Keto Flu (withdrawals) or Medical Emergency? Know the difference.

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There’s a disturbing trends in most keto groups: armchair experts. You should never take critical medical advice from someone who doesn’t have access to your medical history and isn’t properly trained. You should never have blind faith in anyone without doing your own research. Know your body. Be invested in your health. Nutritional information is not the same as medical information. In the US, doctors only are required 1 credit in nutrition. That’s one semester out of minimum of 8 years of college. There’s a chance that your doctor may not be current with nutritional information. There are medical professionals (MD, DO, RN, etc.) that do not understand the difference (or chose to ignore because of bias) the difference between “ketogenic” and “ketoacidosis.” There are medical professionals that will tell you that ketogenic lifestyle changes are bad for you based off no symptoms being experienced, just because bias or of a lack of understanding. This is NUTRITIONAL information and not to be confused with MEDICAL advice.


As soon as you can fit it into your budget, I want you to go and get a blood glucose meter, some lancets, and test strips. While you are there, grab a tube of glucose tabs. In the US, you can get a Reli-on Prime glucose meter for under $15, test strips are 50 for $9, lancets $4 for 100, and 10 glucose tabs for $4 from Wal-Mart. $40 investment into your health and safety. Please, do it. This is more important than Kerrigold, HWC, MCT, bacon (yes, I SAID THAT!), coconut oil, cookbooks, almond flour, Lilly’s, etc. Keep the glucose tabs in your purse, glove compartment, by your recliner, in your toolbox, desk drawer, whatever. With any drastic lifestyle change or rehabilitation from an addiction (it’s not “keto flu,” it’s “sugar detox”), there is going to be some discomfort, some expected “issues,” and some simple advice that can help you get through it.

Here are some things that are not unusual to experience when going keto:

1) mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, lasting 3-5 days
2) mild to moderate headaches
3) mild nausea
4) mild diarrhea
5) mild constipation (especially if you decide to go nuts on fiber)
6) muscle cramps\Charlie horses, typically overnight
7) mild insomnia
8) frequent urination
9) brain fog, low energy, and\or mild irritability
10) changes in menstruation (timing, flow, length)
11) Hot flashes
12) Strong body odor (including “down there”)
13) Additional vaginal discharge (not accompanied by pain, itching, or clumps) or dryness
14) Bad breath


For about half of the above, proper hydration and electrolyte use will help significantly. As we have discussed, electrolytes are critical for life, help our body get stuff done and can be the difference between “hey, I can do this” and “OHMYGOD, JUST MAKE IT STOP!!!” The other half of the above? Just gonna have to power through it :(. Electrolytes are important but they do not suddenly cure everything that ails us. Things that are NOT normal for induction (or at any other point in life) and should be treated as a MEDICAL EMERGENCY (right, “are you drinking pickle juice” is not the right answer) and should not be answered on Facebook with “moar salt!”:

1) Vomiting, particularly if lasting more than 12-18 hours
2) Dizziness and\or vertigo
3) Heart palpitations
4) Numbness and\or tingling in the limbs or lips
5) Blurred, double, or lost vision
6) Mental confusion such as inability to form proper thoughts, remember name, etc.
7) Uncontrolled tremors or extreme reflexive response
8) Slurred speech
9) Migraines
10) Extreme physical weakness, especially on one side of the body
11) Tightness or heaviness in chest
12) Inability to catch breath without physical activity
13) rapid breathing, shortness of breath
14) fruity smelling breath
15) Radial pain starting in chest out to limbs
16) Unusually high and\or painful menstruation, colored or clumpy vaginal discharge

This above? Stop what you are doing, check your blood sugar, and get to a doctor. If your blood sugar is 60 or less, eat simple carbs. Yes, SUGAR, that’s why the glucose tabs mentioned above. Screw being keto and just worry about being ALIVE. If you are experiencing #2-14, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and get someone to dial 9-1-1 and stay with you until they arrive. Sounds like common sense, right? I hope so. My second job has me see people with these issues every shift. Some ignore them for too long. Don’t be one of them.

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Scott,

    If you ever have time- Years ago, I made a dessert recipe of yours that used Almond butter and hemp seeds in it. I loved it; made little dessert sandwiches with it by adding cream cheese, but I lost it a couple of years ago and searched to no avail. Is there any chance you will be sharing some of your old recipes on FB?

    If so, thank you in advance.

    Kind regards, Joanne Leduc

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. I think I know which one you are talking about, it was an oatmeal cookie hack? Pretty sure that is it as I don’t remember making much with hemp seeds. Let me see if I can track it down and post it up for you.

  3. Found it, stand by 🙂

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