Your body is efficient at breaking down carbohydrates for energy. It’s been doing it for a long time, so it takes a few days to switch from burning glucose to burning fat. When you deplete your glucose stores, your body will pull glycogen from the muscles, leaving you feeling a tad lethargic. If you are limiting net carbs to 20-30 net grams/day, you should hit ketosis in 3-5 days.
The Keto Flu
Yep, I got it. And of course, my husband, Mike, didn’t. I felt lousy starting day 3 – headache, body aches, nausea, fatigue, moody – and I mean really grumpy. Some people minimize these effects by easing into keto, reducing carbs to around 50-100 net grams for a couple of weeks. Me, I jumped in with both feet.
But the keto flu doesn’t last long. It’s over for most people in a few days. Mine stuck around a little longer, but I didn’t know then what I know now. I didn’t drink enough fluids, and I didn’t realize mineral supplements can help reduce symptoms. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are key electrolytes, so make sure you are replenishing, either through diet or supplement form.
Leg and Foot Cramps
Yep – I got these, too. They’re pretty common the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet. Drinking plenty of fluids and increasing salt and potassium intake helps.
Increased Cholesterol Levels
Happened to me. But total cholesterol levels are generally due to an increase in HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and my cholesterol ratio is fantastic, so good news!
OK – last time I raise my hand. Again, a side-effect I solved by increasing fluid and electrolyte intake.
Not uncommon, especially if you aren’t hydrating enough. Make sure to eat plenty of high-fiber/low-carb vegetables as well.
A ketogenic diet tends to be a diuretic, so you’ll probably be heading to the bathroom more often than normal. And of course the more you drink, the more you, well, you get the idea.
I’ve heard many people on a keto diet say they experience bad breath. Acetone is one of three ketone bodies produced by ketosis. It’s excreted in both urine and breath, and can sometimes lead to an unpleasant mouth. It generally disappears after a short while.