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Adhering to the ketogenic diet can give the impression of a flu. Fatigue, fatigue, stomach pain and vertigo are common symptoms that a ketogenic beginner may experience, but these symptoms do not come from a ketogenic virus or an infected mosketo (like a "mosquito" – sorry, I could not resist).
In fact, the symptoms of keto flu are not even caused by ketosis, ketogenesis or the flu. Keto-flu is caused by the body's response to carbohydrate restriction.
Carbohydrate restriction can be difficult
Carbohydrates are like the version of your body of your first love. They provide so much comfort, softness and easy energy that we spend most of our time with them. It's so good, it looks like real love, but it's mostly desire. The kind of lust that increases our risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. That's why breaking with carbs is a good idea for a lot of people.
But as in any breakup, it's difficult at first. You suck and suck. It's so heartbreaking – not because you needed it, but because you're so used to living with them.
However, after a few weeks to a few months, you begin to adapt to life without your first love.
With the help of your friends, proteins and lipids, you start dating your new love interest: ketones. And suddenly, life is better than before.
This is what happens inside your body when you limit carbohydrates. Most of your cells prefer to burn sugar as fuel and are adapted to the use of the carbohydrates you eat.
So that your body can adapt to the carbohydrate restriction, it must make many changes, from the cellular level to the hormonal level. This process is synonymous with the period of adaptation we are going through after ending a relationship with someone we love very much. And as in our first breakup, a break with carbs can result in an exhaustive list of symptoms called keto flu.
The symptoms of keto flu
For an average person, keto flu lasts about a week and symptoms usually appear during the first or first two days of carbohydrate restrictions. In some cases, keto flu can last up to a month, but it's not as common.
In general, the symptoms of keto flu are:
- Sugar cravings
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration and concentration
- Pain in the stomach
- Muscle pain
But do not worry, you may only encounter one or two of these symptoms, if at all. The symptoms you present, the severity of your symptoms and the duration of the keto flu will be different depending on the person.
Take me and my friend for example. For me, restricting carbs for only 20 hours causes keto-flu symptoms, and this lasts for weeks. However, my friend is able to go from a high carb diet to a full fast for several days and he feels better than before. While I'm in bed, dreaming of cuddling with a baked potato, my friend ends his third project. Why the difference?
Why Keto flu affects everyone differently
The main culprit is metabolic flexibility, ie the ability of the body to adapt the oxidation of fuel to the availability of fuel. In other words, metabolic flexibility is your ability to adapt to the use of different fuel sources (carbohydrates, fats, proteins and ketones, for example).
For example, I'm not metabolically flexible enough to switch to keto without feeling some flu-like symptoms, while my friend is a metabolic gymnast who can easily turn into ketosis.
So, what is behind our contrasting responses to the carbohydrate restriction?
Many factors determine metabolic flexibility, but we will stick to two of the best known: genetics and lifestyle.
From a genetic point of view, some people are less metabolically flexible because they exhibit genetic variations (eg, insufficient production of specific enzymes) that make them more difficult to adapt to the ketogenic diet. In contrast, fast adapters may have genes that improve their ability to change fuel sources more efficiently.
Lifestyle is also an important factor. If you are used to eating foods high in refined sugar and processed foods, you are more likely to have severe symptoms of keto flu. On the other hand, if your diet is relatively low in processed sugars and starches, you may only experience mild symptoms of keto flu, if at all.
A similar pattern emerges with exercise. People who exercise part of their life will be more metabolically flexible than those who are sedentary.
So what should you do exactly with all this information?
Do more exercise and eat healthier as soon as possible. Other than that, nothing.
Most of the factors that affect metabolic flexibility now exceed our understanding that it is difficult to predict how a person will manage the carbohydrate restriction until they actually restrict their carbohydrates. That said, what we know for sure are the main biological mechanisms responsible for keto flu.
Why do we catch keto flu and its symptoms?
With a deeper understanding of the "why" of keto flu, we can understand how to mitigate its negative symptoms. Whether you are metabolically flexible or not, three restrictions will occur in the body when you limit carbs. These three changes are the main contributors to the common symptoms of keto flu:
1. Water and sodium are eliminated from the body
When we limit carbohydrates, we remove from our diet the only macronutrient that triggers the greatest release of insulin. You may already know that insulin helps the sugar to move into the cells as fuel, but you may not know the effects of insulin on the kidneys.
While insulin tells the cells that there is an excess of energy, it also forces the kidneys to retain sodium and water. As soon as insulin levels drop, sodium is released by the body, resulting in water. This can lose up to 10 pounds of water weight during the first 5 days of the ketogenic diet.
Levels of glycogen (sugar stored in the body) and fluid are also intimately linked. Each gram of glycogen is stored with about 3 grams of water. Thus, when we break down glycogen, water will also be released.
During the first day of the ketogenic diet, your main source of energy becomes glycogen stored in your liver and muscles. This can result in an additional loss of a pound to a pound and a half of water.
Together, the loss of glycogen and low levels of insulin can cause us to excrete so much water and sodium that we experience some of the most common symptoms of keto flu, such as dizziness, nausea, cramps , headaches and gastrointestinal problems. Fortunately, these symptoms can be avoided by drinking a lot of water and supplementing with the appropriate minerals (for more information about this later).
However, even if you replenish your liquids and minerals, you can still experience symptoms of keto flu such as fatigue and brain fog due to hormonal changes that carbohydrate restriction can cause.
2. Decreased levels of thyroid hormone T3
Many studies have shown that carbohydrate intake and thyroid function are intimately related (even more so than caloric intake). In fact, one study concluded that "dietary carbohydrates are an important regulatory factor in the production of T3 in humans".
In this study, they found that the complete restriction of carbohydrates (approximately 0 grams of carbohydrate per day) resulted in a 47% decrease in T3. This is important to know because T3 is the most powerful thyroid hormone produced by our body. It is 5 times more biologically active than T4 (the thyroid hormone that is usually produced in larger amounts).
So, if we have the T4, then the T3 does not really matter, right? Let's take a closer look at research to find out.
In another study, high levels of free T4, high inverse T3 (the inactive form of T4) and low T3 levels were associated with lower physical function in older men. The reverse was associated with a decrease in mortality risk.
With these results, it appears that a decrease in T3 levels accompanied by an increase in inverted T3 levels is to be avoided. Unfortunately, it may be exactly what happens when we limit carbohydrates.
In a study of eight obese groups, researchers found that different amounts of dietary carbohydrate affected T3 and reversed T3 levels in different ways. T3 levels only decreased when subjects consumed 120 grams of carbohydrate per day or less (regardless of calorie restriction). In contrast, reverse T3 rates began to increase when carbohydrate intake was between 40 and 50 grams of carbohydrate per day.
This suggests that there are certain thresholds of dietary carbohydrates that may alter thyroid function and thyroid hormones. However, the results of different studies indicate that it varies from person to person.
In the first study I mentioned, for example, they found no increase in T3, unless subjects were limited to 800 calories a day. In addition, the study conducted on the 8 groups of obese obese showed that their inverse T3 rate increased when they consumed less than 50 grams of carbohydrates.
To determine how to apply these results, you need to be aware of how you feel when you eat variable amounts of carbohydrates. If you feel tired, depressed and have trouble concentrating, you may have a lower T3 and a higher T3. This shows that limiting carbohydrates to this level affects thyroid function and causes some symptoms of keto-flu.
Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved in many cases and we will learn how to do it once we understand the third potential cause of keto flu.
3. Increased levels of cortisol
The ketogenic diet triggers a similar reaction to starvation in the body. To increase energy levels in case of carbohydrate restriction, the body triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. This means that the ketogenic diet can increase stress levels and the negative effects that result.
But it is only a hypothesis based on the physiology of textbooks. What does the literature say about ketogenic diets and cortisol?
A recent study compared the effects of low carb diets and high carbohydrate diets on cortisol and testosterone levels in normal men. Men on a high carbohydrate diet had significantly higher testosterone levels and cortisol levels than those on a low carbohydrate diet.
Physical training seems to increase this gap even more. In another study, the researchers wanted to know the changes that 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise training would have on the testosterone / free cortisol ratio. They divided people into two groups: a 60% carbohydrate diet group and a 30% carbohydrate diet group. The lower carbohydrate group showed a 43% decrease in the free testosterone ratio: cortisol, while no statistically significant change occurred in the upper carbohydrate group.
These studies suggest that, whether you are exercising or not, a low carbohydrate diet may increase your cortisol levels. You will know if your cortisol levels are higher than before if you usually feel irritable and if the quality of your sleep decreases.
However, once you are more fit for keto, your cortisol level will probably decrease as you use more ketones and fat as fuel instead of sugar. Unfortunately, this process may take a few weeks, depending on your metabolic flexibility, your lifestyle, and your diet.
However, it is possible to get rid of keto flu and speed up its adaptation, even though its metabolism is more rigid than a tree. All you have to do is implement the strategies described in the next section.
How to remedy the Keto flu
Here's how you can reduce the symptoms of keto flu, become more quickly adapted, or both.
1. Drink more water (with a pinch of unrefined salt)
Hydration is essential, especially when you limit carbohydrates. If you do not drink enough water during your ketogenic diet, you can quickly become dehydrated and have side effects.
All it takes is a water loss of 2% of your body weight to impair physical performance and a water loss of 2.8% of your body weight to impair cognitive functions. This amount of water can easily be lost during the first 5 days of the ketogenic diet, causing symptoms of keto flu in those who do not stay hydrated.
The best way to cure keto flu is to drink more water containing unrefined salt. But how much should you drink? Researchers Popkin, D'Anci and Rosenberg analyzed the hydration data and made the following suggestions:
Suggestions of daily water consumption for women:
- 4-8 years – drink 1.7 liters of water daily
- 9-13 years – drink 2.1 liters of water daily
- 14-18 years – drink 2.3 liters of water daily
- 19 years old and over – drink 2.7 liters of water a day
Suggestions of daily water consumption for men:
- 4-8 years – drink 1.7 liters of water daily
- 9-13 years – drink 2.4 liters of water daily
- 14-18 years – drink 3.3 liters of water daily
- 19 years old and over – drinking 3.7 liters of water a day
Find your suggested water intake – it is the amount of water that you should drink daily. However, you will also need to drink more than that to absorb the water you will lose during the first five days of the ketogenic diet.
To restore the water loss caused by exercise, Dr. Ben House recommends drinking between 16 and 20 ounces of water per pound of body weight that you lose as a result of exercise. The same is true for the water loss caused by the carbohydrate restriction.
Weigh yourself every day to see how much weight you have lost. For every pound you lose, add 16 to 20 ounces of extra water to your basic water intake for the day. You should only do this during the first five days of the ketogenic diet, since most of the weight lost during this time will be the result of a water loss.
Whatever the case may be, you will probably do well by following the basic recommendations above (without wanting to weigh yourself and weighing yourself every day). Just add a pinch of unrefined salt to your water and drink it all day, and you'll feel a lot better.
2. Supplement your diet with sodium, potassium and magnesium
Sodium and potassium will be lost at a rapid pace due to the decrease of insulin in the ketogenic diets. This can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches, constipation and cramps.
To make sure you consume enough potassium, include avocados and leafy vegetables such as spinach in your daily diet as you adjust. Sprinkle unrefined salt with each meal and in your water to replenish your sodium levels.
Some ketogenic dieters even recommend getting at least 5 to 7 grams of salt a day (that is, a teaspoon per teaspoon a day) during your first week of keto .
Magnesium is another important mineral that can ease your transition to ketosis. Although you do not lose a lot of magnesium when you limit carbohydrates, it is essential to help you prevent and treat cramps, improve sleep quality and increase insulin sensitivity. To get a good dose of magnesium, be sure to add pumpkin seeds, almonds and spinach to your keto diet.
However, to make sure you consume enough magnesium and potassium each day, it is best to take a supplement that you can rely on. A trusted potassium supplement, such as the affordable "potassium gluconate" from most stores, could be a good choice.
When it comes to magnesium supplements, magnesium citrate will probably give you the best value for money. It is well absorbed but may have a mild laxative effect in some sensitive people.
Magnesium bisglycinate is usually a bit more expensive, and its absorption levels and lack of intestinal problems are worth it for anyone sensitive to magnesium citrate. Magnesium bisglycinate is the best choice in this regard.
In summary, be sure to drink at least a teaspoon of salt a day and supplement your diet with potassium and magnesium to fight the symptoms of keto flu.
Recommended doses of minerals:
- 5-7 grams of unrefined salt per day
- 3,500 mg daily for people aged 16 and over
- For men: ~ 400 mg daily
- For women: ~ 310 mg daily
Side note: What about bone broth?
Many popular bloggers and diet gurus claim that their broth is a powerful mineral supplement. I was about to suggest this as something to add to your keto flu remedies, but then I asked myself, "Is there evidence to support these claims?
The short answer is no. "
Research on bone broth is rare. Most of the conclusions about its health benefits rest on the assumption that the bone broth must contain a lot of minerals because the bones contain a lot of minerals.
This is a reasonable assumption, but when it was put to the test (twice), it failed. The only published study I could find on a bone broth was in 1934. It revealed that the chicken bone broth contained only a tiny amount of minerals, but it was more than 80 years ago. We need something newer to confirm these results.
In 2014, one of Alive.com's readers sent several batches of bone broth and vegetable broth to the laboratory for mineral analysis. The results were a little counterintuitive.
After cooking 3 large bison bones for 24 hours under pressure, the only significant change is in sodium and potassium levels. Sodium has increased from about one gram per liter of broth and potassium to a little more than half a gram per liter.
Compare this to the vegetable broth based on nettles and dandelion leaves cooked under pressure for only 3 hours and left to soak overnight. In this broth, the potassium was 3 times higher and the magnesium 5 times higher than the bone broth. So, should you rather drink nettle broth and dandelion?
My suggestion is to save time. Instead, prepare a thick salad with avocado, spinach and pumpkin seeds, and add magnesium, potassium and sodium when you do not have enough. It's a much simpler strategy than drinking a liter of broth that will not even meet your mineral needs.
3. Eat more fat (especially MCTs)
To help your body become keto-adapted, give it more fat. Fat provides liver cells with acetyl-CoA that they can use to make ketones.
The easiest way to add more fat to your diet is to use fat bombs. To learn more about big bombs, check out our complete guide to big bombs or make a quick search for big bombs on our website.
However, there is a disadvantage to eating more fat (and this is not heart disease). Most fats are not easily used as fuel, especially during the first days of carbohydrate restriction. In fact, animal fats from meat and dairy products must traverse your entire lymphatic system up to your heart, your muscle cells and your fat cells before reaching the liver.
They can only be used to produce ketones when they reach the liver. At this point, the proteins in your meal can provide your body with the energy substrates it needs, which makes ketosis unnecessary.
When this is supplement with MCT oil can help you a lot. The MCT oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides, which are a type of saturated that go directly to the liver after digestion (just like carbohydrates). In the liver, they can be converted into ketones and sent to the cells of your body that need them.
In simple terms, MCT oil can help you adapt to the keto faster and more efficiently than any other type of fat. MCT oil supplementation can also help you completely relieve the keto flu, especially if you combine it with the right kind of exercise.
4. Do low intensity exercise the first thing in the morning
When you wake up, fill a bottle of water and a pinch of salt and take a long walk. Walk at a pace where you can easily talk without getting out of breath. Try to walk for about an hour.
As you continue to walk, you should feel better and better and more awake. This is a form of low intensity exercise that helps increase fat burning and revive ketosis, so you do not have to suffer from ketosis.
If you feel worse walking, then you may be dehydrated, low in essential minerals or not eating enough. Concentrate on rehydration, consume enough potassium, sodium and magnesium and consume more fat. Once you feel better, try walking around again.
5. Relieve stress with meditation
When you start ketogenic preparation, you may be more stressed and irritable than usual. It may be because your cortisol levels are a bit higher than normal.
To help lower your cortisol levels and improve your sense of well-being, it can be helpful to set up a daily meditation practice.
For 15 minutes each day, sit in silence and breathe deeply, slowly and deeply. If you have an idea or a desire to do something, focus on your breathing again. It is meditation in its simplest form.
The purpose of meditation is not to be inconsiderate, but to catch your breath when you have a thought. This is how you train your mind to be less responsive, so that life is less stressful.
If my description of meditation was not enough for you, you can use one of the many meditation apps to help you develop the habit of meditation.
6. Make sleep a top priority
Another way to reduce the level of stress is to get enough sleep. Quality sleep is especially essential for ketogenic dieters. Without it, cortisol levels will increase, worsening keto flu and making keto adaptation more difficult.
Try to sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a night, and if you are energetically empty in the middle of the day, take a nap for 30 minutes or meditate. It is also important to avoid consuming any form of caffeine in the afternoons because it will be harder to fall asleep at a reasonable time.
To help you sleep at night, turn off all lights (including your phone) at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Use these 30 minutes to relax and meditate. This will help you change the view from work mode to standby mode.
You can also try to take one of the magnesium supplements suggested above to improve the quality of your sleep. In fact, magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and melatonin levels in older people with insomnia (those who struggle the most for fall asleep).
Put it all in a cure for Keto flu
You can relieve the symptoms of keto flu by doing the following:
- Drink more water
- Increase your intake of sodium, potassium and magnesium
- Eat more fat (especially MCT)
- Take a walk every morning
- Meditate every day
- Make sleep a top priority
If you do these six things, then your keto-flu symptoms will be reduced or completely relieved. That said, it is possible to reverse these positive effects and also cause keto flu. Without tackling these factors, the keto will be more difficult to adapt than necessary.
Don'ts when you have keto flu
Let's take a look at three things you can not do with keto flu:
1. Do not do high intensity exercise (at the beginning)
High intensity exercises (eg, CrossFit and HIIT) are much more stressful for a body that restricts its carbs for the first time. (It's even more stressful for a body that rarely does high intensity exercise).
Without sufficient carbohydrates and ketones to feed this type of exercise, performance will suffer. The stress caused by high intensity workouts will only increase that caused by carbohydrate restriction, increasing cortisol levels and worsening keto flu.
Keep up with low intensity exercise, such as walking or cycling, until the keto flu is dispelled, and you feel ready to increase the intensity of your exercises.
2. Ne mangez pas trop de protéines
En réponse à la digestion des protéines, les niveaux d'insuline ont tendance à augmenter. Lorsque les niveaux d'insuline augmentent, il est plus probable que le sucre soit utilisé comme carburant au lieu des cétones.
Pour éviter cela, il est essentiel de consommer la quantité de protéines Goldilocks – ni trop peu, ni trop. Pour déterminer la quantité idéale de protéines pour vous, utilisez notre calculatrice cétogène.
3. Ne vous souciez pas de choses que vous ne pouvez pas contrôler
Le stress émotionnel et psychologique chronique fait des ravages dans votre corps. En réponse au stress, les niveaux de cortisol et de T3 inversé augmentent, ce qui aggrave encore la grippe céto.
C'est pourquoi il est important de méditer tous les jours et de dormir suffisamment. Ces deux stratégies vont améliorer les niveaux de cortisol et vous aider à surmonter les facteurs de stress de la vie courants avec aisance et grâce.
Qu'est-ce que le Keto Flu et comment y remédier?
La grippe céto n'est pas causée par un virus qui n'infecte que les personnes à la diète cétogènes. C’est la réaction de l’organisme à une restriction sévère des glucides.
Les symptômes les plus courants de la grippe céto sont les envies de sucre, les vertiges, l'irritabilité, une mauvaise mise au point et une mauvaise concentration, des douleurs abdominales, des nausées, des crampes, de la confusion, des douleurs musculaires et une difficulté à s'endormir.
La gravité de la grippe céto et de ses symptômes dépend toutefois de votre souplesse métabolique. Par exemple, les personnes les plus flexibles sur le plan métabolique risquent de ne pas ressentir du tout les symptômes de la grippe céto, tandis que les personnes les moins flexibles sur le plan métabolique peuvent avoir du mal à sortir du lit
Que vous soyez métaboliquement flexible ou pas, il est important de boire plus d'eau, de consommer beaucoup de sodium, de potassium et de magnésium, de manger plus de graisse (en particulier de MCT), de faire de l'exercice de faible intensité le matin, de méditer tous les jours et de bien dormir . Faire ces six choses peut soulager complètement la grippe céto.
Certains des problèmes qui pourraient vous gêner lors de votre adaptation au kéto sont le stress, les exercices de haute intensité et la consommation excessive de protéines. C'est pourquoi il est également important de manger la bonne quantité de protéines, de faire de l'exercice de faible intensité, de bien dormir et de méditer pour aider à remédier à la grippe céto.
Si vous êtes prêt à commencer votre voyage ceto et à écraser la grippe céto, consultez notre guide complet du débutant sur le régime cétogène.
Toutefois, si vous êtes aux prises avec la grippe céto et qu'aucune de ces recommandations ne vous aide, essayez d'utiliser la stratégie de bonus céto ci-dessous.
(Note importanteAssurez-vous de suivre toutes les recommandations de cet article avant de tenter la stratégie de bonus. Cette stratégie s’adresse uniquement aux personnes qui souhaitent suivre un régime cétogène mais ne peuvent pas se rendre de l’autre côté de la grippe céto.)
La grippe Keto ne va pas disparaître
Pour certaines personnes, consommer autant de glucides qu'elles le souhaitent en consommant moins de 30 grammes par jour donne l'impression de s'écraser contre un mur de briques. Pour ajouter l'insulte à la blessure, la grippe céto ne fait qu'empirer, peu importe ce qu'ils font pour y remédier.
Si cela vous ressemble, essayez cette approche proposée par le Dr Cate:
Si vous vous lancez dans un programme (à faible teneur en glucides) et que vous vous heurtez à un mur de briques à cause des effets secondaires, au lieu de renoncer définitivement à une consommation insuffisante de glucides, rajoutez vos glucides jusqu'à ce que vous vous sentiez mieux, puis essayez à nouveau de réduire votre consommation. lent à donner à votre corps le temps de s’adapter à l’idée.
C'est un excellent concept, mais comment le mettez-vous en pratique?
Essayez de réduire progressivement votre consommation de glucides de 10 grammes par jour. Augmentez votre consommation de graisse chaque jour pour vous rassasier et votre satiété, tout en maintenant vos protéines identiques. Cette lente altération des glucides peut vous aider à tomber dans la cétose sans ressentir aucun symptôme de la grippe céto. (N'oubliez pas que ce processus peut durer jusqu'à six mois, en fonction du nombre de glucides que vous avez l'habitude de manger.)
Si vous n'êtes pas fan de l'idée de suivre rigoureusement vos glucides, vous pouvez essayer la méthode d'élimination progressive. Chaque semaine, supprimez une source de glucides de votre alimentation. For example:
- Semaine 1: Remplacez les boissons gazeuses et autres boissons sucrées par des boissons sans calories.
- Semaine 2: Supprimez tous les desserts et les collations sucrées comme les gâteaux, les muffins, les pâtisseries et les barres de chocolat.
- Semaine 3: Dites adieu aux féculents comme les pâtes, la pizza, les frites et les collations emballées.
- Semaine 4: Éliminer le pain, les petits pains et les légumes féculents.
- Semaine 5: À ce jour, vous mangez probablement moins de 50 g de glucides par jour. Si vous souhaitez limiter davantage vos glucides, découpez les fruits et les sauces contenant un excès de glucides.
- Semaine 6: Félicitations! Vous allez bientôt entrer dans la cétose. Suivez les suggestions de cet article pour vous aider dans votre transition.
Que vous soyez lent et régulier ou que vous limitiez vos glucides tout de suite, il est possible de tomber facilement dans la cétose. La grippe céto peut être un ralentisseur sur votre route à la cétose, mais vous pouvez simplement prendre une autre route.
+ La nourriture a été testée et optimisée pour que vous puissiez perdre du poids et commencer à vous sentir bien!