Keto is supposed to make you feel fantastic, give you more energy, better focus and mental clarity, so why do you feel awful?
Whether you have just started your Keto Diet, or you’ve been following it for a while now, getting hit with Keto Flu is no fun for anyone.
In this article
The Answer to your Keto Flu Symptoms? Here’s why Adequate Fluid Levels are Crucial on the Ketogenic diet Taking Electrolyte Supplements on a Keto Diet The Takeaway - Electrolytes and water are essential for optimum health
Hang on, what’s Keto Flu?
A few days after starting your new way of eating, or after over indulging in extra carbs, you may find that you are suffering with Flu like symptoms.
This is known affectionately as ‘Keto Flu’ and happens with a high fat, low carb diet, because your body processes electrolytes differently.
The beneficial lower insulin levels from this new way of eating make your sodium levels drop, which upsets the balance of the other electrolytes in your body, such as magnesium and potassium, producing these flu like symptoms.
Other common signs of an electrolyte imbalance are:
Luckily, this is a temporary situation while your body adapts, and most people transition though this phase quickly. You might not even experience this at all - my husband didn’t.
However, there are quick and easy solutions available to get you through this, and boy, I wish I had known that when I started my Keto journey.
The Answer to your Keto Flu Symptoms?
Your body needs a proper balance of electrolytes to:
Detox you from Keto Flu symptoms
Help you feel better, faster
Help your body function properly
Aid in muscle and nerve function
Promote faster recovery after exercise
Oh, and WATER
It’s too easy to forget about water.
Too much water and you’ll be flushing those precious electrolytes out.
Too little water and you’ll be dehydrated, meaning your body can’t transport them effectively.
So how much water should you drink?
On a Keto Diet you’ll need more water. More than the recommended 8 glasses - or 2 litres - a day.
Here’s why Adequate Fluid Levels are Crucial on the Ketogenic Diet
Your body goes through major metabolic transitions as you become a fat burner, and you’re reducing the amount of carbs you eat - carbs which retain water in the body.
When your body enters ketosis, it switches from using glucose for fuel to using fats and fatty acids for energy. This process requires fluids in order for your cells to function efficiently and prevent dehydration during this time of change between metabolisms. The lack of fluids can result in dizziness, headaches, nausea - all symptoms of Keto Flu.
3 Key Electrolytes
An imbalance of 3 key electrolytes - sodium, magnesium and potassium - is the root of the problem, and therefore the simple answer is to make sure you are getting enough of them.
Without electrolytes, our bodies can't perform any of the basic functions. They're in charge of all electrical impulses and are so important for life.
Sodium is a mineral which plays a key role in your body, helping to maintain your body’s fluid balance as well as helping to:
Maintain normal blood pressure
Keep your muscles functioning properly
Support the work of your nerves
Following a Keto Diet tends to mean you cut out all processed food - food that typically contains higher levels of salt (and sugar). This can lead to a deficiency of sodium in the body (Hyponatremia).
Whilst we have learnt that eating salt is bad for us, and guidance from the NHS is that we should have no more than 6g of salt (1.4g of sodium) a day , a ketogenic diet causes your body to excrete more sodium, so you actually need more than the recommended daily amount.
Sodium can be found in many Keto friendly foods such as bacon, nuts and tinned fish, but this is typically added salt. You can find the highest amounts of natural sodium in meat, eggs and dairy products.
Few vegetables contain significant amounts, although celery is a good source with around 30mg per stalk. I’m a huge fan of artichokes, which have around 94mg per 100g serving.
Biona Organic Artichoke Hearts in brine have only 2g carbs per 100g and are packaged in brine, which you can also drink to top up your electrolytes as it has added salt. Drinking Pickle Brine is strangely popular in the Keto world.
The addition of sodium to your diet, in the form of Pink Himalayan Salt, can be a delicious way to top up those much needed sodium levels. Mineral-rich crystal salt mined from the foothills of the Himalayas. Formed over 250 million years ago from ancient unpolluted seas, Pro Fusion Rose Pink Crystal Salt, is unrefined and pure pink salt.
If you don’t like that salty taste so much, electrolyte supplements are an easy way to resolve your imbalance.
From generating energy, to sleeping, your body needs sufficient levels of this essential mineral on a steady basis.
Your body uses magnesium to:
Maintain normal muscle and nerve function
Maintain a healthy immune system