IS THE KETO FLU A REAL THING?
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, if you’re at all interested in food and nutrition you’ve probably heard of the Keto diet.
The Keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet based on a strict regimen that is 70-80% fat and about 20% protein. Typically, the foods eaten on this diet are fish, meat, dairy, eggs and green vegetables; starches, grains and fruit are restricted.
Many claim weight loss success after continuing on the diet. It also may be beneficial for managing blood sugar levels, preventing or managing seizures and cardiovascular disease, easing the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), helping with neurological diseases, and reducing inflammatory responses and chronic pain. 
(Note: This diet is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with metabolic disorders or disordered eating, or people with kidney, pancreatic, gallbladder problems. Always consult your health care practitioner if you are planning on undergoing a major diet change.)
HOW DOES “KETOSIS” WORK?
“Keto” is short for Ketosis, a term that describes the way the body uses energy. The Keto diet is based on the premise that, if we switch to a high-fat diet, our bodies will be forced to “learn” how to use fat directly for energy, rather than glucose. A part of this process involves the liver transforming fatty acids to ketones, which is the body’s new form of energy.
This process typically takes anywhere from 2-7 days. After you have completely moved into Ketosis, your body will be burn fat on a regular basis, and your blood sugar will likely stay low, which is why it may be a beneficial option for some people with Diabetes.
WHAT IS THE KETO FLU?
The “Keto flu” is a term for the symptoms that occur when your body is going into Ketosis. The “flu” happens in part because of carbohydrate withdrawal, and is in part the result of a drop in electrolytes which happens naturally as water weight is lost.
Typically the person on the diet will feel the following symptoms during the first week or two of the Keto switch:
All of these symptoms are natural side effects that occur as a result of your body being pushed into a new way of using energy. Sometimes people feel nothing at all, but most of the time people feel at least some brain fog, digestive disruption and fatigue.
The severity of symptoms most likely depends on how dramatic the change in diet is for them personally -- basically, if is already eating a low-sugar diet, the less severe the reaction will be.
Once your body is used to Ketosis (which will likely take a week to a month), you’ll likely feel a general sense of lightness and clarity.
HOW TO MANAGE AND MINIMIZE KETO FLU SYMPTOMS
If you’re already in the throes of a Keto flu, there’s not much you can do to reverse the symptoms, but there are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort.
There are a number of supplements and functional foods that can help to minimize the effects of carbohydrate withdrawal. Here are some suggestions:
As you start to lose water weight, you may find that you become thirsty, especially in the first phase of the Keto flu.
In order to combat symptoms like muscle cramping, you’ll want to include natural electrolyte supplements, as well as minerals like calcium and magnesium in your diet, especially if you are active. Magnesium may also help you sleep better if you are suffering from insomnia.
Non-vegetarians/non-vegans will find that a natural bone broth is another excellent way to replenish your electrolytes.
Taking omega-3 oil supplements like krill oil is an excellent way to keep you in balance while you’re going through ketosis, and for a very specific reason: dairy products and meats, which you’ll likely be eating a lot of, are high in omega-6 oils, which can promote inflammation. Omega-3s can help to balance out the ratio of omega-6 and -3s, making it less likely that the omega-6 oils will cause inflammation.
Omega-3 have a host of other benefits, including preventing heart disease, reducing the discomfort of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, and helping to combat depression and other brain and mood disorders. They may even help to prevent different forms of cancer. 
You may want to consider adding creatine to your Keto diet to help keep energy levels stable and shorten recovery time, especially if you are continuing with a regular exercise regimen through the keto transition.
Related: Top Health Benefits of Creatine
Dandelion is great for detoxing as well as assisting the gallbladder to make more bile to absorb fatty acids. Since you will be eating foods with a high content, this may upset your stomach. Dandelion root tea can help to mitigate many digestive concerns and will generally be calming for the stomach.
This is a way of providing your body with ketones externally, giving you more energy through the transformation process. They can offer greater energy, clarity, focus and can help with fat-burning.
THE GOOD NEWS…
Ketones have the capacity to improve mitochondrial efficiency and help the brain function. As such the Keto diet is being researched as a possible therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as a way to help repair the brain post-injury. [3, 4] To this end, it’s clear that it’s not only good for fat-burning in our bodies, the Keto diet may also be great for brain health.
If you test out the Keto diet, you may experience some discomfort within the first couple of weeks. But the good news is that if you stick it out, you’re likely to experience a clear head, lower body weight, stable blood sugar levels, more energy, less inflammation, and very possibly, a host of other benefits -- so be sure to stick with it, you’ll be glad you did!