Keto Diet: How To Overcome The 5 Common Side Effects of the Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic diet (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

With the obesity epidemic break out across the globe, one of the diets to have become the new favourite is the ketogenic diet or lovingly called the "keto diet". While many are under the (wrong) assumption of keto diet being ideal for individuals who worship fatty food, let's get that straight. The keto diet is known to drastically emaciate the individual (in a good way) but it can backfire if done wrong.

You must be careful of a plethora of things before delving into the ketogenic diet. But right now, we'll be speaking to those who are feeling the early stage wraths of the keto diet. The keto diet is no easy diet to follow. The initial stages of the ketogenic diet make your body and mind go through tremendous pain. Some have even termed the initial phase as "keto-flu".

A keto flu is basically the initial side-effects of the keto diet that leave the body irritated and uncomfortable. Don't worry though. We've found the best ways to combat them. Check out the five ketogenic diet side effects and how to deal with them.

1 Exhaustion

Think of it as a situation where you have to undo a lifestyle and adapt to a new lifestyle. During keto diet, your brain also goes through the same switch from sugar-fueled diet to fat-fueled diet, leading to several metabolic changes. So while the brain adjusts to altering the new lifestyle chosen by you, the body sort of bears the brunt.

But it's only momentary as the body, just like the brain, soon adapts to the changes. However, during this period, the body undergoes extreme exhaustion, fatigue and weakness. One of the best ways to keep the body up and about would be by taking in as much water as possible. It would be more beneficial to add essential nutrients in the water such as electrolytes and salt.

Bone broth is also a good way of restoring all the lost electrolytes. In fact, bone broth is the apt solution to many more side-effects like headaches, spasms, cramps and more. Finally, you need to clock in the eight hours of sleep without any breaks. Don't let distractions such as your tummy rumbling in the night (especially since your food intake will be less) keep you up. Battle it out and find ways to fall asleep for a minimum of eight hours.

2 Cravings

As per study and personal experience of individuals, they've all admitted that the overall appetite takes a drastic fall. A 2007 report on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is a testament to the same as it states, “One major advantage of the ketogenic diet is that it allows the calorie intake to be cut drastically without producing ravenous hunger.”

Sounds like good news, doesn't it? Well, it may curb your overall appetite but it sure jolts up your lust for sugar or carbs. People who have had a rich carbs diet - before keto - will face withdrawal symptoms with respect to food.

It's only temporary so there's nothing to fret about it. However, since sugar has a direct effect on mental health (causes anxiety, mood swings, etc.) the situation can no longer be handled by physical solutions. Therefore, experts state that being patient with oneself and motivating oneself to avoid the cravings of the taste buds is the most sought-after way to go about this conundrum. While you focus on the mental aspect, healthy fats, fibre and adequate amounts of protein will do their bit of curbing the cravings.

3 Constipation

Experts have consistently advocated water to be the best remedy for constipation. What happens with ketosis diet is that it eliminates carbohydrates from your food palette which results in less consumption of fibre in your diet. This leads to a string of digestive changes, primarily constipation. Hence, to make sure your bowels act normally and respect your needs to "release", drink water. Lots of it!

Also, while you're at it, do consume a good amount of low-carb plant foods in regular intervals during the day. Your low-carb greens could include high-fibre veggies like leafy vegetables, avocado and cruciferous veggies. Some experts even suggest supplements with the digestive enzyme (lipase, in particular) which helps break down the dietary fats being consumed during ketosis diet.

4 Moodiness and irritability

When it comes to your body, remember one thing, it's all connected. Each and every alteration that is done by you with your diet or lifestyle has an effect on your physical as well as mental health. Many keto dieters may have noticed this that the initial days of keto makes them exceptionally moody or irritable. Well, it's because not just your digestive system but even your nervous system is adapting the new change you've brought in your diet.

Changes in diet affect the production of hormones and neurotransmitters which in turn, affect your sleep patterns, behaviour and emotions. Headaches, lethargy, lack of good sleep affects the mood, causing irritation.

The best way to deal with them is to add nutrients like magnesium which you'll find in leafy vegetables. The non-food ways of dealing with this condition are physical exertion or doing things that uplift your mood. Meditation is one of the best solutions.

5 Muscle weakness

If on a regular day, workout regimes can make you tired, then an addition of a keto diet will further the muscle weakness. As the energy drops during the initial days of the keto diet, so does the will and ability to perform well at the gym. It will be tougher to recover from intense workouts. Hence, it is advised that you eschew intense workouts for when you feel stronger.

Since one of the other side-effects of the keto diet is hypoglycemia (causes temporary lightheadedness and sweating), it is recommended that you drink salt water. As for muscle weakness, the best way to combat it is to have enough protein (Goldilocks style! Not too much but not too less either). If that doesn't work, try including more non-starchy veggies and healthy fat in your diet.

The keto diet is a boon when done right and a bane when not followed didactically. Hence, we suggest you do go through our articles on the dangers of the Keto Diet as well, to get a better understanding of the diet.