My throat started hurting a couple days ago. Until today, I considered a sore throat as a sign of success. I’ve gone through keto induction four times. Every single time I’ve gotten a rotten, awful keto flu sore throat. It’s pretty much like, “oh! my throat hurts! must be in ketosis!” Pee on a keto stick. Confirmed. But it still hurts like hell, and today I connected the dots and realized that it’s a symptom of a bigger keto problem.
Searching through the internets will give you a bunch of people who will ask “does keto give you a sore throat?” Followed by a bunch of keto-ers and low-carbers who will tell you going on keto won’t give you a sore throat, and neither will keto flu. I can’t blame them, they’re just speaking from their personal experience.
But they’re a little wrong, and that’s the puzzle piece I figured out today.
A keto diet naturally lowers your pH, which can do a whole host of bad things to your body.
Last year I went to a natural health clinic where they tested my blood and pH. This was about a month after being in ketosis. One major red flag that came up was my pH. My pH was around 6 when it’s supposed to be between 6.4 and 7.4, ideally closer to the 7.4. In fact, they say Cancer dies at a pH of 8. A pH of 6 might not look far off, but it is. A reading of 5.5 is acidosis.
Guess what one of the side effects of having a pH around 6? Oh you know, just a SORE THROAT, amongst lots of other issues, like being a magnet for infection and sickness.
So will keto give you a sore throat? For some people, yes.
Did you know that when your pH is low, you also absorb 20% less oxygen, too? So regardless of whether your sore throat comes from your low pH balance directly, or because you got sick based on your low pH balance – this is something to watch. It’s not healthy, in fact, I think eating bread and sugar might even be more healthy.
My point is this: A ketogenic diet messes with your pH balance, and something I was told when I got this diagnosis was that when you follow a ketogenic diet, it’s really important to drink lemon water every day.
Staying hydrated is my biggest keto sin, so it’s no surprise that every time I go on keto, or fall off the boat and get back on, I get a sore throat. To confirm, all you have to do is buy some pH strips at your local medical supplies store (or online, or perhaps at your local pharmacist, but CVS doesn’t have them.) I did this today. I’m a 6 again. D’oh.
Assuming your sore throat isn’t based on a real sickness (don’t replace my advice for that of your doctor), here is the remedy I used to boost my alkalinity today. It’s also recommended by some folks on a day to day basis. It’s not delicious, but it helped.
Aloe Vera Lemon Water for Keto Flu Sore Throat
- 2oz Organic Aloe Vera Juice (I use organic Lily of the Desert because it’s the best on the market – so they say)
- 1 packet of True Lemon, or the juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 packet stevia (you can do it without Stevia but it’s a bit awful) — non-ketoers use honey
- 10 oz of water
I like to keep 12oz mason jars around for drink recipes like this. Eat something after this or you might get burpy. I did.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Gargle for a Keto Flu Sore Throat
Grapefruit Seed Extract is one of the most alkaline forming foods there is. It’s also a bit harsh. I did this also, which helped my throat feel a little better. You’re supposed to gargle it several times per day. It’s meant to be mixed into something like Orange Juice if you want to drink it, but that’s not really an option for us keto-ers since OJ is so ridiculously high in sugar. The benefits of GSE are insane, so it’s worth having in your cabinet regardless.
- 5 drops of Liquid Grapefruit Seed Extract (I use the one from Nutribiotic)
- 6 oz of water
Get gargling! You can also swallow and it’ll help with your pH that way too.
Keto Flu Sore Throat Smoothies + Alkaline Boosters.
As a preventative, consider adding alkaline-boosting smoothies and foods to your everyday diet. Having a low pH is sure to do more damage to you (and me!)than the high-carb diet you were on before. I’m going to take my own advice here and start drinking Aloe Vera Lemon water every day, and some of these “green” smoothies I found below. They’ll probably need a little bit of adjustment to be keto.
Alkaline Green Smoothie, which blends up cucumbers, kale, mint, parsley, ginger, avocado, coconut water, lime juice, Udo’s oil, hemp seeds, and stevia. Not totally keto-friendly but you can adjust.
Dr. Young’s Alkaline Green Smoothie which blends spinach, water, avocado, grapefruit juice (I bet you could get away with using the extract for fewer carbs), English cucumber, raw creamed coconut, and liquid stevia.
The basic of any pH-raising, keto-friendly green smoothie starts with 50% leafy greens and 50% fruit, which in keto-land can be an avocado. Then just add the keto-friendly foods you enjoy and can blend.
You might be noticing now that leafy green vegetables are great for raising your PH. So with that in mind, a baby arugula salad or spinach salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing would be a nice add-on to your every day.
I hope this helps soothe your keto flu sore throat. Feel better!