One of the most powerful new tools to hit the mainstream lately is the ketogenic diet. According to numerous research, this style of eating can burn fat, improve cognitive performance and reduce inflammation among other benefits. What is not really known though are the common keto side effects that manifest during the body’s keto-adaptation stage. In this article, we will be discussing those issues and how to avoid them so you can make the best of your keto diet.
8) Keto Flu
One of the most well-known side effects of keto diet, keto flu is exactly what it sounds like. As you begin your keto diet, you will be experiencing flu like symptoms like runny nose, fatigue, headache and nausea. To counter these side effects, be sure to consume more fats, calories, clean carbs, salt and water. Doing some exercise helps too.
7) Sugar Cravings
Many people experience intense cravings for high-sugar foods during the beginning of their ketogenic diet. A classic hypoglycemia response, these cravings occur because your brain thinks that you are starving to death (when in actuality you are just hypoglycemic). Fortunately, this panic response calms down once you begin to produce ketones for energy.
6) Drowsiness and Dizziness
Additional side effects as you begin the keto diet are drowsiness and dizziness due to the body’s lack of energy. You might also notice feeling dizzy upon standing due to dysregulated blood pressure and incorrect cortisol response.
5) Sleep Problems
Most people who are still adapting to the keto diet usually experience sleep problems. This is because hypoglycemia stimulates the release of cortisol, a stimulating hormone that can disrupt sleep. Try to minimize the cortisol response as much as possible while your body is still adapting to keto.
4) Heart Palpitations
A lot of people experience heart palpitations while transitioning to the keto diet. These heart palpitations can be attributed to hypoglycemia, mineral imbalances and HPA axis dysfunction during the early phases of keto adaption.
Cortisol can reach to abnormally high levels during HPA axis dysregulation, which causes the body to develop cortisol resistance. In order to compensate, the body secretes high amounts of adrenaline which causes irregular heart rhythms. The loss of minerals also reduces blood volume and pressure which causes the heart to pump faster.
3) Frequent Urination
Another sign of mineral/electrolyte imbalance is an increase in urination. When you are in a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop which causes sodium to be secreted in the urine. Sodium pulls more water into the urinary system, which can cause frequent urination. Additionally, as you are adapting to the keto diet, your body burns through glycogen stores in the muscles and liver, which causes excess water to be released into the urinary stystem.
While frequent urination helps in getting rid of toxins from your body, it is advised that you take in additional fluids, minerals and electrolytes to prevent other related side effects.
Another key sign that you are not maintaining mineral/electrolyte balance during keto adaptation is constipation. The consistency and ability to pass stool is heavily influenced by your body’s water content. Constipation may also be a side effect due to a change in your microbiome. As gut bacteria makeup is generally determined by the kinds of foods you consume, making a drastic change in your diet can temporarily change the consistency of your stool.
Keep in mind that certain foods like eggs, cheese and nuts may be more conducive to constipation so be sure to stay away from them during the early stages of keto adaptation.
Although constipation is more common, some people also experience diarrhea during the initial phases of keto adaptation. If you are one of these people, you can take a binding or bulking agents like activated charcoal, psyllium husk and citrus pectin.