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Anyone who has been on a keto diet for some time can tell you about the dreaded keto fatigue, also called the keto flu.
It’s very common in someone just starting out with a ketogenic diet, but a lot of people abandon the diet before they ever see any results due to keto fatigue.
Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy fix.
In this article we will discuss why you feel exhausted on a keto diet and what you can do to fix it.
Why do you feel tired on the keto diet?
The keto diet is based on a low carb diet. Most people eat much higher carbs per day before they switch. Once you switch to the keto diet, you feel great for the first few days. By day three or so, you start to feel downright awful.
This is when the keto flu starts to take hold and this is when most people quit the diet. When you start really feeling tired and having other symptoms, that’s your body telling you the diet is working.
Your body is transitioning from burning sugar for energy to burning fat. At this point, your body is converting fat into ketones to use in place of glucose.
The state of ketosis is when your body is using fat and ketones to create energy. This is when most people start seeing the effects in the form of weight loss.
Here’s a list of common causes of fatigue after being in ketosis for a while.
#1. You may be low on salt.
Due to the water loss through glycogen depletion, your body will likely be losing sodium and electrolytes. If you’re experiencing keto fatigue, your first step should be to amp up your salt intake.
Generously salt all your food to your preferred taste. If you’re still feeling tired, try adding one teaspoon of salt to the first glass of water you drink in the morning.
Also, consider taking a magnesium and potassium supplement to replenish the electrolytes.
#2. You might not be eating enough calories
When you are in ketosis, you are not as hungry as you used to be and your appetite is close to zero.
This is because when you burn glucose for fuel, you’re dependent on eating to get enough energy, so you crave food. But when you’re in ketosis, your body can always steal some energy from your fat stores.
This might make you consume less calories than you need to.
By restricting your calories to the point where you don’t have enough protein and energy for your cells, you will increase your stress levels, deplete your body of minerals, and feel tired as a result.
To ensure your daily calorie needs are within healthy ranges, we strongly encourage you to track your calorie intake.
However awful or neurotic it may seem, it has to be done in the beginning or you may end up on an accidental low-calorie diet.
#3. You might be dehydrated.
Ketones act as a diuretic causing you to excrete more water and minerals than you would normally.
To counteract this, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, at least 3 litres a day.
#4. You might not be sleeping enough.
If you are not getting an average of 7.5 hours of sleep per day on any given week, then you will feel more tired than usual.
To ensure that you will get quality sleep, turn off all blue light emitting electronics at least an hour before the time you want to fall asleep and make your room cool and dark.
#5. You might not be consuming enough fat.
Because your body is transitioning to utilizing a higher proportion of fat as fuel, it is necessary to get enough fat in the diet to ensure that you have enough available energy.
This is sometimes hard for people to do, especially if they are switching from a low-fat diet.
Basically, when you lower your carb intake without increasing your fats, your body goes into starvation mode.
You’ve got to treat your body right at this delicate time, and increasing healthy fats might be the solution for your keto fatigue.
You can add more of Olive oil, Ghee, Salted butter, MCT oil, Coconut oil or Fish oil to your diet.
#6. You might have suddenly dropped too many carbs from your diet
Most people eat more than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day on a normal diet.
Once you start keto, you are going to be eating less than half that, and sometimes three quarters that amount.
One way to combat the effects of the keto flu is to taper down your carbohydrates over time.
This way, it won’t shock your system as much as it does when you drastically cut the carbs out.
#7. You might be going too hard in your workouts
To help your body adjust to your new diet, consider reducing the amount of time you spend working out. Also, do lighter activities while you’re starting out on the keto diet.
You want to be kind to yourself while your body changes its fuel source. Once you reach ketosis, feel free to up your workouts again.
The tips above, along with the other basics involved in maintaining a ketogenic diet, will ensure you are doing all you can to optimize this process.
The key to any lifestyle change is how well you can adhere to the protocol over a period of time.
If the symptoms still persist after implementing the relevant suggestions, please see your doctor to discuss the necessary testing and treatments.
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