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How Keto Affects Your Energy

Published December 24, 2018 (Revised: February 13, 2020) Read Time: 5 minutes
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

keto-energy
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/keto-energy-thumbnail-0037.jpg" } }, "headline":"How Keto Affects Your Energy", "datePublished":"2018-12-24", "dateModified": "2020-02-13", "description":"How does keto affect your energy levels? Not having much energy on keto is perfectly normal at first. But increased energy, mental clarity, and more are what you can look forward to after the first week or two.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/keto-energy-thumbnail-0037.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Can I be exhausted on keto?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, especially when you first switch. In fact, being tired on keto is such a common symptom that there's a nickname for it: the keto flu. It's not the real flu; your body just feels run down because it's undergoing metabolic adjustments. The good news is that any symptoms you have should subside within a week or two." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">How Does Keto Affect Your Energy?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Does Keto Increase Energy?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Can I Be Exhausted On Keto?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Keto And Energy: Wrap Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Who doesn’t want to feel their best on a daily basis?</p> <p>Probably all of us would like to feel alert and energized in our bodies. But a reported 45% of Americans (who <i>are</i> getting good sleep!) report feeling tired and fatigued throughout their week. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.statista.com/chart/3534/americans-are-tired-most-of-the-week/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup></p> <p>A big component of how much energy we have on a daily basis is our diet, and one diet in particular that prides itself in better energy is the low-carb “keto” diet. </p> <p>Ketones, sustained energy from fat and glucose stability are a few reasons a ketogenic diet has positive effects on people’s energy.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309297/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2180" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26224300" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup> <p>Plenty of studies show how beneficial a low-carb diet like keto is for health and weight.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251269/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup> But let’s unpack keto energy: how it all works, ways your body can respond, and how to get the most out of keto energy.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>How does keto affect your energy?</h2> <p>The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101/" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic diet</a> is a nutritional approach where you eat primarily healthy fats a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs (<50g per day). <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup></p> <p>Here’s how this nutrition plan changes your energy:</p> <ol> <li>Eating fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day depletes your body of its stored glucose (carbs). </li> <li>Glucose is essentially carbs that are stored in your muscles, liver, and body fat to be used for energy later. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3248697/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://news.berkeley.edu/2012/12/06/gene-converts-carbs-to-fat/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup></li> <li>Your body is used to running off carbs and a keto diet forces a metabolic shift in your body where it burns fat for energy instead.</li> <li>After several days, your body enters a state called <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fat-adapted-vs-ketosis-whats-the-difference/" rel="noreferrer">ketosis</a>, where you burn <i>ketones</i> (fat) for fuel instead of glucose. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313038/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup></li> <li>Ketones, or <i>ketone bodies</i>, are chemicals that burn stored body fat for energy. There are three types of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/ketone-bodies/" rel="noreferrer">ketones</a>:<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10634967" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup> <i>acetoacetate</i>, <i>beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)</i>, and <i>acetone</i>.</li> <li>While your body gets used to this metabolic shift, your hormones and hydration can get out of balance and leave you feeling drained (more on that later). But that feeling subsides once your body adjusts.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23852511" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></sup></li> </ol> <p>Once your body enters and adjusts into ketosis, many experience a positive shift in their energy, mental clarity and enhanced cognitive function.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116949/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18804129" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></sup> And here’s why...</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>How Keto Increases Energy</h2> <p>Like we’ve said, a benefit people look to keto for is stable and increased energy. </p> <p>There are 3 main reasons keto increases your energy, mental clarity and enhanced cognitive function: 1) Ketones are a potent energy source, 2) fat takes longer to digest than carbs, and 3) your blood glucose levels don't fluctuate as much. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309297/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2180" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26224300" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup></p> <p>Here’s how each of those things work:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Ketones</strong>: These chemicals are a very potent fuel source that naturally provide energy to the brain, muscles, and organs. (In fact: they are considered "vital" for human survival as they enable your body to continue to perform at a high level even when it runs out of glycogen.)<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309297/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">14</a></sup> <i>Ketones are a powerful energy source.</i> </li> <li><strong>Fat</strong>: Fat digests slower than carbs, so you'll still receive energy from your food hours after you eat.<sup><a target="_blank" href="http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2180" rel="nofollow noreferrer">15</a></sup> <i>Fat is a lasting energy source.</i> </li> <li><strong>Glucose stability</strong>: Low-carb, high-fat diets improve blood glucose stability, meaning less sugar crashes.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26224300" rel="nofollow noreferrer">16</a></sup> <i>Glucose stability helps in having stable energy.</i></li> </ul> <p>All of these pieces together provide great holistic energy benefits.</p> <p>An additional component in “increased energy” reported by keto dieters is where many people are <i>starting</i> from.</p> <p>Most people’s energy is fuelled by a Standard American Diet--high in carbohydrates, refined sugars, and processed foods<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28927908" rel="nofollow noreferrer">17</a></sup>.</p> <p>Carbs account for as much as 65 percent of the average American's daily calories (typically over <i>300 grams of carbs per day</i>), which is six times more than the keto diet.</p> <p>Eating too many carbs (especially refined/sugary ones) has been shown to increase:</p> <ul> <li>Risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459280/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">18</a></sup></li> <li>Obesity<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29284227" rel="nofollow noreferrer">19</a></sup></li> <li>Sugar crashes, which lead to constant hunger pangs, fatigue, and irritability<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://news.sanfordhealth.org/healthy-living/sugar-crash-effects/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">20</a></sup></li> </ul> <p>So not feeling great, fluctuating energy levels, and lack energy, is the starting point for many of us.</p> <p>To sum it up, the positive benefits of keto and ditching the negative effects of a Standard American Diet are how keto can increase our energy.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Can I be exhausted on keto?</h2> <p>Yes, especially when you first switch.</p> <p>In fact, being tired on keto is a common early symptom people go through which is why it’s been nicknamed: <i>the keto flu</i>.</p> <p>It's not the "real flu"; your body just feels run down because it's undergoing the metabolic adjustments we talked about above.</p> <p>Symptoms of the “keto flu” include <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">21</a></sup>:</p> <ul> <li>Fatigue</li> <li>Dehydration</li> <li>Dizziness</li> <li>Irritability</li> <li>Insomnia or difficulty sleeping</li> <li>Constipation</li> <li>Difficulty exercising</li> </ul> <p>But symptoms like these should subside within a week or two and have you feeling even better than before.</p> <p>If you’re currently going through the keto flu, there are things you can do to ease your transition into the low-carb lifestyle.</p> <h3>How do I get rid of the keto flu?</h3> <p>There are some things you can do to mitigate your symptoms:</p> <ul> <li>Drink plenty of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day/" rel="noreferrer">water</a></li> <li>Increase your electrolyte intake (bone broth, sea salt, dairy)</li> <li>Light exercise (short walks, stretching, yoga) <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/03/beware-the-keto-flu/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">22</a></sup></li> <li>Take <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/bhb-exogenous-ketones-and-the-keto-diet/" rel="noreferrer">exogenous ketones</a>*</li> </ul> <p><i>*Exogenous ketones are a supplement you mix with water. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/keto-support/shop/" rel="noreferrer">Keto BHB salts</a>, for example, ease your transition into the keto diet, reduce cravings, and give you more energy during workouts.</i></p> <p>Also, keep in mind that everyone is different. How long it takes to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-into-ketosis/" rel="noreferrer">get into ketosis</a> and your keto flu symptoms will vary.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Keto energy: Wrap Up</h2> <p>When it comes to the keto diet and energy levels, here are three things to remember:</p> <ul> <li>Restricting carbs helps you enter ketosis, a state where you burn fat as your primary fuel source. At first, your body may feel exhausted running off ketones. Give it some time, though, and that’s when you can notice your energy levels increase.</li> <li>When your body’s metabolism switches to burning fat for fuel, ketones in your body become a potent source of energy. A key here is many people are relying on refined carbs for energy which are much less stable than healthy fats.</li> <li>Being exhausted on keto when you first start is very common and usually your energy levels come back after a week or two. In the meantime, drink lots of water, electrolytes, and consider taking an exogenous ketone supplement.</li> </ul> <p>Thousands of people have lost weight and revolutionized their health with the keto diet. The initial adjustments and low energy levels may be a challenge, but the results are worth it. </p> <p>To learn more about the keto diet and at-home body transformations, visit our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" rel="noreferrer">nutrition section</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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