Keto diet may cause 'keto flu' during the first few weeks
The effectiveness of the keto diet has been established for intractable epilepsy and overcoming obesity but it is not without any side effects.
Australia: Despite continuous advances in the medical world, obesity continues to remain a major worldwide health hazard. The majority of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are largely related to obesity which is usually a product of an unhealthy lifestyle and poor dietary habits. One diet regimen that has proven to be very effective for rapid weight loss is a very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat ketogenic diet.The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that limits glucose and results in the production of ketones by the liver and their uptake as an alternative energy source by the brain.
This ketogenic diet can lead to several flu-like symptoms within the first few weeks on the diet, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers of Nutrition. These symptoms peak in the first 7 days and dwindle after four weeks and range in severity, as reported by the consumers in the online forums. The report suggested a variety of symptoms which include flu fatigue, nausea, dizziness, decreased energy, feeling faint and heartbeat alterations.
"The experiences of symptoms by many people strengthen the evidence for side-effects following the initiation of a ketogenic diet," stated by Dr. Emmanuelle Bostock of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research of the University of Tasmania, Australia.
The effectiveness of the keto diet has only been established for intractable epilepsy, but despite this, a ketogenic diet is often self-administered for weight loss, cognitive and memory enhancement, type II diabetes or cancer. A commonly discussed side effect of this diet is the so-called "keto flu", a cluster of transient symptoms that occur within the first few weeks on the diet.
Bostock and her collaborators had identified 43 online forums referring to "keto flu" and manually gathered personal experiences of 101 people describing symptoms, severity and time course.
"We focused on social media because of its widespread use for discussion of health topics, which makes it practical to harness the experience of people who have tried the treatment in question," explained Bostock.
Findings observed from the reports were headache, difficulty concentrating and gastrointestinal discomfort, following the initiation of a keto diet. Additionally, they reveal further common symptoms, such as flu, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, decreased energy, feeling faint and heartbeat alterations. Consumers often experienced more than one symptom, with differing degrees of severity.
But as a good note, symptoms manifested for a period of not more than two weeks which then resolved gradually.
The results of this study were limited to conversation threads in online forums and therefore lack of any confirmatory evidence that ketone levels were raised. Likewise, experiences of online forum users may not be representative of the larger pool of individuals on the keto diet. Nevertheless, the symptom patterns yielded may indicate key lines of questioning for future survey-based approaches.
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