Keto diet: here’s why some people experience fatigue and headaches after starting it


keto diet

Ketogenic (“keto”) diet is an extremely carbohydrate restrictive, high-fat diet.

A Keto diet restricts carbs intake to less than 25 to 50 grams per day and strengthen tissues to use fat or ketones (acids produced by the liver) as fuel during caloric restriction. Keto diet normally recommends that only 5% of calories come from carbs, 75% from fat and 20% from protein.

Based on the research from 1920s the keto diet keeping the carbs intake very low makes the body rely more on using other substances, such as fat, for energy. By digesting fat to produce glucose or energy, the body generates ketones in the process - that is why there is term "ketogenic". 

Keto Flu

Many people that try the keto diet report experiencing something called the “keto flu”. People report symptoms such as nausea, constipation, headaches, fatigue and sugar cravings, and so on.

Keto Diet - Side effects

These side effects are caused by the carbohydrate withdrawal. Glucose (which is produced from foods containing carbohydrates, such as potatoes or bread) is the primary energy source of the central nervous system, including the brain.

When a body consumes much less carbs, it will result in reduced function which leads to headaches. Nausea is caused by consuming high volumes of fat. This is because fat takes a long time to digest and absorb.

Removing some foods from the diet also limits vitamins and minerals intake, which affects immune function. Sugary fruits that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges are avoided in the keto diet. Low levels of vitamin C might cause increased risk of infections, such as the common cold.

Is then the keto diet for everyone?

Ketogenic diets are sometimes clinically recommended for managing some medical conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, brain diseases, etc. It also has many benefits when it comes to weight and fat loss. 

But for most people the side effects of such diets aren’t worth the potential benefits. Keto diet can be also unsustainable if we don't strictly stick to it and take it as a lifestyle. 

Though the keto diet might work for some, a balanced diet including healthy ingredients, avoiding the processed and sugary foods is still an effective way to manage or lose weight. Getting enough exercise can also help manage weight, which will also lead to better cardiovascular health and decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  


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