Keto flu is a common problem, especially if it’s your first time on Keto.
As your body adapts to your new ketogenic lifestyle, you might get temporary flu-like symptoms.
So how long does Keto flu last? How long do you have to suffer before the glorious state of ketosis?
The average time for Keto flu is usually cited as 3-5 days.
But there are many factors at play – and everyone is different.
How long Keto flu lasts depends on the individual
Some people get stuck in Keto flu phase for weeks. Whereas others breeze through in a day and barely notice it.
Let’s have a look at why Keto flu lasts longer for some of us. And what can we do to speed up ketosis.
Keto flu lasts longer for first-timers
If you are a complete Keto beginner, your Keto flu might last longer.
Your body has been running on carbs for decades. Changing your prime fuel source from carbs to fat is a huge change. Your metabolism needs time to adjust.
Experienced Keto dieters can switch in and out of ketosis quickly, without any unpleasant symptoms.
Keto flu lasts longer for carb addicts
If you were on a “standard diet” before going Keto, it could take longer for you to switch over. The so-called standard diet is very high in carbs. So it may take a while to wean yourself off them.
Those of us who already watch carbs – for example, by following a sugar-free lifestyle or a diet like Paleo – will find it easier to switch to ketosis.
Keto flu can last longer if your macros are not right
It is imperative to get your macros right from the start. This part is also the hardest for Keto beginners.
There are two key macros mistakes on Keto:
- eating more carbs than you realise – watch out for hidden carbs
- not eating enough fat
Either one of those can delay the onset of ketosis. You are likely to stay in the fog of Keto flu until you fix this.
Related Post: How to get your macros right on Keto
Keto flu can last longer with sugar substitutes
As you know, there are plenty of zero-carb sugar substitutes. And there are thousands of Keto-friendly recipes for foods like cakes, desserts and bread.
Some Keto dieters can indulge in these treats without any problems.
But sweeteners can potentially derail your progress on Keto. It’s easy to fall into this trap. Sugar cravings are common during Keto flu. So you may be tempted to reach for sweeteners so that at least you get a hit of sweet taste.
But this could perpetuate the problem. Your body associates sweet taste with a hit of glucose. Getting one without the other might actually make your cravings worse.
There is some anecdotal evidence that for some people, sweeteners can have a placebo-like effect of spiking insulin even if no actual glucose is consumed.
Related post: The Dark Side of Sweeteners
How to shorten Keto flu and speed up ketosis
Luckily, there are many things you can do to speed up ketosis.
Try Intermittent Fasting
This method is simple (though not easy!). Fasting will deplete your glucose quickly. Your body will be forced to start burning ketones. If you can get yourself to fast for 12-24 hours (that includes sleeping hours), you will most likely make the switch to ketosis. Fasting often seems daunting for beginners – but it is definitely not as hard as it seems.
Electrolyte deficiency is responsible for many of the unpleasant symptoms associated with Keto flu.
Replenish magnesium, potassium and sodium to feel better instantly. Supplements are one obvious solution. Bone broth is another popular way to load up on salts.
Key minerals – potassium and magnesium will replenish your electrolyte levels and help to reduce the symptoms of Keto flu.
Consider targeted supplements for faster ketosis
Certain supplements can help to speed up the switch into ketosis.
Exogenous ketones instantly elevate your ketone levels. They induce “artificial” state of ketosis, creating an instant energy boost. If you are already on the brink of switching over to ketosis naturally, exogenous ketones can give you that last crucial push in the right direction. The most common format is BHB salts – providing electrolytes and exogenous ketones in a single product. (Please note that “Raspberry Ketones” are NOT the same, despite the name – they are a bit of a scam that does precisely nothing for your ketosis.)
Eat lots of fat
Getting your fat vs protein ratio right is important in the long run. However, during Keto flu, it’s wise to emphasise fat. Just eat as much of it as you can!
Once you make the switch into ketosis, you can review your macros to make sure you are also getting enough protein. But in the beginning, it’s all about fat, fat, fat!
Related Post: 30 Best Low-Carb High-Fat Keto Foods
Move – even if it’s just a slow walk
Keto flu often puts us into an energy-conservation mode. You might feel too fatigued to exercise or do anything much. Succumbing to this may prolong the Keto flu.
Try to fight through this if you can. It doesn’t have to include athletic feats. Simply going for a walk would already make a difference.
Do you have any Keto flu tips to share?
Are you an experienced Keto dieter? Do you have any tips on how to speed up ketosis?
Please share your tips in the comments below!