Keto Diet Side Effects

Keto Diet Side Effects

Once you initially begin a keto diet, the body may go through a brief bout of what’s referred to as “keto influenza.” The signs and symptoms, that could include fatigue, belly pain and lightheadedness, have practically nothing related to ketosis or ketogenesis. Instead, the “keto flu” is triggered by the body’s response to carbohydrate restriction. Think about your switch from a carb-heavy diet to a low-carb diet like a breakup.

Saying goodbye to that easy, familiar source of energy can be difficult, even if you know that there are rewards to follow. See, most of your cells prefer to burn sugar for fuel and that’s what your body is used to. When you start to restrict those carbohydrates, the body undergoes a series of changes on cellular and hormonal levels. And some of those changes cause the keto flu. In addition to fatigue, stomach pain and dizziness, other symptoms can include: sugar cravings, dizziness, brain fog, irritability, nausea, cramping, muscle soreness and insomnia.

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The good news is that, while symptoms often start during the first day or two of carb restriction, they usually last for less than a week. The number and severity of symptoms and the length of the keto flu will be different for everyone. This is mainly tied to each person’s level of metabolic flexibility, which means how well you can adapt to using different fuel sources, like carbs, fats, protein and ketones. Metabolic flexibility mostly depends on genetics and lifestyle factors, like how much sugar and processed foods you were previously eating, and how much you exercise.

A healthy diet and plenty of exercise before you start keto may help to reduce or even prevent keto flu. One of the main reasons keto flu happens, is that when carbs are restricted, insulin levels drop and trigger the kidneys to release sodium and water. Glycogen, which is the body’s storage form of sugar, is stored with water, as well. So, when the body begins to break down glycogen, some water will be flushed out.

The start of a keto diet can also lower T3 thyroid hormone levels, which can cause feelings of fatigue, depression and mental fog. Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, maybe also increase, because the ketogenic diet triggers a starvation-like response in the body. Remember: This is all temporary! The main way to combat keto flu is to drink lots and lots of water, with a pinch of unrefined salt added.

It is very easy to become dehydrated on keto, so stay vigilant about your hydration! The suggested water intake for most adults is between at least 2.7 and 3.7 liters of water per day. Also, be sure to supplement your diet with sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Sodium and potassium are lost at a rapid rate at the start of keto because of the decrease of insulin. This can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, headaches, constipation and cramping. Add more leafy greens and avocados to boost potassium in your diet. Try recipes like a spinach watercress keto salad, easy keto creamed spinach and avocado egg salad.

Also, add extra sprinkle of unrefined salt on your food to compensate for sodium loss. Extra magnesium will help prevent and treat cramps, improve sleep quality, and increase insulin sensitivity. To boost those levels, add more pumpkin seeds, almonds and spinach to your keto diet.

keto diet
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Almond butter chia squares is a great recipe to make for this purpose, or sprinkle some extra pumpkin seeds on your breakfast keto porridge. You can also purchase potassium gluconate and magnesium citrate supplements from a pharmacy or health food market. The recommended daily doses for most adults are: 5 to 7 grams of unrefined salt; 3,500 milligrams per day of potassium; and between 310 and 400 milligrams of magnesium. One other way to help lessen the effects of keto flu is to eat more fat.

Animal fats and dairy take a long time to create fuel for the body, but MCT oil, which is made of medium chain triglycerides, go straight to the liver after digestion. There, they can be converted into ketones and sent to the cells in your body for fuel. An hour of light exercise, like walking, first thing in the morning can also tremendously help with keto flu. This will help deplete your glycogen stores and kickstart ketosis, which helps the keto flu go away faster.

Just remember to drink even more water when you exercise. A good night’s sleep can also work wonders for fatigue and stress relief, and some people find that a daily, 15-minute meditation practice is also very helpful. With some preparation, you can get through the keto flu!

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