What is Keto Flu ?

What is Keto FluSo What is Keto Flu Anyways!?

I posted this What is Keto Flu article below back in the summer of 2013 when I had no idea what I was doing or what keto flu was.  All I knew is that I was sick as a dog! I’ve learned so much since then and so many people manage to find this article, so I thought I should update it with the solutions that work!

The Keto flu is also called Ketosis Flu, Ketogenic Flu, Induction Flu  and Carb Flu depending on what groups you hang out in.  It normally is what happens after your first couple of days without carbs.  Not to every single person, but most people go through some sort of carb withdrawal and/or carb detox.

What actually causes the Keto Flu Symptoms?

Keto flu happens when our bodies shift from glucose or sugar burning mode to fat burning mode.  It is basically an electrolyte imbalance.  On a keto diet we need more magnesium, potassium and sodium. Luckily, this is a pretty easy problem to solve and I wish I had known about this 3 years ago!

Can You Stop Keto Flu ?

You know, for some of us, the keto flu is something we just have to go through for a few days.  Think of it as a detox because bottom line, that is what is happening.  You are detoxing from sugar, carbs, wheat, all those things that are holding you back from optimal health.

But even though you likely can’t stop keto flu, you sure can minimize the symptoms!  Drink lots of salty chicken broth.  Use a magnesium supplement.  You will be amazed at how helpful this will be!

I recommend using Lo Salt or any similar blend that has potassium and sodium.  My other go to remedy is a nightly drink of Calm.  This is a magnesium drink that I swear by and I still use it almost every night.  Not only does Calm prevent leg cramps but it also keeps me regular, which can be an issue for low carbers.  It is truly a great product!

 Lo Salt 350g Less Sodium and more Potassium Natural Calm Magnesium Anti Stress, Organic, Raspberry Lemon, 16 oz

&

Symptoms of Keto Flu

Besides the keto flu symptoms that I had personally (listed below), many people also suffer from diarrhea, nausea and leg cramps.

I also found it helpful to sip chicken broth (or bone broth) during those carb detox days.

The other thing that I found helpful, especially if you are a person that likes to learn the science behind something, is the book by Phinney and Volek called The Art & Science of Low Carb Living,  That book is the low carb bible for many people.

Here is what I wrote in the summer of 2013.

Here are the Keto Flu symptoms that I have:

  • Tummy upset
  • headache
  • fatigue/tired
  • low grade fever at times
  • feeling foggy

So I think if you are going to do the ketogenic diet, then it is probably a good idea to plan to start either when you are on vacation, or there is a long weekend, or you are not in the middle of a high stress project or work situation.

It seems that the ketogenic flu symptoms can last anywhere from just 1 day to 2 weeks.  I am on about Day 7 or 8 of this.  Although I do feel better now than the first couple days, I just don’t feel myself.  They say it is my body adjusting to a state of ketosis.  Ketosis is when your body starts to burn fat instead of glucose. Well, I am for that, yes I am!

So I guess if there is a silver lining to this, it is that I am either in ketosis or well on my way.

Apparently, one day very soon, I will wake up all better and full of energy.  Hurry up, ok?

But even so, I have not been hungry and I am managing to get to that 80/15/5 ratio with not too much trouble.

I have a family BBQ to attend tomorrow, and I am actually not worried at all.  I really seem to have little or no appetite!

Update: Sep4,2013 – I feel a million times better now! I made it through the family BBQ, this Keto diet really kills an appetite. All my ‘Ketogenic Flu’ symptoms have disappeared. Let the fat burning begin!

 

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73 Responses to What is Keto Flu ?

  1. Mehrdad says:

    I went thru hell starting the ketogenic diet, with serious problems with kidney stone that luckily after one endless night went thru with excruciating pain. A bit of headache ensued for a few days as well Only later I found out that the broth with potassium and plenty of water would’ve helped. Stick with the diet and drink broth and take mineral supplement and you’ll be rewarded.

    • KetoWoman says:

      Wow, sorry you went through that! It’s not typical but some have severe symptoms while others have nothing. Best to be prepared!

  2. Amy says:

    Hi there… just was advised to Google “keto flu” as this is new to me! I am on day 13 and I woke up and thought I had a virus… temp at 100.4, diarrhea, nausea and dizziness! I have sticking to 50g carbs daily to this point but today I was too sick so I just drank a lot and probably went way over on carbs since I didn’t feel well… I just ditched everything today. If this is keto flu will this one day ruin my efforts to reach ketosis and then have to go through it again? Should I stick more to carb cycling (50/125/200g) to prevent this from happening? Thanks for any advice!

    • KetoWoman says:

      If you eat carbs, then unfortunately this will prolong the agony of keto flu. If you use the potassium salt that I recommend, this will help greatly! Also magnesium. If nothing else drink plenty of chicken broth. The only way to get through it is to actually go through it. Follow these suggestions and you might not even have any symptoms! Good luck!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hi, I’m about a week into my ketogenic diet, and I’ve had the occasional nausea, insomnia and constant headaches for about the whole week, but now I have a sore throat, cough, runny nose, and low back pain. Is this the keto flu, too, or am I actually sick? (I haven’t been sick in 3 years.) Thanks for any insight you can give!

    • KetoWoman says:

      Yes, you could actually be sick. Since I missed this message and it’s now the end of January, I sure hope you are feeling better.

  4. Xenia says:

    Hi so I’ve been low carb for almost a week and have felt incredibly sick last few daya with all the symptoms mentioned. Is it normal to also have stomach cramps bloating and bad indigestion? Do you know what causes that?

    • KetoWoman says:

      It could just be part of your own keto flu symptoms. It’s hard to say without knowing what you ate, but many people who do low carb and have sugar alcohols also have these symptoms.(found in many protein bars, Atkins products, etc). Also if you are not used to coconut oil, it has a natural laxative effect. And xylitol affects me like that. So try to stay with only natural food products during this time while you get used to eating low carb. Good luck!

  5. Bimbo says:

    Thanks for this. Now I know why I feel so terrible after 5 days into the keto diet.

  6. Denice says:

    Wow thank you so much for this post! I am on day 4 and felt like I was getting sick today and had absolutely no energy:/ I was laying in bed and started to get leg cramps so I looked it up and came across your post! I just my husband to Whole Foods to grab all these things to help. Thanks again! Im really excited about the new diet. Havent lost weight yet but I feel skinnier:-)

    • KetoWoman says:

      I am so glad it helped you, I remember feeling the same way and not knowing if I was really sick or what! Stick with it, you will look skinnier soon!

  7. Tell you what, I went from 3 months on paleo to keto with no symptoms at all. I lost 20 # on paleo & now another 20# on keto & still going. My ody is re-shaping itself as pocket fat dissolves away. I look & feel better than I have in 30 yrs! Hang in there!

    • KetoWoman says:

      oh so lucky! I heard that not everyone suffers from Keto flu, but you are the first person who has actually said it to me! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  8. paula colagrossi says:

    I am on day 17 and have not felt good, thew past 3 days, so glad i found this and that this is normal, i was getting a little worried

    • KetoWoman says:

      It’s totally normal and takes longer for some to detox than others. Once you are the other side, you’ll feel fantastic!

      • Thanks so much for this. I feel better today (Day 15) than I did yesterday, but I also don’t even want to quit now after going through this adjustment period (that is hopefully ending very soon). I started this eating style to help my plantar fasciitis and it has helped incredibly. I have to thank Eric Berg (youtube) for helping me get out of plantar fasciitis pain and introducing me to the ketogenic diet. I am a vegan of 5 years, so this is a great challenge for me. Regular vegan diet is easy, but also easy to eat processed crap. Thank you, KetoWoman!

        • KetoWoman says:

          I also have no more plantar fasciitus pain! That was horrible! I admire that you are taking this challenge as a vegan! Good luck!

  9. Kristie says:

    I have been told that you can increase your sodium, potassium, and magnesium to avoid the “keto Flu.” So I think you can drink broth in the beginning couple weeks to assist the balance of the sodium/potassium channels. And the magnesium allows the potassium to absorb.

  10. Carla says:

    I have been trying to follow the kerogenic diet for about 22 days. I didn’t get this flu feeling till yesterday. And it was after I had homemade beef broth for lunch. I don’t want to eat anything. Let alone drink more broth. I feel very lethargic with headache, body aches, indigestion and slightly nauseous. I will try to push water today. I couldn’t do it yesterday. I’m glad for any suggestions.

    • KetoWoman says:

      Sorry you are not feeling well. Usually Keto flu happens in the first week so 22 days does seem weird. Unless you changed the macros quite a bit in the last couple days. It’s also possible you are actually coming down with something! Hope not!

      • Tiffany says:

        I started my Keto diet 13 days ago. 4 days ago it hit me like a ton of bricks. Fatigue, loss of appetite, no desire to consume liquids. Is this normal?

        • KetoWoman says:

          Yes, I’m afraid it is normal! Get lots of minerals from drinking bone broth and even lick pink himalayan sea salt off your hand! It will help! It should pass in a few days, it’s your body’s reaction to switching from burning carbs to burning fat.

  11. Nancy says:

    I know this is an old posting, but I feel like crap one week into Keto diet. I am so week, fever of 100.6, no appetite, too lethargic to exercise. I am trying my hardest to push through, but the aches and pains and fatigue are overwhelming.
    How long did it take for you to feel better? I have felt like crap for 2 days. Forcing myself to eat and drink plenty of water (with a little salt) and increase my protein/fats. Making me feel like I’m dying 🙁

    • KetoWoman says:

      Oh I am so sorry! Can you make some home made chicken broth or bone broth? The extra salt and minerals will make you feel better. It really took me two full weeks to honestly feel better.

  12. Aida Ingram says:

    This a truly interesting post! Good luck on your diet, and so glad you’re feeling better!

  13. Ondria Witt says:

    I’ve never heard of this, but I am glad that the diet worked for you and that you’re feeling much better!

  14. amanda says:

    i hadn’t heard of this before. thanks for sharing

  15. Wow – I never knew you could get something like the flu from just starting to eat better. That’s crazy! I have to admit, I probably would have gave in and ate what I wanted to when I was starting to feel sick. Sad, I know.

  16. jsieg says:

    your daily diet sounds simliar to mine – I follow a basically carbless diet because I can no longer digest most of them. My gastroenterologist put me on the low-FODMAP diet first, but it wasn’t enough to do the trick. I was concerned about losing too much weight on a ketogenic diet (cause I really don’t need to lose any), but told that really won’t happen. I think most people experience a mild form of flu-like symptoms when first withdrawing from carbs – I did: headache and body aches… I guzzled water and went very easy on myself for a few days until it passed – and pass it did. No more insomnia, belching, bloat and no longer starving all the time!

    • KetoWoman says:

      More and more doctors are discovering Ketogenic! There are many ways to configure it depending on your needs. I use it to lose weight, but my friends whose children have epilepsy use it differently to control seizures and not lose weight. I think people will be hearing more about this in the coming years.

  17. I’m sorry that you haven’t been feeling well. It’s important to consider possibly feeling this way on this regimen and anticipating how it will affect your daily life.

    • KetoWoman says:

      I am feeling awesome now! It was simply a withdrawal from sugar and carbs, which I say Good Riddance and it was worth a little discomfort.

  18. Kyle says:

    Glad your feeling better. Usually, when I start getting pre symptoms of something, I take multivitamins, drink tons of OJ and I try to rest as much as posible

  19. Kyle says:

    Glad your feeling better. Usually, when I start getting pre symptoms of something, I take multivitamins and drink tons of OJ

  20. Corinne says:

    I haven’t done the ketogenic diet before, but I did do Atkins and suffered from very similar symptoms when I reached ketosis. It’s very draining! I hope you adjust soon and feel better.

  21. I am sorry to hear you had to experience that but I think that is pretty normal when you have a drastic change in your diet. I know I did a detox and I felt terrible for a couple of weeks. I am glad you feel better and things are going in the direction you want.

  22. Very interesting. I don’t know how I would like the flu symptoms. I am a little bit of a baby when I don’t feel well. I am glad to hear you are feeling better.

    • KetoWoman says:

      Well I have had the real flu, so maybe ‘flu’ isn’t the best description because this was more like ‘feeling yucky’ as opposed to being really sick.

  23. Having the flu no matter what type of flu it is is horrible. Hope you feel better soon.

  24. Glad that you feel better now. It really sucks when you are not well.

  25. Theresa says:

    Hmmm, my hubby has been sick for about a week. I wonder if this is what he has?

    Glad you are feeling better now!

  26. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon…I am learning all about this diet through your site…I had never heard of it before.

  27. Rosey says:

    Good luck on your journey!

  28. SO sorry 🙁 I hope you feel better soon!!

  29. Akhil says:

    Thank you the awareness, i am bookmarking this tab so that i wont forget it. Thanks again

  30. Lisa Ladrido says:

    I’m glad you feel better! I had never heard of the ketogenic diet, thanks for sharing!

  31. If this diet makes you so sick, why would you choose to do it? Do the benefits out weigh the problems? This ketogenic diet is new to me, so not trying to be judgemental, just asking an honest question.

    • KetoWoman says:

      My answer is that yes, for me the benefits do outweigh this short term inconvenience. Ketogenic flu is a well documented set of withdrawal symptoms from sugars, wheat, grains and all those things that my body does not do well with. It lasted a week and it was a small price to pay to get into nutritional ketosis. It’s like a rite of passage!

  32. Sarah Bailey says:

    Aww no 🙁 I hope you feel better soon x

  33. Michelle H says:

    Glad you’re feeling better!

  34. Pam says:

    I am glad you are feeling better. I agree, let the fat burning begin! Looking forward to hearing how it is working.

  35. Those symptoms Sound like me when I do a cleanse. I am right now in the process of doing a cleanse and I have one bad day.

    Hope you feel better soon!

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