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Keto Energy: Combat Fatigue With The Keto Diet

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<article> <section> <p>One of the many benefits to the keto diet and lifestyle is increased energy. Going ketogenic - following a low-carb diet to teach the body to use chemicals called <i>ketones</i>, which burn fat as your primary fuel source-has been proven to help with weight loss, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/ketosis-and-brain-function/" rel="noreferrer">improve brain function</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="(https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/can-ketosis-reduce-inflammation/" rel="noreferrer">reduce inflammation</a></p> <p>But how can eating a low-carb diet <i>increase</i> your energy? After all, haven’t we been taught that carbohydrates are what runners load up with the night before a big race? And haven’t we been given advice to eat things like whole grain bread and brown rice if we want to feel long, sustained bouts of energy?</p> <p>The truth is, conventional wisdom tells us that everything about a low-carb, high-fat nutritional approach like the keto diet should result in us feeling no energy at all. But that’s hardly been the case. In fact, most people say that they feel more vibrant than ever when their primary keto energy source comes from fat.</p> <p>To explain this, we’ll look at the science behind ketosis and how our bodies stay energized without the carbs, blood sugar crashes, and insulin spikes we are used to. And don’t worry, we’ll tackle it in a way that’s easy to understand.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Ketogenic Diet: What Is It?</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/superfoods-on-a-grey-counter-0022.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/superfoods-on-a-grey-counter-0022.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/superfoods-on-a-grey-counter-0022.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/superfoods-on-a-grey-counter-LR-0022.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="superfoods-on-a-grey-counter"> </picture> <p>If you have been around Warrior Made for a while, you may already know what the ketogenic diet is. If not, let’s look at it briefly so we’re all on the same page.</p> <p>The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein nutritional approach. Basically, about five percent of your daily calories comes from carbs, which is about fifty grams or less. These carbs generally come from nutritious, low glycemic index (GI) sources like green veggies that don’t spike insulin or result in blood sugar crashes.</p> <p>In fact, a low-carb approach like this is similar to one of many tools we use to help <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">people transform their bodies</a>. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Keto Flu and Fatigue</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/sleeping-girl-in-bed-0037.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/sleeping-girl-in-bed-0037.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/sleeping-girl-in-bed-0037.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/sleeping-girl-in-bed-LR-0037.jpg" style="max-width:82%;" class="img-fluid" alt="sleeping-girl-in-bed"> </picture> <p>At first, the switch from sugar to fat burning takes time for the body to adjust to. Usually, it’s anywhere from three to ten days for the body to achieve a state of ketosis. During this window, people may develop symptoms of what’s called the <em>keto flu</em>. Symptoms include headaches, irritability, and yes, a lack of energy or fatigue.</p> <p>As we’ll discuss in a bit, these symptoms are temporary. In fact, you’ll learn that when your body adjusts to ketosis, you often feel more energy and mental clarity than before!</p> <p>But it does take some time to get there.</p> <div class="sub-head">Low Energy (at First) Makes Sense</div> <p>When you think about it, the symptoms of keto flu make perfect sense. Depending on your history of eating and dieting, there have likely been few (or zero) times where your body has ever used fat―primary keto energy―as a fuel source. Many of us eat carbs for reasons we’ve never thought about. Examples include: </p> <ul> <li><i>"I was raised on carbs like pasta, bread, and rice."</li></i> <li><i>"Carbs like pasta, bread, and rice are cheaper."</li></i> <li><i>"It’s just easier to make pasta for dinner sometimes."</li></i> </ul> <p>Suffice it to say, we don’t always think about our dependence on carbs because we’ve never been asked to. And the interesting thing is that most of us have no idea that our bodies are capable of producing energy an entirely different way.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is keto energy?</header> <p>Research shows that the amount of energy expended when burning glucose and fat is about the same<sup>2</sup>. However, the <i>source</i> of energy is completely different. That’s where the magic of ketosis happens.</p> <p>After the initial adjustment to the ketogenic diet, your body starts burning fat through ketones, which are chemicals found in the liver. This natural process is where the magic of a low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet comes in. Here’s the difference:</p> <div class="sub-head">Glucose Dependency</div> <p>Maybe you’re like us. When carbs are your primary fuel source, you feel like you have to count calories if there’s any chance you’ll burn fat. For example, you have to force yourself to exercise longer in order to “cancel out” the bagel you had for breakfast. And you have to do all of this whilst feeling hungry, not to mention the ebb and flow of blood sugar that leads to fluctuating levels of fatigue and energy.</p> <p>In this state of glucose dependency, it’s quite difficult to believe that weight loss could ever feel easy.</p> <div class="sub-head">Fat-Burning Machine</div> <p>On the other hand, if you try a low-carb diet like keto, you may find that the game changes.</p> <p>Burning fat as your primary fuel source, you don’t worry as much about crushing yourself in workouts. Walking around the house burns more fat. A good workout <i>blasts</i> fat. And because you get to eat nutritious, filling meals full of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-beginner-grocery-list/" rel="noreferrer">veggies and healthy fats</a> like coconut oil, you aren’t always hungry or feeling fatigued.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Does keto give you energy?</header> <p>Here’s the simple truth about energy and the ketogenic diet. It’s going to take your body some time to adjust to burning fat. During that period, you will likely experience bouts of low energy. The amount of time will vary for each person, so don’t be upset if it doesn’t happen right away. Use some of the tips later in this article to endure it in the meantime. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-jumping-in-street-0037.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-jumping-in-street-0037.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-jumping-in-street-0037.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/girl-jumping-in-street-LR-0037.jpg" style="max-width:82%;" class="img-fluid" alt="girl-jumping-in-street"> </picture> <p>However, once your body gets used to ketosis, fatigue goes away. In fact, you may feel more energy than ever before, because your blood sugar and insulin stay consistent throughout the day. And, studies show that cognitive function and mental clarity improve on a long-term ketogenic diet<sup>3</sup>.</p> <p>So with your new levels of energy, you may be able to work at a higher level than ever before. Sounds pretty good, huh?</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can ketosis make you tired?</header> <p>To this point, we’ve covered the bases of the ketogenic diet and fatigue. Now, we’ll take a look at specifically <i>why</i> you feel fatigued for the first seven to ten days (or more) when adjusting to low-carb eating. </p> <p>More importantly, we’ll also look at how to combat the effects of fatigue when you are getting started.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. New Foods, Fewer Carbs</div> <p>The most obvious culprit that we’ve already looked at is the rocky adjustment period at the beginning of your diet. Any time you adjust your diet, keto or not, you should expect your body to respond. In the grand scheme of things, it’s good, because it means your body is healthy. Our body becomes less dependent on sugars, releases less insulin into our blood, and our liver starts releasing ketones.</p> <p>Depleting your body of its normal fuel source, glucose, forces it into a state of adaptation. Simply put, our bodies naturally know how to use fat as a fuel source, but those mechanisms need some time to wake up. </p> <div class="sub-head">2. Calorie Deficit</div> <p>Maybe you’ve gone out a little too hard with the keto lifestyle, hoping for a quicker body transformation by eating low carbs <i>and</i> restricting calories. This is actually a big mistake and could definitely result in fatigue. While less calories will help you lose weight over time, a drastic decrease in calories (30 percent or more) can actually stall weight loss progress and result in no energy.</p> <p>This is because without enough calories, your body’s metabolism slows down and enters survival mode, storing fat to preserve itself. Remember that the keto diet is a <i>lifestyle</i>, meaning you want to foster habits you can maintain on a daily basis. </p> <p>Simply put, eat a little bit more, especially early on. Consider <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/why-you-should-be-calculating-your-macros/" rel="noreferrer">calculating your macros</a>, too. You’ll find a good rhythm for yourself as you keep going.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Dehydration</div> <p>Adjusting to a low-carb diet can easily lead to dehydration. This is because carb restriction increases the excretion of water and minerals. If you aren’t hydrating properly and consuming enough sodium and potassium on the keto diet, you are likely to experience fatigue and headaches.</p> <p>In most cases, drinking more water and adding a little salt to your food will help alleviate the symptoms. In the next section, we’ll look at a few keto energy drinks besides water.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Not Enough Fiber</div> <p>Perhaps you read about the ketogenic diet being high-fat, and you took it a bit <i>too</i> literally. You start eating all the cheeses, meats, and healthy oils you can stomach, but not enough fiber-rich vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli. Apart from other negative side effects we don’t need to discuss, this leaves you feeling low energy.</p> <p>Sure, one benefit to this style of eating is that you can eat cheeses, meats, and other healthy fats. But not at the expense of fiber-rich, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-micronutrients-why-they-are-important/" rel="noreferrer">micronutrient-packed</a> vegetables. These should be a staple of your keto diet and eaten daily in liberal amounts.</p> <p>Think of these four “culprits” as bases that you need to cover first if you’re feeling fatigued on the keto diet. Now, we’ll look at a few other ways to combat low energy.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Keto Energy Drinks</header> <p>As you now know, if you’re feeling fatigued from the keto diet, hydration is important. However, one hang-up about the keto diet is that always drinking water gets boring sometimes. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/glass-of-water-green-background-0037.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/glass-of-water-green-background-0037.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/glass-of-water-green-background-0037.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/glass-of-water-green-background-LR-0037.jpg" style="max-width:82%;" class="img-fluid" alt="glass-of-water"> </picture> <p>Here are a few other beverage ideas that may help alleviate fatigue and keep your body hydrated.</p> <div class="sub-head">Seltzer Water</div> <p>Don’t rely on fizzy drinks to get you through, but a seltzer or two per day shouldn’t be a big deal. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.lacroixwater.com/" rel="noreferrer">La Croix</a> makes some good flavors that are considered keto-approved.</p> <div class="sub-head">Tea and Coffee</div> <p>Many seasoned ketogenic dieters will attest: tea and coffee are <i>life</i> on keto. Green tea, black tea, herbal teas, and black coffee all contain no (or very few) calories and can help you stay hydrated. Though too much coffee has been linked to dehydration in the past, studies show that moderate consumption is perfectly fine<sup>4</sup>. </p> <p>Also, don’t be afraid to add a scoop of coconut oil to your morning coffee or tea. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/is-mct-oil-the-key-to-burning-stubborn-fat/" rel="noreferrer">extra MCT oils</a> may help with brain fog, fatigue, and weight loss.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Other Things to Consider</header> <p>Keep in mind that while your nutrition plays a role in how much energy you have, it’s not the only thing. The science and empirical evidence behind a low-carb diet clearly shows that it can help, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you work on.</p> <div class="sub-head">Sleep</div> <p>For example, how much sleep do you get? If you are feeling fatigued and not getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night, that might be why<sup>5</sup>. A chronic sleep disorder can cause as much harm as a bad diet, leading to things like depression, heart disease, and diabetes, among other issues<sup>6</sup>. </p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise</div> <p>Do you exercise? It seems counterintuitive, but the science is pretty solid regarding how exercise boosts mood and energy levels<sup>7</sup>. </p> <div class="sub-head">Relationships</div> <p>Finally, when it comes to fatigue, don’t discount things like your mental health. How are the quality of your relationships? How do you talk to yourself? Do you have goals in place and people to help keep you accountable? </p> <p>The point is, a healthy diet can help you feel energized. But it’s not the only thing to consider if you’re feeling fatigued.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Bottom Line</header> <p>In the early stages of the ketogenic diet, you may feel fatigued. But as your body adjusts and becomes a fat-burning machine, you may find that you have more energy than ever before.</p> <p>While there are plenty of remedies to help you get through the initial adjustments, such as hydration and eating more calories, remember that not all energy is created equally. Even the best diet in the world is limited in its ability to help you feel vibrant and healthy if other areas of your life aren’t on point.</p> <p>That’s why we believe so much in our approach to helping people. It’s food, it’s eating, and it’s a community of people all striving to be better. How energizing is that?</p> <p>If you want to join the Warrior Made community (people from ages 30, 40, 50, 60, and beyond) who are all working towards complete body transformations, check out the power of at-home transformations <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">here</a>!</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/is-mct-oil-the-key-to-burning-stubborn-fat/" rel="noreferrer">Is MCT Oil The Key to Burning Stubborn Fat</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/" rel="noreferrer">Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21130529/" rel="noreferrer">Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886980/" rel="noreferrer">No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3525993/" rel="noreferrer">The Role of Sleep Duration in the Regulation of Energy Balance</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-studies" rel="noreferrer">Sleep Studies</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/workouts/boost-your-energy-level-with-exercise.aspx" rel="noreferrer">Why Exercise Boosts Mood and Energy</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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