With all the hype surrounding the ketogenic diet these days, it’s no wonder why so many people all around the world are diving headfirst into what many believe to be the ultimate weight loss plan. In addition to shedding pounds, reports of huge surges in energy and vitality as a result of keto are not uncommon either. So it may come as a bit of a shock to know that if you do follow the low-carb lifestyle, you may end up asking yourself, ‘Why am I so exhausted on the keto diet?’
Studies that have been conducted on this increasingly popular lifestyle to show that keto has many health benefits, but the truth is transitioning from a regular diet into keto leaves many people struggling with their energy levels. In fact, a lot of people eager to try keto tend to abandon the diet before they ever even see any results simply due to being too tired.
So, why does this happen?
If you’re interested in finally getting the answers you’ve been searching for to understand why you’re so exhausted on the keto diet, then keep reading - we’ve got you covered!
What Keto Does to Your Body
Simply jumping straight into a keto lifestyle without any clue of what to expect is probably not a sensible approach.
While a boost in energy is one of the keto diet’s primary advantages, what most people do not realize is that in order to achieve those higher energy levels, your body has to go through a transitional period first. Why? Because the diet causes major changes in the way your body uses, processes, and stores the food you eat. That, in turn, causes huge changes in the way you’re going to feel - at least at first.
Keto is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that involves drastically reducing your carb intake and replacing it with healthy fats. This reduction in carbs forces your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When this transition happens, your body goes from burning glucose as fuel to burning fats and ketones as fuel. The length of this process can vary, and in some cases, can even last up to several weeks.
During the adaptation phase, your body will start to deplete its glycogen stores as you start to restrict carbs from your diet. Once the glycogen levels have been reduced up to a certain point, you’ll start to burn ketones as fuel.
Okay, but what exactly are ketones?
Ketones are a kind of acid that is formed in the liver. When you don’t have enough insulin to turn sugar into fuel for energy, your body will naturally produce them. Once ketones replace carbohydrates and are being utilized as fuel instead, your body will start to restore its glycogen levels through a process known as gluconeogenesis, where protein is now being broken down into glycogen.
Since glycogen contains water molecules, you’ll begin to naturally lose water weight as your body starts to burn that glycogen. Water contains essential electrolytes, which are important for maintaining your overall health. In fact, it’s this specific loss of electrolytes that produce a feeling of weakness and fatigue, causing people to feel exhausted on the keto diet. This unfavorable feeling is commonly referred to as “The Keto Flu.”
This is where most people who have jumped into the keto lifestyle without doing some prior research first tend to typically fall off the wagon - and it’s easy to see why. The most common symptoms of the keto flu include:
- Muscle cramps
Sounds a lot like the regular flu, huh?
While the symptoms are no fun, luckily, it tends not to last too long. Although everyone is different, most of these symptoms will go away on their own after about a week or two.
Why The Keto Diet Can Temporarily Make You Exhausted
As we mentioned, the ketogenic diet is a huge change for your body. Instead of eating a traditional high-carb diet, you’re eating lots of fats and protein while avoiding carbs, entering into ketosis as a result. All of a sudden, your body has to adapt to a new diet and has to find a different method of obtaining the energy it needs to keep you going throughout the day.
That’s a difficult process for the body to adjust to when you really think about it! It’s no wonder why many people experience the keto flu and feel exhausted following the start of a ketogenic lifestyle. The good news is that there are things you can do to feel better to stay on track with your keto journey.
Here are our top three tips:
Drink more H2O. As we mentioned earlier, when your body begins to enter ketosis, you will naturally lose water and important electrolytes. A good first step to combating the keto flu is to be sure that you are drinking at least 2-3 quarts of water every day. It’s also important to replace the electrolytes you lose like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Try a great electrolyte supplement like Adapted Nutritions Hi-Lyte Concentrate that can easily be added to any liquid to create a powerful, natural electrolyte drink.
Eat more fats. Consuming healthy fats like avocado and grass-fed butter will help your body to reach full ketosis faster. Once you reach ketosis, you will experience a surge in energy and should no longer experience the symptoms of the keto flu.
Get extra rest. Be nice to your body and give it some extra rest as your body adjusts. As we mentioned, it can take several weeks for your body to fully change the way it utilizes food for energy. Go easy, take things slow, and be sure to get a good night’s rest every night.
So, why am I so exhausted on the keto diet? The usual culprit leading you to feel so tired on a ketogenic diet is commonly due to dehydration and a loss of electrolytes. As your body transitions into ketosis, water and electrolytes are naturally lost, causing the infamous keto flu.
The good news is that this can easily be fixed by drinking more water and by replenishing your body with electrolytes. Try Adapted Nutrition’s Hi-Lyte Concentrate, which was designed by nature to be potent, fast-acting, and completely absorbed by the body to kick exhaustion to the curb!