Dealing with Keto Flu: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

Apr 20, 2023

Embarking on the ketogenic journey has proven to be a transformative experience for many, as it can lead to improved health and wellness by focusing on a low-carb, high-fat diet. However, as you transition into this new lifestyle, you may encounter a common yet temporary challenge known as the "keto flu." This phenomenon can present a range of uncomfortable symptoms that might discourage some from continuing their keto journey. In this blog post, we will delve into the symptoms, causes, and remedies for the keto flu, emphasizing the importance of understanding and effectively managing this phase to ensure a smooth and successful transition to a healthier you.

Symptoms of the Keto Flu

By being aware of the symptoms, you can take the necessary steps to prevent or alleviate these discomforts. Let's take a closer look at the common symptoms of keto flu:


You may experience a decrease in energy levels as your body adjusts to using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This temporary sluggishness is normal and will improve as your body becomes more efficient in ketosis.


As your body shifts into ketosis, it may cause headaches due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Make sure to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes to alleviate this symptom.


Dizziness can occur during the initial stages of the keto diet, often resulting from dehydration or low blood sugar levels. Staying hydrated and consuming nutrient-dense, keto-friendly meals can help combat this issue.


Mood swings and irritability are not uncommon as your body transitions to a new energy source. Remember that this is a temporary phase, and maintaining a consistent eating schedule with nutritious keto meals can help stabilize your mood.


Nausea can be a side effect of your body adjusting to the increased fat intake. To mitigate this symptom, try incorporating healthy fats gradually into your diet and avoid consuming large amounts of fat in one sitting.

Muscle cramps 

Muscle cramps can be a sign of electrolyte imbalances, particularly magnesium and potassium deficiencies. To prevent cramping, ensure you're getting enough of these essential minerals through your diet or supplements.

Understanding the symptoms of keto flu is vital in navigating the initial stages of the ketogenic diet. By avoiding common mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, you can successfully overcome these hurdles and set yourself up for long-term success on your keto journey.

Causes of the Keto Flu

Now that we have discussed the symptoms of keto flu, it's essential to understand the underlying causes to tackle this challenge effectively. Knowing what causes the keto flu can help you prevent or alleviate the symptoms and set you on the path to success. Here are the primary causes of keto flu:

Transition to ketosis 

As you shift from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel, your body undergoes a metabolic transition called ketosis. During this phase, your body is adapting to the new energy source, and you may experience some temporary side effects as it adjusts.

Electrolyte imbalances 

The keto diet can lead to a rapid loss of water and electrolytes, which are crucial for maintaining proper hydration and muscle function. An imbalance in electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps.


Dehydration is a common issue on the keto diet, mainly due to the diuretic effect of reducing carbohydrate intake. When you consume fewer carbs, your body retains less water, leading to dehydration and exacerbating the symptoms of keto flu.

Carbohydrate withdrawal 

As you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body may initially crave the quick energy source it's used to. This withdrawal can manifest in various symptoms, including irritability, fatigue, and headaches.

By being aware of the causes of keto flu, you can take proactive steps to avoid or minimize these effects. In the next section of our guide to common mistakes to avoid when starting the keto diet, we will discuss remedies and strategies for managing keto flu symptoms, ensuring a smoother transition into your new ketogenic lifestyle.

Remedies for Keto Flu

Armed with the knowledge of keto flu symptoms and causes, you're now ready to explore remedies and strategies to manage these challenges effectively. Implementing the following recommendations can help you alleviate the symptoms of keto flu and ensure a successful transition to your ketogenic lifestyle:

Proper hydration 

Drinking enough water is crucial to combat dehydration and minimize keto flu symptoms. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day and adjust based on your activity level and individual needs.

Electrolyte supplementation

Replenishing essential electrolytes can help alleviate the symptoms associated with electrolyte imbalances. Focus on these three key electrolytes:

  1. Sodium - Increase your salt intake by adding a pinch of high-quality sea salt to your meals or drinking a cup of broth daily.
  2. Potassium - Incorporate potassium-rich foods, such as avocados and leafy greens, into your diet or consider a potassium supplement.
  3. Magnesium - Consume magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate or take a magnesium supplement to prevent muscle cramps and support restful sleep.

Gradual reduction of carbohydrate intake

Rather than going cold turkey and drastically cutting carbs from your diet, consider reducing your carbohydrate intake gradually. This approach can help minimize carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms and make the transition to ketosis more manageable.

Consuming nutrient-dense, keto-friendly foods 

Prioritize eating nutrient-dense, keto-friendly foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. These foods can help stabilize your blood sugar levels, support your energy needs, and make it easier to cope with keto flu symptoms.

Getting enough rest and sleep

Ensure you're getting adequate rest and sleep during the initial stages of the keto diet. Your body is going through significant changes, and sufficient rest is crucial for recovery and adaptation.

By implementing these remedies and strategies, you can effectively manage keto flu symptoms and set yourself up for long-term success on your ketogenic journey. Remember, the keto flu is temporary, and by overcoming these initial hurdles, you'll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of a healthier, keto-friendly lifestyle.

Preventing the Keto Flu

While dealing with keto flu is a common challenge, taking preventative measures can help ensure a smoother transition to a ketogenic lifestyle. By being proactive and making some key adjustments, you can minimize the impact of keto flu and start reaping the benefits of your new diet sooner. Here are some tips for preventing keto flu:

Tips for a smooth transition to a keto diet 

To ease your body into ketosis, consider following these guidelines:

  1. Gradually reduce carbohydrate intake, as mentioned earlier.
  2. Prioritize consuming nutrient-dense, keto-friendly foods.
  3. Stay well-hydrated and supplement with essential electrolytes.
  4. Allow your body time to adapt by not pushing yourself too hard with intense exercise during the initial stages of your transition.

Monitoring your body's signals

Listen to your body and pay attention to any signs or symptoms that may indicate keto flu or other issues. If you notice any persistent or severe symptoms, it's essential to address them promptly by adjusting your diet, hydration, or supplementation.

Making adjustments as needed 

As you progress on your keto journey, you may need to make adjustments based on your body's response. This could include altering your macronutrient ratios, increasing your electrolyte intake, or experimenting with different keto-friendly foods to find what works best for you. Remember, everyone's body is unique, and it's crucial to tailor your approach to your individual needs and preferences.

By taking these preventative measures and being attentive to your body's signals, you can minimize the impact of keto flu and set yourself up for long-term success on the keto diet. With consistency and dedication, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the numerous health benefits that a ketogenic lifestyle has to offer.


In conclusion, effectively managing keto flu is a crucial aspect of successfully transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and remedies for keto flu, you'll be better equipped to navigate this temporary phase and make the necessary adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Remember, the challenges associated with keto flu are short-lived, and once overcome, you'll be on your way to experiencing the many benefits of a keto lifestyle.

Stay committed to your ketogenic journey, and don't be discouraged by the initial hurdles. Your dedication and persistence will pay off in the long run as you reap the rewards of improved health, increased energy, and enhanced mental clarity.

We'd love to hear from you! Share your personal experiences and tips for dealing with keto flu in the comments below. Your insights may help others who are just starting their keto journey and facing similar challenges. Let's support each other on the path to a healthier, keto-friendly lifestyle.