Keto Is This Easy

(Eve ) #82

Hi, l have just started the keto diet and posted something but am not sure where it went in this forum, so please excuse the repeat! I have been suffering from keto flu for 3-4 weeks and wonder whether anyone else have had this experience? I started drinking electrolytes but it hasn’t hot rid of the symptoms yet. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #83

What is called the “keto flu” is really lack of sodium. If you are getting enough salt (and drinking to thirst) but not feeling better, then there is something else going on, and it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Are you on any blood pressure medications? If so, tell your doctor that you have cut out sugar, grains, and starches and think your prescriptions might need to be reduced. (Don’t mention the word “keto,” because it’s like waving a flag in front of a bull.) My blood pressure went from around 138/100 to 112/70, just from eating keto.

(Eve ) #84

Thankyou for your reply. No l am not on any blood pressure meds although have been ill with a nasty chest infection…! How much salt should l actually be consuming per day - sodium and potassium?

(Joey) #85

Welcome @Emcqueen.

As @PaulL notes, the term “keto flu” is really mislabeled … it’s not contagious, not viral/bacterial, it’s a common lack of electrolyes (primarily table salt, although magnesium and potassium can play a role - although that’s more about regularity of bowel movements).

Most all of us have been raised to be afraid of salt. There are grocery aisles filled with “low salt” versions of (equally unhealthy) manufactured food products.

Putting aside the metrics, your taste buds make for excellent guides, so long as you’re not letting any social programming get in the way of what you think you are enjoying (or not). If you add extra salt to your food items, if you put a little salt on your tongue, if these aren’t awful tasting, then you aren’t overdoing it.

The risk of getting too little salt is typically much higher than getting too much. Assuming you are otherwise in decent health, you will excrete too much salt with little fanfare. Too little, however, can readily lead to what folks often call the keto “flu” … that’s because when you cut out the carbs, your body jettisons a lot of excess water, and with it goes the salts.

Hope some of this helps. Keep us posted and congratulations on heading down this path to a healthier future.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #86

I’ve watched a couple of lectures by Andrew Mente, one of the principal investigators on the PURE (Prospective Urban and Rural something-or-other) study, which discovered that people seem to be healthiest when their daily sodium intake is between 4 and 6 g, from all sources. This translates to 10-15 g/day of table salt (sodium chloride). If your food contains sodium, that counts, so don’t go overboard salting your food, lol!

There is some question about how much magnesium and potassium we actually need. What we do know for sure is that getting enough sodium helps keep the other minerals in balance. You might not need to supplement, or you might still need to, even if you are getting enough salt. You’ll have to do some experimenting to figure that out.

Just be careful with potassium, since too much can be literally deadly (so can too little, apparently). Dr. Stephen Phinney suggests a “lo-salt” blend of sodium chloride and potassium chloride as an easy way to get a bit more potassium.

Oh, and be sure to drink enough, without over-hydrating. Dr. Timothy Noakes advises, “Drink to thirst.” That should be adequate.

(Eve ) #87

That is very helpful. Thanks very much indeed. I feel very committed to the keto diet but l guess everyone is slightly different in terms of how their body and metabolism reacts! My system seems to be just taking a bit longer to get used to using those ketone!

(Eve ) #88

Great info. Thanks!

(Eve ) #89

Another question, how important are the macros that l keep reading about?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #90

When people use the word “macro,” they usually mean carbohydrate, fat, and protein as percentages of caloric intake. This is a holdover from the days when the caloric value of food was all we knew about.

On a ketogenic diet, the main thing to worry about is keeping carbohydrate intake low. This allows insulin to drop and helps restore metabolic health. Our bodies need a reasonable amount of protein, which you are probably already getting. Then, the energy no longer coming from carbohydrate needs to be replaced with energy from fat, so our fat intake needs to increase. The easiest way to get enough fat is to eat enough to satisfy our hunger. This will be less fat than the amount of carbohydrate being replaced, for example 300 g of carbohydrate and 133 g of fat contain the same number of calories.

So keep the carbs low, make protein your priority, and fill up on fat. No calculations or calorie-counting needed.


Basically what @PaulL wrote. Carbs should be low, you need a decent amount of protein and as we need more energy than that, we eat fat.
Therapeutic keto has specific macro percentages but it’s perfectly fine to eat even 50% fat or 90% fat if it suits the one in question, it doesn’t make sense to stick to 70 or 75% fat as many people reading about “keto macro percentages” try to do. It’s almost guaranteed overeating and dissatisfaction in my case and I can’t be the only one…
Find the grams and percentages you work best with - and it’s fine if they vary as long as it suits you. My grams vary way more than my percentages but they do it too especially when I experiment with fattier days :slight_smile: My lean attempts always end up being fatty too…

So… Only the carb macro is important very generally but even that is individual and it’s grams, not percentage. I see people talking about 5% carbs, sometimes even 10% but that’s not keto for many of us, it’s simply way too high for it. But okay for others. Of course, being in ketosis alone may not be very beneficial, I personally need to go way lower with my carbs and my food choices are important anyway, it’s not all about the macros.

(Eve ) #92

That is very helpful and sounds like a very sensible attitude to the macro issue. I tend to agree with you that it is the amount of carbs which must be the crucial thing, not the detail of the exact percentage of fats and proteins.

(Eve ) #93

If l get kicked put of keto e.g. going to the dark side and having toast (!!!), how long will itvtake to get back into ketosis and does the flu return?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #94

How long it takes to return to keto is a debatable question, and it seems to differ from person to person. We do know that it is easiest if we think of keto as a permanent shift in our way of eating.

The real question is if you lapse back into eating carbohydrates, can you return to eating keto? Some people are carb addicts and have a real hard time, just as a sober alcoholic does who has a drink. Other people can have a “cheat” meal, without its turning into a cheat week or cheat month. You have to know yourself.

Many people find that, by the time they get through the fat-adaptation process, they don’t really want to return to eating carbohydrates anyway. So the best thing is to avoid carbohydrate for that initial period (which lasts six to eight weeks, usually), and then you can experiment with eating carbs.

Keto “flu” is not influenza, nor is it “carb withdrawal,” as some people describe it. It is simply a lack of sodium. No one ever needs to experience it. We excrete sodium more readily when our insulin returns to normal, lower levels, so just a bit of attention to eating a bit more salt is usually enough to prevent those symptoms.

(Eve ) #95

Again, a very helpful reply, especially re the 6-8 weeks for a full fat adaptation process. I don’t particularly miss carbs , never having had much of a sweet tooth and happy to skip the pasta, rice etc. It’s just knowing what the options are and consequences. I do worry that being at other people’s houses and travelling would make it hard to be 100% keto all the time - so again, the information is useful to tuck away. Thanks

(Eve ) #96

I do have a concern about the health of my gut biome since so many of the foods required to have a healthy diverse population are not allowed on a keto diet. I.e. very few prebiotic foods, a limited range of veg,.very little fruit and no legumes. Has this ever one up as an issue?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #97

I find that it is often easy to skip the carbs. Especially at a restaurant, you can always ask them to hold the potatoes, bread, or pasta, and even if they bring it, you won’t offend the waiter by not eating it. I even had a very nice conversation with a waiter once, because she guessed from my order that I was eating keto, and she was, too!

It’s harder when friends insist that you have to eat their food and that their food has to contain a lot of carbohydrate. I usually come prepared with pork rinds, cheese, and pepperoni, and that way I can pick out the meat, leave as much of the plant food as I can get away with (I’ll eat vegetables and avoid the rice, couscous, etc.), and still not go hungry.

(Eve ) #98

Any biome issues that you are aware of?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #99

The gut biome is highly adaptable. It may be necessary to worry about it on a high-carb diet, but I don’t know anyone whose had trouble on a ketogenic diet.

Also, a lot of people fast, which means their microbes aren’t getting fed at all, and still there doesn’t seem to be a problem.

(Eve ) #100

Thanks. I have to say that l have really appreciated all time you have spent in engaging with my questions. It has been very very useful.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #101

That’s what we’re here for!