Although this high fat, low carb diet may aid weight loss and even help treat certain medical conditions, it has been associated with a number of side effects — including leg cramps. This article explains why some people may experience leg cramps on keto and offers tips for treating and preventing this uncomfortable side effect. Cramps are involuntary, localized muscle contractions that are often painful. Leg cramps typically affect the calf muscle, though they can occur in other parts of your leg as well 1. These contractions commonly occur at night and can last seconds to minutes. Most leg cramps are over in less than a few minutes 1. The keto diet may make you more susceptible to leg cramps for several reasons 2. Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for critical functions in your body, such as cell communication.
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. The ketogenic diet aims to induce ketosis to burn more body fat. Knowing the signs of ketosis can help a person determine whether or not the diet is working. Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when the body begins to burn fat for energy because it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn. During this process, the liver produces chemicals called ketones. The ketogenic, or keto, diet aims to induce ketosis in order to burn more fat.
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There are many potential benefits to reducing your carb intake, including weight loss and improved heart health. But the shift to a low-carb diet can be a rocky road, strewn with obstacles that make you want to pop out for a pizza. Muscle cramps are just one of the many potential side effects you may experience when starting your diet, although probably not as common as some of the others. Reducing your carbs below the recommended daily minimum amount of grams technically results in a “low-carb diet. For example, the Atkins 20 diet limits carb intake to about 20 grams a day. This type of very low-carb diet is called a ketogenic diet, and it involves getting most of your daily calories from fats and a smaller amount from protein. But, you may also be following a low-carb, high-protein diet that increases your protein intake instead of your fat intake. There are benefits to both types of diets.