Have you recently taken the plunge and undertaken a low carb, no-sugar diet like Whole30, Paleo, or Keto? If you have and you have found you are suffering from some of the many symptoms (and you want relief), then keep reading.
“Low carb flu”, “carb flu”, and “keto flu” are all terms used to refer to the many unpleasant symptoms that may occur when switching to a low-carb, no sugar lifestyle.
The symptoms may range from mental fog, nausea, fatigue, headaches, cramps, digestive issues, low energy levels, twitchiness, crankiness, and exhaustion. Some people have characterized it as feeling like they were withdrawing from heroin. For me, I was an emotional terrorist, snapping at anyone in my path and only vaguely remembering why five minutes later. I was one of the “lucky” ones. I didn’t experience the other physical symptoms. Mine was mental and emotional. I accidentally walked down the bread aisle and imagined myself ripping through a bag of bagels with my bare teeth and devouring every last one.
If you committed to one of these diets and have taken the time to do the tedious meal planning, I assume you were aware these symptoms could or would happen. I will also assume that you have read about why. I will provide a brief and not overly scientific explanation before moving on to what you can do to help alleviate the symptoms using some natural remedies.
WHY??? First, sugar. Sugar is highly addictive. It is as addictive, or more addictive, than many narcotic drugs. Read that twice and let it sink in. Here is just one study that shows that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. You are going through withdrawal from a highly addictive substance, just like a junkie. Making it worse is that sugar is sugar. That means healthy sugar, imitation sugar (which is the devil), and carbohydrates (because your body converts unused carbs to sugar!) are all fueling your addiction. Now that you are denying yourself all that pleasure-center activating sugar, you are going to feel like crap.
The other reason for all the unpleasantness has to do with your gut. Each of us have unique flora in our gut. This is determined by a lot of factors, most notably, your diet. Your old diet, like 2-7 days old, is going to play a part in how you feel now. Any drastic dietary changes will trigger a reaction where your gut needs to find some harmony.
Until it does, you may suffer the dreaded “flu”. Moving on… what can we do to make it better?
You should have read up before kicking off your diet. There are some standard nuggets of wisdom: find a support network, get sufficient rest, exercise, drink tons of water, etc.
Those are critical to your success (and comfort!). But you didn’t come here because I’m a diet expert (I’m not). Sometimes those things just aren’t enough and you want some extra help. If you are looking for natural, safe, mild alternatives, you are in the right place.
I have created a list of things that you can try to help alleviate each symptom. To make it easy for you, it is in a completely free, downloadable infographic (the one above). Let me know what you think!