Any significant dietary change will lead to side effects as the body adapts to a new way of eating. Which is why talking to a physician first before starting any diet is important because while some side effects are often temporary and can be minimized by taking certain precautions, others may be well out of your depth to handle on your own.
The ketogenic diet has many health benefits and has been proven to be the most effective diet that helps people lose weight and improve their overall lifestyle and well-being. One common side effect of being on this diet is the initial keto flu followed by a keto headache and for a good reason. Before induction into the keto diet, there are a few things that you are required to give up entirely or consume them in utmost moderation.
Factory farmed animal products, alcohol, unhealthy oils, as well as all foods that are high in carbohydrates are first to go, which means:
Any foods that are high in sugar, such as candy, chocolate, soft and sports drinks, soda, juice, cakes, ice cream, etc.
Starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes
Sugar has similar addictiveness to cocaine and quitting all things sugar is bound to come with a host of unpleasant withdrawals. It is all worth it at the end because remember that you are making a significant if not momentous life-changing decision to live a fuller and healthier life. Before experiencing the keto headache, a heightened sugar craving is perhaps the strongest indicator that your body is trying to rid itself off sugar. Temptations will be rearing their ugly head left, right, center, but you will know that the craving is gone if you not tempted to snatch candy from a child!
Much like when you give up that other addictive vices such as caffeine or cigarettes, headaches are a very common symptom of sugar withdrawal. You may also experience a few mood swings here and there, but it is during this time that you will need a solid support network of friends and family who understand that you need to stick it out and will steer you in the right direction.
Most low-carb side effects will often appear during the between day two to day four of the first week of induction. Keto headaches and other keto diet side effects will pretty much disappear on their own, and they often can be minimized even avoided altogether because they are brought on by dehydration. You ordinarily want to avoid taking any prescription medication unless recommended. The solution is to drink a glass of water with half a teaspoon of salt in it, which will help with the side effect within 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can drink chicken, beef, or bone broth, which are much better and healthier options.
Sugar has detrimental effects on our bodies. Not only does eating sugary things give you a one-way ticket to the dentist, the hormone leptin tells your body when you’ve had enough to eat, but consuming foods that are high in sugar leads to very high levels of leptin and reduces your body’s sensitivity to the hormone.
This, in turn, leaves you with an insatiable hunger, which is a major obstacle for weight loss. Sugar also leads to insulin resistance, and some of the common symptoms of this resistance include headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, and brain fog. Which explains the keto headaches, and it is important that you don’t succumb to sugar by finding healthy alternatives that will satisfy your cravings.
The ketogenic diet is not a zero-carb diet, and the net carbs required to enter ketosis could vary from 20 to 50 grams per day but no more than 100g. Therefore, provided whatever you eat to ease your sugar craving fits into your daily carb allowance, you may consume up to 50 grams of carbs per day. Early on, when you are in the induction phase, you will need to keep your carb count much lower. You should be aware that if you decide to go the fruit way, certain fruits like all tropical fruits, bananas, and dried fruits are quite high in carbs. Consequently, they do not fit the keto guidelines.
Fruits such as avocado are incredibly healthy and contain just 2g of net carbs per serving. They may not fix your craving immediately, but they contain potassium that will make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier. You can eat most berries most notably raspberries and blackberries in moderation (30g or less) because they can fit within your macro ranges.
Examples of low-carb fruits that “may” be considered keto friendly, especially when trying to ease your sugar cravings or keto headaches early on in your diet include tomatoes – 2.69g, rhubarb -2.74g, coconut – 6.23g, strawberries – 5.68g, starfruit – 3.93g, and honeydew melon – 5.68g. It is imperative that you check the food labels and nutrition information before consuming fruits as they will certainly add up in carbs and can cause a plateau in your weight loss advancement.
Because following a ketogenic diet plan involves restricting a number of food groups, the importance of consulting with your doctor first cannot be emphasized enough. It is possible to have a few carbs as you gradually transition to low-carb. It may slow down the weight loss process and make the health improvements less obvious, but you know your body best and your health and well-being should be the most important thing.
Provided you know what to expect within the first 30 days on your keto diet, dealing with issues like keto headaches will not deter you from your weight loss goal. Once your body is induced into ketosis, it will be much easier to embrace this diet and make it a lifestyle, and it is during this stage that even the thought of having a “cheat day” will be close to none. Always plan for your meals and alternate your proteins, side dishes, fruits, and vegetables to keep things stimulating and make it easier for you to stay on top of your diet plan and keep cravings at bay.