The keto diet experts we spoke to agree that it’s not unusual to experience bothersome side effects as your body makes the metabolic transition to fat-burning. To the rescue: These simple solutions for common concerns.
Feeling sluggish? Sip keto-ade.
Some 75 percent of women who try a low-carb diet struggle with headaches, brain fog, or fatigue — a group of symptoms often called keto flu. “When you start a ketogenic diet, you flush excess water and sodium out of your body in the first few weeks,” says keto expert Marc Bubbs, ND. “As your sodium levels fall, so too will potassium levels. This can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.”
Easy fix: You can banish — and prevent — keto flu by sipping electrolyte-rich keto-ade throughout the day. To make one day’s worth: In a large pitcher, mix 6 cups of water, 1/2 tsp. of Himalayan sea salt, the juice of one lemon, 2 tsp. of magnesium citrate powder like Natural Vitality Natural Calm ($19.99, Amazon), and liquid stevia to taste.
Constipated? Enjoy an Epsom bath.
Any major change to your diet can affect your gut — and since many keto-friendly foods are low in fiber, constipation is a common side effect.
Easy fix: Soak in a relaxing Epsom salt bath, which delivers magnesium to your system through the skin to ease constipation. The mineral draws water into stools to soften them, says nutrition expert Mira Calton, co-author of The Micronutrient Miracle ($11.39, Amazon). You can also get the effect by supplementing with 350 mg. of magnesium citrate, available at drugstores.
Unpleasant odor? Take a probiotic.
Many women new to the diet notice a strong or unusual body or vaginal odor, likely caused by changes in your body’s acid/alkaline balance, says ob-gyn Laura Corio, MD, author of The Change Before the Change ($18, Amazon). “Because you’re eating lots of acidic foods like meat and cheese and few alkalinizing vegetables, the diet can make your whole body more aididc. Plus, a strict keto diet may upset the vagina’s bacterial balance, which can result in odor.”
Easy fix: The odor may go away in a few days as you adjust to the diet, says Dr. Corio. “But if the smell persists, try taking oral probiotic supplements twice a day.”
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.