In this article we will talk about the most common side effects that you’ll experience when you get started on the ketogenic diet. If you’re just getting started, you’re definitely going to experience the side effects that are totally normal.
Muscle cramps can happen when you deplete your muscles of water and when you deplete your muscles of water you’re going to be losing a lot of minerals. The mineral loss is what’s going to cause cramping, especially cramping in your legs, like Charlie horses. One way that you can help avoid this is by drinking lots of water and also adding in some magnesium citrate. If you have any kidney problems, definitely check with your doctor, also if you’re on any medications. If you’re just a generally healthy person adding in some magnesium is a great way to help you avoid muscle cramps.
So sleep issues are another really common thing. You start the keto diet and all of a sudden you wake up at 3:00 in the morning and you can’t sleep, it’s a struggle. It happens because of a couple different things. When you get started on the keto diet and you stop eating those carbohydrates, you don’t need as much sleep, so you might actually sleep less just naturally through the keto diet. If you find that you’re having serious sleep issues, then you can also have some of that magnesium citrate before bed. So you just take one dose of it, it helps you with the muscle cramps and it’ll help you sleep.
Another common reason that people experience sleep issues is if they’re consuming lots of food that has histamines. So what you can do is you can cut back on the cheese you’re eating, the avocados, bacon. Those are typically foods that are high in histamines and that can cause sleep issues in some people. So you just want to make sure that you’re eating plenty of vegetables.
So you have to go pee all the time now all of a sudden, it’s like you’re pregnant! Once your body burns through that glucose that’s stored in your liver, your body is going to be flushing a ton of water and it’s going to be coming out as having to use the bathroom often. And this is a good sign, plus your kidneys are going to be excreting a lot of extra sodium as well, which the excretion of the sodium and the flushing of the water it’s all going to come out as frequent urination. It should only last two or three days in the beginning, but you’re definitely going to notice this and just know that this will go away with time.
So as we mentioned before, your body’s flushing a lot of water and constipation is actually a sign of dehydration, which can be common when you start the keto diet, so make sure you’re getting plenty of salt on your foods, so you’re replenishing that electrolyte of the water that you’re flushing. And make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water as well, so that you don’t get constipated and you can also make sure that you’re eating foods with plenty of fiber. With the keto diet, that shouldn’t be an issue. And also with the constipation magnesium citrate is going to help you there as well.
It is the total opposite of the last one. So some people experience diarrhea when they get started on the ketogenic diet and that is because of an imbalance of your macronutrients, and a lot of people make the mistake of cutting back on fat when they get started and they eat higher protein and that higher protein can actually cause the diarrhea. So you just want to make sure that you’re getting plenty of fats in there and you shouldn’t have an issue.
But also you’re going to be releasing a lot of inflammation in your midsection. Depending on how inflamed you may be, you may experience more diarrhea than someone else who doesn’t have as much inflammation in their gut area.
Some people experience stinky breath and that’s actually the acetone being produced as one of the ketone bodies. This is normal, this will not last. It’s going to probably last three days to a week maybe, but it’s actually a good sign that your body is producing those ketones and that you are transitioning to burning fat for fuel. If the acetone type of breath doesn’t go away, maybe it lasts a couple weeks or longer, there are some things that you can do to help with that.
First, really good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth two, maybe three times a day. You can also try increasing your water intake and if it really bothers you, you can slightly increase your carbs, that will slow down the amount of ketones your body is producing and that will help that a little bit.
Your body is burning the fat that it’s supposed to, and this is a great sign that you’re in ketosis and you’re doing great. We just want to warn you about sugar free gum, because a lot of those contain aspartame. Aspartame has been shown to kick you out of ketosis.
As you start on the ketogenic diet, you’re going to experience some flu like symptoms. Not everyone does though, this is called the keto flu or induction flu. It usually happens within the first couple weeks, some people experience it after the first full week, some people have it within just a couple days of starting the keto diet. This is one thing that usually throws people off and they usually quit when they experience the keto flu.
Don’t give up when you experience keto flu. Common side effects of the keto flu are headaches, irritability, being tired, just feeling not yourself. This is totally normal. One thing you can do to help you with this is make sure you’re getting plenty of salt. Make sure you’re having that magnesium and also exogenous ketones can help too, because in the beginning when you’re shifting from burning glucose to burning fat for fuel, that can be the most difficult time. By giving your body exogenous ketones, they will help you get over some of these flu-like symptoms.
You might be feeling dizzy all of a sudden, and that’s really because your body is flushing those nutrients out and so you’re going to feel a little dizzy. What you can do is you can replenish those missing electrolytes by eating foods that are really high and rich in potassium, for example avocados, leafy greens, broccoli, dairy meats, poultry, and fish. Also you need to make sure that you’re adding plenty of salt to your food, even just drinking some broth can help you because there’s extra salt in there with the broth. Just make sure if you’re on any sort of blood pressure medication that you talk to your doctor first when you’re increasing the sodium intake.
Reduced physical performance
So if you’re an athlete, if you work out often, if you lift weights and then all of a sudden you shift to the keto diet, you’re going to notice a very noticeable change in your physical performance for a little while. This is often caused by dehydration from the keto diet, you need to make sure to add plenty of salt to the foods that you’re eating and it’s going to change as you become fat adapted.
Sometimes it can take a few weeks to a month for your body to really get used to burning fat for fuel. Once you do switch over, you will have a huge advantage of burning fat for fuel, because fat burners are able to go longer distances without needing to receive their carbs. You’re going to have energy for longer, more sustained energy, and it’s really worth it to push through that initial performance loss in the beginning.