What is Keto Flu and How You Can Feel Better Fast!

What is Keto Flu and how can you feel better on the keto diet during those first few days of detox?So 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 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 need potassium which you can get in No-Salt. You will be amazed at how helpful this will be!

How Can I Feel Better While Detoxing from Carbs?

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!

The Lo Salt or No Salt can be sprinkled over food but I’m not that crazy about the taste. Regular salt covers the taste up though, so I recommend using it that way. Put 1/4 teaspoon is a hot cup of home made chicken broth.

My other favorite way to use it is to make up a lemonade drink. Squeeze lemon juice into a tall glass or mason jar over ice cubes. Add 1/4 teaspoon No Salt, some pink himalayan salt, a couple teaspoons apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of erythritol/stevia blend.  Fill with water and drink. It’s actually quite refreshing!

You can get the full recipe with instructions here.

 Lo Salt 350g Less Sodium and more PotassiumWhat is Keto Flu and how can you feel better on the keto diet during those first few days of detox? Natural Calm Magnesium Anti Stress, Organic, Raspberry Lemon, 16 ozWhat is Keto Flu and how can you feel better on the keto diet during those first few days of detox?


What are the 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.

Flash Forward now to 2023! I have lost over 130 lbs and guess what!? I still have trouble with electrolytes! 

I do treat my imbalance different now and I put it into maintenance mode by using a new product called LMNT.  You can check that out here! But by all means, if you want to make your own my drink recipe is very good!

This is an excerpt from my original 2013 article when I first started Keto!:

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!



96 thoughts on “What is Keto Flu and How You Can Feel Better Fast!”

  1. With metabolic syndrome and fibromyalgia, there is not a day where I feel good, and many of the keto flu are a part of daily life for me. After 3 days of keto flu, which I just realized I have been going through, my energy level is allowing me to sit up. I have had everyone of the symptoms except for a headache. In addition to the nausea, diarrhea, I have been semi comatose: sleeping more than awake, weak, and vertigo that has held me back from doing anything. I have been drinking chicken and other broths,mostly by accident, as it was something I drank for flu in the past. I am still quite foggy, but I think this 4th day I am feeling no worse, which is an improvement. Are the amount of weight one needs to lose associated with the severity of symptoms? This looks like a great resource, and I am happy to find it.

    1. oh dear, that sounds terrible! Keep that salt intake up! It’s good that you are drinking the broth, keep it up. haha, I love what you said about the coorelation of symptom severity to weight loss, it made me giggle but of course I don’t think there is one! But you deserve a good loss for bearing with it! There’s a link to a recipe there for a homemade keto electrolyte drink, I would make a gallon of it! But do stay the course, my symptoms were pretty severe too and I promise they will get better!

      1. Has anyone ever reported emotional distress as part of detox? Yesterday after I tripped over the cat, she bit my ankle, and I began sobbing! Then i fell asleep and woke up feeling better:) Also, in checking my blood pressure and other vital signs, I have found that with standing, my blood pressure and pulse become elevated, while my Oxygen Sat goes down. Blood sugar has been great, and I have had no appetite for a few days. If only it would last! It’s funny as the worse I feel, the more determined I am to stay with this. Also I wonder about loose hanging skin when there has been weight loss. I appreciate your encouragement and advice.

        1. Well yes I have heard people mention it but it’s hard to say what exactly the source is. As I’m an emotional eater any little changes can cause me to go off the deep end. But for others maybe hormones are playing a part. I think though that the main thing to remember is that all of this SHOULD clear up in a few days or maybe at worst a couple weeks. And if it doesn’t then is the time to get some medical advice from your doctor in case you are suffering from something unrelated or even clinical depression.
          As far as loose skin this is going to vary person to person. Yes I do have some from losing 100 pounds, it’s hard not to! I have chosen to wear it as a badge of honor and I feel that I definitely look better with 100lbs less on my body, loose skin and all. Others might choose to have it removed. But you don’t have to make that decision today! Do what is best for your health today and if you are faced with that at some point, you can deal with it then. I hope this helps!

          1. Thanks KetoWoman! I am starting to feel better, but it did take a visit to the doctor to discover that i was a bit dehydrated. Emotions still running high, but it could just be the holidays. I have been cheering myself up with new holiday desserts to try rather than the old sugar and flour based carb cookies. Delighted to see so many recipes! Thanks for helping me through this, and if Spanx are in my future, it’ll still be an improvement!

  2. I feel awful! I have never had a headache hurt so bad! From my shoulder up hurt! No energy and a little anxious. Going to load up on chicken broth. Lord I hope this passes before work Monday.
    However! I am ending week two and down 10lbs.. silver lining. Staying focused

    1. Macro is short for Macronutrient. There are 3 macronutrients that provide energy to the body, Protein, Fat and Carbs. Hope that helps!

  3. This is really good stuff, electrolytes can really fix many issues related to how you feel on a keto diet. I liberally salt all my foods, I drink warm broth from bouillon cubes, avocado here and there which has potassium, some nuts too. Have you ever used any of the quick packaged products on Amazon etc or something like this when in a bind? ketoshop.com

  4. Hi there, I am on day 9 of little to no carbs and have had what I believe to be the Keto Flu for 4 days now. What’s kind of odd to me though is that I feel great during the day but at night I’m getting really sick. Mostly nausea and headaches, but last night I actually started vomiting. My question is, why am I only getting the symptoms in the evening and how can I lessen the severity. I’m miserable at bedtime.

    1. The magnesium drink called Calm really works for me. Also licking pink himalayan sea salt helps with nausea. Maybe a cup of broth at night?

  5. Hi,
    This is my second month and Im still not sure how to get the right numbers. I did lose some weight, but nothing now for a week. Not hungry most of the time, but feeling really weak with headaches and running to bathroom. I do not have a gall bladder, take medicine for HP, diabetes to name a few. My numbers are all good, but just feel terrible. Ive tried all of the remedies listed above. How do I find a Keto Doctor or nutritionalist?

    1. Dr Weic Berg is an amazing Keto and nutrionist! Great medical advice and teaching tool, with recipes and natural remedies. Highly recommend! Btw, most of it is free information!

    2. Search Dr. Ken Berry, MD on Facebook. He has the best keto website ever! You can message or set up chat visits with him! He has recipes. He helps with diabetes. I have a friend that was on insulin for years! She is now off of it. So I am using him now! You will love him!

  6. Day 6 and having severe headaches and hypertension, I am not craving carbs, so that is helpful, but increasing my BP meds, will add the magnesium supplement, as I have been drinking bone broth daily. Any other suggestions. FYI, I have a plan with my MD to manage periods of elevated bp, so I have consulted my doctor about this as well.

    1. You should feel better in 3-4 days but in the meantime, be sure there is a good amount of salt in the broth. Some people even lick the pink himalayan sea salt right off their hand! I am glad you are seeing a doctor, you don’t want to mess with high BP!

  7. 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.

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

  8. 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!

    1. 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!

  9. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. Hi, Jennifer. I just started a ketogenic diet. On the third day, I got a sore throat and soon I felt like I was getting a cold with cough and runny nose. At day 14, I’m doing a little better but still have some of the symptoms. It worries me. I have to sing in a concert Saturday and am worried my throat will still be bad.

  10. 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?

    1. 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!

  11. 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:-)

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. 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!


        1. Look up myfitnesspal.com and open up a free account there. You will be able to track all your carbs and protein there. Good luck!

  13. paula colagrossi

    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

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

      1. 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!

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

  16. 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 :(

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

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