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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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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