TUESDAY, March 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Online forum users commonly report that a ketogenic diet can lead to several flu-like symptoms within the first few weeks on the diet, according to a study published online March 13 in Frontiers in Nutrition.

Emmanuelle C.S. Bostock, Ph.D., from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and colleagues assessed the pattern of symptoms, severity, and time course of keto flu described by users of online forums. The analysis included 448 posts from 300 unique users in 75 online forums.

The researchers found that 101 of 300 users reported descriptors of personal experience of keto flu, including 256 symptom descriptions involving 54 discrete symptoms. The most common symptoms were “flu,” headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, “brain fog,” gastrointestinal discomfort, decreased energy, feeling faint, and heartbeat alterations. A peak for symptoms occurred in the first week and dwindled after four weeks. Sixty users reported severity of symptoms as mild (15 users), moderate (23 users), or severe (22 users). Remedies (18 types) were proposed by 121 individual users in 225 comments.

“The experiences of symptoms by many people strengthens the evidence for side effects following the initiation of a ketogenic diet,” Bostock said in a statement. “We focused on social media because of its widespread use for discussion of health topics, which makes it practical to harness the experience of people who have tried the treatment in question.”

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