Because keto flu is real, and it sucks.

By Jaime Milan
July 11, 2018
Rimma Bondarenko

I recently started on a three-week tour of the ketogenic diet. I wanted to see both how effective it could be, and how it made me feel—I’ll report back in a few weeks. But right now I’m only three days in, and I can tell you one unexpected side effect: I’m experiencing a major energy drain. It wasn't entirely unexpected. Some people call this the keto flu.

I’m not going to lie, the past few days have been rough. I’ve felt foggy, tired, and hangry. Plus, my sugar cravings have been more intense than ever.

RELATED: 29 Delicious Keto Recipes

Apparently these are all symptoms of the keto flu, which is caused by a combination of carb withdrawal (it’s been said that sugar affects your brain in a way that’s similar to cocaine and heroin) and electrolyte imbalance from quickly losing water weight, which happens when you eliminate almost all carbs and processed foods. Apparently carbs hold a lot of water!

According to my frantic Googling, keto flu can be remedied by adding sodium and potassium to your diet, plus sticking it out for a few more painful days while you adjust, and drinking a lot of water.

 But while salt is easy to replace (just sprinkle a little extra on your eggs or meat), many potassium-rich foods are off-limits for people doing keto (think: bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melon, beets, dried apricots, yogurt, beans, and lentils.)

I spoke with Cooking Light’s Food and Nutrition Director, Brierley Horton, MS, RD, and she said that most Americans—whether they’re on the keto diet or not—need more potassium in their diets because it helps regulate blood pressure and combats excess sodium in the body.

Then I looked up the keto-friendly foods with the highest levels of potassium—here are eight, with a keto-friendly recipe to go with each.


Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount of potassium per serving: 708mg (20% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Poached Egg in an Avocado


Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount of potassium per serving: 676mg (19% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Warm Buttered Radish Edamame Salad


Serving Size: 3 oz.

Amount of potassium per serving: 309mg (8% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Grilled Salmon With Avocado Salsa


Serving Size: 3 oz.

Amount of potassium per serving: 270mg (7% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Beef Tenderloin With Balsamic Asparagus

Mushrooms (especially cremini)

Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount of potassium per serving: 223 mg (6% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Garlic-Caper Roasted Mushrooms


Serving Size: 1 cup

Amount of potassium per serving: 188mg (5% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Grill-Smoked Baba Ghanoush

Nuts (especially almonds or macadamia nuts)

Serving Size: 1 oz.

Amount of potassium per serving: 200 mg (5% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Caesar Brussels Sprouts Salad With Almonds

Leafy Greens (especially spinach and chard)

Serving Size: 1 cup raw spinach

Amount of potassium per serving: 167.4 mg potassium (4% DV)

Keto-friendly recipe: Almond-Garlic Swiss Chard