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 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 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 such as So Nourished Sweetener.  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.

Back to my original 2013 article:

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!

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