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Overcoming Carbohydrate Withdrawal

At the Mindful Living Institute, we chose to place our patients on a keto-modified lifestyle. What makes our diet different from the mainstream is that we not only bring down our dieter’s carb intake, but also their fat intake. We only allow the exact amount of fat necessary for the body, and don’t promote a traditional high fat keto diet. This allows our dieters’ bodies to truly burn off their body fat.

A ketogenic diet promotes the process of “ketosis” in your body, which is essentially a fat-burning stage. This occurs due to the lack of carbohydrates in your system. What many people have noticed after a couple of days of starting their brand new keto protocol is a condition that has coined the name “carb flu”. Carb flu (also known as Keto Flu) is essentially the symptoms that occur to the body due to a sudden stop of carbohydrate intake. When cutting out carbs, the body can go into a shock due to the sudden change in energy source.

Carb flu usually manifests within the first 72 hours of starting a low carb diet and can oftentimes be very difficult for new dieters. Carb flu symptoms do vary in severity from person to person, with some people reporting not ever experiencing any symptoms at all. Here are a few of the most common symptoms that dieters report feeling when going through the carb flu:

● Feeling Foggy or Confused

● Nausea and sometimes accompanied vomiting

● Diarrhea

● Headaches

● Irritability

● Weakness

● Muscle Cramps

● Dizziness

● Sugar Cravings

● Stomach Pain

● Difficulty Sleeping


While these symptoms do sound intimidating, it's important to note that they will not last long in the grand scheme of things. After getting over the hunch of carb flu, many people report feeling overall more energetic, well-rested, healthy and focused. There is also a lot that you can do to help ease the carb flu, we’ve compiled a list right here:

1. Stay Well Hydrated

A keto diet can quickly decrease the body’s hydration levels. Glycogen is a molecule that binds to water molecules, and this water can be exerted when glycogen decreases. During ketosis, glycogen levels usually plummet. Make sure to be drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day to ensure that you are replenishing the missing water in your system. This can help void many carb flu symptoms such as headaches, mental fog, and cramps.

2. Get a full night of rest

Fatigue is a major issue that dieters experience when starting a mindful lifestyle. A lack of sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which can lead to carb flu symptoms worsening. To combat this, try and set a fixed bedtime. Stick to it as often as possible. Staying well-rested can help make sure that your hormone levels stay normal, and don’t further impact your carb flu symptoms.

3. Make sure you're eating enough

A massive misconception with dieting is that you one should eat less. This is false, as eating less can throw your body out of a schedule that it should follow. It can also lead to your body not receiving the sufficient energy that it needs. These issues will also contribute to making the carb flu more intense. Make sure you’re eating proper meals at the proper time. Eating healthy doesn’t mean going hungry.

4. Stay moving

While heavy exercise is not advised in the first stage, it’s still important to stay active when dieting. Light activities like walking, yoga, and low intensity biking can help keep your muscle groups moving. This can help avoid stiffness and cramping in the muscles.

5. Make sure you’re getting your electrolytes in.

A salt and potassium deficiency are oftentimes a cause of many dieters carb flu symptoms. Since our diet restricts many foods that are high in potassium -such as fruits and starchy vegetables. It's important to be taking vitamin supplements instead. This will help keep your body balanced and better fit to handle the carb flu.

Works Cited:

Eenfeldt, A. (2019, June 13). The keto flu, other keto side effects, and how to cure them. Retrieved from Diet Doctor:

Kubala, J. (2018, April 3). The Keto Flu: Symptoms and How to Get Rid of It. Retrieved from HealthLine:

Leap, P. (n.d.). ALL ABOUT THE “LOW-CARB FLU”. Retrieved from Paleo Leap:

McLintock, K. (2019, April 22). Are You Constantly Tired and Cranky? You May Have the Carb Flu. Retrieved from Byrdie:

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