Why Am I Exhausted On The Keto Diet? Expert View

Exhausted On The Keto

Hello, health-conscious people! Are you worried about the weight that your body is gaining day by day? Are you on a Keto diet and not getting results? Are you tired of avoiding food that lets you gain weight? Are you exhausted on the keto diet? Then, this article is for you! Before starting this article, you must know what a keto diet is? How does it help lose weight? Why are you exhausted on the keto diet? If you are looking for the answers to this kind of question, you are at the right place.

If you are exhausted on the keto, that’s a good sign. Because when you start following a keto diet plan, you feel tired- it’s a good thing which means diet started working. As the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, you feel exhausted by changing eating habits. In keto, the body switches from burning carbohydrates to burning fats; that is why a person may feel fatigued. There is a big difference in everyday eating styles and the diet. By changing diet, your body needs time to adjust; that is why your body feels tired when you start following a keto plan.

What are the signs of Ketosis?

As Carbohydrates are the instant energy source, switching to fat instead of carbohydrates body feels tired/fatigue. The Keto diet aims to instigate more fat burn. Some signs can help you know if your diet is working or not.

Ketosis is a metabolic process that activates when the body starts burning fat for energy. In the low-carb diet body does not have enough carbohydrates to burn. The chemicals produced by the liver during the ketogenic cycle are known as ketones. The Keto diet aims to burn more fat. Exponents of the diet claim that this diet boost weight loss and improves health. 

According to a study in 2018, people following a ‘Well articulated’ diet consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates and ~1.5 grams of protein per kilogram weight of the body. Following are the signs and symptoms that can help a person know if the keto diet is working or not.

  • Increased Ketones
  • Weight loss
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Stomach complaints
  • Changes in sleep
  • Bad breath
  • Better focus and concentration

How do I overcome keto fatigue?

Keto fatigue can be conflicted by:

  • Staying hydrated
  • By replacement of electrolytes
  • By getting plenty of sleep
  • By avoiding strenuous activities
  • Eating more fat
  • Cutting carbs slowly from diet

How do I get energy on a keto diet?

Try to consume healthy foods that will boost energy in the ketogenic diet. Some energetic/healthy foods are as follows:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oily fish such as salmon, trout, Sardines (Rich in protein, fatty acids, and Beta Vitamins)
  • Avocado
  • Kind of Nut butter
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Low Carb Keto Energy Boosters:

Oily Fish: 

Exhausted On The Keto

Salmon, trout, sardines are the kind of oily fish rich in protein, fatty acids, and Vitamin B. These fishes are the best option to include in a keto diet.

Exhausted On The Keto
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It was suggested by some studies that Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation. It is crucial because fatigue is caused by inflammation. In addition, red blood cells are produced by eating a rich diet in Vitamin B12 and folic acid, which helps iron work better in the body.

Also Read: What are Macros in Keto? Detailed Analysis

EGGS:

Exhausted On The Keto

Eggs can be a part of a meal or a snack as consumption of eggs does not raise blood sugar level as carbohydrates during digestion as eggs are high in protein so that they will provide you energy till the next meal. In an egg, leucine is an essential amino acid that helps absorb the sugar in the blood. Energy production is also provoked in the cells by increasing the breakdown of fat essential in the ketogenic diet.

Exhausted On The Keto
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Give it a read for many different keto meals and recipes.

NUT BUTTER:

Exhausted On The Keto

Nut Butter is the other form of eating nuts. The energy and health benefits are the same as in nuts. Check the ingredients list on the nut butter packaging to ensure that butter is made with healthy ingredients because most companies/ brands use salt, sugars, Unhealthy fats, and preservatives to nut butter.

If you want minimum carb intake and want this nut butter part of your keto diet, add Macadamia nuts to your keto plan because these nuts are low in carbohydrates. They have balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. So you are not consuming more omega-6 in your diet. You can also make Macadamia nut butter at home to ensure that the butter is made with pure ingredients and is chemical-free. You can add cashews and coconut MCT oil to this butter. This will boost your energy level.

If you like peanut butter, your priority must be to make it at home; that will be the healthiest option.

If you want to make Nut butter at home, here are some easy recipes for your ease.

Give it a read Keto peanut butter bread.

SEEDS:

Exhausted On The Keto

Seeds have fiber content which means that ingestion of seeds will help in the slow digestion of foods. Because fiber digests slowly and you will feel full for longer. So fiber will help in a steady release of energy, and by eating seeds, you can keep your energy levels between meals, especially if you are on a low-carb diet. 

Chia seeds and flaxseeds help in boosting energy. You can consume these seeds in different ways like you can add these seeds to salads, blend these seeds into smoothies, and make a multispeed keto cracker.

Chia seeds also have healthy omega-3 fatty acids (plant-based fatty acids) that are a good energy source for vegans. Inflammation and fatigue can also be reduced by consuming these seeds because of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds also contain omega-6 fatty acids.
No doubt, omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids but keep in mind that consume healthy quantities of these seeds because excess of everything is bad. It means to try to consume these seeds in moderation. Try to stick to the seeds that are lower in omega-6.

As seeds are a good protein source, it is essential to make seeds a part of your keto diet.

NUTS:

Exhausted On The Keto
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In the starting days of the keto diet, your body feels tired because the lack of carbs may leave your energy levels lingering between meals. So it is essential to keep high-energy, low-carb snacks on hand.

We can say nuts, including almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, are full of nutrients, and nuts can be consumed in snacks if you are hungry between meals as energy-boosting.

Nuts are also a great source of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). Also a source of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and in increasing levels of energy.

Nuts also contain fiber that helps you feel full for longer. Vitamins and minerals are also present in nuts, including B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, and manganese. With the help of these vitamins and minerals, energy production is increased.

Avocado:

Exhausted On The Keto

You can add avocados to your keto diet plan because avocados are a healthy source of mono-saturated and poly-saturated fatty acids. Avocados also have fiber content. So by adding avocados to your keto diet, you will feel full between meals. The mono-saturated fatty acid, poly-saturated fatty acids, and fiber can be stored in the body and will provide energy to the body when needed. Also, these will help in the absorption of nutrients.

About 75-80 percent of carbohydrates in avocados consist of fiber content. So because of fiber content person will feel fuller for a longer time. As fiber digests slowly and remains in the stomach for a longer time to maintain your energy levels.

Avocado also has vitamin B that helps in the normal functioning of cells, mitochondria. From mitochondria, cells get their energy.

You can consume avocados on their own, or you can add them to salads. And if you want to make a delicious smoothie without milk or cream, you can add avocados as an alternative.

Causes of tiredness on a keto diet:

When you start following a keto diet, you will feel tiredness/fatigue because you will switch to a low carb diet, and your energy source will be changed from Carbohydrates to fats. That is why you will feel tired. Everything takes time to adjust. With time your body will get used to it then you will enjoy your keto plan. Here are some causes of fatigue on a keto diet:

Keto flu:

The main cause of fatigue during the keto diet is keto flu.

When you start following a keto diet, you will feel tired because your body will switch to low carb-diet, and your energy source will be changed from Carbohydrates to fats. So the body will switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fats. Your body will take time to respond efficiently, using fat as a major source of energy.

The adjustment period from carbohydrates as an energy source to fat as an energy source is called Keto adaptation. During this period, you may suffer the following:

  • Fatigues
  • Headache
  • Body aches and some other minor side effects.

The body will take a week to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fats. So keto flue will only last in the first week of keto.

Dehydration:

When you are on a normal routine like eating carbohydrates, your body converts carbohydrates to sugar and transfer these to blood. And in response to these sugars, insulin is released from the pancreas to maintain blood sugar levels. But when you are following a keto diet plan that is a low-carb, high-fat diet plan, your insulin level will stay in balance. This is because insulin performs its function when eating carbs, and your blood sugar level is not stable. Insulin also transfers the message to your kidney to hold onto electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and some others.

In the keto diet (low-carb, high-fat diet), many water and electrolytes are excreted. This means that you can add salt to your diet without having a fear of blood pressure as more salt intake leads to high blood pressure.

If you are on a keto diet plan, you may have dehydration which leads to:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Brain fog and some other complications.

To prevent this, it is recommended that people follow the keto diet to drink plenty of water and add electrolyte supplements and the diet.

Intense Exercise:

When you start following a keto diet, your body will feel tired because of switching to carbs as a source of energy to Fats. Most people do fine working out on keto, but some feel a decline in exercise performance because of low energy levels when they do not consume carbs in the diet.

Low-quality Food:

No doubt, you are eating high-fat food in keto, so most people prefer ready-made food that is processed, and the quality of those processed foods is not good. Undoubtedly, in processed foods, macros are technically fitted still; these foods are not good for you. Try to make/prepare food at home as quality is not compromised at home. Try to consume fresh vegetables, quality protein like fish, and prefer healthy fats.

Not Enough Calories:

Ketosis helps suppress appetite. So it is easy for you to stay in a calorie deficit the whole day. However, when you are in Ketosis, your metabolism is speeding up. And it allows your body to burn ~300 more calories per day on a keto diet.

On a keto diet, your body burns fatter, and you feel fuller for longer. These properties make keto the best diet for healthy weight loss.

Check out details here: How long to lose 40 pounds on keto? What Expert Says

If you are following a keto diet and eating less then, you will feel exhausted; that is the common problem in the starting or keto diet for many people.

How to prevent fatigue on keto?

q3

Eat more calories:

Most people think that eating a low-calorie diet on keto is beneficial, but the fact is that this mindset is wrong.

Evidence shows that people without counting calories on the keto diet burn fat and lose weight. You can also lose weight and burn calories without restricting calories. If you want to lose weight, you can eat more calories to boost your energy levels. This will help you fight fatigue. For the coming 2-4 weeks, try to consume healthy keto-friendly whole foods to boost your energy levels and fight tiredness.

Eat more fat:

As keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet. So consume more fat but keep in mind consume healthy fat. Because when you are following a keto diet, the major source of energy is coming from fat. And if you do not eat enough fat on keto, you will feel tired because of low energy levels.

And if you do not eat enough fat on a keto diet, you may have some medical issues like

  • Your immune system gets weaker
  •  You may have dry rashes
  •  Hair fall
  • Disorders related to vitamin deficiencies.

 As we all know, fat consumption increases satiety (the feeling of fullness). And when the levels of satiety are high, we will eat and snack less. Snacking less will help us regulate food intake as well as appetite. So, if we take too much fat on keto, that fat will be stored in the body and used whenever it needs it. This stored fat will helps in decreasing hunger and appetite.

On the other hand, if we do not take enough fat on keto, our hunger and appetite will be increased. When appetite and hunger increase, we will automatically eat more to satisfy hunger, resulting in increased calorie intake. And consequently, our body will miss out on the nutritional benefits of healthy fats.

If you are on a keto diet and your protein and carbohydrate intake is not in balance, then your body will not go on Ketosis, and you will feel hungry all the time. In the keto diet, managing protein and Carbohydrate intake is so important. Problems can arise if you do not eat enough fat on keto and your fat consumption is too low.

For example, suppose you are not consuming fat according to your daily needs. In that case, you will be putting yourself in a large calorie deficit, and your body will adapt a way in which your energy expenditure will be decreased, and hunger and cravings will be decreased.

Consequently, this will cause you to lose weight, and at some point, it will become difficult for you to stay on a keto diet. To overcome these issues, you must keep your calorie deficit below 30%. This will not slow down your metabolism and allow you to lose weight to not decrease your calorie-burning capacity. In the long term, it will impair your weight loss results if you want to eat enough fat to maintain a 30% calorie deficit and have trouble managing it.

Here is a guide for you. You can add high-fat cheeses like cream cheese, cheddar cheese, etc. you can also add olive oil, butter, avocado oil, high-fat nuts, etc., to your meals to make your diet a 30% calorie deficit. When you know you need to fit some extra fat in your meals, you can add a couple of extra tablespoons of oil to soups, curries, dressings, sauces, etc.

Fats are not bad for your health. And it does not make you fat.

Read it here: What happens if you don’t eat enough fat on keto? Incredible Findings

Eat Regularly:

Calories and fat intake are not just responsible for levels of energy. Your meal plan of every day also affects your levels of energy. Especially for the people who are not habitual of eating fat daily, it is good for them to eat more fat to provide maximum energy to the brain and body.

There is a lot of evidence that shows that intermittent fasting is not beneficial for everyone. (It does not work for everyone).

When starting a keto diet, try to eat three meals per day if you want to solve the fatigue problem. And if that does not work, you can add a low-carb, high-fat snack.

Ditch ‘Dirty Keto’:

We can say dirty keto is a keto diet in which keto macros are added, but it allows many unhealthy fats. Most people prefer ready-to-eat processed foods that fit keto macros but are full of artificial flavors, colors, and other unnatural additives.

With time this dirty keto will result in omega-3 and omega-6 imbalances. This will also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and some other problems that will lead to severe fatigue.

Also Read: Constipation On Keto- Detailed Analysis: Complete Keto Overview

Check your Carbs intake:

As keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It does not mean you have to restrict carbs intake. Like you have to zero carbs on keto. So no, do not restrict carbohydrates in your diet. Eat-in moderation or as per recommendation. At some places, it is recommended to take 30-50 grams of net carbohydrates per day.

Do check your ketone level daily to make sure that you are in Ketosis. And if you are not in Ketosis, lowering carbohydrate intake will lead to fatigue.

Targeted keto or cyclical keto is recommended for athletes and very active people to provide maximum energy for physical activity.

Fatima Sohail

I’m Fatima Sohail. I have the expertise and educational qualification in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. I love writing on topics regarding health, nutrition, and fitness. Because being a nutritionist, I know how much diet and exercise are essential for fitness and healthy living. This is a platform for me to share my knowledge, as well as to keep you up-to-date with current researches. This is a wonderful platform for people who are looking for medical stuff.

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