Why You're Exhausted on the Keto Diet

what to eat on keto when youre sick
what to eat on keto when youre sick

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Why You’re Exhausted when You Start Keto – Thomas DeLauer

Hey, so you started keto and now you’re fatigued, and you want to throw in the towel because it’s been maybe a couple of weeks, maybe even a couple of months, and you’re just not getting your energy back and you’re just, “I am so exhausted.”

I’m going to give you some reasons to why this could be happening. I’m going to break them down in a timeframe, like okay, if you just started, it’s probably this. If you’re six weeks in, it’s probably this. If you’re a couple months in and you’re still fatigued, it’s probably this. And I’ll give you some solutions and I’ll also give you some peace of mind because I don’t want you to quit because there is an explanation to it.

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All right, let’s break this down. The first reason that you might be exhausted after starting the keto diet is more than likely a mineral issue. Now, before you turn off this video, because it’s things that you’ve heard before, let me give you a little bit of a different explanation.

Okay. You’ve probably heard of the keto flu and the keto flu is not a real flu. It’s not literally a flu, it’s usually a mineral issue. Now what happens is when we first deprive ourselves of carbohydrates for any period of time, our kidneys expel water. So, the kidneys are like, “Hey, what’s going on? Like there’s no carbohydrates coming in.” It’s a natural response for them to just shuttle water out.

But you know what goes along with water? Minerals. We lose our sodium. We lose our potassium. We lose our magnesium. And this is where issues arise. And let me explain a little bit more in depth. Okay, so sodium for instance, when we’re deprived of sodium, or we start exceeding it rapidly, we end up having a massive migration of fluid from outside the cell to the inside of the cell.

Now, if you have gone through keto for a couple of weeks and you’re still fatigued, it could be the simple carb transition and what it’s doing with dopamine in your brain. Okay, hear me out on this. What happens is in the nucleus accumbens portion of the brain, we receive dopamine hits and they give us the satisfaction, sense of reward, much like a recreational drug would. It’s called the mesolimbic pathway.

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So, the journal Nutrients published a study that found that there was a significant change in cravings and hunger after 12 weeks on a ketogenic diet compared to a high fiber diet, which is also supposed to be a very highly satiating diet. So the point is, yeah, if you can stick it out for 10, 12 weeks, then you’re definitely going to get over the whole dopamine issue.

There’s a study that was published in the journal Metabolism, clinical and experimental, and it took a look at the renal excretion of ketone. The main ones it looked at, of course, acetoacetate betahydroxybutyrate. Now, the reason it was measuring this is that it wanted to see what happened when individuals were producing a bunch of ketones over a period of time. Now, what they found was that over time, our bodies actually lessened the production of ketones because they got very efficient at it and increased the retention of them.

Renal clearance of blood acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate remained constant – but In contrast, acetoacetate reabsorption rate increased significantly from 47 plus or minus 10 mmoles/min on day 3 to 106 plus or minus 15, 89 plus or minus 10, and 96 plus or minus 10 mmoles/min on days 10, 17, and 24, respectively
Similarly, bHB reabsorption rate increased significantly from 154 plus or minus 27 mmoles/min on day 3 to 419 plus or minus 53, 399 plus or minus 25, and 436 plus or minus 53 mmoles/min on days 10, 17, and 24, respectively

Nicholas Norwitz – Oxford Ketone PhD Researcher and Harvard Med Student:

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45 thoughts on “Why You're Exhausted on the Keto Diet”

  1. Here is the red pill many do not want to swallow .. KETO IS NOT FOR EVERYONE .. Some people will NEVER adjust to keto ..
    And it is a headache with all the micro managing what you eat all the time .. It can be great for weight lost but for long term .. You will most likely live a miserable life.
    T all the people who have seen improvements in their life, KUDOS, but everyone won't have the same outcome ..

  2. Thank you Tommy. On my second weak ..I feel.so tired and fatigue…. I will.keep.on track..Hopefully I don't throw in the towel.

  3. I’m finding Keto pretty hard, but also because I’m allergic to coconut. I feel so weak, but lost 4.3kg in a week so I can’t complain I guess x

  4. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear! I just did a search on why I’m so exhausted 3 weeks in and your video came up! I will begin doing some light exercises and continue to keep track of everything. Your so right. It’s not really my body but my head feels tired! I was getting concerned. Thanks again!!

  5. This was so invaluable today…I wanted to quit tonight. I love to workout on my Peleton and walk my dog, but my energy is zapped because I've just started keto. I am fit, but carb and sugar addicted. With type two diabetes on both sides of my family, and cancer history in my family, quitting isn't an option. Thank you for this!!!! I'll watch this every time I want to quit.

  6. at 55, im 7 weeks in on carnavore zero carb and i dont feel great . this video gave me hope that im not a lost cause . i was pre diabetic and a huge carb consumer for decades . also im doing 16 to 18 hour fasting each day

  7. Some days are better than others. I am on my 8th day and today i was struggling the most. Thanks for all the information

  8. This explains a lot, and I wonder if a person like me who is hypothyroid and no gall bladder (so fat absorption is challenged) slows the adaptation down even more.

  9. I totally gave up…the meat and fat grossed me out…and I felt awful…I want my sweet potato and lentils…tried it…that’s off my try list…high carb low fat for me with IF…at the end of a year we’ll be at the same place weight wise…so anything that doesn’t make me feel well and im in need of supplements…is not okay with me

  10. Ive been told by pain clinic to do whole food plant based diet, not keto..

  11. I've been doing dirty keto for over a year , still fatigued but going gthrough very stressful time , I'm 58 and don't need to lose weight but health and exercise regularly . High ldl but trys and hdl good .

  12. Is the only drawback with low blood sugar that I won't feel well for a few weeks? I'm asking, because I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so I went "all in," and am now feeling the brain fog that comes with low blood sugar (as low as 48 mg/dl). However, because I'm not hungry until supper time, I really don't want to re-introduce carbs (it's been over a week). Will my adrenal functions "catch up" or am I imperiling myself? To be clear, though my blood sugar is low, and I don't feel great, I want to be clear that I don't have the worst symptoms that often accompany hypoglycemia: I am not shaky, nervous, weak, etc. I have energy even to work out, but I do have the brain fog symptom, and have struggled with sleep. Thank you for any direction you might be wiling to give.

  13. I can't help but think that many people who are suffering exhaustion etc even after eating keto for 4 weeks or more, are doing something very wrong with their diet. I hope people realise that just because they're eating 'keto' it doesn't necessarily mean their eating healthily. You have to eat healthily and that means taking in lots of fibre, lots of veggies etc along with all the meat, fish and high fat foods. For myself the experience was the opposite. I was exhausted BEFORE I started eating keto, but after just one week of shovelling tonnes of veggies and meat and eggs etc (all whole foods, nothing processed) into my body, my energy levels had stabilised, my skin started looking better and I felt completely different. Lost weight very quickly, and 3 months later felt on top of the world. Oh, I combined the healthy eating with 3-5 hours a day exercise at my local swimming centre, doing yoga, gym, swimming, sauna sessions etc.

  14. I've been on a diet for almost 6 months and still have low energy. Lost 40 pounds but feel sluggish all the time. You would think I'd have all kinds of energy with a 40 pound weight loss. No. Really frustrating. Lost weight but no energy.

  15. I'm so exhausted. I couldn't make it through a workout. I can barely walk up the stairs.

  16. Day 2! Literally exhausted, this made me feel much better about it. Thank you!

  17. I felt so bad yesterday due to the keto flu I had a cheat meal and then felt better. I almost vomited drinking my electrolyte water after a vigorous walk. Very nauseous, no energy, no appetite. I was only able to eat my bacon and eggs in the morning, if I was lucky. The smell of food, especially fat/grease significantly increased my nausea. Urination was ok, bowel movement decreased significantly. I was worried due to having bowl obstructions before and got nervous. Guess is was just the keto flu. Well time to jump back on the horse and and not cave in this time. Is it ok not to eat for days in the beginning because I had ZERO appetite? Do I listen to my body or force my self to eat?

  18. Hello. I'm so glad I found your channel. I've been on the diet for a week, and an ready to give up. I'm really having issues with keeping my carbs low. As you stated in the video, I believe I may have a carb addiction. Staying under 30g of carbs has been very difficult. I'll try to keep at it. Thank you for the great insight. Take care.

  19. One of the better explanations.. not over the top technical. Just a good explanation. Thx. I'm recording food. Everything with an app. Keeping Clos to 75f5-10c&15-20p. Every once in five days. I'll go higher in protein or carbs but with carbs if I go higher my fibre intake will be quite large in comparison to the carb intake.
    Just was feeling a lot of fatigue came out of nowhere.. this is my third time around on keto diet. First time I lost 60lbs. Second time I got to this point and quit. This time I don't want to quit I want to identify the points of struggle and correct them.
    The aerobic exercise component,I think I'll try to add as well as a supplement for magnesium and potassium. Thx

  20. 11 months on Keto and still dont feel fully right . Brain fog , low blood sugar , ANXIETY and gettng IBS symptoms . I feel like I cant fully function as far as anxiety and brain fog as well as fatigued . I hate to give up on this but I need to function .

  21. Is this the same for carnivore? I am 1 week in and am not Hungry but do feel weak, with our energy. Thanks

  22. Thanks for these videos. I'm one month in. I went from high sugar diet to keto :/ I didn't know about withdrawls lol and boy did I learn haha

    But this video is encouraging me to keep going. So thanks so much.

  23. I'm on week 4 and feeling so fatigued! This video answered a lot of my questions, including why my ketones are registering high on the strips, but I still feel overweight and tired. A lot of people claim to lose 10kg in the first month, but surely that could also be water?

    My stomach is flatter and I have more pep when I drag myself outside to exercise. But the brain fog, headaches and fatigue are making life and work extremely difficult. I won't give up though, because of your knowledge. Thank you!

  24. What about doing keto when experiencing adrenal exhaustion? Dr Berg and Dr Axe recommend this in order to heal but sounds counteractive.

  25. Can someone please explain to me how in the world one is supposed to achieve the daily recommended dose of electrolytes, specifically potassium? From my calculations–eating a diet that doesn't go overboard on any one food item or too many total calories–it is impossible to achieve the daily recommended amount for normal people, much less the extra recommended amount for keto wackos like us. Please, I've been over the internet lists of which foods are high in potassium–again and again–so don't just list foods here. You just can't combine enough of any of them in a day to get the recommended 3,500-4,700mg without going overboard on calories, and possibly carbs specifically. Prove me wrong!
    I understand that supplements in the US are not allowed to contain more than something around 2% of the daily recommended. So what gives? Did I miss something, and it turns out there are supplements available?
    I know by the symptoms that I am running potassium deficient, but can't find a solution that doesn't defy a keto diet, or even a regular, non-keto, common-sense diet.

  26. I’m nauseous, exhausted, tired, and have bad headaches I’m having a hard time consuming enough calories because the food is making me sick sadly I love meat and vegetables but Just thinking about them is my making my stomach turn. This is my 5th day I’ve lost 5 lbs hopefully I my body gets adjusted soon.

  27. Thank you so much. I feel absolutely DISGUSTING. I almost caved and got Whataburger, but I'm sticking with it. This helped a lot. 🙏🏼 🤢🥴

  28. I’m on my forth day, and I’m so tired. That’s also because I’ve been doing 1 hour of hard cardio. Day 2 and day 4th has been hard. Not really hungry but I feel soo tired.
    I’ve been taking Dr Berg Electrolytes, been taking minerals. Etc

  29. I got rid of my bad breath with a herbal cure remedy from dr Oyalo . I met dr Oyalo on YouTube channel with his name dr Oyalo and after consultations I got his cure and it really work for me

  30. 5 99 mg potassium supplement makes me feel like super man. Gonna focus on higher potassium food but hard to get.

  31. I'm back on a low carb diet after several years. It's week 7, and I definitely am feeling it, but I'm going to stick it out. 😀

  32. It’s basically like you need to understand both the science behind the diet as well as knowing your body and like you said, some symptoms. I slowly adjusted to the keto diet by at first cutting added sugar in half, until gone. Then slowed my carbs and into a keto diet over a couple weeks next.

    I become strict for a bit, then I add sweet potatoes here and there every week or so as a treat and to get some nutrients in that. In the past it’s worked for me. We’ll see this time.

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