Headaches can be a common side effect of switching to a ketogenic diet. They can occur as a result of consuming fewer carbohydrates, especially sugar. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can also lead to headaches Ketogenic headaches occur during the transition to ketosis. Headaches can occur as a result of eating fewer carbohydrates, especially sugar, says Valerie Agyeman, RD, women's health dietitian and founder of Flourish Heights.
When you start your diet, your body starts to rely on ketones instead of glucose, which can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. This, in turn, can cause low blood sugar. This transition to ketosis can stress your brain, which could lead to mental fog and headaches, he adds. If you have migraine headaches and want to improve your diet, Leroux recommends trying something like the Mediterranean diet, which is healthier than the average diet but less strict than the ketogenic diet.
Typically, the maximum amount of carbohydrates allowed on a ketogenic diet is 50 grams, but some ketogenic diet plans require 20 grams or less each day. Moreno recommends following a diet of whole foods and real ingredients, which could include diets such as Whole30, Paleo, or South Beach Diet. Those who want to try a ketogenic diet should always talk to their doctor first, as a diet that is very low in carbohydrates may not be right for everyone. When you start the ketogenic diet and drastically lower your carbohydrate intake (to around 20 to 50 grams per day), your body goes through a process called ketosis within two to seven days.
Soon after, researchers began successfully treating some patients with the ketogenic diet and other carbohydrate-restrictive diets, such as the Atkins diet and the modified Atkins diet. People with type 1 diabetes who follow low-carb diets have a significantly higher risk of hypoglycemia (episodes of low blood sugar levels). Keeping track of all the strict rules of the ketogenic diet can make your head spin, so it's no surprise that headaches are one of the side effects of the super-modern diet. It won't retain as much sodium compared to a traditional Western diet with a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
A slightly larger pilot study with 96 participants, published in the European Journal of Neurology, compared overweight women with migraine who followed a very low-calorie ketogenic diet for one month, followed by a standard low-calorie diet for five months, with a similar group of women who followed a standard diet low-calorie calorie diet for six months. The ketogenic (keto) diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that causes weight loss and provides numerous health benefits. If you've gone from eating around the reference dietary intake (DRI) of around 130 grams (the minimum amount of carbohydrate recommended for adults), or 45 to 65 percent of your calories (which on a 2000 calorie diet equals 225 to 325 grams), to virtually no carbohydrates, you can expect the effects side effects are quite remarkable. For example, if you followed a relatively low-carb diet before going on a ketogenic diet and ate large amounts of green vegetables (or took a high-quality vegetable supplement), there's a chance that your symptoms will last very little or even don't exist.
Low sodium levels in the body are one of the main reasons you may experience decreased energy levels and headaches while following a low-carb diet.