While the ketogenic diet offers abundant health benefits, it can initially cause several uncomfortable side effects, including flu-like symptoms, fatigue, constipation, and muscle cramps. There are also a couple long-term effects to consider, such as reduced thyroid function. Read on to learn how to troubleshoot common keto problems both over the short- and long-term, so you can reap the amazing health benefits of a ketogenic diet!
Simple solutions for common keto side effects
One of the most common symptoms experienced by ketogenic diet newbies is the “keto flu,” a constellation of symptoms that includes brain fog, headaches, insomnia, and irritability. These uncomfortable symptoms are caused by glycogen loss, low insulin levels, dehydration, and poor metabolic flexibility. The good news is that you can dramatically accelerate your recovery from the “keto flu” with the help of electrolytes and natural binding agents!
QuintEssential 3.3, a hypertonic solution of trace minerals derived from deep sea water, rapidly restores electrolyte balance within your body, helping you recover from the “keto flu.” Ultra Binder, a comprehensive blend of natural compounds that adsorb and absorb toxins in the GI tract, alleviates the keto flu and supports metabolic health by “mopping up” lipophilic toxins such as pesticides, BPA, persistent organic pollutants, mold toxins, and bacteria-derived LPS. These toxins, normally stored inside fat cells, are released when the body undergoes rapid fat loss, as occurs on a ketogenic diet. Preclinical and epidemiological research indicates that these toxins impair insulin sensitivity and detoxification while also promoting the growth of fat cells; facilitating their elimination from your body is crucial if you want to optimize your experience on the keto diet!,,,,
Constipation is a common complaint on the ketogenic diet. The sudden shifts in electrolyte balance and reduced carbohydrate content of the ketogenic diet can certainly throw your digestive system for a loop! Fortunately, there are several simple fixes for keto-induced constipation.
1. Eat more fiber. It’s easy to eat lots of meat, cheese, and oils on a ketogenic diet at the expense of fiber-rich vegetables. Fiber is crucial for moving food through your digestive tract and ensuring bowel regularity. To keep your digestive system happy, eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables every day, including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
2. Drink more water. In the first week or two of a ketogenic diet, it is not unusual to shed a bunch of water weight. This sudden reduction in body water can cause
dehydration and promote constipation. Make sure to drink half your body weight in ounces of filtered water every day. Consider supplementing with QuintEssential 3.3 or 0.9 to restore your electrolyte levels and maintain optimal hydration.
3. Eat resistant starch. Resistant starch is a special type of dietary fiber that passes through the small intestine undigested; instead, it travels to your large intestine intact, where it is used to feed beneficial gut bacteria. By feeding your beneficial gut microbes, resistant starch promotes peristalsis and healthy bowel movements. Green plantains, green banana flour, and tiger nut flour are keto-friendly resistant starch options. When introducing resistant starch to your diet, start small with a dose of approximately ¼ tsp per day; adding too much resistant starch at once can cause gas and bloating.
4. Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic. The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods and probiotics promote peristalsis, the smooth muscle contractions that
move food through your gastrointestinal tract.
Muscle cramps on keto are another sign of dehydration and can be corrected with electrolyte supplementation and plenty of filtered water. Magnesium and potassium, two of the most abundant electrolytes in your body, can be found in a variety of keto-friendly foods. Keto-friendly sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and cacao while potassium can be found in spinach, kale, avocados, and mushrooms.
Are you a few days into a ketogenic diet and feeling overwhelmingly fatigued? There are several reasons you may be feeling this way, including poor metabolic flexibility and electrolyte depletion.
First, make sure you are eating enough calories and protein. Skimping on calories and protein on a ketogenic diet deprives the body of adequate fuel, causing weakness and fatigue. While some keto proponents recommend limiting protein, research indicates that an average protein intake of 15-30 percent of total calories
does not impair the body's ability to enter ketosis. In fact, a high protein intake has several beneficial effects, including reduced hunger and preservation of lean mass. If you’re having a hard time gauging whether you’re eating enough on a ketogenic diet, track your food intake with an app such as Carb Manager.
If you are eating enough protein and calories but still feel fatigued, adaptogenic botanicals can help! NotoBravi, a blend of four potent adaptogenic herbs, boosts energy and sharpens cognitive function, easing your transition into ketosis.
Strategies for accelerating fat adaptation
As you may have noticed, many of the initial side effects of a ketogenic diet can be attributed to poor metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility refers to the ability of the body to switch between burning glucose, from dietary carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel. Due to habitually high carbohydrate intakes, many people in our modern-day world have poor metabolic flexibility; that is, they struggle with burning fat for fuel and creating energy once they remove most carbohydrates from their diets. Strategies that enhance metabolic flexibility accelerate fat adaptation, the process by which the body becomes adept at burning fat for
fuel, thus alleviating many keto diet side effects.
Listed here are key strategies for facilitating fat adaptation:
· Add supplemental fat: Fat is the primary source of fuel on a ketogenic diet, and supplementing specific types of fats, particularly coconut oil and MCT oil, can help you get into ketosis faster. Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil increases ketone levels in a linear, dose-dependent manner and is a popular component of ketogenic diets.
· L-leucine: L-leucine is a ketogenic amino acid, meaning it can be used to make ketones and help you get into ketosis faster. L-leucine can be supplemented as an
individual amino acid or in a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) formula.
· Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting, an eating style in which you eat within a limited period each day and fast the rest of the time, is a great way to facilitate
your body’s transition into ketosis. Intermittent fasting accelerates the fat adaptation process by keeping insulin low and raising ketone levels. 16/8 fasting – an intermittent fasting strategy in which you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour time window each day – works well for most people.
· Decrease stress: Stress inhibits fat adaptation by releasing cortisol, a hormone that raises blood sugar. To facilitate fat adaptation, commit to a consistent, daily stress reduction practice; this could include meditation, taking a walk in nature, or listening to relaxing music.
· Get plenty of sleep: Inadequate sleep rapidly derails fat adaptation by increasing stress hormone and blood sugar levels. Getting 8-9 hours of high-quality sleep per night should be a priority. Maintain a consistent bedtime schedule, wear blue-light-blocking glasses at night, and keep your bedroom completely dark to optimize the quality of your sleep.
· Fasted cardio: Performing cardio in a fasted state causes the body to turn to fat stores for fuel, facilitating the fat adaptation process. Importantly, some people experience a reduced exercise capacity upon starting a ketogenic diet; if this is the case for you, forgo high-intensity cardio for a couple of weeks, and instead focus on gentle cardiovascular activity such as walking, cycling, or swimming.
· Keto-friendly snacks: Keep keto-friendly snacks on hand to prevent junk food cravings from hijacking your brain and derailing your diet! Nuts, nut butter, grass-fed beef jerky, and hard-boiled eggs make for easy, portable, filling keto snacks.
While these strategies can significantly enhance your journey towards fat adaptation, remember that it takes time for the body to become fat-adapted! Don’t expect this to be an overnight process. According to scientific studies, at least 3 to 4 weeks of strict adherence to a ketogenic diet are required to achieve maximal
While the ketogenic diet has numerous health benefits, there are some adverse long-term consequences of a strict ketogenic diet that should not be ignored.
Decreased thyroid function
The human body requires a certain amount of insulin to activate thyroid hormones, enabling them to perform their many crucial roles throughout the body.
A ketogenic diet significantly lowers insulin levels and, in susceptible people, may promote hypothyroidism. If you already struggle with hypothyroidism, a strict ketogenic diet may not be right for you. Instead, try Keto Before 6, our revolutionary formula of ketosis-promoting botanicals that supports a standard ketogenic diet during the day, while giving you the flexibility to eat more carbohydrates at night. In addition to supporting thyroid function, the cyclic ketosis facilitated by Keto Before 6 may offer additional health benefits:
· Cyclic ketosis may promote a more balanced, resilient gut microbiota by allowing for the consumption of healthy carbohydrates. The soluble fiber in healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and whole fruit serves as fuel for our beneficial gut bacteria.
· The higher level of carbohydrates consumed in cyclic ketosis promotes more restful sleep by facilitating the transport of serotonin into the
brain. Once in the brain, serotonin acts as a precursor for melatonin, the body’s primary sleep-inducing hormone.
Several studies suggest that a strict ketogenic diet can raise levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. If you already have a high-stress lifestyle or suffer from HPA axis dysfunction, you may also benefit from our Keto Before 6 protocol, rather than a strict ketogenic diet.
There’s no doubt that a ketogenic diet can transform your health! However, when side effects pop up, many people throw in the towel prematurely. By implementing the strategies outlined here, you can reduce the initial side effects and enhance your fat-burning potential, fully realizing your potential on a ketogenic diet!
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