The ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy method to lose weight and enhance health. The diet has a low carbohydrate content, a high fat content, and a moderate protein content. While the diet is generally regarded as safe, it is linked to certain undesirable side effects.
The keto flu, sometimes known as the carb flu, is a phrase invented by dieters to describe the symptoms people experience when they first start the keto diet. This page explains what the keto flu is, why it occurs, and how long the keto flu lasts.
What Exactly Is Keto Flu?
The keto flu is a set of symptoms that some people encounter when they first begin the keto diet. The body adjusting to a new diet consisting of relatively little carbs causes these symptoms, which might seem like the illness.
When you eat less carbs, your body is forced to burn ketones instead of glucose for energy. When you follow a ketogenic diet, ketones are byproducts of fat breakdown and become your primary fuel source.
Fat is usually saved as a backup fuel source for when glucose isn't available. Ketosis is the process of switching from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for energy. It happens under certain conditions, such as fasting and starving yourself.
Ketosis can, however, be achieved by following an extremely low-carb diet too.
Carbohydrates are generally limited to less than 50 grams per day on a ketogenic diet and this abrupt reduction may create withdrawal symptoms, similar to those encountered when weaning off an addictive stimulant like coffee.
Symptoms of The Keto Flu
Within the first few days of decreasing carbohydrates, symptoms of the keto flu may appear. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person and can range from mild to extreme.
While some people may be able to shift to a ketogenic diet without experiencing any negative consequences, others may have one or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Stomach pain
- Muscle cramps
- Poor concentration
- Sugar cravings
- Difficulty sleeping
These symptoms are frequent among persons who have recently started a ketogenic diet and can be quite upsetting.
Symptoms typically last about a week, however some people may experience them for an extended period of time. While some dieters may give up due to these negative effects, there are ways to mitigate them.
How Long Does Keto Flu Last?
The typical duration to recover from Keto flu is 3-5 days. However, there are several elements at play, and each person is unique.
If You Are First Time On The Keto Diet
If you're new to Keto, your Keto flu can persist a little longer because carbs have powered your body for decades. Changing your primary food source from carbohydrates to fat is a significant shift and it will take some time for your metabolism to adapt.
Keto dieters who have done it before know how to go into and out of ketosis swiftly and painlessly.
Carb Addicts Have Tougher Time Dealing With The Keto Flu
It may take longer to transition to Keto if you were previously on a “typical diet.” Carbohydrates are abundant in the so-called typical diet. As a result, weaning yourself off of the addiction to carbs may take some time.
Those of us who already keep a close eye on carbohydrates, such as those who live a sugar-free lifestyle or follow a Paleo diet, will find it easier to transition to ketosis.
Keto Flu Lasts Much Longer If You Don’t Track Your Macros
It's critical to get your macros correct the first time. This is also the most difficult portion for Keto newbies. On Keto, there are two major macro faults to avoid:
- You may be consuming more carbohydrates than you realize — keep an eye out for hidden carbs.
- Consuming insufficient fat
Ketosis can be delayed by either of these macros. Unless you address this, you're likely to remain in a Keto flu fog.
Keto Flu Might Be Extended By Sugar Alternatives
As you may be aware, there are several sugar replacements that are carb-free. Thousands of Keto-friendly recipes for cakes, sweets, and bread are also available. Some Keto dieters are able to enjoy these foods without issue.
Sweeteners, on the other hand, have the potential to derail your Keto journey. This is a simple trap to slip into. During the Keto flu, sugar cravings are typical. So you might be tempted to go for sweeteners just to obtain a taste of sweetness.
However, this might exacerbate the condition. Sweet taste is linked to a burst of glucose in your body and obtaining one without the other may aggravate your urges.
There is some anecdotal evidence that sweeteners can have a placebo-like impact on insulin spikes in certain persons, even if no glucose is taken.
You don't have to approach this with an all-or-nothing mentality just like all other healthy diets.
Many people are intrigued by ketosis, but research on how effective it is for weight reduction outside of calorie restriction is still being conducted. As far as we know, losing weight on keto is impossible without also paying attention to portion management.
So keep this in mind if you're thinking about going on a really low carb diet: if your objective is to lose weight, you'll see benefits as long as you keep your daily calorie intake under control.
Apart from that, it's about paying attention to how your dietary choices make you feel on the inside.
This is a solid incentive to keep going if adhering to nutritious, keto-friendly foods fulfills your taste buds and desires while also providing you with energy throughout the day.
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