Overcome Keto Flu with This Simple Condiment

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/26/2024

When you start the keto diet, the transition from burning sugar to fat often comes with unpleasant symptoms, commonly called the keto flu.

Headaches, exhaustion, and muscular frailty may be some of the obstructions you might experience when initiating a ketogenic diet.

Learn how to overcome the keto flu and support your overall health on a successful keto diet.

Understanding Keto Flu

The start of a keto lifestyle can be challenging to manage. One hurdle that many face when they first embark on this low-carb, high-fat diet plan is the 'keto flu.'

Despite its name, keto flu isn't an illness like influenza but rather a group of symptoms experienced during the initial transition from glucose-burning to fat-burning mode.

Symptoms of Keto Flu

Keto flu symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, and chills. Some may also experience nausea or loss of appetite, which could make following ketogenic diets harder initially until their bodies adapt appropriately.

These symptoms typically appear within one week after the keto diet, peak around day seven, and then gradually fade over time - although experiences vary widely among individuals depending on various factors, including their previous dietary habits and overall health status before starting this new regimen.

Causes of Low Sodium during Ketosis

  1. Avoiding carbohydrates leads to decreased insulin levels in our blood since carbs are primary triggers for insulin secretion by pancreas cells.

  2. This drop in circulating insulin affects the kidneys' ability to retain sodium, leading to more excretion through urine - hence, lower sodium concentration inside our bodies, especially during the early stages of transitioning into ketosis.

  3. In addition, increased fluid turnover due to higher water-content foods being replaced with fats causes even further electrolyte imbalances if not addressed promptly via appropriate hydration strategies and adequate salt intake.

Proper management of these potential issues can help avoid experiencing severe discomfort while adapting towards becoming efficient at using fats as an energy source, thereby making adopting ketogenic meal plans easier despite individual differences in how we respond to changes in dietary patterns.

Backing soda in a bowl and spoon

Role of Sodium in Overcoming Keto Flu

The keto flu can make transitioning to a keto diet much more difficult. This is often due to your body's reaction to lower sodium levels, transitioning from burning sugar for energy to utilizing fat instead.

With proper hydration and adequate salt intake, this hurdle toward successful weight loss via ketosis can be overcome effectively.

Scientific studies suggest that drinking enough fluids throughout the day aids in alleviating some common side effects associated with transitioning into ketosis.

Importance of Hydration during Ketosis

Adequate hydration plays a pivotal role when following any dietary regimen - more so while undergoing carbohydrate restriction, a characteristic of ketogenic diets.

As glycogen stores deplete within muscles and liver tissues, they release water, which then gets excreted, leading to increased electrolyte losses, such as sodium, via urine channels.

This process ultimately results in symptoms typically seen during bouts of keto flu, like headaches or fatigue, among others. Maintaining optimal fluid balance thus becomes crucial under these circumstances.

Daily Recommended Salt Intake on a Keto Diet

Sodium offers more than just flavor enhancement; it is crucial in maintaining fluid balance and ensuring proper nerve function.

The American Heart Association suggests aiming for a daily intake goal of approximately one teaspoon (equivalent to around 2300mg) of sea salt while acknowledging that individual variations may exist among individuals making similar dietary adjustments.

You could sprinkle extra amounts over meals or even add directly into drinking water depending upon personal preferences without drastically altering the overall nutritional profiles involved here.

  • High blood pressure concerns: For those sensitive towards high-salt intakes but still desire the benefits offered by low-carb lifestyles, baking soda might offer viable solutions. It provides the necessary increases required for successful transition phases without causing undue rises in blood pressure levels usually observed otherwise.

Managing High Blood Pressure while on a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is praised for its health benefits, including weight loss and improved metabolic function.

However, it comes with increased sodium loss, which can be problematic for individuals with high blood pressure, who are often advised to limit their salt intake.

There's an effective alternative source of sodium that doesn't exacerbate your blood pressure levels - baking soda. Let's explore why baking soda is a viable option for sodium.

Baking Soda as an Alternative Source of Sodium

Baking soda is rich in bicarbonate ions, which carry sodium into our bodies without causing spikes in blood pressure levels.

These electrolytes help prevent keto flu symptoms like fatigue and muscle weakness associated with transitioning from a high-carb diet to a low-carb one - making adapting to ketogenic diets easier than you'd think.

Adding baking soda to your daily routine is also quite simple: mix about half a teaspoon with water and consume this mixture once or twice a day.

Impact on Blood Pressure Levels

A common concern among those following the ketogenic lifestyle involves managing high blood pressure due to the increase in salt consumption required by such dietary changes.

Fortunately, studies show that using alternatives like bicarbonate (found abundantly in baking soda) doesn't significantly impact these metrics despite being another form of sodium input.

So even if you're experiencing keto-flu symptoms due to the changeover onto the ketosis phase, worry no longer about worsening hypertension issues typically linked to excessive table salt use while still reaping all the advantages offered through adopting low-carb, high-fat meal plans.

Ketogenic foods

Best Salt to Use on Keto Flu

When dealing with the keto flu, choosing a suitable salt is crucial for alleviating symptoms. Many wonder about the best salt to use, comparing Himalayan pink salt vs sea salt.

Both options are excellent as they contain essential minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, vital for maintaining electrolyte balance.

Himalayan pink salt is favored for its higher mineral content and distinctive pink hue, indicating the presence of beneficial trace minerals. Sea salt from evaporated seawater also offers a rich mineral profile.

Whichever salt you choose, incorporating it into your diet can help replenish electrolytes and reduce the discomfort associated with the keto flu, ultimately supporting your ketogenic journey.


The keto flu is a common challenge when starting a ketogenic diet, characterized by symptoms like headaches and fatigue due to electrolyte imbalances, especially low sodium levels.

Overcoming it requires proper hydration, adequate salt intake, and considering alternatives like baking soda.

Prioritizing electrolyte replenishment, whether through Himalayan pink salt or sea salt, is crucial for easing 'keto flu' symptoms and optimizing the ketogenic journey.

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