2

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Keep getting sick when I attempt to switch to a paleo diet.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 08, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I've tried twice now to slowly switch over to a paleo diet. I usually do this on the weekends and switch half of my 5 or 6 meals to non-cereal meals, but still eat lots of fruits and veggies and plenty of protein.

Both times now either the first night or the day after I've come down with a cold or at least cold-like symptoms and I have zero energy and usually brain fog. After re-carbing up I feel better but am still very weak.

Is this normal and is there a better way to ease into it ? I already eat lots of fruits and veggies but subtracting even some of my daily cereals seems to destroy my immune system.

724f0f45eb53919b8c617c3c1ec5fbc5

(830)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:53 AM

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-i/ http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-ii/ From what I've read, broth & boullion are good for carb flu because you need extra sodium, other minerals, and electrolytes. Also helpful: 1. dropping carbs low (Eades says below 30 per day, Atkins says below 20) for the first couple of weeks. 2. Eating plenty of fat during those couple of weeks. Good luck!

16a773dff600d080bfd8b2174ce99c07

(30)

on July 10, 2012
at 10:21 AM

melimel: I would love that too! But last time my carb flu lasted for 2 whole months! You think bone broth would help in such a situation? Or is something else going on?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 09, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Why not to get some sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squashes to help you to make it all better? Bananas do wonders for you.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 09, 2012
at 12:51 AM

I said he was in the process of converting, not yet fully running on ketones.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on July 08, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Wait, he can run on ketones from only 1 weekend of paleo?

20a9c0f2bcbd692153ece3a7d63aa15b

(10)

on July 08, 2012
at 10:10 PM

Wow, lots of good responses. Thanks guys.

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6 Answers

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5
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 08, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Yup, this is a common and well known effect called the low-carb flu. It's your body converting from running on carbs to running on ketones (i.e., you are going into ketosis). It's nothing to worry about, but it's a bit of a drag when it's happening. Should clear up in a week or two (though some people take even longer).

Don't let it discourage you. Once you're through it, you'll feel great.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on July 08, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Wait, he can run on ketones from only 1 weekend of paleo?

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 09, 2012
at 12:51 AM

I said he was in the process of converting, not yet fully running on ketones.

4
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 08, 2012
at 09:46 PM

Caleb,

Make sure you replace the carbs with fat, not protein. Low carb, low fat is called the "Faileo Diet" for a reason.

Also, most people do best long-term going cold turkey on carbs, but not everyone. If you just can't make it through the transition period, try tapering off.

Finally, read anything by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney. They're not Paleo gurus, but no one knows more about low carb diets than they do.

1
6b1e308ead300a922b7cc1ba8ad01dc1

on July 08, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Agree with the previous posters - that's the the "beauty" of carb-detox.

Your best bet is to allow for 2-5 days of feeling under the weather, going completely clean and just getting the stuff our of your system. I had major headaches when coming off the stuff, coupled with nausea and feeling completely sluggish.

Your body is so used to running on glucogen, it rebels. It still doesn't know to be in fat-burning mode, yet there is no glucogen in the blood anymore to fuel it. It does pass,

BTW, I get similar withdrawal signs when quitting coffee.

I really liked the "timeline" by Whole30: http://whole9life.com/2012/06/the-whole30-timeline/

0
724f0f45eb53919b8c617c3c1ec5fbc5

(830)

on July 09, 2012
at 06:34 AM

If you decide to keep your carbs low enough to cause the "carb flu" symptoms, it may help to add a couple of cups of broth/boullion per day to your diet until the symptoms subside. The salt and other minerals really help with muscle cramps and headaches, brain fog, etc.

I love being a ketogenic fat-burning machine, so I think it's worth it to push past the first few days of suffering to get there. But I'm a middle-aged woman with weight to lose; not everyone needs to keep their carbs as low as I do.

16a773dff600d080bfd8b2174ce99c07

(30)

on July 10, 2012
at 10:21 AM

melimel: I would love that too! But last time my carb flu lasted for 2 whole months! You think bone broth would help in such a situation? Or is something else going on?

724f0f45eb53919b8c617c3c1ec5fbc5

(830)

on July 12, 2012
at 05:53 AM

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-i/ http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ketones-and-ketosis/tips-tricks-for-starting-or-restarting-low-carb-pt-ii/ From what I've read, broth & boullion are good for carb flu because you need extra sodium, other minerals, and electrolytes. Also helpful: 1. dropping carbs low (Eades says below 30 per day, Atkins says below 20) for the first couple of weeks. 2. Eating plenty of fat during those couple of weeks. Good luck!

0
16a773dff600d080bfd8b2174ce99c07

on July 09, 2012
at 05:24 AM

Caleb,

I am in the same boat as you. I fell off the Paleo wagon in April and have started to claw my way back in the last week or so. Like you, I have had many failed starts. I used to start and then feel weak, have mysterious leg pain and constant brain fog. This time round though I am on the 6th day and no signs of the above symptoms.

What I did differently is, what Sam Knox said in the above answer. I replaced the grains with starchy vegetables, mostly potatoes cos they are easily available. You have to understand that Paleo isn't necessarily low carb. Even if you are transitioning to Paleo because you want to eat low carb, given your past few attempts, it would seem that you would do better if you eased yourself into it.

I am sorry I don't agree with "the wait for it to pass sentiment." I have been at a stage where it didn't pass for more than 2 months and I caved and started eating grains and felt better, immediately. In hindsight, I don't blame the diet, it was my method that was flawed.

So, don't give up hope. Eat lots of starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, etc and then see how you feel. Good Luck!

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on July 08, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Very normal. As trjones said, this sounds like low carb flu. You are GOING to hit it if you go moderate-to-low carb, it WILL get better and you will likely feel better than the normal pre-Paleo feelin you had. Post-Paleo it was months of almost-euphoria for me. The low-carb flu was every bit worth going through for me, and it was two weeks long.

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