Beat the keto “flu”

5 Steps to Beating the Keto Flu… Plus 3 Things You Should Never Do

By guest author, Chris Saviano

girl-865304_960_720So, you have a bad case of the flu.

No, not the dreaded bug that’s spreading itself around with a fury this time of year. I’m talking about the other kind of flu. The one that some of you will suffer from as you begin to make healthy changes to your diet.

I’m talking about the Keto Flu.

“Keto flu” is a term used to describe the not so pleasant side effects that some of us experience when first starting out on a keto eating plan. In short, it’s your body’s way of adjusting.

Unlike true influenza, there isn’t a vaccine, but it is possible to move past this stage quickly and relatively painlessly by making your health a priority and adding a few extra things to your diet and daily routine.

First, the Symptoms

Keto flu symptoms usually begin around day 2 or 3. It’s important to not see this as a sign that all those refined carbohydrates were good for you after all. The reason that you’re feeling this way is because they were actually very bad for health.

You may have heard or read about how sugar has an addictive effect on the brain that’s similar to cocaine or heroin. Research is saying there’s a good chance it’s true. My friend, the keto flu is your body’s way of detoxifying from sugar overload. To put it simply, you’re having withdrawals.

Here are the main symptoms of the keto flu.

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Sugar cravings
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Sniffles
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances

5 Ways of Not Letting the Keto Flu Get You Down

I don’t know about you, but that list of symptoms makes me feel miserable just looking at it. The sooner you can get past the keto flu and move on with your new healthy lifestyle the better. Here are 5 things you need to start doing when symptoms begin to appear.

Drink More Water


I mentioned that you’re feeling this way because your body is detoxifying itself. Your body is also doing something else right now. It’s flushing electrolytes like crazy.

But, what happens when you’re busy flushing away those electrolytes?

Say hello to dehydration.

Dehydration alone is enough to cause most of the symptoms on the list, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking in adequate amounts of water. As a base guideline, adult women should be drinking at least 2.7L of water per day, and adult men should up that to 3.7L.

Notice those are base amounts. Drink more during the beginning stages of the keto diet to prevent dehydration.

Replenish Those Electrolytes

A sure way to feel better soon is by replenishing electrolytes. Water with a pinch of mineral salt does the trick, but you can also get electrolytes from keto friendly food sources, including:

  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Salmon
  • Artichokes
  • Nuts
  • Bone Broth

Load Up on Fat

Loading up on healthy fats can help your body adapt more quickly to eating ketogenically. Not all animal fats are clean, but they can be if sourced properly. Saturated fat is not the enemy unless one is carb-adapted.

Think healthy fats including your favorite fat bomb recipes. As a bonus, more fats will help keep those sugar cravings at bay.

Get Moving

I know, it’s the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, but some light exercise will help to bust you out of the keto slump fast. Mild exercise will give you a boost of energy and help clear brain fog.

Just make sure that you stay hydrated.

Chill and Sleep


Finally, be kind to yourself.

Try techniques for letting go of stress, like mindfulness meditation or yoga. Whatever it is that helps you relax, now is the time to give yourself permission to do it.

Plus, it’s a good idea to move your bedtime routine up a little earlier. You’re exhausted, but you might have trouble falling asleep. Easing into your routine a bit early will allow you enough time to get the rest you need to recover.

3 Things to Avoid When Dealing with the Keto Flu

And now, for the 3 things you should never do.

  • Don’t go overboard with protein. It’s not the problem or the solution.
  • Don’t push yourself to the limit in anything, go easy, there’s time to push yourself later.
  • Don’t go backwards. You want to feel better, right? If and when you slip, just get back up and keep pressing on.

Lastly, be aware that if you eat too much fat at once before your body becomes accustomed to it, you WILL get diarrhea and/or stomach upset. Consider grass fed butter as it is a great source of fat because it turns directly into beta-hydroxy-butyrate in the gut.

Ok, so take a breath, grab an electrolyte drink and go for a low-key walk. The keto flu is only a phase, and soon it will pass. On the other side is better health and amazing energy. Keep the goal in mind. I promise you’re worth it.


About the Author:

Chris Saviano is responsible for Business Development and Sales at PGM Billing. When not leading back office service operations, he enjoys spending time with his son and exploring the future of natural health remedies.

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