6

votes

What precautions do you take to limit risks of low carb paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 26, 2011 at 9:52 AM

I eat mostly Paleo for the third month now, and after a successful weight-loss, a plateau came.

Somehow intuitively I decided to further limit my carb intake, but after like 1-2 weeks, I've started to experience problems best described as lightheadedness, fatigue, and being thirsty even after drinking water. After researching, it seems to me the most probable cause is that I lost too much potassium.

In retrospective, it seems that I made several smaller errors, which accumulated and caused this problem - drinking more coffee (diuretic effect), forgot to drink enough water, ate too little vegetables, ate salty cheeses, and probably generally ate too much protein and too little fat.

I seems to slowly recovering (decided to eat more vegetables, bananas, and less salt), but I'd like to ask if you experienced something similar on LC diet, or even better, what do you do to prevent this.

But what I understood from all this is, that I have to be more responsible and careful when giving recommendation about dieting to anyone. At first I was enthusiastic about the Paleo and low carb lifestyle, and while I still am, now I see one can run into problems when not knowledgeable enough or experimenting wrongly. For now, I decided I will not talk about the low carb idea with other people and not suggest it to anyone until I understand better its risks and implications. So after all, it was a useful experience for me - although still having mild headache.

What I also see (only my subjective notion), that I am not sure if Paleo, or especially low carb dieting, is yet ready for mainstream adoption. I tried to roughly follow Blueprint and The paleo solution, and now I see they don't enough warn against potential risks - of course, they didn't encourage me to eat salty cheese, but still, I believe we need to be more cautions generally since some people might experimenting too much. Or, maybe I am just an exception and did some obviously stupid mistake.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 26, 2011
at 09:41 PM

+1 Wordy McWord!!!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 26, 2011
at 09:39 PM

+1 Excellent insights greyman! It's a journey to be sure. We all make mistakes and we all need time to learn how to tune into our bodies and the signals they send us. THAT is the part people don't get. It's great to start with a prescribed plan but in the end you have to be willing to learn about your own body and tweak the plan so that it fits your body more specifically. Many don't seem to want to be bothered and would rather give up and say it didn't work. Sound like you are not going to be one of those people so congratulations on clearing the biggest hurdle of all IMO.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on September 26, 2011
at 04:30 PM

+1 Dr. Mike's blog is very useful. For others reading this, please don't follow the same learning curve. Read one of the Protein Power books and/or Dr. Mike's blog before you start a low carb diet.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 26, 2011
at 03:05 PM

no but it will give you an indicator of how much you are getting. You think its electrolyte balance but your diet is also deficient in potassium which clearly has something to do with it.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 02:12 PM

Josh thank you for the comment. I also plan to stay on LC so experiences like yours help me to keep my confidence, since the principles of LC are sound and the arguments against it are not substantial. I understand that paleo is a lifestyle, but where I was maybe a bit naive was that I supposed that knowing the basic paleo principles will somehow ensure I can't run into problems - which apparently is not always true.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Any electronic version freely available ? :P Open source FTW

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:29 PM

Awesome answer. No matter what diet you have chosen, you're going to make suboptimal choices sometimes, and learn as you go.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:17 PM

But will it reflect that you can loose a lot of electrolytes with the water fluid after kidneys release it? Because that's probably what happened in my case.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 12:46 PM

After more researching, it seems that I just lost too much electrolytes -> http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/saturated-fat/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-ii/ - it sounds counter-intuitive, but it seems that I have to eat more salt on low-carb paleo, not less.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 12:45 PM

After more researching, it seems that I just lost too much electrolytes -> http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/saturated-fat/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-ii/ - it sounds counter-intuitive, but it seems that I have to eat more salt.

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5 Answers

9
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2011
at 12:33 PM

Actions you call "making mistakes" are not really mistakes. You will be" making mistakes " for the next thirty, forty or fifty years, hopefully!The Paleo experts make "mistakes" all the time. Even if you "hit the Paleo sweet spot" for a day , week, or month, the next day, week, or month will present different challanges to "perfection". Maybe another way to say it is there are no mistakes. Perfection is not 100 % and there is no perfection anyway. Paleo is a practice in the Eastern relgious sense. There is no failure, there is no sin as in the West. "PALEO" predates ALL the Neolithic religions (Obviously!) and Greek logic (obviously!)" Paleo is not a diet, but a lifestyle" is not a shibolith. Good luck on your jouney. You better enjoy it, since there is no "where" to get to.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 26, 2011
at 09:41 PM

+1 Wordy McWord!!!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:29 PM

Awesome answer. No matter what diet you have chosen, you're going to make suboptimal choices sometimes, and learn as you go.

4
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:52 PM

I have been LC-VLC for many years, never encountered any issues such as you describe. I have never drunk coffee, I always use sea salt, I drink lots of water and eat as 'nose-to-tail' as I can including home made bone broth and raw liver. When I get my yearly medical done it's always great results. Keep in mind each person will vary and people need to wrap their mind around the idea that paleo is a lifestyle a way of living not some diet. There is no right or wrong there is what works for any given individual.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 02:12 PM

Josh thank you for the comment. I also plan to stay on LC so experiences like yours help me to keep my confidence, since the principles of LC are sound and the arguments against it are not substantial. I understand that paleo is a lifestyle, but where I was maybe a bit naive was that I supposed that knowing the basic paleo principles will somehow ensure I can't run into problems - which apparently is not always true.

3
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I highly recommend Phinney and Volek's book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable . It's recent and addresses many common questions, concerns, and pitfalls.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Any electronic version freely available ? :P Open source FTW

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 26, 2011
at 12:50 PM

This is why everyone needs to download cronometer and log a couple days of food intake to ensure adequate micro-nutrient intake, you would have easily avoided this scenario.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 26, 2011
at 01:17 PM

But will it reflect that you can loose a lot of electrolytes with the water fluid after kidneys release it? Because that's probably what happened in my case.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 26, 2011
at 03:05 PM

no but it will give you an indicator of how much you are getting. You think its electrolyte balance but your diet is also deficient in potassium which clearly has something to do with it.

2
F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on September 26, 2011
at 10:35 AM

I don't think a mainstream approach is required. As with lots of things I think you need to experiment and see what works for you, whilst continually refining your diet.

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