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Signs of Keto Flu & How to Treat Them

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As your body is adapting to a ketogenic diet like Atkins20® or Atkins40®*, a number of changes may occur. These changes are often referred to as the “keto flu.” While these changes aren’t dangerous, and usually subside after a week or two, they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Below, we’ve outlined some helpful tips to help you identify signs of keto flu, cure pesky keto flu symptoms, and break through this transition while sticking to your diet.

What is Keto Flu?

When your body begins to metabolize fat, ketones are created. Ketones have a diuretic effect on your kidneys, which speeds up the amount of salt and water they process. This, for some, may cause dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes. Additionally, as carbohydrate stores in the body begin to deplete and you switch from a high carb to a low carb lifestyle—your body may begin to feel different in other ways.

Symptoms of Keto Flu

As every body is unique, you may experience just one or two symptoms, or a combination of several. You may even experience none! Keto flu symptoms may last for a few days, or for up to two weeks.

Common signs of keto flu may include:

  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog (or, the inability to concentrate)
  • Increased cravings
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle soreness and cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia

Find the Right Keto Flu Remedy for You

  1. Adjust your exercise routine: Light movement may help muscle soreness and cramping, but don’t overdo it! Rushing into a new, intense workout schedule shortly after overhauling your diet may exacerbate symptoms.
  2. Hydrate: Increasing your water intake can relieve many keto flu symptoms. Try infusing your water with lemon or cucumber for an added boost.
  3. Up your electrolytes: Electrolytes are important minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and some people can experience a deficiency as their body adjusts to a ketogenic diet. But beware of sugary electrolyte replacement beverages! Try a cup of full-salt broth instead.
  4. Foundation vegetables: Many keto-friendly vegetables—like beets, cauliflower, broccoli, and leafy greens—are full of fiber and valuable minerals, and may help any issues of constipation or cramping.
  5. Catch some Z’s: Difficulties sleeping are often reported during keto flu, so making extra room in your schedule for naps or going to bed early can be beneficial to flagging energy levels.
  6. Eat more fat: Healthy fats, like avocado, can help curb cravings, with the added bonus of encouraging ketosis! Or, try a low carb alternative to tempting foods, like Atkins Endulge® Treats.
  7. Shop around: Everyone’s body is different; there’s no one keto flu cure for every person. Experiment, explore, and find what works best for your body.
  8. Don't give up: Hang in there! While symptoms of keto flu are uncomfortable and inconvenient, they aren’t permanent. Frequently, discomfort associated with keto flu dissipates after a week, and is soon replaced with the high-energy, fat-burning benefits of a ketogenic diet.

Since Atkins is a ketogenic diet, many of our tips and tricks for powering through the Atkins20® Induction phase apply to keto flu. For additional resources on finding your keto flu remedy, check out articles like Low Carb Diet Rules of Induction and 10 Ways to Succeed on Induction.

*To maintain ketosis, continue with Atkins 20 Induction.