If you’ve decided to start eating keto, there’s a good chance you’ll come across the expression “keto flu” whilst doing your initial reading about it. But what is keto flu? Well, this refers to the transition your body makes when it starts to burn fat instead of glucose (and your body starts excreting ketones in your urine). For many people, keto flu is no big deal and a lot of people report not having any issues with it at all, but for some of us keto flu can make you feel pretty rough for a few days.
I’ve gone in and out of ketosis twice now, once when I initially started and again after I had my cheat day, and because I knew what to expect and how to deal with it the second time around it was far less awful to deal with. The first time I went into ketosis, I really felt like I had flu for a couple of days. My stomach would turn over even at the thought of eating food and I felt on the verge of vomiting the whole time, even though I never actually did. I felt tired and achy, and generally quite irritable, as well as having a horrible headache. Here are a few things which helped me:
- You want to keep your fluid levels up, but don’t drink TOO much as this will deplete your salt levels. Providing your pee is almost clear, you’re probably well hydrated enough
- Invest in some rehydration drinks which contain electrolytes. Lack of electrolytes is one of the main reasons for feeling rough, so opt for Dioralyte, High 5 Zero or other zero-sugar rehydration drink to keep your electrolytes up.
- Eat plenty of fat. Remember, with keto you’re supposed to replace the carbs you’re not eating with fat, so try eating some butter or coconut oil, avocado, cheese, prawns or something equally as fatty to bring your macros into line. These foods all contains electrolytes too.
- Try eating something salty, like peanuts. I found that a handful of peanuts REALLY helped with the nausea and churning stomach, plus they contain lots of good fat and salt.
Another way of avoiding keto flu is to go into ketosis gradually – something I didn’t do! Depending on how low you’ve decided to go (I eat below 20g of carbs a day, which is a lot lower than some people but still not truly ZERO carb which is what some people aim for), it can be a good idea to cut carbs slowly, over time. Cut carbs by 10g per day over the course of a week and the transition into ketosis shouldn’t be such an extreme one.
Here are some foods to eat which contain electrolytes and will help you to avoid keto flu:
|Potassium||avocados, nuts, dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, salmon, plain yogurt and mushrooms|
|Magnesium||nuts, dark chocolate, artichokes, fish and spinach|
|Sodium||salt, soup broth, bacon, pickles and sauerkraut|
|Calcium||cheese, leafy greens, broccoli, seafood (sardines!) and almonds|
|Phosphorus||meats, cheese, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate|
|Chloride||most vegetables, olives, seaweed and salt|
Please feel free to leave me a comment with your own tips for avoiding keto flu below.