If you’re new to ketogenic diets and haven’t yet heard of the Keto flu, you might stumble upon the term a few days into your new diet. The so called keto flu is a common experience that people new to ketogenic diets experience which involves mood swings, headaches, and other withdrawal like symptoms.
That’s because it is withdrawal that your body is experiencing from a lack of nutrition that it’s used to. Ketogenic diets are low carb and high fat, which is the opposite of how many people who pursue weight loss are used to eating.
Every time you ate simple carbs such as sugar in the past, your brain rewarded itself with dopamine, and it’s the frequent dopamine responses that your body becomes accustomed to.
Without the abundance of sugar in your body, your brain will no longer receive the same amount of dopamine, and in response, it will begin to go through a withdrawal that will last anywhere from a couple of days to weeks down the road based on your body’s individual needs.
Avoiding these unpleasant symptoms can be achieved by following a couple of easy to follow steps so that your first time in the ketogenic world is easier. The first and golden rule is to stay properly hydrated during this change in your body, because your cells need to be replenished to help burn fat more efficiently.
Try easing into the ketogenic diet with a low carb diet of around 70 to 100 grams of carbs to help the body adjust before diving into something more serious like a 50 gram or lower plan.
The body adapts well, which is why people go through keto flu in the first place, so letting it adjust enough to wean itself off carbs will make your transition easier. Finding non-sugary electrolyte sources will also help you recover from withdrawal symptoms almost like a hangover cure.
Drinks such as Gatorades and other sport drinks do promote that they are full of electrolytes, but proceed with caution because most of these drinks are also full of sugar.
So be sure to check the nutrition label first. Lastly, if you do happen to give in during this hard time and lose your ketogenic progress, the body can quickly pick itself back up and rejoin the keto process without as many withdrawal symptoms as the first time around.