The ketogenic was the most popular trending diet based on Google’s 2018 reports. This program is different from basic low-calorie diets. That’s because it drops carbs as low as 5% of total calories. This causes your body to go into a metabolism-related state called ketosis. It’s a big change to your body’s systems so it can cause side-effects like “Keto flu, constipation, and bad breath. Other people claim keto gave me a heart attack. This refers to another possible side-effect of a faster heart rate. If you have heart conditions you should talk to your doctor about whether you should go on diets like Keto or Atkins.
The good news is there are fixes for all Keto side-effects. These symptoms are mostly caused by your body getting energy from another source besides food carbs, which is its first option. As always you should find out what’s causing the symptoms so you can deal with them effectively. There’s usually an easy fix. The key is to stay calm and find out what’s causing the health issues. What’s important is to know what’s happening. There’s a difference between a faster heart rate and a heart attack. Start with the symptom’s root cause then work on the best solution.
What Are Common Side-effects of Ketosis?
When you start on the keto diet there are several side-effects you might experience. One of the most common ones is something called “Keto Flu.” It’s not influenza/flu but rather a group of symptoms that people experience when starting the low-carb diet.
Keto Flu is caused by your body adjusting to getting a few carbs. It involves the body getting energy from things the liver makes called “ketones” and stored fat. This is different from your body getting energy from glucose/blood sugar.
Symptoms you might get from the keto flu include:
- Stomach aches
- Sugar cravings
- Digestion problems
- Sleep problems
- Sore muscles
- Muscle cramps
- Lack of focus
These are a lot of symptoms but the good news they’re usually short-term as your body gets used to ketosis.
The good news is these symptoms usually last for around a week. They might last longer but it’s not common. It might seem real o get through these symptoms and many people feel like quitting the diet.
That’s OK. However, there are ways you can reduce the symptoms. For example, you can take some basic steps. Make sure you’re drinking enough water since you’ll be losing lots of water you’d normally get from high-carb foods. Make sure not to do too high-intensity exercising as your body adjusts to the low-carb diet. Make sure to add some electrolytes (salt). Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
You should also make sure to follow Keto’s macro split. Standard keto is about 70% fats, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. Make sure to get lots of healthy fats. This will help you stay full longer and help prevent food cravings.
You should also get enough carbs. If you’re just starting out make not cut carbs too much. Try to reduce your carbs gradually. This can help to reduce Keto Flu symptoms.
Keto Gave Me a “Heart Attack”
Studies show the ketogenic diet can be very heart-healthy. The process of dropping carbs and boosting healthy fats can provide big benefits. They include lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and body weight. These can all reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke/heart attacks.
That said, if you have heart-related health conditions you should talk to your doctor before starting Keto. This isn’t because the keto diet is “unhealthy.”
However, if you have certain conditions you should get advice from your doctor about possible risks. In some situations, he/she might give the diet a thumb down.
What’s the “heart attack” some Keto newbies are talking about? This is likely heart palpitations caused by a faster heart rate. It’s one of the possible symptoms you could experience when you first start the diet.
It’s normal for people to experience heart rates that are a little faster than before when they start a low-carb diet. This is normal. Some of the reasons are hydration and low electrolytes (salt). When there are fewer fluids in the bloodstream the heart has to work a little harder.
A quick fix is to drink more fluids. You should also boost your salt intake slightly. Try some lemon water with a dash of sea/Himalayan salt. This will solve both likely causes of your heart beating faster.
Another option is magnesium food/supplements. As always, the best source of minerals is food. However, if you need more convenience then you could go with dietary supplements. Both are effective ways to boost magnesium.
Another possible cause is the body-boosting stress hormones. This is done to keep the same levels of blood sugar as before. This is usually short-term. It’s just needed as your body makes tweaks while adjusting to a low-carb program. The faster heart rate will probably last 1-2 weeks.
Top Tips for Starting Keto Diet
1. Be alert about hidden sugar/carbs.
For example, some sources are obvious like white sugar, refined grains, and starchy veggies. However, when you buy pre-packaged foods it’s common for them to have sugar even if they aren’t sugary foods.
This requires you to check all labels of pre-packaged foods. Watch out for syrup, honey, and artificial sweeteners.
2. Do light exercise
This can provide various benefits. In particular, it will help to use up stored blood sugar your body has. This will help speed up the process of getting most of your energy from fat stores versus carbs.
Make sure to do light exercise. As your body switches over to fat for energy it’s important not to put a lot of stress on your body. High-intensity exercises would be better after your symptoms like Keto Flu stop within 2 weeks or so.
3. Set goals for reaching ketosis
There are different ways to get into and stay in ketosis. It’s important to set goals about how and why you want to get into ketosis. Some possible reasons include more energy, better focus, or weight loss.
There are different ways to get into ketosis faster. Some are more extreme than others. So, if you want to achieve that goal faster then you should consider taking those steps.
4. Set carbs based on goals/fitness level
There’s some leeway on the keto diet in terms of carbs. The range is usually 5% to 10% of total calories. Another factor is whether you’re doing workouts and especially high-intensity workouts. In that case, you can do a modified keto that boosts carbs slightly before workouts to help avoid claiming keto gave me a heart attack.