3

votes

'Low-carb flu', anxiety pretty much unbearable.. anyone else?

Answered on July 30, 2017
Created March 18, 2012 at 3:17 AM

I recently decided to lower my carbs in order to have a diet which would better fit the 'low-carb' definition: from about 70-100g to 30-60g. I wasn't looking to lose weight--it was pretty much just an experiment to see how I'd feel and possibly improve body composition. I was planning to eventually get to VLC before upping carbs again to experiment with high-carb paleo and note the differences.

During the first few days--about a week and a half ago--I didn't notice much of a difference besides slightly lower energy levels. Over the next week or so I noticed it would take a LOT of self-talk to even begin a workout. Soon, carb cravings came. These 'symptoms' were more bothersome than unbearable, so I kept at it. Starting about 5 days ago, however, I noticed the dizziness-upon-standing creeping back that I'd first experienced as a symptom of undereating (even though my calories remained the same as before). Then, on top of those symptoms, came irritability. Everything seemed to annoy me. I also dropped a few pounds, going from 115 to 111. These are all things I'd previously heard had been experienced when switching to a lower carb intake, so I decided to push through it and see if they'd subside, fingers crossed all the while.

However, 2 days ago I started to experience extreme anxiety over something trivial, and this nearly led to a full-blown panic attack, which is what I started paleo to get away from. I was able to stop it in its tracks and observe the situation objectively, but the same thing happened today--except this time, it was over nothing at all. (I just had a fairly high-carb meal and feel about 10x better.. possible placebo effect, but still a positive one!)

Every other effect was tolerable, but I simply don't want any setbacks when it comes to anxiety. I'd been anxiety-free since starting paleo 5 months ago and that's something I just don't want to give up!

What do you all think? For now, I'm upping the carbs back to where they were, but I'm curious: Have any of you experienced anything similar? Should I have just pushed through it, hoping to eventually adapt? Or did I make the right decision?

Looking forward to your replies (:

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on March 25, 2012
at 04:12 PM

I guess add more starches and fruits then. As long as your calories are in the right place for your goals...you'll still be fine. It's a little slower with more carbs, but certainly not impossible. If your goal is just to be more healthy then you would definitely want to include things like winter squashes and tubers, and NOT skip the fruit. If your goal is gaining muscle, it's MUCH easier with carbs on board. Doing primal or paleo does NOT have to be low carb by any means. Good luck, keep experimenting until you know what works best for YOUR body.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 18, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Start here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201203/do-carbs-keep-you-sane

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 07:12 AM

Oh, certainly it isn't necessary, but I thought that might have been one of the perks! It's true though; at my very lowest weight I was eating low-fat, high-carb. The human body works in mysterious ways.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Well, I've been losing fat from the right places while eating my fruits and vegetables. My waist is down at least 6" since November so I don't agree with those who say you have to go low carb to lose fat. My wild card for fat loss is fasting; when I eat I eat well.

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:38 AM

Thanks for the response! In the past few months I've discovered the same about myself--high-volume carbs in the form of fruits and veggies make me feel awesome. My even emotional keel on higher carb seems to outweigh the potential body-fat-lowering benefits of low-carb, at least for now!

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:35 AM

Thanks! Yeah, I tried to tough it out despite all the symptoms, but the anxiety was something I just didn't want to deal with!

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:35 AM

Wow! That would certainly make sense. Do you have any sources for that?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

11
0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:07 AM

Low carb decreases seretonin - hense the anxiety. If you dont need to be low carb - dont do it - too many side effects.

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:35 AM

Wow! That would certainly make sense. Do you have any sources for that?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on March 18, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Start here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201203/do-carbs-keep-you-sane

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:31 AM

I tried low carb once--only once.

I definitely thrive on non-starchy vegetables and fruit, with occasional starchy vegetables. My gut enjoys the prebiotics and probiotics and I have no problems with dehydration or constipation/diarrhea so I believe what I'm doing is best for me.

I think it's fine if you like it but there's no reason to force it. I'm no more likely to give up fruit and vegetables than I am to give up beef and other meats.

I don't eat many nuts, but that's because I do fine without--and I suppose that's how the low-carbers feel about carbs?

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:38 AM

Thanks for the response! In the past few months I've discovered the same about myself--high-volume carbs in the form of fruits and veggies make me feel awesome. My even emotional keel on higher carb seems to outweigh the potential body-fat-lowering benefits of low-carb, at least for now!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Well, I've been losing fat from the right places while eating my fruits and vegetables. My waist is down at least 6" since November so I don't agree with those who say you have to go low carb to lose fat. My wild card for fat loss is fasting; when I eat I eat well.

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 07:12 AM

Oh, certainly it isn't necessary, but I thought that might have been one of the perks! It's true though; at my very lowest weight I was eating low-fat, high-carb. The human body works in mysterious ways.

1
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on March 19, 2012
at 02:15 AM

I tried it for a few months, and the anxiety and brain fog got worse and worse for me. I struggle with mood issues whenever I get glutened, and when I was healing up from decades of gluten, so that was a complicating factor. I have a good 30 lbs of fat to lose, too, so I was hoping the low carb weight loss thing would work. I did a 23-and-me analysis and found some SNPs that suggest high fat low carb isn't optimal for me, so I'm currently upping my carbs (though still only around 100-150 g/day) and test-driving some Peatian/DannyRoddy thyroid health ideas to see how far that takes me, then I may try out the low carb thing again if that doesn't work or if it stops working. It wouldn't surprise me if different tactics work at different times, depending on what the body needs.

1
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on March 18, 2012
at 04:07 AM

The flulike feeling usually passes in a few days for most people. One just has to tough it out as the body is changing from a glucose burning metabolism to a fat burning metabolism. Once through this change, fat we eat and our own fat stores make energy go up, when ketones are produced and used for fuel for the brain...the brain fog passes... It just takes a little time.

Honestly though, unless you are trying to burn fat, there is no need to go low carb. Enjoy your safe starches, nuts, and your fruit. :)

6d06945c5244687be2f6a9ca731b9cc6

(405)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:35 AM

Thanks! Yeah, I tried to tough it out despite all the symptoms, but the anxiety was something I just didn't want to deal with!

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on March 25, 2012
at 04:12 PM

I guess add more starches and fruits then. As long as your calories are in the right place for your goals...you'll still be fine. It's a little slower with more carbs, but certainly not impossible. If your goal is just to be more healthy then you would definitely want to include things like winter squashes and tubers, and NOT skip the fruit. If your goal is gaining muscle, it's MUCH easier with carbs on board. Doing primal or paleo does NOT have to be low carb by any means. Good luck, keep experimenting until you know what works best for YOUR body.

0
393e77d14b2930ba35973b7612af9f15

on July 30, 2017
at 11:19 PM

I think I Am going through This right now☹️

0
2b6a85c97431affe12573bc1201df209

on June 08, 2013
at 10:50 AM

Yes, about 3-5 days into Paleo I have anxiety. Cut out all caffeine it makes it worse. I ate a potatoe before bed, didn't help. My doctor said that paleo releases toxins in your body as well as you just detoxing from grain and Sugar, which causes the anxiety. When feeling anxious and tight chested, she suggested that I take L-theanine 200mg. If after 15 minutes of still being anxious, take another. You can have a max of 6 pills a day. L-theanine produces alpha brain waves instead of beta which is a slower calmer brain wave. You can purchase L-Theanine online or at your local health food store (I do not believe GNC carries it its an amino acid) I keep this by my bed with a glass of water bc I wake up with terrible anxiety. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hope this helps

0
Cdae4591275aa6ce4bb8a66817411b7b

on March 19, 2012
at 06:18 AM

I've had similar experiences. Taking 250mg of magnesium has calmed me and improved my sleep a lot. Most Americans don't get anywhere near the RDA of magnesium, around 380mg daily.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 19, 2012
at 01:40 AM

Anxiety the first couple of nights, then the fat-burning machine kicks in and all is good.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!