Most people think about the desired results rather than about the consequences when choosing a new diet. However, it's important to know the possible "side effects" that may appear when following a keto diet. Drastic changes in nutrition can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness and fatigue, aches throughout the body, nausea and other common symptoms of a flue. Usually, people who stick to a keto diet experience this kind of discomfort, however, the reason behind this is not a virus or infection. The keto flu is caused by the body’s reaction to carbs restriction.

Carbohydrate Restriction Can Be Difficult

Your body used to use carbs as a source of energy, reducing its amount makes you feel lethargic and lifeless. No worries, just give your body some time to adapt to a new diet, usually, it takes around 24-48 hours, however, in some cases unpleasant symptoms may appear during the entire diet. These are the most common symptoms of keta-flue:

• Sugar cravings

• Dizziness

• Brain fog

• Irritability

• Poor focus and concentration

• Stomach pains

• Nausea

• Cramping

• Muscle soreness

• Insomnia


As you see, keto-flu is similar to ordinary flu, however, it doesn't mean that you will have all symptoms from the list. Someone switches to keto nutrition so easily that they almost do not experience unpleasant symptoms, others feel sick from the first days until the end of the diet but it's not common. It depends on many factors like metabolic flexibility, health status, and lifestyle. The adaptation period depends a lot on your metabolic flexibility which is how well you can adapt to using different fuel sources (i.e., carbs, fats, protein, and ketones).

To reduce the symptoms, you need to start a keto diet step by step, gradually reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of fats. All meals should be planned in advance, evaluating the nutritional value of each of them. It is important not to deprive your body of fiber, without it, there will be difficulties in the intestines, which will only aggravate well-being. The slower the transition to keto nutrition takes place, the easier it will be to transfer the diet. Here are some tips on how to reduce the symptoms of keto-flu and become keto-adapted more quickly:

1. Drink more water (with a pinch of crude salt)

Proper hydration of the body is vital, especially if you stick to a keto diet. Dehydration when following the ketogenic diet will lead to severe side effects. For example, losing water by only 2% of your body weight will impair your physical performance, and water loss by 2.8% of your body weight will impair cognitive function. This amount of water can easily be lost in the first 5 days of a ketogenic diet and will result in most of the symptoms of keto-flu. The best way to prevent keto flu symptoms is to drink more water with unrefined salt in it. But how much should you drink?

For women:

4-8 years 1.7 liters of water per day

9-13 years 2.1 liters of water per day

14-18 years old 2.3 liters of water per day

19+ 2.7 liters of water per day

For men:

4-8 years 1.7 liters of water per day

9-13 years 2.4 liters of water per day

14-18 years old 3.3 liters of water per day

19+ 3.7 liters of water per day

2. Supplement your diet with sodium, potassium, and magnesium

Keto diet leads to a decrease in insulin production that can negatively influence your sodium and potassium levels in the blood. Fatigue, headaches, constipation, and cramps are the most common symptoms when it happens. Make sure to add avocados and leafy greens like spinach to your diet to supply your body with potassium. Add unrefined salt to each meal to replenish sodium levels. Some ketogenic diets suggest getting at least 5 to 7 grams of salt per day during your first week on a ketogenic diet.

Magnesium is another important mineral that can significantly facilitate your transition to ketosis. Although you do not lose magnesium while limiting carbohydrates, it is important to prevent and relieve cramps, improve sleep quality, and increase insulin sensitivity. Just add pumpkin seeds, almonds, and spinach to your diet. You will also need various additives, such as potassium gluconate and magnesium citrate.

Recommended doses of minerals:


5 to 7 grams of unrefined salt per day


3,500 mg per day for people ages 16 and up


For men: ~400 mg per day

For women: ~310 mg per day 3. Eat more fat (especially MCTs)

Fat will help your body to adapt to a keto diet. MCT oil will help you to become keto-adapted quickly and efficiently. MCT oil is made from medium-chain triglycerides, it enters the liver immediately after digestion and turns into the cells of your body.

4. Do Low-Intensity Workouts in the morning

When you wake up, fill the bottle with pure water and a pinch of salt, and go for a one-hour walk. This will make you feel much better. This is a form of low-intensity exercise that will help increase the amount of fat and will relieve keto flu symptoms. Make sure to properly hydrate yourself throughout the day.

5. Meditate to relieve stress

You may be more stressed and irritable than usual due to increased cortisol levels in your body. Doing a daily meditation will help you reduce cortisol levels and improve overall well-being. Spend 15 minutes every day, just sit in silence and take long, slow, and deep breaths. Make sure to focus on your breathing, nothing should distract you from the process. This will make your life less stressful.

6. Good sleep is the key to success

Another way to reduce stress is to have a good night's sleep. Quality sleep is especially important for ketogenic dieters, it will reduce the cortisol level and will facilitate the process of keto-adaptation. Make sure to sleep 7-9 hours every night.

Things that can worsen the adaptation period

Stress, high-intensity exercises, and eating too much protein can make the process of keto-adaptation harder. That's why it is important to eat the right amount of protein, do low-intensity exercises, sleep well and meditate to help get rid of keto flu. However, if you are struggling with keto-flu and none of these recommendations help, then the bonus strategy is given below:

Gradually reduce your carbohydrate intake by 10 grams per day. Increase your fat intake every day for satiety, while maintaining your protein the same. This is a slow deterrent that can help you get into ketosis rather than experiencing symptoms of keto flu. This process can take up to six months. However, if you can't rigidly track your carb intake, you can try a gradual elimination method. Remove the source of carbohydrates from your diet every week. For instance:

Week 1: Replace sugary drinks with non-calorie ones.

Week 2: Remove all desserts and sweet snacks such as cakes, muffins, pastries, and chocolate bars.

Week 3: Say goodbye to starchy foods like pasta, pizza, chips, and packaged snacks.

Week 4: Remove all bread, rolls and starchy vegetables.

Week 5: By now you are probably down to 50g of carbs a day. If you want to restrict carbohydrates further, then cut out fruit and sauces that contain