No diet is easy, as anyone who stayed on the Keto diet will tell you. Changing your body can come with some side effects. But there’s light at the end of the very short tunnel, as the less-than-favorable impacts won’t last, and you’ll come out feeling so much better!
If you’re not prepared when starting keto, though, you can feel demoralized and want to go back to those sugar-highs. Don’t give in! Here are some of the things we wish we were told before taking on the Ketogenic diet, so you can prepare and keep going without worrying about your body!
You might feel the Keto “Flu”
This common, early side effect is pretty much what it sounds like: achiness, headaches, nausea, and drowsiness that last about a week. Altogether, the symptoms of Keto or Carb Flu are the result of carbohydrate withdrawal, as your body struggles to change from glucose-based energy sources to a ketone-based one. How addicted you were to carbs and sugar can define how long you’ll feel icky, but this usually means you probably should have cut them from your diet anyway.
So if you’re feeling light-headed, nauseous, or achy, don’t worry! This is your body’s normal reaction to withdrawal. Stay hydrated, eat more fats, and try an electrolyte and mineral supplement, like bone broth!
You’ll have to pee more than usual…
Frequent urination is a very common symptom. Your body will start releasing more stored water and sodium as your glucose levels drop, and there’s only one way out. If you find you’re going to the bathroom more often, remember that it’s just your body breaking down the glucose stores with water, and is transitioning to a new energy source. It’s nothing to be alarmed about!
… but you’ll also be more thirsty!
This release of your water stores will naturally make you feel thirsty. You’ll find your body will also need to be rehydrated more often as it releases its water weight, and dry-mouth is commonly reported symptom, too.
Feelings of dehydration are also a sign of an electrolyte imbalance, and you might be lacking in sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Make sure you’re getting your minerals and stay hydrated!
Your desire to eat all your favorite sweet treats, chocolate, candy, doughnuts, bread, and all manner of baked goods will present an obstacle for your diet.
Since you’re on a low-carb diet, not a no-carb diet, all sweets aren’t off limits. But everything you eat counts towards the amount you can have in a day. Go for berries with heavy cream, homemade frozen yogurt, nuts, avocados, or even pancakes made with flour substitutes.
You might suffer from Keto breath
Once you hit ketosis, your body will be producing ketones that will fuel your body and mind. You might encounter some minor oral hygiene problems. There’s a specific ketone called acetone that is excreted in both your urine and breath. This can produce a smell akin to overripe fruit that can last a couple of weeks.
Some solutions include natural mouth fresheners, sugar-free gum, or even just more water. Dry-mouth can contribute to bad breath, so staying hydrated can get rid of the acetone.
You might start feeling fatigued
A lot of people starting out a Keto diet feel lethargic, and this can be a major stumbling block. Because strenuous exercise isn’t recommended, feeling fatigued despite not going all out physically can be a weird feeling. The thing is, ketosis isn’t something that happens overnight, and as your body changes its metabolic state, it will feel low on energy.
To overcome tiredness, eat fat! Don’t contend with just veggies and lean meat, because much of your energy will come from your liver processing fats. Of course, veggies and fruits are still important. They provide vitamins like B5, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and ensure there are enough electrolytes in your diet. Increasing your leafy green intake can be a helpful and delicious way to replenish your energy stores!
You could have trouble sleeping
Losing glucose means your carb-dependent body will be doing a lot of weird things, and a lot of Keto dieters report a loss of sleep in the early stages. When you are in low-glucose mode, the body will secrete adrenalin to kickstart metabolic processes, as it thinks the body is too low in glucose. This is called “reactive hypoglycemia”, and it can interrupt your sleep patterns. As well, your body isn’t turning its usual source of energy into melatonin, reducing your body’s natural calmative properties.
To combat reactive hypoglycemia, try snacking regularly to keep up your stores. Remember to eat fats! You can even try natural products like melatonin to help you calm down and get the sleep you need.
You’ll feel GREAT!
Ok, maybe we were told this, but a lot of people see the Keto diet as only an effective way of losing weight. It is, but there are more benefits! Taking your body off junk and avoiding the highs and lows of glucose spikes means you’ll feel more energized, longer, and with fewer crashes. What’s more, you’ll be eating a nutritious diet, with much less sugar that would feed bad gut bacteria and affect your brain chemistry.
The most important thing to remember is that Keto’s side effects are generally temporary. Starting keto can be challenging but you can do it. Stay on track, power through your cravings, and you’ll end up feeling so much better!
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