Keto Flu – Real Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Side Effects?


Any lifestyle shift requires you to stop a habitual practice such taking in too many carbohydrates. Going low carb is a major lifestyle change and will likely cause discomfort or what is called the keto flu.

In the quest for your body to adapt from producing glucose to burning the extra carbohydrates, you will start to experience uneasiness and discomfort.

What Is Keto Flu?

KETO flu is mostly experienced by people who start a low carbohydrate diet. Scientifically, KETO flu is used to explain the flu-like symptoms that you start experiencing when you reduce your carbohydrate intake. It is brought about by the fact that your body has been used to receiving large amounts of carbohydrates and suddenly it needs to change your energy source.

With the high intake of carbohydrates, your body got used to breaking down the carbohydrates and producing oxygen, but when you cut down your consumption of carbohydrates, your body adapts by burning the extra carbohydrates in your system and this causes the KETO flu.

Too much of something naturally causes addiction, therefore, KETO flu has also been described as a withdrawal symptom. Your body will let you know when you reduce the normal intake of carbohydrates.

Signs And Symptoms

There are different symptoms that can show you that you are suffering from KETO flu. These signs and symptoms include:

Bad Breath

With the diet change, you will notice a change in your breath. This might not be ideal for social settings but it is known to be a good sign that your body is getting used to the change in diet and is now in ketosis.

Reduced Appetite

You will notice that your hunger is suppressed and this is because of the change of diet.


People who experience this symptom normally are quick to stop the dietary change, yet its only after reaching full ketosis that the required results are obtained. Fatigue and weakness are experienced because of the changes in your body which was before running on carbohydrates. The diet is working so hold fast.


This is experienced immediately when you change your diet. With the low intake of carbohydrates, you might lose sleep and find that you wake up in the middle of the night but this will only happen for a short while. Many have reported to have better sleep after reaching the last steps of ketosis.


During this period, headaches are common due to the reduced glucose production in our body. After a short while, the headaches can be reduced by drinking a lot of water.

Difficulty Focusing

You may show signs of reduced focus and concentration since your body is trying to produce glucose from fat or protein. This normally goes on for a few days before your body adapts to the new changes.

Digestion Problems

This is caused by dehydration as the body absorbs more water with the reduced carbohydrate intake, leaving the colon empty. Also, with a new diet, the body has to change to adapt to digesting the new food and this change might lead to stomach upset.


It a possible side effect of reducing carbohydrates and following a new diet because your digestive system is learning to adapt to the new changes. Drinking fluids and ensuring you get enough salt can help to avert the situation.

Leg Cramps

It is rare at the first stage of ketosis but when it occurs, it is a painful cramp in the leg and may cause a lot of discomfort. It is due to the loss of minerals since a more frequent urge to urinate is brought with the decreased carbohydrate intake.

Heart Palpitation

The heart beats much harder when the carbohydrate intake is reduced. Therefore, there is no need for an alarm when it occurs. Lack of salts and dehydration is the common cause as the heart has to pump harder to maintain the blood pressure.

Reduced Physical Activities

Due to the lack of fluids and your body adapting to burning fat, your body’s physical performance may drastically reduce in the first few days of reducing your carbohydrates consumption. It takes time for your body to adapt from burning sugar for energy to burning proteins or fat to produce the same energy.

Treatment Of Side Effects

There are various ways you can treat the effects that come with KETO flu. The end goal is to ensure that you do not stop from the dietary process so as to get long-term successful results. Therefore, you can treat the side effects as follows:


Ensure you drink a lot of water and get enough salt when you experience any signs of constipation. With a low carbohydrate diet, your body becomes dehydrated as the body absorbs more water and thus constipation kicks in. Also, eat a lot of vegetables and fiber. This will keep the intestines moving and help prevent constipation

Leg Cramps

Like constipation, you should drink a lot of water and ensure you get enough salt in your diet. This is because, your rate of urination has increased and thus you lost a lot of minerals. Consider taking supplements with magnesium in case the problem persists.

Heart Palpitation

To avert the problem, drink a lot of water and increase the intake of salt in your diet. It is important to note that if diabetic, reduced carbohydrate intake decreases your need for medication since your blood sugar decreases. Thus you should monitor your blood sugar levels every day and adapt to a low carbohydrate diet.

Treatment Of KETO Flu

KETO flu can be cured by following the steps below:

Increase Your Fat Intake

With reduced carbohydrate intake, your body will shift from burning carbohydrates to produce energy to burning fats to produce energy. Increasing your fat intake will help with the production of energy.

Eat Clean Carbohydrates

Identify a few clean carbohydrates and eat them but consider the amount that you consume. This will help in curing some of the symptoms of KETO flu caused by total lack of carbohydrates.

Increase Salt Consumption In Your Food

As already stated, you should add more salt to your diet to make up for the lost minerals. Reduced carbohydrate intake causes you to lose a lot of salt. Therefore, increasing your salt consumption is essential during ketosis.

Drink More Water

Ensure you drink a lot of water during ketosis to prevent dehydration and KETO flu symptoms caused by dehydration. This is because your body loses a lot of water due to the increased rate of urination caused by low carbohydrate intake.


Exercising on a regular basis helps the body to burn stored carbohydrates and it helps ensure the heart beats at a regular rate during ketosis.

Keto Flu Summary

KETO flu is not necessarily a bad thing when on a low carb diet and it is treatable. Normally, it should only last for one week as your body learns to adapt to the new changes that come with low carbohydrate consumption.

Therefore, you should not give up when the symptoms of KETO flu hits in as the long-term results of the process are more beneficial.

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