Side effects of Low-Carb Paleo/Zone?

by (248) Updated May 07, 2013 at 6:58 PM Created June 16, 2010 at 4:09 PM

After listening to a few of Robb Wolf's podcasts I decided to try out low-carb paleo/zone. I am a small female (10 blocks) and I work out about 4-5 times a week (although this week I have not worked out). On Monday I began the diet and finished each day with about 50 g of carbs but by late afternoon yesterday my vision became spotty causing a headache and nausea. Are these side effects of not eating enough carbs? I have followed paleo since January (unweighed/unmeasured) but I normally get an ample amount of fruits of vegetables to compensate for not eating grains. I am worried about going forward with this diet plan and for the side effects to continue. What do you think?...

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1397 · June 16, 2010 at 4:51 PM

It sounds like you're getting into hypoglycemia, which might indicate you have a bit of insulin resistance. Given the amount of time that's passed since you went low carb, it seems like you've just run out of liver glycogen. I'd recommend taking a gradual reduction in carbs each day to avoid this, possible getting down to 50 grams over 1 week or so. Your body WILL adapt after around 2-4 weeks to being more fat adapted. 2-4 weeks is usually when people see things start to pick up again and start feeling better than before. Also, make sure you're not counting fiber in the number of carbs you eat (dumb I know, but I made this mistake when I originally started the zone...). Coffee MAY help, as it signals the release of adrenaline, and thus releases glucose from the liver, but there IS a following insulin response as well. Hope this helps!

428 · June 16, 2010 at 5:08 PM

There's something called "Atkins flu" that happens within a few days of starting a low-carb diet, as your body has to learn to not rely on carbs for energy processing. Upping the carbs can help and Drew has some great suggestions. Once your body adapts to using fats instead of carbs, this won't be a problem.

I started out as a low-carber after years of lots of carbs, no meat, and tons of sugar in my diet. I felt great with low-carb for a few days and then had a horrible time for about the next three days. I upped my carbs a couple of days and it helped. Went back down to lower carb and adapted within the following week. After that, my energy level was amazing for this confirmed couch potato. I WANTED to exercise (I was over 200 lbs at the time!). My low-grade depression disappeared, my mood was much more stable, and I dropped LOTS of weight quickly.

10 · December 10, 2010 at 7:03 PM

I am on my 4th week of the Paleo diet, so no carbs from breat, wheat, pulses, peas, peanuts, potato, everything I love and I feel absolutely crap, flu like symptoms, headache, dizzyness, stomach ache, the runs then constipation, no energy just yeauk, is this normal????? and what can I do to make me feel better.

0 · May 07, 2013 at 6:58 PM

I started this diet in 3/23/13 and I am followed by a personal trainer who measures me and wieghs me once a week. He has me on a great exercise program. My hypoglycemica only lasted 3 days and then I felt better. Drink lots of water and eat protein. I feel great on this diet and have lost 8 pounds of fat and 10 pounds of weight. I was told no carbs and no dairy. I take a vit. D3 and magnesuim supplement daily. I just started to add 2 tsp. of flax seeds also. The diet works great with an exercise program.

1930 · June 16, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Try consuming around 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilo of bodyweight after your workout. It will accelerate glycogen re-synthesis, and probably help prevent the 'hypoglycaemic' state you experienced.

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