The keto diet is known for being high in fat and super low in carbs (often to under 25 grams of net carbs a day!), so that the body can use fat as its main fuel, as opposed to relying on glucose.
It goes against the campaign behind decades of “low fat food equals less fat in your body and less fat on you!” beliefs of the late 80’s/early 90’s thinking. We now know that science doesn’t add up – we now know that high fat, moderate protein, minimal carb diet can actually speed weight loss and promote fat burning. And if you make it through the initial “keto flu” transition phase, you might notice greater energy, fewer cravings, and even better athletic performance down the road.
That initial period can be rough, as your body is adjusting to the lack of carbs and higher intake of fat, so you might feel not so great for a week or two after beginning the keto diet. If you’re adopting the ketogenic diet, stick with it, as this transition phase is totally normal. If you don’t like keto after you’ve gotten past the “flu,” then it might not be the best diet for you.
You’re Tired—At First
When going through keto flu, you’ll feel a bit tired. You might have muscle aches and feel sleepy since you’re ditching carbs, which is the energy source your body currently seeks to keep you motivated and moving. Since your body needs to get used to using fat over glucose, it might, at first, make you feel weaker and have more joint pain than usual. For most people, this phase passes after a few days to a week! When your body becomes acclimatized to it’s new metabolic process, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits of the keto diet.
Junk Food Cravings Will Go Away
At first you might crave sugar and cake like crazy, but as you go through transition and get used to keto, you’ll notice cravings subside, because your body no longer needs the carbs to operate! With fewer cravings you will naturally want to eat more low-sugar and high-fat/high-protein foods, and if you want sweeteners, you can use keto approved ones, like erythritol, stevia and monk fruit. Fewer craving means less mindless snacking and more stable blood sugar—so it’s a win-win for weight loss!
You’re Thirsty More Often
One side effect to watch out for is dehydration, especially at the beginning of the diet. To make sure you’re hydrated, keep tabs on water intake and drink a glass every hour or so. You can also add in electrolytes to boost hydration, such as with a low-sugar sports drink or an electrolyte formula/booster. And if you’re “hungry,” drink water first—it might just be thirst instead, masking for that hunger!
Yes, it’s true—weight loss is a key result of a successful keto diet! So, if you maintain ketosis through the proper macro profile of high fat, moderate protein, minimal carbs, your body will become accustomed to burning fat (including fat stores!). That could mean a drop in weight is in your future. When you’re at this stage of ketosis, the only real next step is maintenance. Whether you ease up a bit on keto or cycle, finding that good in between can help you with sustainability long-term.