Low carb flu or a viral issue?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 12, 2011 at 7:21 AM

A little background:

I have been eating paleo/primal since July of 2010. I've been gluten free and mostly grain free (95%) since then. I don't eat any legumes and with the exception of a 2 week period approximately a month ago, I do not eat any dairy other than butter. I ended up getting rid of dairy again because I gained 7 pounds in 2 weeks and developed acne. What I have struggled to give up is sugar. I continued to eat copious amounts of sugar (fruit) and cheated regularly and generously (read daily) with a variety of candy and soda (not diet) from July until just recently.

This past weekend I decided that I needed to address my sugar addiction. I cut out all sugar (including fruit) cold turkey on Monday.

Two weeks ago my family had a nasty cold, this past week we had a mild version of the stomach flu.

Here's my question: I feel like crap. I can't kick this cold and while everybody else in the family is long done with any stomach issues, I continue to have diarrhea daily. I'm tired, my joints hurt, my throat hurts quite a lot, I have hot flashes, and I was only able to manage one work out this week (I typically do 3-5). I am still inordinately sore from the one work out that I did manage.

Do you think this could be a carb flu? Or is it more likely just lingering after effects of viruses? My husband and children are all feeling much better but I just can't seem to kick it. Of course, I have a fair amount of stuff going on this coming week so I'd really, really like to be able to work out/have more energy.



on March 12, 2011
at 01:13 PM

I believe the low carb flu is not what most think. It is just a prolonged recovery from a leaky gut. The quicker the leaky gut is repaired the better a patient will feel. It should be step zero for anyone going paleo

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4 Answers



on March 12, 2011
at 02:21 PM

Lots of fluids...bone broths used to do the trick for me

And then I found low carb/paleo and supplementing with Vit D3. Since I started three years ago supplementing with Vit D3 10000IU for the first six months and then 5000IU ever since, I have not been sick one day and I have been around alot of hacking cold/flu SAD eaters.

It increases the immune system and wards off those nasty colds and flues.

A good brand is Now 5000IU per gel cap which uses olive oil as the carrier rather than soybean oil available at http://www.swansonvitamins.com/NWF391/ItemDetail?n=0

Some people I have read will take fifty thousand IUs daily for a few days if they feel an oncoming bout of a cold or flu to give the immune system a boost.



on March 12, 2011
at 12:54 PM

you know what? that sounds almost exactly like my experience with low carb flu. for me, it starts with a dull headache, fatigue, muscle ache. then i do get a sore throat, way up high, and it really hurts! the first couple times it happened, i was convinced i was getting strep! it lasts for a good week, for me then slowly SLOWLY starts to subside. i hate it! of course, it could be viral, too. i deal with them both the same way though- drink lots of fluids, be vigilant in staying away from the sugar, rest as much as you can. it will end soon, one way or another.


on March 12, 2011
at 10:15 AM

It does sound pretty intense. My carb flu consisted solely of a lack of energy and mental agility. I would advise you to treat this as a viral issue primarily. If it's carb flu it will subside with time and discipline. Stick at it mate, and don't let those simple sugars fight their way back into the diet.



on March 12, 2011
at 09:32 AM

Some people seem to get hit pretty hard with the low-carb flu, and it can take weeks or months to become completely adapted.

It does sound more like a viral issue though, at least I didn't experience having a sore throat during my adaptation period which is most likely a symptom of an upper respiratory infection.

You should get better soon, if not then see a doctor and ask him about it.

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