What Is Keto Flu and How to Avoid It?

Everyone wants to have a healthy body. With the current rise of obesity today, many of us want to have a normal BMI. If you are overweight and would like to get in better shape, one technique that could help you shed some pounds is to adopt a low-carb keto diet.

However, one problem circulating this one is that you may be experiencing what is called the keto flu. If you are planning on doing the diet but do not want to experience or want to lessen the keto flu symptoms, then it would be best if you read more of this article.

The Current Obesity Trend

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a survey conducted from 2009-2010 showed a result that (*):

  • More than 2 out of 3 adults are either overweight or obese
  • More than 1 out of 3 adults are regarded as obese
  • More than 1 out of 20 adults are considered to pose an extreme obesity
  • More or less, one-third of children and adolescents from ages 6 to 19 are already considered overweight or obese
  • More than 1 out of 6 children and adolescents ranging from ages 6 to 19 are seen as obese.

Overweight is actually a result of an imbalance in your energy. You tend to intake more energy through the food you eat but fail to burn it in the process.

Over time, those that have not been burned will stay in the body storage until you reach the point of obesity.

Letting your body be obese exposes you to many diseases and sicknesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, and some kinds of cancer such as breast, colon, endometrial, and kidney.

With all these facts surrounding overweight and obesity, it is no wonder why people are becoming alarmed and are starting to work out, eat healthily, and employ diet plans such as the low-carb keto diet referred to as ketosis.

What Is Keto Flu?

Basically, keto flu or carb flu, or induction flu, is a side effect that occurs after the first few days of your low-carb diet. The reason why it is referred to as flu is that it mimics flu-like symptoms.

Usually, the reason why a person experiences this side effect is because the body is still adapting to the change in your diet, especially now that ketones are standing in the place of glucose.

Ketones are substances that are made while the body breaks down fat for energy. Usually, our body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrates. When your body doesn’t contain enough of it to supply the blood with sugar for energy, it uses ketones instead.

Obviously, this is how the name originated. Keto is for ketones and flu since the initial effect on the body is just like having the normal flu, hence, keto flu.

The symptoms of keto flu:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Unclear mental faculties
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach

You don’t need to worry about this effect because this is just normal, and the good thing about it is that it goes away after a few days, most of the time, a week.

Anyway, you should keep in mind that each of our bodies has its own way of coping up, which is why if ever you find yourself suffering longer from the symptoms, you don’t need to get worried because it is normal to extend the effects a few more days.

What Happens After?

Once your body has successfully undergone the adaptation stage, you will feel a lot better. You can even notice how you are now less hungry, yet you can still perform well and maintain your energy levels up high.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ketosis

According to WebMD, the following are some of its advantages:

  • Prevents seizures – most doctors put children who have epilepsy under ketogenic diets since it uses a special high-fat, very low-carb, and protein plan, which may help prevent seizures.
  • Lowered risk of heart disease – since you will be taking fewer carbohydrates which are the cause of heart disease, you will be able to lower the risk of having one.

One of the disadvantages of using ketosis as your diet is that there is a high chance that you will develop keto flu, which causes several symptoms to kick in that would cause you quite a lot of pain in the process.

How to Combat the Effects of Keto Flu

Here’s how you can avoid keto flu:

Consume a Higher Number of Fats

Remember that your body will not get the amount of energy it needs because of the cut you made on your sugar and carbs intake, so you need to get it from fats.

However, make sure that you only get healthy fats such as coconut and olive oil and that you do not rely on the fact that it is healthy.

Healthy or not, the point is, it still is fat. Eating foods with healthy fat may be good for your body, but it could impose bigger problems than what you would have expected if you abuse it.

Increase Your Intake Of Calories

When people start their ketogenic diet, they will eliminate those foods that contain high carbs from their diet without increasing their food intake on other food groups.

This could be not good, especially if your diet plan does not include foods that provide your body with substitute energy.

If you want to make sure that you are eating right, you can refer to Paleo Magazine because they could offer you several ketogenic recipes ideal for your ketogenic diet.

Take Your Diet Slowly

Crash diets wherein you cut down your food intake all at once may do more harm than good because it could easily draw you to eating the foods you miss eating.

Take things slowly, start with cutting 25% of your carb intake portion, and increase it gradually every day until such time that you don’t crave that food that much anymore. This lessens the occurrence of having cheat days that could ruin all your efforts.

If, by chance, you are slightly active, when we say active, we mean someone engaged in sports or activity that helps burn fats; then, you can still eat a few more clean carbs—the kind which you can burn with all the activities you are doing.

Make Sure To Add More Salt

The moment you hold back on your carb intake is also when your insulin levels start to go down, which means that the sodium found in your body is way less than it was before.

Loss of sodium could suggest that your body’s ability to maintain body fluids is lessened, thus, removing excess water and making you feel a little less bloated. However, if you let your sodium go down drastically, you may experience Hyponatremia or dietary sodium deficiency.

The possible effects of the deficiency could cause confusion, disorientation, nausea, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, or worse, stroke. This is the reason why a little bit of salt in your diet should be observed to avoid having the deficiency.

If you are not sure about the amount of salt to take in, make sure that you cut out your entire junk food intake and bread since it contains a high salt amount.

Once you do, you are already reducing salt intake.

Drink Plenty of Water

Again, when you engage in a low-carb, high protein diet, you will lose many bodily fluids. Dehydration is one of the main causes of keto flu symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Drinking more water than usual could help you through keto flu much easier.


Exercise makes you metabolically flexible. It means that your body could easily switch between the usage of carbs and ketones to generate energy. Generally, when someone would experience carb flu, the carb intake stops; burning ketones will be next on the list.

It is highly suggested that you exercise to allow you to intake a little bit more carbs compared to people who do not exercise. When you exercise, you burn what you eat, and when there is a balance between the food you eat and the energy you use, it would be harder to gain weight.

Easiest Way Out of Keto Flu

Since you already know some of the tricks to get rid of keto flu symptoms, you should know about the food that could target 4 out of the 6 tricks presented above, and that is bone broth with added salt and spices.

Bone broths are very nutritious. It provides the body with more fat, calories, salt, and water, all of which have been mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

If you are not well-versed in making this soup, you can instead use chicken broth or a ready-made bone broth with clean ingredients.

You may have heard that drinking a diluted bouillon cube cures keto flu. Still, if you look more into its ingredients, you will see how unhealthy and full of preservatives this item has. It is very unhealthy and could even cause problems if you continue drinking it.



To wrap it up, we admit that losing weight could be very hard, especially when used to eating all the things you like. We also admit that while some of the keto or carb flu symptoms can be painful, the end-product of it will be worth it.

Not only do people experience weight loss after enduring the initial period, but they also feel how light their feelings are because of the lessened bloating; more energy can also be observed, as well as fewer occurrences of digestive issues.

But again, you must remember that the diet will only work and show its effects if you stick to it. If you find the symptoms too hard to bear, constantly go back to carbs but make sure to take in little by little until the craving stops.

Do not let yourself suffer so much because, in the end, you only have your body to work with. If, by chance, you do end up cheating on your diet, or worse, totally give up, do not be too hard on yourself. You can pick up where you ended or start again; there is no rush in doing these things. Enjoy the journey and start living healthily.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top