Ketosis and the “Keto-Flu”

Our AMAZING nutritionist wrote this article on the keto-flu–a common result of entering ketosis. Check it out!

By: Meghan Doherty, Prolean Nutritionist/Trainer

Ketosis InfographicIn Phase 1 of the Prolean program, like many ketogenic diets, you may initially experience symptoms that feel unpleasant or uncomfortable. As time persists, your body will adapt to your new dietary intake and the production of ketones.
What is ketosis, anyways? After taking sugar out of your diet for about a week, the body burns up all of its stored glucose for energy, and then turns to stored fats instead; which results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. While the body still has glycogen stores primarily in the liver and muscle, the lack of carbohydrates begins to drain those stores and can cause “Keto-Flu”.

Keto-Flu 101: Everything You Need to Know

The “keto flu” is what we commonly call carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal side effects usually occur in people who start a low carb diet that alters their hormones and causes electrolyte imbalances. Don’t let this alarm you; this is a GREAT thing! In other words, it describes a cycle in the body which is adapting to a lower carb intake. Your body is so accustomed to living off of carbs that both your body and your mind think you need it to survive. Just like withdrawal from a drug, carbs (and sugar found in those carbs) can be very addicting and cause withdrawal symptoms that only last as long as those carbs stay in your system. It usually takes about a week before your body begins using fat for fuel.

On most diets you’ve tried in the past, your mind was probably much harder to fight than your body. Maybe you’ve never been on a diet that caused you to go through any form of withdrawal, and that’s where you’ll find the greatest source of power when it comes to Keto! With Keto, once your body goes through withdrawal, you’ll find that the temptations you used to face (thoughts of wanting to cheat, cravings, starving) will not be a problem for you.

Keto-Flu Symptoms

No two people experience the keto flu, in the same way, so the symptoms can range from nothing to mild to a full-blown flu-like condition, and include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Lack of OR extreme appetite
  • Mental fog
  • Cramps
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Irritability
  • Cravings (for sugar and/or salt)
  • Diarrhea or constipation or loose dark stools
  • In some extreme cases, high blood pressure and arrhythmia

Here’s what you MAY expect within the first 2-3 days:

  • Fatigue & weakness (lack of concentration) Tired
  • Headaches/migraine
  • Metallic taste or sweet taste in mouth
  • Lightheaded /dizzy upon standing
  • Heightened thirst
  • Hunger/sweet or carb cravings
  • Dry mouth possibly paired with “keto breath”
  • Stomach discomfort/mild nausea/cramping
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep (early waking)
  • Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks)
  • Frequent urination
  • Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up

Man with Arms RaisedAfter Your Body Adapts to Ketosis

Once your body adapts to running on ketones, you can expect to experience any of the following:

  • Increased awareness/concentration
  • More energy
  • Better and more consistent sleep cycle
  • Euphoria
  • Fat loss (in pounds and inches)
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Better muscle recovery
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced cravings

Smiling womanHow Long Does Keto-Flu Last?

The duration of keto flu varies for each person. While some may have slight and even unnoticeable symptoms for a day or two, others might have an over the top symptom for a week or more; it depends on how quickly your body adapts to a reduction in carbs. Once keto flu is over, you can expect a huge surge in energy levels, and once that sugar habit is fully kicked, you will likely feel better than ever.

Note: Being patient as your body adapts is key, and know that it will pass, and if it does not you should seek the attention of a qualified medical professional. For most people any symptoms that occur end within two weeks’ time.

How to Combat Emotion-Driven Eating

Mindless eating is a major culprit in the obesity epidemic in the United States.toy teeth eating food

Picture this:

If you are tired, bored, stressed, anxious, mad, lazy, sad or even happy, you probably reach for the bag of potato chips that has been calling your name all afternoon. You decide to eat it while watching TV and before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of Cheetos!


Sound familiar? You are not alone!

Many people emotionally (over)eat (triggered by hormones) and don’t actually listen to their physical cues for hunger, such as needing fuel to begin your day, energy to have a productive day at work, and nutrients to power through your workout. Read More »

5 Ways to Lose Weight without Going Hungry

There’s a lot more to weight loss than a “calories in/calories out” mentality. Many people feel like trying to lose weight is resigning themselves to a lifestyle of misery, at least for 90 days or however long they think they need. The truth is that there are plenty of healthy ways to lose weight without starving yourself or even going hungry! If you go about it correctly, weight loss and maintenance will soon become part of your daily routine.girl in a swingRead More »

It’s Time for Fitness Trackers to Step Up

I recently worked as an intern in an office that was part of a large-scale corporation. At the end of my internship, corporate HR came around to our branch and gave out free health assessments to all of the employees on their insurance plan. After talking with the nurses, the head honchos determined that one of their greatest liabilities was—you guessed it—employee obesity.overweight legsRead More »

Protecting Your Muscles: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Weight Management

How do you lose weight? Do you spend hours on the treadmill or the elliptical machine? Do you skip meals, only eat celery, or drown your hunger in coffee? While these methods might bring down the numbers on the scale, they’re not doing anything to improve your overall health!Protecting Your Muscles: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Weight Management

So what’s the secret? What’s the key to not just getting skinny, but to getting fit?Protecting Your Muscles: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Weight Management

It’s got less to do with calories in and out and everything to do with muscle preservation! That’s why we calculate your lean tissue mass before even attempting to create a meal plan for you! Our goal is to preserve every ounce of muscle that you have so that your body burns fat more efficiently. You’ll get a specific amount of protein to eat every day, and by meeting your protein requirement, your muscles will be protected and the pounds will still drop!Protecting Your Muscles: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Weight Management

We also have trainers who create exercise programs specifically for you, specifically for building muscle. While the treadmill might make you work up a sweat, pure cardio is getting your muscle nowhere! By using effective and efficient muscle-building workout routines and eating a low-car, high-protein diet, your muscle will grow as your fat shrinks! Isn’t that the goal after all?Protecting Your Muscles: The Secret Ingredient to Successful Weight Management

Questions? Interested? Shoot an email to!