What Is Keto Flu?

A keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet that shifts your metabolism and can lead to weight loss. The dramatic shift can be rough on your body at first, and that can lead to symptoms known as the “keto flu.” It is usually best to stick with the plan that your healthcare provider suggests, and most people can safely get over the keto flu and stay on a keto diet. 

Here is what you should know about a keto diet, the keto flu, and how to support yourself with healthy food choices during the keto flu and beyond. Netrition’s Keto-Friendly Collection can help, too.

Keto Diet Basics

There are many types of low-carbohydrate diets, and a keto diet is among the most extreme. While most people use carbohydrates for their body’s main source of fuel, a keto diet limits carbs so much that fats and maybe proteins become the main fuel sources for your body. 

To put a keto diet in perspective, consider these facts. First, most people get 45 to 65% of calories from carbs, or 900 to 1300 calories from carbs, or 225 to 325 grams daily, on a 2,000-calorie diet. A moderately low-carb diet may get 30 to 40% of calories from carbs, or 150 to 200 grams daily. A keto diet may have 10% or fewer percent of calories from carbs, or less than 50 grams a day on a 2,000-calorie diet.

These are the main types of foods allowed on a keto diet.

  • Meat, such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Butter, margarine, shortening, and oil
  • Leafy green and other non-starchy vegetables
  • Avocados and olives
  • Nuts, peanuts, and seeds
  • Small amounts of berries

A keto diet does not have much room for high-carb foods, such as breads, pasta, rice, and other grain products, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, starchy vegetables, and most fruit.

Causes of Keto Flu

Keto flu is not a medically defined and diagnosable condition, but it has been described, anecdotally, by many people who say they have started a keto diet. Given its timing, with symptoms starting within 2 to 7 days after cutting carbs dramatically, it seems possible that keto flu is your body’s reaction to switching its metabolism so suddenly.

There are some theories about causes of keto flu. It could, for example, be an immune response when your body feels attacked. Or, it could be the result of withdrawal symptoms from a carbohydrate addiction. Nobody knows, and these are just theories that have scarcely been investigated.

What Keto Flu Feels Like

Keto flu is a set of symptoms that can make you feel anywhere from a bit off to pretty bad.

These are some often-reported signs of keto flu.

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Irritability

People may also have bad breath due to ketone bodies in their system.

When starting a keto diet, you may get a severe set of symptoms, or you may experience almost nothing unusual. 

Getting Through Keto Flu

The good news about keto flu is that it will probably pass, likely with minimal harm or risk. Talk to your healthcare provider, as always when you experience health symptoms, but it’s likely that the following will be true.

  • You don’t need expensive supplements or medications.
  • Drinking water is usually a good idea to support your well-being and feel better.
  • It can help to choose highly nutritious foods, such as vegetables, as much as you can.
  • Small meals can be easier to digest than larger meals.
  • Light exercise might be your best bet during this time if intense activity feels harder than usual.

If keto flu is harsh for you, you might consider easing into a keto diet by lowering daily carb intake gradually rather than all at once.

If you ever are concerned about symptoms, or if your symptoms last for more than a few days, it is a good idea to contact your healthcare provider. A dietitian or doctor can also be helpful for helping you make nutritious food choices to help you feel at your best on a keto diet.

Making a Keto Diet Easier

As mentioned above, a keto diet is restrictive. It reduces or eliminates breads and other grain products, chocolates, jam, and many other sugar and starchy foods. If you love these types of foods, it can be hard to stick to a keto diet, but using Keto-Friendly products from Netrition can make things easier. 

Netrition has a variety of products to make a keto diet easier, more convenient, and more delicious. These are some of the options that can fit on your keto diet and keep you excited about it.

  • Instant Protein Entrees that are low in carbs and make for a filling meal when you are low on time or energy.
  • Low-Carb Protein Chips and Crisps so you can munch away without hitting the vending machine or convenience store.
  • Sugar-Free Nut Spreads and Protein Peanut Butter to make everything taste better.
  • Sugar-Free Salad Dressings, Barbecue Sauces, and other condiments so keto meals are delicious.
  • Low-Carb Protein Bars that can provide fat and fiber, and can fit into a purse or pocket for last-minute noshing without going off of a keto diet.
  • Keto-Friendly Cake, Cookie, Pancake, and Brownie Mixes that can give you a freshly-made treat without guilt.
  • Sugar-Free Chocolates and Candies to help you pass up other, sugary options that might confront you throughout the day.

A keto diet can lead to early symptoms within the first days to a week. This “keto flu” is likely something you can get over without harm, as long as your healthcare provider agrees, and a keto diet may feel easier once your body adjusts. Along with staying in touch with your healthcare provider and eating a nutritious diet, it can help to eat foods that are tasty and make it easier to stick to your keto meal plan. Netrition has a variety of keto-friendly foods that can keep you satisfied.

Keto flu