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Our bodies naturally burn carbohydrates as a primary fuel source for bodies. But on Keto, we cut carbohydrate intake out of the diet, teaching the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. However, it can take a week or so for your body to get used to such a major metabolic transition. If you start Keto for the first time, you may experience “keto flu” [1, 2] after a few days of flu-like symptoms as your body learns to turn from burning sugar to burning fat.  In this article, we’ll clear all your doubts regarding keto flu, what its symptoms are, and how we can cure it.

So, let’s find out!

What is Keto Flu?

When the body uses fat as a source of energy, it produces ketones. Ketones in the blood decrease the amount of salt and water the kidneys must consume. Some may be dehydrated, and electrolytes may become imbalanced. You may notice a difference in your mood, energy levels, and ability to function at work once you start a low-carb diet.

KETO Flu Guide: Symptoms, Causes, and Cures Bariatric Station

Causes of Keto Flu

One of the primary aims of a ketogenic diet is to reduce insulin levels by transitioning from a high-carb to a very-low-carb diet.

If your blood sugar levels are too low, your body starts to turn fat into ketones, a source of energy for your cells instead of blood sugar. You’re in a state of ketosis [3] when your body primarily uses ketones and fat for energy.

It takes some time for your brain and other organs to adapt to these new fuel sources. Your body works by hydration first and foremost and needs to let out any excess water by excreting it in the urine. This means that you possibly would find yourself urinating much more frequently in the first week of keto eating.

This transition was responsible for a large portion of weight loss in the early stages of a ketogenic diet. Although the pain and discomfort are a reaction to the lack of water per day and sodium, sometimes it is a pretty unpleasant Keto flu experience.

Symptoms of Keto Flu

Following are some signs you may experience if you have keto flu [4]:

  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Sugar Cravings

However, keto flu affects everyone differently. This is because we all have different body types and metabolism. It is hard to predict how anyone would respond to Dietary carbohydrate restriction before carbohydrate withdrawal. If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above or even some different signs while on KD, make sure you consult your dietitian.

How long do these flu symptoms last?

Symptoms typically begin during the first couple of days of starting a new diet. The duration of keto flu varies from person to person. Some people may feel normal, while others may get a headache or feel down. Symptoms shouldn’t last longer than a few days and will vanish until the body adapts to burning fat for energy.

Important facts you must know if you’re in Keto.

According to Doctors, three things influence you on Keto [5] that you need to know about:

1.    How much fat you consume:

If you don’t have a gallbladder or if you have low bile, you can experience bloating and discomfort in the right shoulder. Bile is required for fat breakdown while on a keto diet.

2.    Nutrients:

Your body needs some nutrients when using sugar in place of fat. If you are not getting enough nutrition, you might feel ill and lethargic. You can experience a deficiency in B vitamins and potassium on a keto diet.

You can consider these nutritional supplements to get essential nutrients while you’re on Keto:

Electrolyte Powder

Mitochondria Energy (loaded with the B vitamins)


3.    Keto Adaption [6]:

If you’ve been eating a lot of sugar, the body might have difficulty adapting to ketosis. Your body has to begin creating new enzymes which it has not produced before. While some can switch to Keto without a problem, others need extra time to adjust to Keto. There are two possible situations you might experience:

Either you adapt it slowly, or you can do so at once. This means avoiding sugar, grains, refined foods, and eating wholesome fruits, quinoa, yams, and sweet potatoes. Do this for some time, and then start taking fruits in a routine.

For how long can Keto Flu Last?

The majority of the people start experiencing symptoms within the first three to five days of a ketogenic dieting cycle, particularly if it is their first time. Luckily, it’s temporary, and soon you’ll feel good again. You will be more energetic, not less, as a result of following this diet.

The majority of people notice carb withdrawal problems (such as headaches, lethargy, and moodiness) in the first week of dieting. Symptoms can persist beyond the first two weeks and in a few cases, the symptoms last for about three to five weeks.

KETO Flu Guide: Symptoms, Causes, and Cures Bariatric Station

That looks terrible, but don’t be afraid; it’s just for a short time on keto. Panicking will worsen the symptoms. We have compiled some strategies to shorten the time you experience those feelings here.


Ways to cure keto flu

Start Keto slowly

Don’t just make an extreme but temporary change in your diet and discontinue it. Begin slowly. For the first couple of days or weeks, reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrates until you reach your target. Get your body used to eating fewer dietary carbohydrates to avoid having to restrict them during the keto diet rapidly. This is the best approach.

Take electrolyte supplements

It would help if you also drank lots of water per day, adding some electrolytes like salts, potassium, and magnesium to your diet to regenerate what you lose in sweat. This can stop cramps and nausea. Extremely low-carb diets mean each person eliminated the wealthiest sources of electrolytes, such as starchy fruit and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated

During the first few days to weeks of a keto diet, your body is more likely to be dehydrated. Make sure to increase your water intake to prevent dehydration and associated common symptoms. Taking plenty of water can kick the flu symptoms out of your body.

Add salt to your food.

Proper intake of plain water and higher sodium content can help relieve keto-flu symptoms. That’s because diuresis can also impede sodium absorption. Adding this salt to your diet will strengthen your stomach issues.


*Tip: If you don’t take much salt in your food, make sure to add one teaspoon of sea salt sufficient with water per day, but you have to divide that one tbsp throughout the day because if you take that at once, you will get Diarrhea. Taking sufficient saltwater quantities will allow your body to absorb the water you are drinking. It will also help you feel fuller and reduce your appetite and lead to you eating fewer calories during the day.


Take more fats

To boost your body’s capacity to use fat, give it more of it. Fat supplies the liver cells with acetyl-CoA, a unique material used to supply energy. Intake of healthy fats is important when used with the keto diet, because low calories can cause symptoms of keto flu. Maintaining your caloric intake, and reducing your fat intake can work against you when it comes to losing weight.

Adding a high amount of fat to your diet will help the body ramp up the use of stored fat for energy. Load up on the egg yolks and half of an avocado for a better evening snack.

  KETO Flu Guide: Symptoms, Causes, and Cures Bariatric Station

Eat more vegetables:

Healthy keto-friendly vegetables contain many fiber and nutrients and relieve constipation and cramping.

Get plenty of sleep:

Lack of sleep is also recorded during keto flu, so finding extra space in your naps schedule or going to bed early can help flagging energy levels.


Exercise doesn’t always feel right for someone who is nauseated or has muscle soreness, but it’s necessary to do light exercise to alleviate muscle pain and stress. Take a restorative yoga class to help relax muscles and release endorphins to improve your mood and motivation.

Other ways to Avoid Keto Flu

The main reason why we get flu is due to the ketosis process, if we bypass all the hectic process then we can bypass flu as well.

Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are hyping a lot. In the other hand, even though they cannot provide weight loss for you, they will ease you into the state of ketosis with fewer symptoms such as exhaustion and low energy.

Bone Broth

Without a doubt, bone broth is the ideal thing to drink keto. It is rich in electrolytes, good fats, of course, and most importantly, it is full of water. Some people on Keto forums advocate adding a small cube of bouillon to water to enhance electrolyte levels. However, if you’ve looked at the list of ingredients in bouillon cubes, you’ll probably decide to steer clear of it altogether. Adding salt and other spices to your broth will help make it more flavorful.


Without appropriate fat and carbohydrate quantities, high-intensity exercise performance will not be sufficient. Stress-induced by high-intensity exercise would only increase stress caused by carbohydrate restriction, increase cortisol levels and make the keto flu worse. Unless the Keto flu is gone, do some low-intensity exercise, including walking or biking.

Bottom Line

Despite its name, Keto flu is not like ordinary flu. You would not get a fever or be incapacitated, which is incredibly fine. If you feel very sick, consider your visit to your doctor. If you are following a healthy routine, you should not give up. You will feel drained, but after a few days or a couple of weeks later, your energy level will return to normal, and you will feel even better.

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