Carb flu, also known as keto flu, is a set of symptoms that a person experiences when they drastically reduce carbohydrates in their diet. The symptoms are headaches, sugar cravings, dizziness, fatigue, brain fog, nausea, difficulty falling asleep, irritability, muscle cramps, skin problems, constipation and stomach irritability. Carb flu is the body’s reaction to lack of carbohydrates, its usual source of energy. Not everyone suffers from carb flu but those who get it feel really crappy. It can last up to a week but for some people it can last even up to 5 weeks. So if you have started on a ketogenic diet (or a Paleo or other low carbohydrate diet) and you have these flu-like symptoms, there are ways to manage those symptoms.
1. Eat More Calories: Your body and the brain still needs energy in order to function. Eat more of the other foods in place of the carbohydrates to increase energy intake.
2. Eat More Fats: Since the body cannot burn sugars for fuel give it fats to burn. Add healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, lard and ghee to your food.
3. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake Slowly: If you plan to start on the ketogenic diet, try to slowly reduce your carbohydrate intake instead of cutting them out completely all at once. Substitute your usual carbohydrates with higher quality wholesome carbohydrates that release energy slowly like sweet potatoes and other vegetables or some fruits.
4. Eat More Salts (I recommend this one): Carbohydrates hold more water in the body. Lack of carbohydrates will cause the body to lose a lot of water and electrolytes. You need to replace those electrolytes and eating more salts is a good beginning to replace lost electrolytes. Don’t worry about having too much sodium. If you have cut out a lot of junk foods, you are already eating very little salt so a little bit more will help to maintain your electrolyte levels.
- Eat more sauerkraut and bacon for sodium.
- Eat avocado, dark leafy greens, nuts, salmon and mushrooms for potassium.
- Eat nuts, artichokes, cacao, dark chocolate and fish for magnesium.
5. Drink Plenty of Water: As mentioned above, with the ketogenic diet you will lose lots of water and dehydration may be the cause of dizziness and fatigue. Therefore drink plenty of water to maintain good fluid levels in the body.
6. Exercise (I recommend this one) : Studies have found that people who exercise are more metabolically flexible, meaning that their bodies can switch from burning carbohydrates to burning ketones more easily. Therefore try and exercise a bit without overtaxing the body.
Experts recommend making bone broth in a slow cooker and drinking that all day. Bone broth is highly nutritious and it provides more fat, more calories, more salt, and more water to your diet. If you are not keen to cook the broth at home, maybe from fatigue, you can simply buy ready-made bone broth or chicken broth.
So there you have it! You can actually manage your carb flu and feel better faster. Therefore do not give up on your low carb diet. You will feel more energy, feel healthier and lose a lot of weight in the process. The symptoms are worth it at the end of the day. Did you know that more than 20 studies have confirmed that this type of diet can help with weight loss while improving health? Do not let the carb flu to stop you from achieving your goals. Simply manage the flu.