Keto flu is not contagious, but it can make life miserable. How to deal with it?

Keto flu occurs in some individuals who begin the ketogenic diet. Unquestionably, it is related to a sudden reduction in the amount of carbohydrates in the diet and the body’s entry into ketosis. This is a challenging time when he or she must transition from obtaining energy from carbohydrates to fat. The duration of the keto flu varies, but is typically around seven days.

see also : What is a ketogenic diet? How to do it? When it is better to avoid?

what is keto flue?
Photo by Mateusz Feliksik on

Are you planning to follow a ketogenic diet and concerned about developing keto flu? You need not be overly concerned because it does not affect everyone. In addition, you can reduce the likelihood of its occurrence by acting in a manner that facilitates the body’s adaptation to the new diet. Those who previously consumed a great deal of carbohydrates and sugars and then abruptly adopted the ketogenic diet have the highest risk of developing this condition.

What is the keto flu?

The keto flu is a group of symptoms that can happen 2–7 days after starting the ketogenic diet. Keto flu is not a disease, and doctors have never described or researched it. This doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of stories on the Internet about people who got the so-called “keto flu” after going on a low-carbohydrate diet.

We don’t know how the keto flu happens, and we don’t even know if it’s a specific set of symptoms because similar ones can happen when people switch to, say, an elimination diet or an anti-inflammatory diet or when they stop eating a lot of highly processed foods.

Not everyone who follows the ketogenic diet gets the keto flu. No one knows why some people have it and others don’t. We don’t know if it’s an immune reaction, a change in the microbiome of the intestines, or a shock after a sudden stop of carbohydrates. Ketoflu is not caused by pathogenic microorganisms, and it is not contagious or dangerous to your health or life.

Keto flu: symptoms

Not everyone has the full set of symptoms that are attributed to the keto flu. Some people notice only a few of the following symptoms :

  • stomach pain,
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle and joint pain ,
  • headaches , including migraines,
  • insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • fatigue and apathy ,
  • mood swings,
  • involuntary muscle contractions,
  • problems with concentration , memory, and logical thinking.

Many of them are like the flu or stomach flu, but the keto flu has nothing to do with the real flu, which is caused by a virus.

Keto flu: sore throat, fever, and chills

These signs don’t appear because you’re following the keto diet and aren’t its result. This doesn’t mean that some people won’t get keto flu during keto flu, but if they do, it will mean that they also have a bacterial or viral infection, which is a separate problem.

The changes in the body that happen when you drastically cut out carbohydrates and eat more fat and protein are not what cause a sore throat, fever, or chills.

How long does the keto flu last?

It usually lasts about a week, but everyone is different, and we don’t know what makes the symptoms of the keto flu last as long as they do. Some people get better and get rid of them quickly, like in 4 days, while others have to deal with them for up to a month. The good news is that they go away on their own in the long run.

Keto flu: what to do?

Since keto flu is not a disease entity, there are no official guidelines on how to deal with it. Therefore, most often the whole “treatment” consists in the temporary alleviation of symptoms.

However, it is best to try to prevent it by doing the following:

  • Switch to the keto diet gradually, not overnight,
  • take care of proper hydration of the body ,
  • Do not drastically reduce the amount of salt in the diet; the keto diet “flushes” it (electrolytes will ensure hydration and supply of mineral salts).
  • Do not avoid fat in the initial phase of the diet; it is from it that the body will draw energy before it adapts to drawing more from its own adipose tissue.
  • Eat often but in smaller portions.
  • rest ,
  • give up coffee and alcohol.

Most of these tips are worth implementing when keto flu symptoms appear. In the case of severe headaches or muscle and joint pain, they can be temporarily relieved with commonly available painkillers . If you feel very unwell, you should contact your doctor, as it may be the result not only of switching to the keto diet but also of infection.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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