What is Keto Flu & How to Avoid It
The Ketogenic Diet (KD) has become a popular weight loss approach in recent years, but the diet is by no means a modern fad.
In the early 1920s, researchers at the Harvard Medical School noted that seizures subsided in observed patients after two to three days of fasting and concluded that fasting had caused a change in metabolism that forced the body to fuel itself with body fat in the absence of carbohydrates.
In 1921, Dr Russell Wilder concluded that a low carbohydrate, high fat diet could produce similar changes in metabolism, coined the term ‘ketogenic diet’ and began to observe its effects in epilepsy and a range of other chronic health conditions.
Studies of the Ketogenic diet have shown beneficial results in the treatment of:
• autism and other spectrum disorders
• autoimmune disorders
• depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
• metabolic disorders (including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes)
• neurological and neuro-degenerative disorders (including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
• overweight and obesity
The KD is also used by many people who are concerned with longevity, anti-ageing, fitness and optimal cognitive performance.
What is Keto Flu?
The first two weeks of transitioning to a keto diet are often the most challenging. It is common to experience some side effects as the body adapts to a reduced intake of carbohydrates. Referred to as the ‘keto flu’, metabolic transition symptoms usually begin within two to seven days of starting the KD, lasting several days to several weeks (rarely).
This is not a true form of the flu, is not contagious, and will not cause a fever.
How to avoid or reduce symptoms of ‘keto flu’:
• Stay well hydrated with plenty of pure water.
• Start slowly and reduce carbohydrate intake gradually over a number of weeks.
• Increase fat intake and exogenous ketones to ensure you’re not undereating.
• Replace lost electrolytes and sodium often lost from KD’s diuretic effects.
• Temporarily increase healthy carbohydrate-rich foods, such as nuts, berries and non-starchy vegetables.
• Engage in light exercise and physical activity.
• Ensure you’re getting an adequate intake of macros and micronutrients.
If you feel very unwell, please consult a qualified health professional.
Cindi Young is a leading Gold Coast Naturopath specialising in the use of the ketogenic diet. With a special interest in women’s hormones, thyroid, adrenal and weight management, Cindi provides a personalised ketogenic diet to assist with weight loss and hormone balance.
Available for consultations at The Cycle of Life, Gold Coast, Mullumbimby NSW and online appointments Australia wide. Cindi regularly runs workshops in her Gold Coast clinic as well as regular webinars. Book your session for a personalised approach.