What Is the Carb Flu on the Paleo Diet Plan?
Carb flu describes the unpleasant symptoms some people experience when they begin the Paleo diet. Living Paleo means committing to a lifestyle that minimizes the toxins and chemicals to which you expose your body. When you begin your journey of cutting out the sugars and sugary carbohydrates, your body can go through a difficult transition.
It's called the carb flu because the symptoms are often similar to how you feel when you have the flu. Riding the wave and being patient as these symptoms pass is probably the most common hurdle in transitioning to a Paleo diet.
For many, simply understanding what the carb flu is helps lead them to a successful outcome. When you're going through dietary changes that cause you to feel differently and you don't understand what's happening or what to expect, you may start to believe that you need to change course. However, in the case of the carb flu, staying on track is definitely the right move.
The degree to which your body experiences the carb flu symptoms is purely individual. Some people snap out of this phase in a couple of days; for others, it takes closer to three weeks. Here are the symptoms commonly associated with the carb flu:
Mental fuzziness, like you're in a mental fog
Headaches, not like a sharp pain headache but more like a hangover headache that's a dull, annoying kind of discomfort
Fatigue x 10
Experiencing these systems as you begin the Paleo diet means nothing more than your body is transitioning. Think of your body pushing the compost button and trying to start over with cleaner, more efficient fuel.
Your body is going through a good detox and flipping the switch to the more efficient fat-burning system of using fats (dietary and body fat) and proteins to create the energy it needs, rather than the sugarary carbs it was accustomed to using.
If you feel a little shaky during a workout, give your body time to adjust and try eating some protein and fat before you train. A piece of protein and a handful of nuts works well for most, but you have to adjust to what works best for you.
The goal is for you to understand what's happening to your body so you can deal with these symptoms with as much smarts as possible and not trick yourself into feeling like this way of eating just makes you feel bad and cranky.
This transition is part of the process and a small ticket for admission to what you'll get in the end, so hang in there! Try to ease off any intense training when you're dealing with the carb flu and let your body recalibrate.
Bottom line: Stay the course. You've come too far too give up now! Tell yourself it's worth it and white knuckle through this one.