6

votes

Will my energy return?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 13, 2010 at 3:47 PM

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

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:24 PM

hahahaha Dave, I was thinking that exact same thing

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 10, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?

Abbd4c5e64f1406b56a4590bae5b916f

on November 10, 2010
at 01:52 AM

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Abbd4c5e64f1406b56a4590bae5b916f

on November 10, 2010
at 01:51 AM

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4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 19, 2010
at 11:29 AM

Terrible advice

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 19, 2010
at 11:22 AM

Keep in mind, most of the reason for low carb is to allow your body to repair. Our bodies can handle carbs Much better when we aren't insulin resistant

08f65e31fe63fa8c91edcdf8ece35607

(220)

on June 18, 2010
at 06:36 PM

Honestly, I think sweet potato would be my #1 choice, but different types of squash - especially winter squash (think acorn, butternut, spaghetti) and also pumpkin are fairly high in glucose. Also, if you are only 2 weeks into your very low carb diet, you might want to wait another 2-3 weeks to see if your energy increases on its own. For most people, it takes around 3 weeks to transition to running primarily on fat, after which energy typically increases.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 14, 2010
at 03:58 PM

Currants might be a good choice if you can find them. Some carbs, but still fairly bitter. Chokecherries and aronia are also great, but these are all hard to find in the store because they aren't very sweet. Otherwise, blueberries are fairly good.

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on June 14, 2010
at 01:37 PM

Sorry Noah, you have things very wrong. There is very few body systems that require glucose, most running and preferring fatty acids, in fact the heart muscle only runs on fatty acids. Butter, cream, lard etc provide wonderful long-lasting energy. I have been zero carb for years and blast my workouts, always fasted, and am still building muscle. Keep reading, you still have some big holes in your knowledge.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on June 14, 2010
at 01:24 PM

Noah, you should read up on paleoblogs about sat-fat. The central nervous system can also easily adapt to use ketones for it's energy.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 14, 2010
at 08:53 AM

Noah, I think you are on the wrong board.

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 14, 2010
at 02:24 AM

I thought saturated fats should be the most prominent fat in the diet? Everything I read tells me to go easy on polyunsaturated fats..

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2010
at 11:11 PM

I hope this isn't too nit picky but I have a question for the more experienced among us: I been paleo for about 1 year but am about two weeks into a more intense lowcarb version. Just self experimenting really. If I lean out, cool, but no real uber goal or anything. Anyway, I been dragging a bit and I'm thinking about bringing in something like a sweet potato. What veg would you recommend? Other than the sweet potato? Thanks all.

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 08:38 PM

Thanks Ed, I actually just ordered some Iodine a few days ago so I will definitely give that ago when my order arrives!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2010
at 07:50 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with the possible low thyroid action. Possibly not enough iodine. This is how i get mine, its just kelp that is low-temp dried and chopped up so you can just sprinkle on salads, or into soups: https://www.seaveg.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=21

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 13, 2010
at 06:32 PM

Heh, well one thing I've noticed is that if you just cook "a steak" for dinner, you tend to eat the steak and stop. You feel decently sated so you don't bother to cook anything else - but you're not eating enough. That low-grade hunger signal isn't enough. One way to get around that is to always cook more than you think you need, so that you always have food available, which means you have to rely on your appetite to tell you to stop rather than the portion size. Leftovers become lunch or breakfast garnish.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on June 13, 2010
at 06:28 PM

@Shawn, to cast votes just click on the upward- or downward-pointing triangles next to the answers or questions. Cheers,

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:17 PM

I actually think I'm probably not taking in enough calories. Like you said VLC does pretty much kill my appetite. I'm probably getting in about 1,500 calories a day right now. How do you get all the calories that you need if you're not very hungry though lol

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:38 PM

Thanks for your response Melissa. I will just try and stick it out for another month or so like you mentioned and see if my energy returns, hopefully it does! If not, I will try and add in some other carbs. Would berries be my best choice to start out with? I'd like to add in carbs slowly. I'm pretty sure berries have the lowest amount of sugar and carbs in the fruit world, thanks again!

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:04 PM

Woops. I missed that you said you had intentionally cut out starchy vegetables, along with grains and fruit. That's a pretty strict version of paleo, especially if you are low on energy.

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11 Answers

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6
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 13, 2010
at 03:59 PM

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.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 19, 2010
at 11:22 AM

Keep in mind, most of the reason for low carb is to allow your body to repair. Our bodies can handle carbs Much better when we aren't insulin resistant

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:38 PM

Thanks for your response Melissa. I will just try and stick it out for another month or so like you mentioned and see if my energy returns, hopefully it does! If not, I will try and add in some other carbs. Would berries be my best choice to start out with? I'd like to add in carbs slowly. I'm pretty sure berries have the lowest amount of sugar and carbs in the fruit world, thanks again!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 14, 2010
at 03:58 PM

Currants might be a good choice if you can find them. Some carbs, but still fairly bitter. Chokecherries and aronia are also great, but these are all hard to find in the store because they aren't very sweet. Otherwise, blueberries are fairly good.

4
3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on June 13, 2010
at 09:25 PM

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.

-G

4
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:27 PM

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 ).

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 08:38 PM

Thanks Ed, I actually just ordered some Iodine a few days ago so I will definitely give that ago when my order arrives!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2010
at 07:50 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with the possible low thyroid action. Possibly not enough iodine. This is how i get mine, its just kelp that is low-temp dried and chopped up so you can just sprinkle on salads, or into soups: https://www.seaveg.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=21

3
149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

on October 01, 2010
at 07:39 AM

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.

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 14, 2010
at 01:27 PM

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.

1
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:30 PM

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.'

1
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:51 PM

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.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 13, 2010
at 06:32 PM

Heh, well one thing I've noticed is that if you just cook "a steak" for dinner, you tend to eat the steak and stop. You feel decently sated so you don't bother to cook anything else - but you're not eating enough. That low-grade hunger signal isn't enough. One way to get around that is to always cook more than you think you need, so that you always have food available, which means you have to rely on your appetite to tell you to stop rather than the portion size. Leftovers become lunch or breakfast garnish.

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:17 PM

I actually think I'm probably not taking in enough calories. Like you said VLC does pretty much kill my appetite. I'm probably getting in about 1,500 calories a day right now. How do you get all the calories that you need if you're not very hungry though lol

1
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:03 PM

Shawn, everyone is different so you need to experiment. Add in some sweet potatoes/turnips/rutabegas and see if your energy improves.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2010
at 11:11 PM

I hope this isn't too nit picky but I have a question for the more experienced among us: I been paleo for about 1 year but am about two weeks into a more intense lowcarb version. Just self experimenting really. If I lean out, cool, but no real uber goal or anything. Anyway, I been dragging a bit and I'm thinking about bringing in something like a sweet potato. What veg would you recommend? Other than the sweet potato? Thanks all.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 13, 2010
at 04:04 PM

Woops. I missed that you said you had intentionally cut out starchy vegetables, along with grains and fruit. That's a pretty strict version of paleo, especially if you are low on energy.

08f65e31fe63fa8c91edcdf8ece35607

(220)

on June 18, 2010
at 06:36 PM

Honestly, I think sweet potato would be my #1 choice, but different types of squash - especially winter squash (think acorn, butternut, spaghetti) and also pumpkin are fairly high in glucose. Also, if you are only 2 weeks into your very low carb diet, you might want to wait another 2-3 weeks to see if your energy increases on its own. For most people, it takes around 3 weeks to transition to running primarily on fat, after which energy typically increases.

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 14, 2010
at 06:49 AM

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.

-1
Abbd4c5e64f1406b56a4590bae5b916f

on November 10, 2010
at 01:50 AM

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?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 10, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?

662a4ea915eb7c758bdd797d77ead7b6

(656)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:24 PM

hahahaha Dave, I was thinking that exact same thing

-3
6436fe4f9d410e347154f1416f9889fc

(18)

on June 13, 2010
at 10:26 PM

When you go high protein/high fat/low carb, you're body takes a beating. Your body runs off glucose. Glucose is what your body process carbs into. Worst case scenario your body process fatty acid into glucose as well but it takes more energy. The other thing to think about is that your Central Nervous System uses 50% of the glucose in your body. Now your getting into coordination, synapse, and neurological components that falter due to your low carb choice. Also, your choices of fat are GARBAGE!. High saturated fat and not nearly enough poly/mono unsaturated. Cut out your butter, cream, and bacon and replace it with avacado, nuts, and seeds. You'll notice a bit of a change there. As far as low carb, you're just killing your body, eat some fruits, get the energy you need, maybe ZONE diet would be a better alternative.

5e21818aed4c2a14d3bbc0e616f2ba8b

(57)

on June 14, 2010
at 02:24 AM

I thought saturated fats should be the most prominent fat in the diet? Everything I read tells me to go easy on polyunsaturated fats..

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on June 14, 2010
at 01:37 PM

Sorry Noah, you have things very wrong. There is very few body systems that require glucose, most running and preferring fatty acids, in fact the heart muscle only runs on fatty acids. Butter, cream, lard etc provide wonderful long-lasting energy. I have been zero carb for years and blast my workouts, always fasted, and am still building muscle. Keep reading, you still have some big holes in your knowledge.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on June 14, 2010
at 08:53 AM

Noah, I think you are on the wrong board.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 19, 2010
at 11:29 AM

Terrible advice

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on June 14, 2010
at 01:24 PM

Noah, you should read up on paleoblogs about sat-fat. The central nervous system can also easily adapt to use ketones for it's energy.

Abbd4c5e64f1406b56a4590bae5b916f

on November 10, 2010
at 01:52 AM

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