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"Low Carb Flu" What was your experience?

by (5838)
Updated about 5 hours ago
Created January 24, 2011 at 10:53 PM

I've seen quite a few of newcomers to PaleoHacks. In order to help them out, I thought sharing each other's "Low carb flu" experiences might help keep them on the right path. Everyone is different, so a good broad range of answers would likely help a lot of people.

I personally had a longer low carb flu experience than most of the stories I've read on this site. I want to say mine lasted a couple months. The symptoms I dealt with were, sugar cravings, fatigue, overall downtick in happiness (definitely not depression though) and a noticable decrease in performance. Looking back, I would say I was probably still scared of the dreaded "fat", and as such, did not consume enough of it. Also, I think trying to maintain a ridiculous exercise schedule throughout the process (Chronic cardio + weight training) and not embracing the importance of quality sleep factored in.

So I ask, Did you go through a low carb flu, and if so, what was it like?

EDIT: Added link - link text

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1074 · August 17, 2013 at 12:21 AM

no dont boost the fiber, fiber sucks for the gut - its inflammatory! just stick to low carb high fat/protein! read fiber menace for context about fiber

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3150 · March 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I'd say that you have stated a very important fact in your answer that is what matters the most: being able to start using your body fat when needed to fuel the body and the brain. There are many ways to get to this and IF can be one, going lower carb even with frequent meals, another. But for the carb flu thing, I guess that the more abrupt you make the switch, the worse the feelings will be.

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3150 · March 21, 2013 at 9:12 AM

True, but for most people that were into a very bad diet, sugar and grain based, a switch to Paleo will automatically imply a lower carb intake, and depending on how metabolically messed up they were to start with, it may trigger the carb flu since they were to much relying on sugar to fuel the body (and brain) and have developed too much insulin resistance. I guess that the healthier you were when starting, the better to deal with this.

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638 · March 21, 2013 at 5:48 AM

I can't believe you can't already see those abs at 4% bodyfat!!!

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1187 · December 29, 2012 at 5:30 AM

Seriously, I have to approach it as if I was in NA. if only there was a CA. after 6 months the cravings pop up. Only bacon helps.

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71 · December 28, 2012 at 2:51 AM

Wow, that's so funny you would say that because that's the way I feel. I'm on day 9 and trying my best to encourage myself. If you can do it then ill definitely hang in there :)

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10 · July 04, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I am no expert Annie but if you have lost that much weight you are losing a lot of water, which means mineral loss. The board suggests potassium/magnesium supplement; also trying drinking chicken broth a couple of times a day which helps with sodium - this advice has helped me. I am on day 11 and feeling a little better today (still have brain fog and my anxiety level feels high & my overall energy is a little low). It seems like, from what I've read, it can last from a few days to a few months. . .and some people seem to not have any trouble.

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4625 · July 02, 2012 at 7:59 PM

eat some rice as long as it is real and you aren't a diabetic and don't need a lower amount of Carbs.

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105 · May 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM

why give up caffeine? Live a little!

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105 · May 24, 2012 at 7:14 PM

I would add more fat to your diet and slow down on the low-carb. Do it gradually. I did and experienced no flu, but I was already pretty fit to begin with.

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105 · May 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM

I never got the carb flu but lately I've been itching a lot and can't sleep, and it has correlated with me not eating wheat tortillas (that's my cheat). Weird, I thought I was getting bed bugs. Maybe I am, but that's the only carb flu I've experienced, probably because I eat a lot of fat and avocados.

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1528 · March 27, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Made a point to get broth and avocados before I started, with a mag supplement. Therefore, didn't suffer from it at all. For the vast majority of people it can be almost completely avoided if you're prepared and diligent! ;)

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526 · November 23, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Mine lasted at least 2 months. It was challenging.

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5629 · November 14, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Penny, what's the link for?

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278 · November 14, 2011 at 1:30 AM

magnesium and potassium is very much needed during the transition as your will be losing a lot more fluid, you will get cramps in your legs, tired, and kinds of stuff if you do not. Also fresh fish oil, pref from a bottle like carlsens.

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37187 · November 02, 2011 at 7:39 PM

U can do it! Keep reading this and other sites for emotional support.

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37187 · November 02, 2011 at 7:31 PM

My low-carb flu wasn't that long--about a week--but it was severe because I am a binge eater driven by wheat (and I thought it was sugar.) I was climbing the walls and pretty histrionic for a while and the only thing I could do was walk around the neighborhood/stores and wait for the insane cravings to ease. Then, literally overnight, it was gone and I felt like a million dollars.

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549 · June 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

This is so funny, and cool!

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115 · March 31, 2011 at 1:08 PM

i've been dealing with a headache all week long :(

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483 · January 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

I just like to get unpleasant things overwith. I could have slowly weaned myself from carbs over a couple of months but why? A day or three of discomfort and it's all over.

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15229 · January 25, 2011 at 7:51 PM

oh god. i shouldnt know that information.

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12174 · January 25, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Had the raccoon died because it had been eating SAD as well? :-)

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 6:27 AM

It's like a bandaid on a hairy leg. You can pull it off in one go, or have excruciating pain slowly pulling it off. Your choice... :)

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 6:26 AM

Yeah, not that desperate for Giordano's at $40 a pizza shipped... :)

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5232 · January 25, 2011 at 5:45 AM

I guess I'm a bit weak-willed and nostalgic, because I love sweets and fruit is my favorite. thing. ever. I've cut it down considerably -- I don't eat candy anymore, and I'm trying to trim down my nut/dark chocolate consumption (my last two vices) -- and have been leaning toward lower-sugar fruits (ie, picking a grapefruit over a pear). I'll get there soon, but hoo boy, these mood swings are vicious! xD

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39841 · January 25, 2011 at 5:06 AM

Oh, it's an addiction thing. I've always found eating to be tedious, so steps that I can take to decrease appetite have always been welcome for me. Seems like the best way to do it is to cut out fructose altogether and then just set your carb intake in steamed/boiled potatoes + butter. High satiety and nutrition with none of the ill effects of fruit/fructose.

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2427 · January 25, 2011 at 3:52 AM

A carboholic needs to go cold turkey.

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5232 · January 25, 2011 at 3:05 AM

I've been gradually decreasing mine, and I still feel like doodie. :P Today, I feel like I could snap at anyone who looks at me, and I keep walking into the kitchen to see if any new food has miraculously manifested, but nope: still the same old proteins, fruit, veg, nuts. Sigh. I'm pining for the crunch of a rice cake right now, but I know it would be murder to my tum. I stepped down from 400+g carbs a day (!!!) and I'm slowly encroaching on ~150ish now. Today, I just feel /mean/, and chocolate isn't cutting my cravings anymore.

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:23 AM

I am very impressed you stuck with it for four months of that feeling!

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:22 AM

I think for some people you just have to DO IT. Inching your way in just makes it take longer and hurt more. It depends on the personality though.

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:21 AM

You know they will ship those pizzas, right? Heh. I have it about twice a year. It's worth it.

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15229 · January 25, 2011 at 1:56 AM

HA! i always say that a real chicago deep dish is the ONE thing that will tempt me away. i have not been confronted with it yet, but i honestly cant think of anything else that i would lose control around. MAYBE some tiramisu....

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Yeah, forgot to mention the fogginess. Didn't really have issues with aching muscles (beyond usual exercise related aches) or mucus.

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 12:21 AM

AKD, you're a better man than I. Chicago deep dish... Starts with "Well, I don't really need to eat the crust, there's plenty inside" and ends in "nom nom nom, burp."

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15229 · January 25, 2011 at 12:09 AM

yes! i find that a couple of super low carb, super strict days gets me right back on track. i hate it so much that its a great deterrent when im sitting in front of a chicago deep dish pizza.

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5838 · January 24, 2011 at 11:54 PM

Laughed out loud at the racoon comment, well played.

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5838 · January 24, 2011 at 11:35 PM

I experience the same relapse symptoms with too much cheating. It's almost like reinforcement to stay the course. This weekend, went out drinking for a buddys bday. Came home, ate some fruit, had a couple tanka bars, and a couple trio bars, all Paleo in nature but way too much sugar. Been congested/dry/scratchy ever since. No sugar today!

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1159 · January 24, 2011 at 11:09 PM

I was dead for 2 days :)

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4059 · January 25, 2011 at 2:07 AM

THEN- my carb flu was an entire year ago, but here goes: I had the WORST feelings of hunger that I have ever had in my life. I felt like I could literally go to a rock on the beach and tear the seaweed off with my bare teeth and eat it all! I felt like I could eat tablecloths, my neighbor, my hand, ...ANYTHING! Without grains, I experienced incredible hunger, even though I was eating paleo food and getting sufficient calories/nutrition. It took about four months for to adapt, and the first month or so were very difficult. The psychological difficulty was in feeling like I was in some sort of food free fall, and it has taken quite some time to trust this way of eating and living.

NOW- missing a meal is easy, I have MUCH better sustained energy, and I don't get nervous about not eating nor do I get horribly hungry.

Going Paleo/primal is one of the nicest things I have ever done for myself in my life. Well worth the effort, funny looks from the family, and transition time.

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549 · June 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM

This is so funny, and cool!

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:23 AM

I am very impressed you stuck with it for four months of that feeling!

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15229 · January 24, 2011 at 11:28 PM

oh i hated that low carb flu. i dove in both feet, and for the first week i was ok. my girlfriend was doing it with me, so i had her for support. i was also having a hard time with the "eat more fat" thing, and she was good about encouraging me along those lines. i would say it was in my second week that i started to feel really tired- i mean BONE tired. my muscles were so sore and i wasnt recovering from resistance training workouts at all. then, i got a scratchy throat way in back and up, like where strep starts, so thats what i thought i was getting. i took a week off of working out thinking i was getting the flu. i had a TERRIBLE headache that lasted for a few days and that wouldnt respond to NSAIDs ot tylenol. i pretty much spent two days in bed, flanked on either side by two very unproductive and whiny days. i had a ton of mucus, too and was blowing my nose like i had a cold the whole time. oh, and i couldnt think straight. it was like my brain was full of concrete.

then, one morning it all just lifted and was replaced by this wonderful feeling- like energy that you know is clean and natural, not artificial like from caffeine. the first time it happened, i blamed it on some viral infection and couldnt figure out why i was the only one in my family who got sick. those first couple of months though through the holidays, i had a few REALLY non-paleo days, and realized that about two days after a big cheat, i would get that flu again. i eventually put two and two together- it was never as bad as when i first went through it, but i definitely notice than whenever i binge on sugar and carbs, i can plan on that headache, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle stiffness a few days later.

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15229 · January 25, 2011 at 7:51 PM

oh god. i shouldnt know that information.

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 6:26 AM

Yeah, not that desperate for Giordano's at $40 a pizza shipped... :)

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:21 AM

You know they will ship those pizzas, right? Heh. I have it about twice a year. It's worth it.

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15229 · January 25, 2011 at 1:56 AM

HA! i always say that a real chicago deep dish is the ONE thing that will tempt me away. i have not been confronted with it yet, but i honestly cant think of anything else that i would lose control around. MAYBE some tiramisu....

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 12:21 AM

AKD, you're a better man than I. Chicago deep dish... Starts with "Well, I don't really need to eat the crust, there's plenty inside" and ends in "nom nom nom, burp."

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051
15229 · January 25, 2011 at 12:09 AM

yes! i find that a couple of super low carb, super strict days gets me right back on track. i hate it so much that its a great deterrent when im sitting in front of a chicago deep dish pizza.

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5838 · January 24, 2011 at 11:35 PM

I experience the same relapse symptoms with too much cheating. It's almost like reinforcement to stay the course. This weekend, went out drinking for a buddys bday. Came home, ate some fruit, had a couple tanka bars, and a couple trio bars, all Paleo in nature but way too much sugar. Been congested/dry/scratchy ever since. No sugar today!

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5002 · January 25, 2011 at 1:08 AM

For the first 2 weeks I had diarrhea, new acne on my face and body, and a short temper, which I attribute in part to sudden increases in testosterone from strength training.

It was worth it because along with no longer having these problems, I now experience less razor burn, am no longer hungry all the time, my fat is disappearing as my lean body mass increases (less gut and neck fat, more muscle), and, most importantly, I am never sick, not even once since beginning, despite spending about half of the previous 4 winters sick in bed (I was in bed with the flu for 17 days last year!). So, to all of you newbies, hang in there because the benefits are HUGE!

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8255 · January 24, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Headaches, tired, drastically reduced weight load/slower recovery from workouts. Oh, and the dead racoon in my mouth...

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12174 · January 25, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Had the raccoon died because it had been eating SAD as well? :-)

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5838 · January 24, 2011 at 11:54 PM

Laughed out loud at the racoon comment, well played.

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3509 · February 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM

I was never "high carb" and I am currently not "low carb". Paleo means a lot of things to me, like healthy meat, fish and vegetables, but it does not need to be low carb. I always had and still have tubers. Then of course I never had that flu.

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3150 · March 21, 2013 at 9:12 AM

True, but for most people that were into a very bad diet, sugar and grain based, a switch to Paleo will automatically imply a lower carb intake, and depending on how metabolically messed up they were to start with, it may trigger the carb flu since they were to much relying on sugar to fuel the body (and brain) and have developed too much insulin resistance. I guess that the healthier you were when starting, the better to deal with this.

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30 · July 06, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I am currently experiencing the Carb Flu. I went gluten free, but not grain free 3 weeks ago and was totally exhausted. I am a rock climber but I spent more time looking at the routes than anything else, just no energy. Then my doctor recommended (yes a MD!!) that I try Paleo.

Well, Mon-Wed were bad as far as mental fog, everything seemed like it was part of a dream. Then Thursday about 4pm the flu hit me hard - I was freezing, shivering all wrapped up in a blanket sitting outside (In ARIZONA - 109 degrees). My body felts like I was hit by a semi-truck, so achy it hurt to walk. Bad, pounding headache too. My roommate thought I was dying and I kinda felt like it. It was all I could do to go to bed. This morning was a little better but I am still a little achy and have had a headache all day. I really hope this helps because going through this for nothing would be awful (and I really want a donut haha).

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30 · November 13, 2011 at 6:44 PM

My husband and I are currently on our 7th day of the 21 day transformation. We both feel horrible right now, headache, scratchy throat, runny nose and the brain fog and lethargy. I know it will go away soon but it's super not fun at the moment.

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278 · November 14, 2011 at 1:30 AM

magnesium and potassium is very much needed during the transition as your will be losing a lot more fluid, you will get cramps in your legs, tired, and kinds of stuff if you do not. Also fresh fish oil, pref from a bottle like carlsens.

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12174 · January 25, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Nausea, the shakes, headache, chills/heat flashes the first full day. I did eventually cave that evening and had a banana to moderate things as I had a nursing infant and 3-year-old in my care. By the next morning I was home free and even a coconut cream pie brought by my mother-in-law didn't seem so tempting all of a sudden.

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20 · May 11, 2012 at 2:48 AM

I am now ten weeks into Crossfit and Paleo at about 90% (As an Asian, giving up white rice is proving difficult, to say the least).

This week, I could barely finish the WODs. I have a swollen lymph node in my neck.

My endurance and strength are at a low point since I began Xfit and Paleo.

Grogginess, short temper, difficulty falling asleep (although sleeping well when I finally do).

I think I have the Paleo flu with an additional dose of Xfit overtraining.

I intend to cut WODs to three days a week and give myself time to adjust to the new diet and lifestyle.

If the swollen lymph node doesn't take care of itself, I'll gouge it out with a dirty stick like the caveman I am. :)

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4625 · July 02, 2012 at 7:59 PM

eat some rice as long as it is real and you aren't a diabetic and don't need a lower amount of Carbs.

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1471 · November 02, 2011 at 7:57 PM

I didnt want to drag my butt out of bed and i have a family to take care of and work nights...then after that wore off i felt much better but about 2 months later i experienced it again. i think that may have been TOO low carb...I seem to do better on 50 -60 carbs a day...energy and mental state wize.

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10768 · March 24, 2011 at 1:07 PM

I never got the 'carb flu' when I was switching to Paleo, I had already gone through the metabolic shifts through IF.... read on to see what I mean.

I did serious intermittent fasting (eating omnivore, mostly from local farmers (but still eating grains and cheap dairy) far about 4 years before I went to a PrimalBlueprint / Paleo / PaNu way of eating.

Back then, I had a really rough 2 weeks of adjustment to IF. The first week or so I was following the adaption suggestions in the Fast5 free eBook, slowly moving the 5-hour eating window further back into the evening. About 1 week in I 'suddenly' did not feel like I HAD TO EAT NOW, and waited until the next morning to eat. The next morning, I lept out of bed and ate an entire 4 person salad and 4 fried eggs. (Heh, in 20/20 retrospect that might have been my secret first step onto the paleo path.)

During the rough 2 week period, I had wicked headaches, malaise, odd energy dips, and some acne. Then I jumped to feeling amazing!!! My weight started falling off, and new muscle galore was mine. Here are some supporting pics as evidence: http://paleohacks.com/questions/7058/share-your-paleo-before-and-after/17739#17739

YAY!

After about 3-4 of IF years I hit a fat-loss plateau, and when I went looking on the web for more variations on IF (which had worked so well for me) I found Mark Sisson's website, was !inspired! and dropped most sugars and grains. This let me drop 21lbs and 4% bodyfat and feel EVEN BETTER.

All of the above was my background for why I did not get any carb-flu when I went paleo... I had already activated my fat-using metabolic pathways through IF, and had 'paid the price' then.

Now, I've got better composition than I have ever had in my life, and I've just gone back to strict IF/EOD this week. This is a fasting day, today, and I shan't be consuming any calories till tomorrow. My EOD Fasting = no calories on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I make sure to eat to satiation on the other Feasting days.

Maybe this will help me to my springtime goal of seeing my abs for the first time since I was in my teens.

My abs are getting nearer, I can see the outline of them, but not the creases.

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3150 · March 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I'd say that you have stated a very important fact in your answer that is what matters the most: being able to start using your body fat when needed to fuel the body and the brain. There are many ways to get to this and IF can be one, going lower carb even with frequent meals, another. But for the carb flu thing, I guess that the more abrupt you make the switch, the worse the feelings will be.

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638 · March 21, 2013 at 5:48 AM

I can't believe you can't already see those abs at 4% bodyfat!!!

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2427 · January 25, 2011 at 3:49 AM

I only got through by drinking heaps of diet colas. Not ideal, but there you are. Three weeks later I had the challenge of giving up caffeine, which was painful.

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105 · May 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM

why give up caffeine? Live a little!

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39841 · January 25, 2011 at 1:36 AM

I'm not sure I understand why people don't gradually step down their carb intake and avoid these symptoms...is there a benefit to cutting it all down at once?

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483 · January 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

I just like to get unpleasant things overwith. I could have slowly weaned myself from carbs over a couple of months but why? A day or three of discomfort and it's all over.

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 6:27 AM

It's like a bandaid on a hairy leg. You can pull it off in one go, or have excruciating pain slowly pulling it off. Your choice... :)

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5232 · January 25, 2011 at 5:45 AM

I guess I'm a bit weak-willed and nostalgic, because I love sweets and fruit is my favorite. thing. ever. I've cut it down considerably -- I don't eat candy anymore, and I'm trying to trim down my nut/dark chocolate consumption (my last two vices) -- and have been leaning toward lower-sugar fruits (ie, picking a grapefruit over a pear). I'll get there soon, but hoo boy, these mood swings are vicious! xD

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39841 · January 25, 2011 at 5:06 AM

Oh, it's an addiction thing. I've always found eating to be tedious, so steps that I can take to decrease appetite have always been welcome for me. Seems like the best way to do it is to cut out fructose altogether and then just set your carb intake in steamed/boiled potatoes + butter. High satiety and nutrition with none of the ill effects of fruit/fructose.

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2427 · January 25, 2011 at 3:52 AM

A carboholic needs to go cold turkey.

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5232 · January 25, 2011 at 3:05 AM

I've been gradually decreasing mine, and I still feel like doodie. :P Today, I feel like I could snap at anyone who looks at me, and I keep walking into the kitchen to see if any new food has miraculously manifested, but nope: still the same old proteins, fruit, veg, nuts. Sigh. I'm pining for the crunch of a rice cake right now, but I know it would be murder to my tum. I stepped down from 400+g carbs a day (!!!) and I'm slowly encroaching on ~150ish now. Today, I just feel /mean/, and chocolate isn't cutting my cravings anymore.

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18701 · January 25, 2011 at 2:22 AM

I think for some people you just have to DO IT. Inching your way in just makes it take longer and hurt more. It depends on the personality though.

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13983 · January 25, 2011 at 12:14 AM

It was day 3 or day 4 when it started and it lasted for about 4 or 5 days. Just felt like the flu - achy muscles, mucus, lethargy, fogginess.

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8255 · January 25, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Yeah, forgot to mention the fogginess. Didn't really have issues with aching muscles (beyond usual exercise related aches) or mucus.

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10 · October 15, 2012 at 7:25 PM

I'm going through this for the third time now. I have aching joints; I'm shivery and exhausted. I've tried to go Paleo twice before. The first time I suffered from headaches. The second my period stopped completely and everyone told me I looked terrible all the time! This time everyone says I look tired. Is it worth it? Really hope so!

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10 · August 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I am in week two of low carb high fat eating. The first week was fine but this second week is agony. Real bad stomach cramps, bloating, foggy brain, sore muscles and just very tired. Even just walking for half an hour feels like too much.

However I am sticking with it, I am losing weight and I really like eating this much fat and meat.

Xx

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10 · July 02, 2012 at 1:25 PM

I SOMEHOW MANAGED TO CATCH REAL FLU INSTEAD OF CARB FLU!

Cut down to ketogenic levels on the saturday - started to feel a bit achey and foggy on the tuesday - Took Wednesday off work as I was feeling awful (aches,hot,shivering,headache) ended up taking pain killers. I kept on looking online for any other experiences of carb flu this bad. It was only on the friday that I accepted that I did indeed have influenza (Man flu). It took me a week to get back to work.

DOH!

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1187 · June 25, 2012 at 4:47 AM

I felt like I was going through drug withdrawal for three weeks. I needed a sponsor, a meeting. Exhausted, craving, just laid out. Once three weeks and reaching 65% fat in my diet did I come out of it. It was rough.

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1187 · December 29, 2012 at 5:30 AM

Seriously, I have to approach it as if I was in NA. if only there was a CA. after 6 months the cravings pop up. Only bacon helps.

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71 · December 28, 2012 at 2:51 AM

Wow, that's so funny you would say that because that's the way I feel. I'm on day 9 and trying my best to encourage myself. If you can do it then ill definitely hang in there :)

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30 · June 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Well I don't know if it's Paleo Flu but I'm on day 7 and for the first several days I wasn't sleeping well at all but I'm better the past two days. Kind of have some diarrhea and just no muscle energy all week (going up a slight incline or stairs just is so HARD). Also I seem to have some neck and back aches, more joint pain. Missed two Crossfit workouts because I just had to catch up on sleep and was so achey. I still did two whey protein shakes and a decent amount of green peas this week, so I'm not even sure if you could say I went totally Paleo, but no dairy and no bread at all. Some of this could also be from hormone fluctuation, too. I did eat plenty of fruit, and had some chocolate almond milk for a snack/treat. I guess that counts? I'm not counting carbs at all, just trying to stick to the food groups. Really want to do this for a minimum of 30 days and see what happens. Loving my frittatas and carnitas salad with guac. mmmmmmmm. Also made Zoodles with meat sauce - julienned zucchini noodles! So yum...

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215 · June 20, 2012 at 1:19 AM

What's weird is I started my vegan to paleo transition about two months ago, first 5 weeks I felt AWESOME and people even were commenting on how I looked much better, etc. I went from eating literally almost only fruit to high fat & protein and below 50g of carb a day. Then, I fell off the wagon heavily for a weekend, equipped with ice cream and cake and I've been struggling ever since then. Fighting off (or not) old binging habits, feeling exhausted, groggy, cranky, etc. Still maintaining low carb/high fat though, it's just way more difficult.. I don't know what happened but I'd like to return to feeling like a super hero plz.

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10 · June 19, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Hi I have been on the Paleo Diet for 4 days - lost 6lbs and totally exhausted! How long will this last?

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10 · July 04, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I am no expert Annie but if you have lost that much weight you are losing a lot of water, which means mineral loss. The board suggests potassium/magnesium supplement; also trying drinking chicken broth a couple of times a day which helps with sodium - this advice has helped me. I am on day 11 and feeling a little better today (still have brain fog and my anxiety level feels high & my overall energy is a little low). It seems like, from what I've read, it can last from a few days to a few months. . .and some people seem to not have any trouble.

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10 · May 14, 2012 at 4:23 AM

One thing I have not heard a single person talk about is upset stomach and cramps. I started paleo about 7 days ago and for the last couple of days I have been in agony. If my stomach doesn't feel like I've swallowed a brick, I am rolling on the floor because my stomach hurts so badly. Is this something associated with the transition into paleo? I'm about the bag the whole process because I really think there is something harmful going on inside of my body from the amount of pain I am in. I am drinking 8 or more glasses of water a day and following Robb Wolf's paleo meal plan, I don't know what is going on!

But other than that, headache- yep!, can't sleep- yep! I'm following Robb Wolf's meal plan though, so I don't know how to make it any better since I assume this is the ideal way to go paleo?

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105 · May 24, 2012 at 7:14 PM

I would add more fat to your diet and slow down on the low-carb. Do it gradually. I did and experienced no flu, but I was already pretty fit to begin with.

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10 · March 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I am going thru it right now. Only been primal for 12 days. The first week I was starving all the time but was eating appropriately. Then after my body got rid of the the last of the carbs in my system at day 4-5 I stopped being able to sleep. It have been a week of torture! No sleep and tossing and turning for hrs. But I am sticking with it and understand why my body is doing it. I contacted my doctor to get a sleep aid and am hoping it will help take the edge off. My fuzzy brain will be thanking me once I get at least 5 hrs. of real sleep. I also have not lost any weight once I stopped sleeping due to my body chemistry being so out of whack. :( But I have faith and know this is the lefstyle for me. I hope the flu doesn't last months like some people have stated. But will take it one day at a time.

MJ-

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2936 · November 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

If I had any adjustment problems, the symptoms were masked by other problems at the time, so it seems like it was all just effortless for me. I read Taubes, it struck a chord, set off chimes, and so I went paleo as if my life depended on it. Well, it DID depend on it. That too makes the transition bearable I suppose. I just can't remember anything to blame on paleo, except maybe cutting out fiber, but that's going beyond paleo, isn't it?

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226 · November 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

It lasted about a week for me. I compare it to waking up with a mild hangover. Slight headache, no energy, and a bit of brain fog. It felt very strange to have those symptoms without drinking a drop of alcohol. Of course, there were sugar cravings, but those passed within a couple of days. From what I gather, there is a broad range of experience here, so there's no predicting how easy it will be, although eating more fat may shorten its duration/severity.

Understanding the biochemistry that is going on helped keep me motivated because it suggests that the symptoms are a sign of positive change in the body. Stick with it!

If it's unbearable, have a piece of fruit or don't bother going low-carb at all. If you don't need to lose a lot of weight or reestablish a healthy metabolism, it may not be necessary. Try the Perfect Health Diet if low-carb isn't for you.

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410 · November 14, 2011 at 12:31 AM

Ok so I had been feeling pretty bad the last couple weeks and with all the symptoms discribed in this post about LC flu and others I am pretty sure I was/am experiencing it. I have eaten Paleo for a while now with slips, falls and what not but about 2 months ago decided I was done jumping on and off the wagon. About 3 weeks ago I decided to throw some IF in there too and go VLC to get real lean. Well this is my first experience with VLC. I was feeling groggy, angry, tired at times when I should be, headaches pro-longed soreness from workouts. Today was the first day in a couple weeks I have felt back to normal(fingers crossed it stays). I did not fast this morning but I have stayed VLC. Hope this "flu" is over with and I start to truly experience this "fat-burning" metabolism that we all want.

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10 · November 02, 2011 at 6:24 PM

welp. i'm on day 10 of my whole 30 challenge. days 1-9 i felt pretty good. today, CRAP. dizziness, nausea, and dead tired.

this may be due to a particularly heavy met-con yesterday though. trying to power through it.

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37187 · November 02, 2011 at 7:39 PM

U can do it! Keep reading this and other sites for emotional support.

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483 · January 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

I did not go through the so-called flu as many apparently have but I did survive an 18-hour killer headache. Holy moly. I attribute the headache to withdrawals much like a drug addict foregoing his poison of choice. (No way I can be convinced refined carbohydrates are not addictive.) For about two weeks afterwards a very light, way-in-the-background headache would come and go. Once those odd headaches disappeared, I haven't been troubled.

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115 · March 31, 2011 at 1:08 PM

i've been dealing with a headache all week long :(

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105 · January 25, 2011 at 3:07 AM

Six days into paleo so far. Needless to say. Not feeling very well. Between the sugar withdrawl the complete lack of energy and the diarrhea, I am not enjoying myself so far. Trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm doing this mainly to boost my energy levels and to maybe clear the mental fog wrapped around my brain. Though admittedly I've read of others who did not experience that magical upswing in energy 2-6 weeks into the diet. But I am cautiously optimistic.

As far as the diarrhea is concerned, I'm trying to boost my fiber intake to 20-30g a day (By adding broccoli, brussel sprouts and kale to my diet) so we'll see how that goes. Maybe I've yet to hit some sort of magical number.

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1074 · August 17, 2013 at 12:21 AM

no dont boost the fiber, fiber sucks for the gut - its inflammatory! just stick to low carb high fat/protein! read fiber menace for context about fiber

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4625 · January 25, 2011 at 2:04 AM

Sounds like a low carb slur

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7324 · January 25, 2011 at 1:31 AM

I didn't get it, but my transition was pretty gradual in retrospect. I had already been off grains for a while trying to maximize nutrient density, and in the beginning my paleo had quite a bit of apples and almonds and such, and probably wasn't very low carb.

That being said, I don't react to most foods or changes in diet. I can eat gluten or sugar and only feel a bit tired if I eat too much. I don't do this though, ever, for obvious reasons. I guess I'm just young and can tolerate it?

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18701 · January 24, 2011 at 11:58 PM

I actually couldn't tell the difference. I had been moderate carb/high protein/high fiber for a long time though, so it wasn't a huge shift other than the fiber thing. The mental shift to higher fat and dropping my carbs down to around 75 grams (from around 150) was much harder for me.

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0 · March 30, 2014 at 6:26 AM

Day thirteen, a cumulative set of symptoms, mixed, but mostly a challenge! Formerly a wholefoods vegan, high amounts of fruit and vegetables; occasional bits of gluten and minimally processed foods eg soups, tofu. Wholegrains, tubers and lots of raw food, no refined carbohydrates or additives.

Symptoms, deep fatigue, muscle weakness, lack of endurance for usual fitness activities (hiking, swimming). Erratic sleep and energy slumps. Constipation and digestive discomfort. Mucus in back of throat and nasal drip.(suspect -eggs) Today flu like feelings and a killer sore throat.

Have cut back hard on fruit last couple of days and am craving oranges and grapes - vit c/phytonutrients or just the sugar?

Feel overall lousy and losing motivation as it's crappy to feel crappy!

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0 · August 06, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I'm on Day 2 and I feel AWFUL. I've experienced the following in the past 48 hours:

  • I can hardly keep my eyes open, even though I had 8 hours of sleep last night

  • I'm not even very hungry, but I've been forcing myself to eat

  • It feels like I have to muster up every bit of strength in my body just to stand up and walk around

  • I can't concentrate at all

  • Borderline debilitating headaches

I'm overweight, and a recovering carb addict. I've gone a complete day without eating a single fresh food item before. I know those factors are plenty to blame for how I feel right now, because my body's like "WHAT?!?!?!" I plan on sticking it out because I keep hearing how much better I will feel in a couple of weeks.

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1040 · June 05, 2013 at 7:17 PM

I had my first low carb flu when I went atkins 15 years ago. I had a low grade headache for two weeks. I was fiending to eat all the time because I wanted those one or two grams of net carb that was in my allowed food list. Despite stuffing myself insanely, I lost weight.

On the unexpected benefits side, I no longer developed fuzz on my teeth and lost most of my IBS symptoms.

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50 · June 05, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Foggy brain and tiredness. I am finding it hard to concentrate at work and workouts seem more exhausting than usual. Hope it passes soon...

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0 · June 05, 2013 at 8:50 AM

So I started my fat loss journey from 86 kgs. I came down to 77 kgs in just over 4 months doing what I thought was low carb, I am pretty sure I was having about 100 grams of carbs, had occasional cheat days where I didn't count anything. I started keto 21 days ago, limiting carbs around 30g per day. The first week I didn't experience much, maybe because during induction you're supposed to limit your carbs even more and keep them close to zero, not sure, but in the second week however I started losing water rapidly, I came down from 76 kgs to 73.5 kgs in about 5 days. Started getting light headed soon after, felt like I would fall when I got up on my feet, headaches and diarrhea followed, not a good time, I increased my multivitamins and sodium intake and during the 3rd week my weight stabilised at around 75 kgs. My body fat before starting keto used to show between 20.5% to 22% and now it's consistently under 20% closer to 19% most of the time. I don't know if this is great progress, but hopefully I am on the right track and won't do any carb ups till 6 weeks of keto are over. I hope this can help anyone with similar experiences and people who have experienced similar changes and experiences are welcome to share and give strength to all of us trying to achieve our goals.

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0 · April 21, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Started Keto/Paleo on Sunday. Monday started to get a low fever, not feeling well, exhausted after work. Tuesday, same. Wednesday fever going higher, had to leave work, felt very sick that night. Thursday truly sick and most of Friday very sick. Crushing headaches, sore throat, runny nose, blurry vision, dizzy, achey. I knew it was related to changing my diet and cutting caffeine out.

Then somehow I see online "low carb flu", I never heard of it. I felt that was definitely what was happening. I hardly ever get sick, even when I'm eating a crappy diet. So that was it.

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0 · April 20, 2013 at 12:14 AM

I am about 5 days in on a pretty strict anti-candida/paleo diet. I was previously consuming a ton of sugar (hooked on it!) The first few days I felt like I was so irritable. I attributed it to not having my sugar. Today (day 5) I woke up so achy and tired, almost as if I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. My energy level increased quite a bit after some fluids and a little goat milk kefir. I had a couple moments of dizziness throughout the day. I teach yoga and kept mixing up my left and right side while cueing the students (which I don't normally do.) Sticking it out because I know it's worth it. I went paleo about a year ago but fell off. The first time I had the flu for about 3 or 4 days then had amazing energy. I used to run in the mornings and it seemed like one day, overnight, all of a sudden I had this tremendous power and energy to run so fast and further than usual and not even need a break. So holding out for the fogginess to lift. Kind of despairing that people are saying it's happening to them 5 weeks in!

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0 · March 21, 2013 at 5:25 AM

On day 15 and feeling awful. Have experienced all symptoms described except headaches. At one point a few days ago I felt like I was going crazy. Right now I barely have the energy to type this comment. But sticking with it..lost 10 lbs already, but that may be from eliminating the 4-5 glasses of sugary drinks I consumed daily for years.

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0 · February 22, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Been on Paleo for 11 days now and in a total fog. It has been a minor struggle, not going hungry at all just feeling zapped with no energy, a bit of mucous and drainage nose/chest. Tried running 3.5 miles this morning (I run marathons) and had to stop 3 times for a quick walk. Looking to get out soon and can already see the postive effects on my body after dropping 3 pounds (looking leaner already). My only cheat is really morning coffee with creamer, other than that going hardcore. Excited for this new lifestyle!

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571 · January 17, 2013 at 2:19 AM

I used to eat a bowl of cereal every day for breakfast and a turkey sandwich for lunch (on super healthy whole sprouted grains bread!) and fruit (apple, mandarin oranges). I didn't go cold turkey, I think I quit the cereal first, then when after I quit the bread I experienced muscle weakness and tiredness and at times I felt like I was going crazy (hard to describe). I wasn't eating enough fat or salt. It only lasted a few days.

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1040 · January 16, 2013 at 11:26 PM

The very first time I did Atkins I got the carb flu. I had it for a week to a week and a half. I felt a little sluggish and had a chronic low grade headache. I felt so mellow I didn't care much. I was also jacking my self up on caffeine at the time to compensate.

The lack of IBS symptoms and lack of anxiety attacks made the minor headache and slight sluggishness worth it. Heck, far less symptoms than Paxil or Zoloft and far better relief.

The last time I tried to go VLC I added bone broth and that did help quite a bit. As far as the add more fat bit. I'm not sure that's really the big help. Speaking in broad brush strokes, when you add fat you are also probably adding salt too. Never underestimate the power of a good lick of salt.

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0 · January 16, 2013 at 7:56 PM

I started eating Paleo on boxing day, and felt perfectly fine the first week and a half. I was enjoying cooking and eating high-fat, low-carb foods, and I had no cravings at all or desire to eat any grains. Dairy was a different story, as I have always been a HUGE fan of cheese, but I stuck with it.

Starting mid-week 2, I began to get a lot of symptoms others descibed above: slight constant headache, upset bowels, muscle aches and pains, crazy fatigue. I'm still suffering from all of those things, but I have no trouble sleeping at all. I'm finding that if I don't get at least 10 hours a night, I can count on feeling really bad the following day... for me that means going to bed at 8pm.

The only thing that changed between the first week and a half and now is that I started out eating a lot of fruit, and now I barely have any. I don't crave anything sweet anymore, and even my normal glass of orange juice is just waaay too sweet for me now. I also may have cut down on fats a bit, as I was using avocados to supplement with in the first while, but my husband doesn't care for them. So now there's not much added fat, other than whatever I use to cook with.

My husband is having the same problems, although he is only eating Paleo for the meals that I cook... when he goes out, he allows himself to have whatever he wants, which is probably contributing to his fatigue as well.

We're currently on Day 22 with no end in sight... hopefully it all ends soon, as the rest of me feels much better!

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0 · December 20, 2012 at 3:39 AM

I am still experimenting with Paleo/Primal life and I experienced this over the last weekend and completely fell off the wagon.

The first week or so was okay ... uncomfortable, but bearable. I had only been experiencing slight brain fog, lethargy and cravings. My biggest problem was that icky, shaky low blood sugar feeling and constant, unrelenting hunger even when I'd consumed adequate calories. I got hit with some really awful fatigue in the middle of a stressful work day and just scrapped the whole thing :(

I really wish I had stuck with it because I'd probably be over the hump by now. I have a better understanding of what to expect so I'm going to dust myself off and try again in mid-January. There should be far less temptation and stress to contend with then, plus I'll be armed with fish oil, potassium and magnesium supplements! And I now know to just take the damn day off if I get too sick/tired!

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0 · November 06, 2012 at 10:56 PM

I've been wheat free for just over a week now... the first few days I was a bit shakey, lightheaded... hungry even though I was eating the same volume of different food groups...that passed, then the usual cravings for wheat / sugar started going away. This week though I've dealt with a headache that lasted almost 24 hours, and mild nausea / stomach upset that seems to stay with me... Could this be a symptom of wheat withdrawl? And how long does this usually last?

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259 · October 15, 2012 at 9:49 PM

I felt awesome for the first 10 days and then had 2 or 3 days feeling a bit tired and a bit spaced out. Someone earlier described it as a bit of a hangover and thats kind of what I felt too. Then it went away - it wasn't too bad at all really as I had braced myself for feeling terrible!

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1144 · October 08, 2012 at 5:08 PM

I managed to avoid the low-carb flu by eating carbs. I'll explain. I knew that I would have some serious joneses for carbs if I went cold turkey. My SAD diet was pretty bad, so I decided that I'd eat Paleo, 100%, but I would eat all the fruit I wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth. I did this for two weeks and averaged about 100-150 grams of carbs per day.

But after two weeks of eating Paleo, I very naturally began to cut way back on fruit to the point of eating no more than a serving every other day or so.

I believe that people who want to go Paleo but are worried about low carb issues should do what I did and eat all the fruit you feel like, for no more than two weeks, in order to let your body adapt to your new, healthy eating, and after that time, you will naturally cut back on your fruit/carb intake once your body is used to your new eating style.

http://www.jbprimal.com/blogs/news

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4266 · August 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

My experience was worse than some. It started as feeling weak and tired going up stairs. Sometimes I would feel a little dizzy and almost black out a little bit, too. Then I became sort of debilitated in my ability to hold a conversation. I felt my mind was still sharp but my mouth was about 10 minutes behind the conversation and words couldn't form properly. I was still trying to go running daily and it was August. This was getting harder and harder to do. I just had no energy for it. One day on a hike I could barely make it to the top of the mountain and I'm a very strong hiker. I was full of edema like you wouldn't believe. I truly felt I was going to die and was thinking maybe I should go to the hospital. This was about the 5th week by this time. Instead I went to the book store and tried to find books about low carb diets. I read in Protein Power how you'll be feeling pretty good after about a month and then suddenly feel like you are getting worse. Then they recommended potassium and magnesium and explained about the water loss. I was relieved and taking supplements helped right away. But I still felt pretty crappy for the next week until I had an urge to eat a whole packet of salt, then another. Suddenly all the horrible stuff lifted and I felt great.

I'm now on my second time around, having succumbed to the lure of the "sweet potatoes are good for you" argument. (The increase in carbs resulted in no weight loss for 9 months and an increase in my dependence on frequent food, an increase in hunger and a decrease in the ability to fast, so that's why I'm going back to low carb.) This time around I feel a little tired and weaker than usual, a little bit of dizziness and almost-blackouts upon standing and have a really bad headache that comes and goes on the right rear side of my head. Otherwise, I feel okay and I think I'm getting through.

It's been harder than the first time to cut the carbs because I got used to thinking all these safe carbs were good, so it's taking a couple of weeks as I readjust my go-to foods to keep my carbs low enough and my calories low enough, too.

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0 · August 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM

It's my fifth day on low carb and I'm not sure if these are actually symptoms or if it's because I'm not sleeping enough but I've been feeling really tired as in I-don't-even-wanna-type tired and I've fallen asleep twice in class so far WHICH HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!! (I'm too nerdy for that). It's also a lot harder to concentrate and there is very slight aching everywhere. Also, what is with this constant thirst?! And the sugar cravings! It's so bad. I can't stop thinking about cake. I dreamt about it!!! Oh, I can see my sanity slipping through my fingers.

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0 · August 19, 2012 at 3:20 AM

OH THANK YOU-OH THANK YOU, I THOUGHT MAYBE MY CANCER CAME BACK. I'VE BEEN ON THIS DIET OF LOW CARBS FOR ALMOST THREE WEEKS, AND SUDDENLY I'VE BEEN ACHEY, HEADACHE, ALL YOUR SYMPTOMS. I HAVE TO LOWER MY TRIGLYCERIDES, SO THE DOCTOR TOLDME TO GO ON A LOW CARB DIET, I WAS FINE UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF MY THIRD WEEK.THEN BOOM, I HAD A BACKACHE AND LITTLE BY LITTLE EVERYTHING THAT EVERYONE HAS BEEN SAYING. I FEEL MUCH BETTER MENTALLY NOW--THOUGH--I STILLL ACHE.

D474002cf9816a783b81b5ffc403b2b0
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36 · October 08, 2012 at 1:43 PM

That flu is not flu at all, it is your body detoxing from the foods you were eating before; gluten containing food, dairy, medications, food additives. It always occurs in the second or third week after greatly improving your nutrition. The fats also aid in helping the body detox. Stay very well hydrated during this time as the kidneys are taxed and rest as much as possible. You can ease in to it though by improving nutrition slowly. I'd rather just dive in but know that if one of your symptoms have been frequent colds, bronchitis, strep, ear infections that the detox can be severe so go slowly.

I am a Chef and Nutrition Coach who teaches and practices a Paleo Diet. I offer Organic, Paleo meals delivered twice a week in Jacksonville that are gluten, lactose and soy free. More info here- http://spacuisine.ezchef.net. I also offer Nutrition Coaching.

Millie Barnes 904-520-3448

0b8819cb930ff206468cb5376cd5da1c
-1
-2 · March 24, 2011 at 4:18 AM

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (http://ninjiom-hk.cwahi.net/) may be another choice. i know alot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious scratchy throat.

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