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The Keto Flu: Symptoms and 5 Ways To Avoid It

What is ketosis?

The ketogenic diet and low carb diet has gained popularity as a natural way to lose weight and improve health.
It flicks your metabolic switch from either stagnation or storing glucose as body fat (and too much insulin - fat storing hormone being produced), to burning your fat stores for energy safely in the form of ketones. Which is very pure and mostly preferred fuel for your cells and brain.
Typically the Keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, high in fat and moderate in protein - being 60% good fats, 30% protein and 10% carbs.
However our 14 Day Smart Cleanse dietary plan is not necessarily full Keto. That is quiet extreme and doesn’t always suit everyone.
14 Day Smart Cleanse is more a combo of Keto, low carb and alkaline, with 20-30 grams or carbs and along with gut focused Prac grade detoxification! As a result, most people will be driven into a healthy state of ketosis.
Our Smart Cleanse Gourmet Keto and low carb macro percentage looks more like this :
  • Fat: 40 to 70%

  • Protein: 15 to 30%

  • Net carbs: 15 to 30%

We hope that isn’t confusing but your main focus is that you keep your insulin levels low by following the allowable food list in your Smart Cleanse booklet, eat 20-30 grams of carb (carb count only), and if hungry increase your intake of good fats. (List below)
The detox and avoidance of major toxins will also be a major factor because as you shed toxins, you shed body fat. That’s because your liver is no longer over burdened and can do its fat burning job. Also the fact that your body won’t hold onto to fat cells which stores the toxin (toxins are fat soluble), and.... inflammation will lower as your immune system eventually no longer has to launch an attack on these toxins, that were once in your body weighing it down.
You know that feeling?
While the diet is considered safe for most people, it’s can be associated with some unpleasant side effects along with the detoxification process.
The keto flu, also called the carb flu, is a term coined by followers to describe the symptoms they experience when beginning the diet.
We want to help you understand the keto flu is, why it happens and how to ease its symptoms.

What Is the Keto Flu?

The keto flu is a collection of symptoms that can be experienced by you when you first start a keto and low carb diet. These symptoms can feel similar to the flu and are caused by the body adapting to this new Smart Cleanse diet consisting of 20-30 grams of carbohydrates.
Reducing your carb intake forces your body to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose and that flick of the switch can mildly stress your body out until it gets used to the metabolic pivot.
Ketones are byproducts of fat breakdown and become the main fuel source when following a ketogenic diet. It’s perfectly safe fuel source for your body. Your body actually prefers it than the insult of too much of insulin circulating.
This drastic reduction can come as a shock to your body if you are not used to it and may cause withdrawal-like symptoms, similar to those experienced when weaning off an addictive substance like caffeine. That hurts if done abruptly! So give yourself time and understanding and know that your body is highly intelligent and will adjust and love you for it soon!
Gently down the stream is best! Smoothly and gradually always wins...
Signs of the keto flu may start appearing in the first few days of lowering your carbs on the program.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending completely on your dietary, health, and lifestyle history. All 3 the same thing really!
While some people may transition to a ketogenic diet without any side effects, others may experience one or more of the following symptoms.
  • Headache

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Irritability

  • Weakness

  • Stomach pain

  • Muscle cramps

  • Lower back aches

  • Dizziness

  • Poor concentration

  • Sore muscles

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sugar cravings

  • Nausea

Symptoms typically last about a week. It’s during week 1 that you must not give up! If you throw the towel in the healing stops and results won't happen. Courage is required I know.
So here's what to do to avoid Keto-flu and feel more comfortable....

1) Stay Hydrated

A keto and low carb diet can cause you to rapidly shed water stores, increasing your risk of dehydration.
This is because glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, binds to water in the body. So when you reduce them, you lose fluid. Staying hydrated can help with symptoms like fatigue and muscle cramping.
If you are experiencing keto-flu-associated diarrhoea, then this is critically important to prevent further fluid loss. Luckily we recommend plenty of purified water during the program with the drinks and hydrating on arising and in between meals.


2) Avoid Strenuous Exercise

Strenuous exercise should be avoided when experiencing keto-flu symptoms.
Fatigue, muscle cramps and stomach discomfort are common in the first week of following a ketogenic and low carb diet, so it may be a good idea to give your body a rest just during the first 7 days.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) for example may have to be put on the back burner while your system adapts to new fuel sources and the metabolic pivot to using your body fat and dietary fat as a fuel source.
Light activities like walking, yoga or leisurely biking may improve symptoms. You can up the HIIT for example the minute your body says yes I'm ready!

3) Get Adequate Sleep

Lack of sleep is a nightmare, causing levels of your stress hormone cortisol to increase, which can negatively impact mood and make keto-flu symptoms worse.
Fatigue and irritability are common complaints of people who are adapting to a keto and low carb diet so if struggling with sleep reduce caffeine, take a lavender epsom salts bath, no mobile phones in bed, dim the lights, and get up at the same time everyday preferrably early.

4) Make Sure You Are Eating Enough Fat (and Carbs)

Eating enough enough fat, one of the primary fuel source on the ketogenic diet, will help reduce cravings and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Also, because there are zero carbs in good fats, compared to even protein, you will not experience any blood sugar or insulin spikes, powerfully keeping you in ketosis. We know its counter-intuitive to everything you learned in the 80’s and 90’s but it’s scientifically the complete opposite.
Eating more good fats will also help quit sugar and lower the carvings for processed carbs.
If you’re having difficulty adapting to the ketogenic diet, you may have to eliminate carbohydrates gradually, rather than all at once.
Gradually lowering your carbs, while increasing your good fats and protein in your diet, may help make the transition smoother and decrease keto-flu symptoms.
If hungry or experience Keto-flu symptoms, increase a table spoon or so at a time the following …


  • Avocado
  • Tahini
  • Tahini and lime dressing
  • Organic eggs
  • extra virgin olive - make it into a yummy dressing with lemon juice, fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper and a dash of organic mustard or tamari
  • MCT oil (Melrose brand from Health Food shop good for Keto)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Macadamia nuts are best source of fat during ketosis
  • Deep sea fish like Atlantic salmon
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Hemp seed butter

5) Replace Electrolytes

When insulin levels decrease, the kidneys release excess sodium from the body.
What’s more, the keto diet restricts many foods that are high in potassium, including fruits (week 1 Smart Cleanse only), starchy vegetables and legumes for example.
To fix this, use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt (or any natural sea salt - must not be table salt) and including potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods like dark green leafy greens and vegetables and avocados.
These foods are also high in magnesium, which may help reduce headaches, muscle cramps, and insomnia.
Getting adequate amounts of these important nutrients, (2/5th of teaspoon sea salt) is an excellent way to power smoothly through the adaptation period of your Smart Cleanse low carb, keto diet.
Remember you can minimise and sail smoothly through the switch by staying hydrated (so important), replacing electrolytes, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding strenuous activities, eating enough fat and cutting out carbs more gradually over time.
Prep those meals night before too to stay on track and reduce any temptations.... and make your food delicious!