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What is ‘Keto flu’? Nutritionist explains why you may feel rubbish on diet

Health experts have warned Brits who are trying the Keto diet during their New year health kick to be aware of flu-like symptoms.

While many of us are being struck down by the Omicron Covid variant you might also be feeling like you have the flu due to your diet.

Although, of course, if you’re experiencing symptoms then you should always test for coronavirus and isolate if needed.

But, nutritionists with the ketogenic diet app, Keto Cycle, say flu-like symptoms are very common during the first two to seven days of starting the diet.

Which may come as a surprise to those starting the high protein, high fat diet.

Kristina Zalnieraite, who heads nutrition for Keto Cycle, says many people don’t realize how the Keto Diet can ignite flu-like symptoms like fatigue, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, headaches, irritability, constipation, cravings, and poor concentration.

As a result, she says they might initially confuse these symptoms for something more drastic, such as COVID or the common flu.



The ketogenic diet requires you to limit carbs
The ketogenic diet requires you to limit carbs

Kristina said: “Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy production in our body tissues.

“When the body is deprived of carbohydrates to less than 50g per day during Keto, our insulin secretion is significantly reduced and the body enters a catabolic state.

“When this happens, the body starts producing ketone bodies to replace this lost energy. This is when many people will experience fatigue, headaches, dizziness – or other symptoms that are frequently confused for the common flu.”

But, she claimed that the low-carb diet does come with some benefits like lower blood sugar, decreased inflammation and enhanced fat burning.

For anyone experiencing “Keto flu” Kristina had some advice to move past the uncomfortable symptoms.

Check them out below:



Symptoms include nausea, dizziness and more
Symptoms include nausea, dizziness and more

Stay hydrated

Switching to a low-carbohydrate diet may cause consumers to feel more dehydrated than usual. If you drink lots of water, it will help with headaches and reduce symptoms like fatigue and muscle cramping.

Set a reminder on your phone to drink water, and always keep a full glass of water next to you. Many people get confused on how much water to drink in a day. Here’s a tip: take your current body weight and divide it by two.

That will give you the minimum amount of ounces to drink daily.

Replace electrolytes

Many foods high in potassium such as fruits and starchy vegetables are restricted under the Keto Diet.

This is why it’s so important to add electrolytes like salts, potassium and magnesium to your diet.

Potassium-rich, low-carb foods such as avocados and spinach are an excellent way to get more of these nutrients and reduce sleep issues and headaches.

Sugar free sports drinks are also recommended.



Make sure you include low carb vegetables in your diet
Make sure you include low carb vegetables in your diet

Get adequate sleep

Fatigue and dizziness are common complaints of people who adopt a ketogenic diet. One way to eliminate this is by reducing caffeine intake and waking up at the same time everyday.

Chamomile tea is another bedtime routine to help you relax and fall asleep faster.

These tips will normalise sleep quality over time and decrease side effects.

And if you increase your physical activity during the day, it will also help you fall asleep faster at night.

Increase salt intake

The Keto Diet decreases insulin, and as a result, the body doesn’t retain sodium as well.

This is why it’s important to increase foods that are naturally high in salt, such as bacon, ham and bone broth.



Make sure your body is getting what it needs
Make sure your body is getting what it needs

Maintain healthy levels of fat

The body requires more fat under the Keto Diet to generate fuel.

When the body transitions from burning glucose to burning fat, changes occur in the mitochondria of the body’s cells.

If the body lacks fat for fuel, it will burn out, resulting in more fatigue.

Previously, Jamie Lloyd, British Kettlebell Champion and Personal Trainer, warned dieters that the Keto diet can cause problems.

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Jamie told Daily Star Online: “If you want to lose the belly quickly, this diet will work, but there’s lack of research to prove what the long-term side effects are.

“For all the buzz about the health benefits in the media, so many people forget about the negatives – as most people binge on bacon and eggs they don’t eat enough greens.

“This puts them in line for having a heart attack.”

The fitness expert reminded everyone to make sure they’re eating enough nutritious and delicious vegetables so that they don’t deprive themselves of necessary fibre.




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