Will Keto Make You Tired?

If you remove all of the carbs from your diet while on Keto then you’ll also deplete your energy levels, right? The short answer is, no, the Keto diet will not make you tired. Despite the association that the majority of people make between high carb meals and higher energy levels, in the long term, the Keto diet with it’s higher levels of fats will actually provide you with a more continuous and sustainable form of energy. The following article will explain what might be causing your tiredness while on Keto along with some practical solutions to get your energy levels back up.

How does Keto create energy without carbs?

The Keto diet creates its energy through your stored fat cells. Stored fat is plentiful and it provides a steady source of fuel for your body. In addition, the process to turn fat into ketones that fuel your body is longer than the one that converts carbohydrates into glucose. This means that fat is a long burning and ample resource that can keep your body functioning at its peak from sunrise to sundown.

The typical high carb diet relies on glucose as fuel. Your liver converts carbohydrates into glucose so that it can be used by the body as energy. Shortly after eating a high-carb meal, you experience a rush of energy. This is caused by your blood sugar levels rising, which is why it’s known as a sugar rush. However, it doesn’t take long for your body to burn through your glucose which leads you to a sugar crash followed by hunger and cravings to eat more carb-rich foods.

The difference between carbs and fat in terms of the energy they provide you can be easily demonstrated by thinking of a campfire. If you stick a few dry leaves or twigs on a fire there will be a burst of flames. However, that burst is soon gone as the fire burns through this fuel, hungry for more. If you don’t feed more twigs and leaves into the flames, your fire will die out. This is similar to how your body burns through carbs and then demands more as fuel. Ketones, on the other hand, are like large logs that you throw on a fire. It takes a long time for the fire to burn through a thick log and the flame that results is steadier and more reliable.

The Keto flu

There is one specific point when you’re going to feel tired on Keto and this is when you first begin the diet. It takes a lot of energy for your body to adjust to using ketones as fuel. This causes a period of roughly a month where you’ll experience what’s known as the “Keto Flu”. Your body has become dependent on carbohydrates in order to produce glucose, and the sudden absence of glucose can cause your body to go into a bit of a tailspin. You can think of the Keto flu as being similar to someone trying to detox from an addictive substance. Your body responds to the deprivation of carbohydrates by going into a sort of withdrawal.

The Keto flu causes you to experience a variety of flu-like symptoms. You might feel drained, tired and lethargic. Your muscles might ache and you might walk around in a bit of brain fog. It’s possible that you’ll experience some stomach pain or nausea and you’ll probably get headaches. Despite being tired you might have a hard time sleeping. The general aches and pains that are associated with a flu bug often pop up during the first month of Keto.

The good news is, these feelings are generally short-lived. Some people’s body adapts to the new low-carb diet rather quickly and they feel better within a few weeks. Others may not perk back up until over a month has gone by. How fast you adapt will depend on your own individual body and the steps that you take to combat the Keto flu

Steps to combat the symptoms of the Keto flu

Just because the Keto flu is likely to happen when you begin the new diet doesn’t mean that you have to suffer for a long period of time. There are things that you can do to help your body adapt quickly to being in ketosis and steps that you can take to begin feeling better.

  1. Get your 8 hours of sleep. One of the biggest things that you can do to help your body heal, adapt or feel better in any situation is to make sure you’re getting a lot of sleep. If you were experiencing the real flu your doctor would advise you to sleep in order to help your body heal and the same goes for the Keto flu. If you don’t get enough sleep your cortisol levels and stress hormones go up and this decreases your body’s ability to heal and battle the stress that’s caused by the switch to ketones.
  2. Drink water. Keeping your body hydrated will help prevent the muscle aches and pains that you can get with the Keto flu. It can also help reduce brain fog, headaches and fatigue. Your muscles and brain need water as much as any other part of you. Dehydration can lead to headaches, cramps and fatigue. Since these are all common symptoms of the Keto flu, staying hydrated is especially important if you want to feel better fast.
  3. Exercise, but not too much. Strenuous exercise is too much for your body in the beginning stages of Keto. You need to be gentle with yourself and allow your body time to adapt and heal from this new way of eating. Moving your body a little bit using gentle exercises such as yoga or walking will help keep your muscles limber and decrease any muscle fatigue; however, if you push it too far your body won’t have the energy to rebuild your sore muscles which can lead to extreme fatigue and muscle pain.
  4. Focus on electrolytes. The Keto diet causes your body to release any excess or stored sodium. It also tends to create potassium deficiencies if you’re not careful. These nutrients are important for the proper functioning of your body and if you’re low in electrolytes you’re bound to feel tired. In order to avoid this, try to incorporate sodium and potassium into your diet through Keto-friendly foods such as avocados and leafy green veggies as well as adding a little bit of salt to your meals.
  5. Consider slowly cutting back. If your Keto flu symptoms are bad you might want to think about slowly cutting back on the number of carbs you eat as opposed to going cold-turkey and eliminating them all at once. This can be a gentler way to ease your body into ketosis without the shock that an abrupt macronutrient shift can bring.

Tiredness a few months into Keto

What if it’s been a few months and you’re still feeling tired on Keto? If it’s not the Keto flu then what could be causing the tiredness? Generally, the same things that cause fatigue in the beginnings of Keto are the culprits behind why you’re feeling run down now.

Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you overly stressed due to work or some outside pressure? If so, your body might be responding to this stress by making you tired. Try some yoga, meditation or gentle exercise in order to reduce your stress levels. Are you sleeping enough? This is important no matter what stage of Keto you’re in. If you take a step back and notice that you’ve started to cut back on your sleep make an effort to go to bed earlier, sleep in or take naps throughout the day whenever possible.

Take some time to examine your diet by writing down what you eat and when you eat it. Tracking your calories and macronutrients is very important on Keto and it can be all too easy to let this slide. If you look at your calories and you notice that you’re eating way less than you should then you know to ramp up your calorie intake. If your fat consumption has fallen below 70-75% of your calories then you can increase the amount of fat you eat. If you’re eating too many carbs then your body may not be in ketosis anymore which could be contributing to your tiredness.

It’s very important to track where your calories are coming from on Keto. If your calories and macronutrients are all fine then take a closer look at the micronutrients you’re eating. It could be that your body is lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral and this is causing your tiredness. As mentioned above, certain nutrients such as potassium can lead to low energy levels if the levels are too low.

It’s possible that there’s nothing wrong with your diet or lifestyle. If this is the case, and the tiredness doesn’t seem to be caused by Keto you should book an appointment with your doctor. There are various non-diet causes of fatigue that your doctor can help you diagnosis properly. They’ll also be able to tell you if you need to make any changes to your Keto diet in order to see better results or improved energy.

Conclusion

The Keto diet often leads to increased energy due to the stability of ketones as an energy source. However, when you begin Keto you might experience tiredness as a symptom of the Keto flu. With proper management and time, these symptoms should go away. If you’ve been doing Keto for a while and you begin to get tired you should take a closer look at your lifestyle and diet to try to find possible causes of your fatigue. Remember to speak with a doctor to rule out any health issues if you’re concerned that there might be something else going on.

Leave a Comment