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What is the Keto Flu?

Addition Collaborator

If you have been doing your research on ketosis you have probably heard descriptions of flu like symptoms called the “keto flu”. The keto flu is an onset of symptoms that you may experience when first starting your keto diet. It isn’t like a typical flu and is certainly not contagious, but has symptoms that might make you feel a little more sluggish than usual. Symptoms usually go away within a few days but in some cases may last for a week or longer.


  • Feeling tired
  • Irritability
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Sniffles
  • Coughing

The presence of these symptoms reveal that you were in fact quite carb dependent and your body is going through a withdrawal process.


Sugar may taste sweet but the effect it can have on our bodies and mind are similar to highly addictive drugs such as cocaine. Studies show that cutting down on sugar is hard as our bodies become reliant, as it stimulates the parts of our brain that release the “feel good hormone” dopamine. Sugar itself is highly addictive for that reason that when you eat it your brain releases this hormone and it’s released every time we eat more sugary sweets! Do you ever find yourself reaching for a candy bar when you want to “perk” up? Sugar is highly addictive and we are definitely susceptible to becoming addicted to it – it’ easier to find than a healthy alternative when we are on the go.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) usually focuses on high carbohydrate consumption and has shaped our societal dietary standard to become accustomed to eating a carb loaded diet. When we cut out sugar (or carbohydrates in total) our body naturally responds with withdrawal symptoms. People that go through sugar withdrawal have reported being irritable and moody from the hormonal fluctuations that goes with the lack of the dopamine surges. It takes a while for our bodies to readjust to functioning without sugars and carbohydrates.


As our bodies adapt to no longer having sugar and carbohydrates to rely on, changes in our bodies start to occur such as keto flu symptoms. Our bodies have become accustomed to using sugar and carbohydrates as an energy sources and as we begin to become adapted to the keto lifestyle, it’s natural to feel your body shifting. The process of ketosis is where your body will start producing ketones and burning up your fat stores for energy. When the dietary shift takes place and you replace high carb meal choices with plenty of healthy fats and proteins to fuel your body, you will begin the process of ketosis. It can take up to a week for the body to kick start in to keto mode, but using amazing supplements such as Kegenix™ PRIME can help you kick into your fat stores even quicker.

You may initially find it hard to make the dietary switches but once you start to see the body composition changes you are going to love the keto lifestyle. The great thing is that once you start eating satisfying fats and garnishing with healthy oils, you won’t have those energy spikes that sugar can cause! When carbs are reduced to under 50g (depending on the individual, but studies suggest this number) the body will start to break down fatty acids and use this for fuel. You will be well on your way to becoming adjusted to ketosis.


The initial period of adjusting to ketosis can feel a bit uncomfortable and keto flu symptoms may hamper you in the beginning. Don’t lose hope, this is just your body getting over the initial stages of detoxing from sugar and carbohydrate dependence. When your body adapts to ketosis it will begin converting fatty acids into ketones, but it might take a little bit of time for it to occur as our bodies aren’t equipped. Fat converting enzymes increase when we become keto adapted which is great news for weight management. The reasons we feel fatigued when we convert into ketosis and feel the keto flu symptoms is that the body is building reserves of enzymes to burn more fat. As the body adjusts, your keto flu symptoms will decrease.

Nausea is a common symptom of the keto flu and can be caused by the lack of fat converting enzymes. When a person switches into a low carb diet too quickly and starts eating substantially more fat then they did, the body goes through some digestive changes. We can’t digest all the fat right away and that may leave some people with a nauseated feeling. Don’t worry as the body can quickly adapt to your new keto lifestyle and dietary changes and you can always ease your way into your new dietary habits.

One more plus side to being ketogenic is that your body has learned to use fat for fuel, as it has become adapted to ketosis. This means that if you do cheat on your suggested keto diet, your body will re-enter the state of ketosis much quicker than someone who is newly introducing ketogenic eating. That being said, the keto flu can happen to anyone at any stage so be sure to hydrate and keep your electrolyte balance up.


One sure fire way to alleviate unwanted keto flu symptoms is to drink up your electrolytes. Lack of electrolytes is actually a cause of keto flu so staying properly hydrated and balanced is key, especially if you are on a low carb (ketogenic) diet. The fat inside of the cell structures will get replaced with water throughout the weight loss process. For this reason, some people may experience some onset water retention while in ketosis, as the cells are storing water instead of fat. Drink up to beat bloating, as hydrating enough can actually help with the water retention! (Expect to make plenty of trips to the bathroom as you might be peeing a lot.)

Your body may actually be releasing electrolytes with your more frequent urination, so it’s important to supplement where you can to keep it all in check. In some cases, people on the ketogenic diet can become low in vitamins and minerals such as: magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. Using good quality supplements like coconut water, or an electrolyte replacement mix may be helpful. Eating foods that are rich in electrolytes will also be helpful to maintaining ideal electrolyte levels.


Introducing a variety of electrolyte boosting food choices into your keto meal plan can help keep your body balanced, your diet interesting and rich in the nutrients you need.

Get your nutrients:

  • Potassium – Avocado, nuts, dark leafy greens, mushrooms and plain yogurt (unsweetened of course).
  • Magnesium – Nuts, dark chocolate, spinach, fish
  • Sodium – Natural Sea salts, pickles, soup broth
  • Phosphorus – Meats, nuts, cheese, dark leafy greens
  • Chloride– Vegetables, salt, olives


Now that you know more about the keto flu and that it’s a naturally occurring process of ketosis, you can safely manage your way into ketosis and burning your fat stores. Finding support in the keto community will help you on your journey to a leaner and healthier you.

Get started with Kegenix™ today to kick-start your way into proven results.