroid hormone levels may fall: T3 is a thyroid hormone. Dietary carbohydrates and thyroid function are closely linked, so when cutting carbs, T3 levels may decrease. Lower hormone levels can leave you with brain fog and fatigue.
Increased cortisol levels: The T3 hormone change is closely linked to a third hormone change: higher cortisol levels. A ketogenic diet tells your body that you are in hunger mode. In an effort to increase the energy level of a carb-restricted diet, your body triggers the release of stress hormones, ie. cortisol. If you experience irritability and insomnia, it is a clue that your cortisol levels have jumped. Don’t Worry: As you adapt to exploit fat and ketones as a new fuel source, your cortisol levels fall to their old levels.