I was wondering if anyone else had problems with low energy since starting this way of eating? I am about 1 month into eating Paleo and my energy has steadily gone down to the point now where I'm dragging all day. I eat extremely low carb consisting of only green veggies and some carbs from heavy cream. My diet consists of grass fed beef, lots of butter, coconut oil, some sharp cheddar cheese, eggs, grass fed beef bacon so I know I'm getting plenty of fat. I felt really good at first. I was taking walks and exercising a few times per week but now I don't have the energy to exercise at all. I was wondering if this would pass or if I should add in more carbs. I know it's hard to find carb sources when you cut out grains, fruits and starchy vegetables though. I would like to stick to this way of eating because I know it's much healthier for me but I miss having lots of energy. I'm only 30 so I should still have a lot of gas in the tank :P
It sounds like you have a good diet. Maybe you need to stick it out to allow your body to adapt to ketosis better. Maybe subbing in some seafood for the eggs(for some reason I always found that too many eggs sapped my energy) and seasoning with kelp for iodine would help. Perhaps some bone broth or clay supplements would provide higher mineral load. I would try the latter and see what happens.
If not, don't think that low-carb is the only way to go. Paleo ≠ low-carb. I would give low-carb two months at most. If you are not feeling awesome by then, maybe it's not for you. I do know people who are ZC are report feeling awesome, but I did not have that experience. I eat plenty of starchy vegetables now. And now that it's summer I'm noshing on strawberries. My teeth haven't fallen out and I haven't gained weight like some ZC friends said I would last year when I went higher-carb.
Consider hypothyroidism and/or iodine deficiency. Sometimes changing your diet can unmask a hypothyroid condition. Also, a lack of seafood and iodized salt in the diet can lead to iodine deficiency. Try increasing the iodine in your diet ( http://paleohacks.com/questions/405/how-do-you-get-dietary-iodine ) or taking iodine supplements ( http://paleohacks.com/questions/5125/just-ordered-iodoral-any-advice ). If you don't feel better in a few weeks, get a thyroid panel (TSH, free T3, free T4) to rule out hypothyroidism ( http://paleohacks.com/questions/1/hypothyroidism-and-paleo ).
I had the same prob when I went low low carb. Terrible WODs and half-marathon times for weeks. Intermittent dizziness too.
I would second all the above discussions. When I was reading Survival of the Fattest by Stephen Cunnane, he pointed out that ketosis is an iodine-reliant energy process. I would say probably 80-90% of Americans are iodine deficient from the med lit. Add'ly, because of they Americans so adamantly adapt the low salt and USDA pyramid of grains, perhaps even 90-100% are truly iodine deficient.
Iodine is not missing alone. One actually requires support of ALL of the shore-based minerals -- zinc mag selenium molybdenum manganese et cetera. Doing one without the others puts the rest out balance. Calcium from bone broths, copper from veggies and berries and pastured meats from mineral rich areas (whicih are not many in the US)... are ALL important too. To me just easier to supplement and not miss anything.
Low carb takes adaptation from 2-3 mos from experience from other athletes who have posted at andy deas and robb's posts on robbwolf.com. listen to andy -- he's recovering on/off from adrenal insufficiency.
The caveat is: do you have healthy adrenals?? If not than you may be burning that organ out (esp with low minerals). Small frequent meals or getting adequate carbs 50-100 grams daily might be a better goal if you feel really poopy until things sort out. For me, I'm not really into supp'ing what I don't need so I put off a basic low dose B-vit and some minerals for a long time. I started because s*cky adrenal function -- within 1-2wks I started to feel energetic and more myself...surprisingly.
Good luck and hope you figure it out! Carb noshing works for me too -- I started feeling better within one wk. Mild wt gain now if I overindulge (like on Kurt's candy cigarettes! haa like almond flour BROWNIES, blondies and cookies that my sis 'M' is SO OOOO good at making) and not keeping some semblance of evo/paleo play/hunt/forage/fish type of physical activity up. Admittedly I am too sedentary.
Have you tried adding a magnesium and potassium supplement? Start with 1 or 2 90 mg tabs of potassium and 400-600 mgs of mag. Use magnesium aspartate or Citrate. Avoid Magnesium Oxide. It is the least absorbable, cheapest and causes the most diarrhea. When you cut your carbs way down, your insulin production drops. Insulin retains a lot of water. As insulin drops, you pee out lots of MAg and Potassium. Oh,and Noah, I appreciate your courage stepping into the lion's den but next time bring a better sword than the statement "Glucose is what your body process carb into"...I think it is the other way around.
You should also probably check your calorie intake and make sure that you're eating enough. Eating VLC can kill your appetite, and your story of progressive lack of energy sounds a lot like your metabolism adjusting to a lower calorie intake by slowing you down. If you want to stay VLC, you might just have to eat more steak.
I experienced the same loss of energy after going LC (but non-paleo). At first I felt great mentally, but was utterly unable to do any physical exercise, I just felt like there was no energy in my muscle or they were constantly asleep (whereas I'd been running 10km before breakfast on my high carb diet immediately previous). I've also experienced general mental malaise while LCing.
The physical inability eventually and slowly alleviated and now my endurance is far better than it was before, though I still make sure I have some carbs in the days previous to a very intense workout. Most people suggest that fat-adaptation takes a matter of weeks, but I found that in terms of exercise it took far longer. Continually exercising at a low intensity while LCing should speed up the adaptation at least. As to the mental sluggishness: I generally feel at my best while VLCing and generally feel tempted to go ever lower, but occasionally after a while I'll start to feel more tired, so I try to occasionally include a dose of carbs (though this is typically only around 50g extra per week).
This might tie into the anecdotal reports of people feeling more sluggish and having a 'slowed metabolism/reduced thyroid' after extended LCing. Alternatively I've hypothesised about the idea discussed at Hyperlipid that LCing mimic starvation: if this is so, then it's plausible that extended pseudo-starvation would cause the body to reduce energy expenditure. Perhaps extended LCing, relates to a 'winter mode.'
Noah sounds experienced but i would caution that replacing butter with nuts and seeds for fat-sourcing is not really a good choice. I kind of agree with the sentiment that avoiding dairy may lead to more energy, but i kind of think that butter stands apart from the other milk products. I dont do dairy at all (cream, raw milk, etc) except i still cook with whole, pastured butter. And i just think that adding in n6-heavy nuts and seeds is never going to lead you to a place of better health. I know that Wolf recommends them, i realize that they could indeed sustain us in the postapocolypse, etc etc but i simply do not think that the nuts and seeds you see in the stores around the US are really going to be something that will be a net positive in your life. Too many negatives with them. Most poeple are just too loaded with n6 already.
If you find yourself really, truly dragging throughout the day, and dont think its just a transition to fat-burning from sugar-burning, etc, then maybe throwing some berries in the mix, just drinking a bit more caffeine, a sweet potato at night before bed (i know diet dictocrats are anti-this, but i find that sometimes this will give me good sustained energy throughout a busy following morning) will help.
Shawn, I also avoid nuts / seeds due to high omega 6. Butter, coconut oil, animal fat is fine. I fid I need to eat some veg - I aim for around 100 - 150 g carb, from sweet potato, or butternut squash carrots - any root veg. This maintains my weight at around 144 lbs.
Have you tried FitDay and doing a food log for a few days? You can click a tab "nutrition" after you have filled it in and find out what percentage of your RDA you are getting daily. If some of the minerals / vitamins are routinely below the RDA you will know what to supplement, or what food groups to add into your diet to keep the levels up.
Personally I'd prefer to eat slightly more carbs and know my vitamin / mineral intake was good than go defficient or rely on supplements.
Fan Chung-yen said, not pleased, not to have compassion. Chinese society from the Song to 2000, is now fast, I dare not say all of China not as ancient, but at least we have to learn self-cultivation of Fan Tao, Dankan win or lose, live happily, or someday you for China which teams they lost to weak teams in Asia and the terminal one of a branch, who would give you the Medal of it?
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