How to prevent 'Keto flu'

Plant-based food suitable for ketogenic diet, healthy

Starting your keto journey can seem like a daunting task but being fully prepared can help to make the transition smooth and keep you on the right track. A big obstacle many face when following the ketogenic diet is the dreaded keto flu. However, with a few tricks and the knowledge outlined in this blog you can easily avoid it. 

What is 'Keto flu'?

Keto flu is given its name as many experience flu like symptoms even though they are not actually ill. This usually comes within the first  2 - 7 days of starting the diet as your body is adapting to the new, very low, consumption of carbohydrates. This then causes the body to go into ketosis where the body burns ketones for energy. Unfortunately, the reason for why this then causes keto flu symptoms is unknown. Is it a detox symptom related to carb withdrawal? or a change in gut microbes? Either way the headache, brain fog, irritability, nausea, fatigue and constipation are enough to put people off and stop their keto journey. 

Top tips to prevent keto flu 

Stay hydrated

This seems like a simple tip but it is also a very crucial one. When following the keto diet your body rapidly sheds water stores which increases the risk of dehydration. Not only this but some people have reported keto-flu-associated diarrhoea which would further cause dehydration to the body.

It's all about the electrolytes 

Drinking water is not always enough, your body also needs to replenish its electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals such as, calcium, sodium and magnesium, that your body need to regulate processes in the body. Not only did most of the processed foods you've now cut out of your diet contain sodium, but when your body flushes the ketones out in your urine, sodium goes with it. Our plant-based drinks packed with electrolytes are a tasty way of replenishing your electrolytes and staying hydrated. Another top tip is adding extra salt to your food when cooking, you can even add some to your water for an extra boost of sodium. 

 Make sure you're eating enough fat 

The transition onto a low carb diet can cause you to crave many high sugar foods. By increasing your fat intake your body will be satisfied and you will feel fuelled and energised. This can reduce symptoms such as fatigue and irritability. A great way to increase your fat intake is to start your morning with a bulletproof coffee. These high fat low carb drinks can give you the fat and boost of energy you need to start your day and help you stay on the right track. Our Nespresso© compatible Keto Coffee Pods are a quick and easy way to make them and they can even be easily adapted for anyone one on a plant-based diet too.

Sleep, sleep and more sleep 

With fatigue being one of the main symptoms of the keto flu it is no surprise that sleeping will give you the boost of energy you need. However, a lack of sleep also increases the levels of cortisol in the body. This hormone can have a negative impact on the body and make other symptoms, such as irritability, worsen. To improve the quality of your sleep you should try switching of all phones and tablets before bed. Studies have shown that the reducing the blue ambient light can improve sleep quality due to the dark environment and reduced alertness. Another way to improve sleep quality is waking up earlier and having a set routine each day. This causes your body to go through all the sleep cycles which improves sleep quality over time. 

How long does keto flu last?

If you don't manage to prevent the symptoms of keto flu don't give up on your journey, most symptoms only last a week or two whilst your body adjusts. If symptoms are prolonged or worsen always contact your doctor.

Remember, don't starve yourself just because you are on a 'diet'. The ketogenic diet is about fuelling your body with the same amount of calories but from high fat, moderate protein and low carb foods.

Good Luck!

By Alex Warmisham ANutr - Nutritionist at Rejuvenation Water 

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