A very common Keto question is “how long does the flu last”? This is a series of symptoms that many people claim to experience as first-time ketogenic dieters. Before you embark on the keto diet, your body will have come to expect a certain amount of carbohydrates and sugar.
Sugar is highly addictive. There is a yeast component as well. If you’ve been a heavy sugar feeder, then you likely have an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in your gut and other parts of your body.
Each time you consume carbs or sweets, the yeast that lives inside of you feed off the sugars and multiply.
Think of the process in which bread or beer is made. You start with a yeast culture, then you add sugar and water. What happens? Gases are produced.
This explains the “beer belly” that comes with habitual beer drinking. No, that belly is not just fat, nor is it beer. It’s actually off-gassing from the yeast beasts that live in your stomach flora and digestive tract.
When you go on the ketogenic diet, you’ll probably experience yeast die-off, especially if you were big on sweets or a carb-a-holic before you made the switch.
This is where masses of yeast bodies inside of you die off quickly because they’re not getting their sugar meal. Now they’ve become waste, which your body must get rid of.
Keto Flu – Symptoms
Because of this yeast die-off, you may feel ill for a little while – with a headache, slight sore throat, and fatigue. Some call this the “keto flu.” A headache can also be the result of your body craving that sugar, and not getting it. Sugar is a drug that causes withdrawal symptoms just like alcohol or any street drug!
Thankfully, the slightly annoying symptoms of “keto flu” will abate within a few days of your body adjusting to this new way of eating.
Before long, you’ll be in the next phase of the ketogenic lifestyle, which is “I can’t believe how great I feel! I have so much energy! I’m not hungry anymore.”
How to Speed Up the Side Effects of “Keto Flu”
One of the best ways to hasten the symptoms of your body detoxing from a substance that it was previously addicted to, like sugar, is to find ways to flush out the toxins more quickly.
Yeast die-off, which is what occurs when you deprive your body of carbohydrates and sugar that once fed the yeast that lives in everybody, is often a reason for flu-like symptoms while in the early stages of the ketogenic diet.
You can make the keto flu go away faster by finding ways to flush water through your system. Some ideas, below:
To sweat out water and toxins, do cardio. To sweat from the deepest recesses of your cells and drain your lymph, do yoga. It’s often a wise idea to combine both as part of your exercise routine. You’ll be building muscle while improving the condition of your heart, lungs and vascular system.
Drink more water.
Of course, if you’re sweating as a result of exercising more, then you’ll want to replenish the water that your body lost. Drink lots of water after exercising. Also, drink clean water throughout the day. This is the best way to purge your body of toxins by way of the kidneys.
Add lemon, lime, cranberry or vinegar to your drinks.
Not only are a lemon and other acid-based foods are extremely cleansing, but acid breaks down fat. Acidic fruits which are low in sugar are encouraged on the ketogenic diet. These fruits will help your kidneys pass toxins as your body makes the shift to high-ketone production and fat-burning for fuel. You’ll probably find yourself craving acid-rich foods, so enjoy a splash or a squirt in a tall glass of water, several times per day.
Eat more fiber.
Please remember that the ketogenic diet permits limited fiber sources. You’ll have very few if any credits for bread, which is high in glucose.
So if you want to purge your body faster and get over the keto flu hump and onto high energy levels, then make sure to eat green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, chard, and spinach, with your healthy fat-rich ketogenic meals. To put it bluntly, these foods will help you poop, which is waste, which you want to get rid of to get past that sick feeling!
Treat yourself to some good coffee or tea.
Both of these facilitate bladder and bowel function, so if you’re feeling backed-up and sluggish after switching to keto eating, a little tea or coffee pick-me-up could help get things moving along and out of your system faster.
Spice it up.
There is no restriction on spices and herbs in the ketogenic diet. Plus, lots of spices and herbs improve health in various ways. Brew up a delicious chai made from black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add full-fat cream for a keto treat (just remember, only keto-friendly sweeteners like Swerve are permitted, even in coffee or tea). Add spicy chili peppers, habaneros and chili powder to your keto-friendly, meatless chili dishes. Warming spices speed up the body functions, and the heat lends a bit of variety to your keto meal choices.
What are the Symptoms of Ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis refers to acid buildup in your blood occurring from too-high levels of both ketones and glucose in the blood.
This is completely different than the keto flu should be taken seriously.
Ketoacidosis is typically a reaction that occurs in diabetic people whose blood sugar has remained high for too long. Symptoms include high ketone levels, frequent urination, extreme thirst, dehydration, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, weakness, extreme fatigue, confusion, and trouble breathing.
A person who goes into a state of ketoacidosis should be taken to the emergency room, where they can receive insulin treatment to help return their blood chemistry to normal, safe levels.
One of the caveats of the ketogenic diet is that net proteins, which convert to glucose, are restricted in order to prevent ketoacidosis from occurring. This diet was constructed to help your body burn fat, instead of glucose, as fuel for energy.
There are handy keto calculators online for people who want to take the guesswork out of fat and protein consumption while following the ketogenic diet.
Easing into a keto diet slowly instead of going “whole hog” will make your Keto flu symptoms less extreme. There is no way to determine how long the flu will last, but there are ways to mitigate the symptoms and make it through to the other side.