Low-Carb Side Effects & How to Cure Them

Low-Carb
Side Effects
& How to Cure Them

 
Are you struggling while starting out on a low-carb diet? Do you get headaches, leg cramps, constipation or any of the other more common side effects? Use the information on this page to avoid them – and feel great while losing weight.

The main solution to most common problems when starting low carb is to increase the intake of water and salt. It’s even better to do it preventatively during the first week. If you do, you’ll most likely not experience any of these problems, or they’ll only be minor.

Use one of the shortcuts below for specific problems – or just continue reading for all of them.

Top 6 common problems when starting



Less common issues on low carb

 

Low-carb myths

 



 
 

Induction Flu: Headache, Lethargy, Nausea, Confusion, Brain Fog, Irritability

The most common side effect on low carb is what most people experience during the first week, often on day 2-4. The “induction flu”, so called as it can mimic flu-like symptoms.

Headaches are very common during this transition, as is feeling tired, lethargic and unmotivated. Nausea is also common. It’s also possible to experience confusion or “brain fog” – feeling not smart at all. Finally, it’s common to feel irritable – perhaps most clearly experienced by the rest of your family.

The good news is that these symptoms usually disappear by themselves within a few days. The even-better news is that these symptoms can often be avoided altogether. The main cause is usually dehydration and/or salt deficiency, caused by a temporarily increased urine production.

The Cure: Water & Salt

Salt & waterAny problems can be minimized, and sometimes entirely cured, by getting enough water and salt into your system.

For example try adding half a teaspoon of salt to a large glass of water. Drink it. This may reduce or eliminate side effects within 15-30 minutes. If so, this may be repeated once daily if needed during the first week.

A better-tasting option is to use broth or bouillon, e.g. chicken, beef or bone broth.

The Bonus: More Fat

Make sure to eat enough fat. Going low carb, low fat is a recipe for starvation and feeling hungry and tired. You should never endure hunger as you start on a low-carb diet. A proper low-carb diet contains enough fat to make you feel satiated and energetic. This can speed up the transition time and minimize the time spent feeling low when starting low carb.

So how do you get enough fat on low carb? There are any number of options, but when in doubt add butter to whatever you’re eating.

If Necessary

If adding salt and water (and fat) does not completely eliminate the induction flu the best option is usually to just hang in there. Any remaining symptoms are likely to be resolved within days, as your body adapts to low carb and turns into a fat-burning machine.

If necessary, it’s of course possible to have some carbs and make the transition to low carb more gradual and slower. This is not recommended as a first option, as it slows down the process and makes the weight loss and health improvement less obvious immediately.

Learn More

Eric WestmanDo you want to know even more about how to get the maximum benefit and minimal side effects on low carb? Watch our five-part video course with Dr. Eric Westman on the membership site (free trial one month).

Avoiding transition problems like the induction flu is covered in part 3/5


 


 

Leg Cramps

legcrampsLeg cramps are not uncommon when starting a strict low-carb diet. It’s usually a minor issue if it occurs, but it can sometimes be painful. It’s a side effect of the loss of minerals, specifically magnesium, due to increased urination. Here’s how to avoid it:

  1. Drink plenty of fluid and get enough salt. This may reduce loss of magnesium and help prevent leg cramps.
  2. If needed, supplement with magnesium. Here’s a suggested dosage from the book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney: Take 3 slow-release magnesium tablets like Slow-Mag or Mag 64 a day for 20 days, then continue taking 1 tablet a day afterwards.
  3. If the steps above are not enough and the problem is bothersome, consider increasing your carb intake somewhat. This should eliminate the problem. The more carbs you eat though, the weaker the impact of the low-carb diet.


 

 

Constipation

Constipation is another possible side effect, especially during the first time on a low-carb diet, as your digestive system may need time to adapt.

Constipation on low carbHere are the three steps to cure it, perhaps you only need the first one:

  1. Drink plenty of fluid and get enough salt. The most common cause of constipation on low carb is dehydration. This makes the body absorb more water from the colon and thus the contents get dryer, harder and constipation can result. The solution is to drink plenty of water and perhaps add some extra salt.
  2. Eat plenty of vegetables or another source of fiber. Getting enough good quality fiber from the diet keeps the intestines moving and reduces the risk of constipation. This can be more of a challenge on low carb where many sources of fiber are avoided, but eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables may solve this problem. Another, and completely carb-free, option for adding fiber to the diet is psyllium seed husks (can be dissolved in water).
  3. If the steps above are not enough, use Milk of Magnesia to relieve constipation. Amazon link

 



Bad Breath

On a strict low-carb diet some people experience a characteristic smell from their breath, a fruity smell that often remind people of nail polish remover.

The smell is from acetone, a ketone body. This is a sign that your body is burning lots of fat and even converting lots of fat to ketones to fuel the brain. You are a fat-burning machine.

This smell can sometimes also turn up as body odor, especially if working out and sweating a lot.

Not everyone eating a ketogenic low-carb diet ever experience this ketone breath – and for most people who do it’s a temporary thing that goes away after a week or two. The body then adapts and stops “leaking” ketones through breath and sweat.

For some people it does not go away though, and it can be a problem. Here are the possible solutions. The first two are more general, the next three more targeted to the keto smell specifically.

  1. Drink enough fluid and get enough salt. If your mouth feels dry – and it often can when just starting a strict low-carb diet and getting into ketosis – this means you have less saliva to wash away bacteria. This can result in bad breath, so make sure to drink enough.
  2. Maintain a good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day won’t stop the fruity keto smell (that comes from your lungs), but at least it won’t be mixing with other smells.
  3. Use a breath freshener regularly. This can mask the keto smell.
  4. Wait another week or two and hope for it to be temporary (most often it is).
  5. Reduce the degree of ketosis. If the smell is a long-term problem and you want to get rid of it, the easy way is to reduce the degree of ketosis. This means eating a bit more carbs, 50-70 grams per day is usually enough to get out of ketosis. Of course, this will reduce the effect of the low-carb diet when it comes to weight loss and diabetes etc., but for some people it can still be powerful enough. Another option is to eat 50-70 grams of carbs per day and add some intermittent fasting. This can get you roughly the same effect as a strict low-carb diet… without the smell.



 

Heart Palpitations

palpitations2000x2It’s common to experience a slightly elevated heart rate during the first few weeks on low carb. It’s also common to experience that the heart is beating a bit harder. This is normal and usually nothing to worry about.

One common cause is dehydration and a lack of salt. A reduction in the amount of circulating fluid in the blood stream means that the heart will have to pump blood slightly harder or faster to maintain blood pressure.

The Cure

The quick solution to this problem is to drink enough fluids and make sure to get enough salt.

If Necessary

If adding salt and water does not completely eliminate heart palpitations, it can also be a result of stress hormones released to maintain blood sugar levels (if you’re on diabetes medication see section below). This is usually a temporary problem as the body adapts to a lower-carb diet. It should go away within a week or two.

In the uncommon situation that the problem persists – and the palpitations are bothersome to you – try to slightly increase the carb intake. This will reduce the effect of the low-carb diet somewhat, so it’s a trade-off.

Important Note If on Medication for Diabetes or High Blood Pressure

Medical Alert

Diabetes

Avoiding the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar decreases your need for medication to lower it. Taking the same dose of insulin as you did prior to adopting a low-carb diet might result in a low blood sugar. One of the main symptoms of this is heart palpitations.

You need to monitor your blood sugar frequently when starting this diet and adapt (lower) your medication. This should ideally be done with the assistance of a knowledgeable physician. If you’re healthy or a diabetic treated either by diet alone or just with Metformin there is no risk of hypoglycemia.

Learn more about Diabetes and Low Carb

 

High Blood Pressure

On a low-carb diet an elevated blood pressure tends to improve (normalize). This reduces the need for medication and your dosage may become too strong, leading to low blood pressure. One of the symptoms of this can be an increased pulse and heart palpitations. If you experience this it’s wise to check your blood pressure (here’s a good home monitor). If it’s low – e.g. under 110/70 – you should contact your doctor to discuss possibly reducing or discontinuing your blood pressure medication.

Learn more about Blood Pressure and Low Carb
 
 



 

Reduced Physical Performance

Physical PerformanceIn the first few weeks on a low-carb diet your physical performance can be severely reduced. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Lack of fluid and salts. This cause of most early problems when starting low carb is a real killer when it comes to physical performance. Drinking a large glass of water with 0.5 teaspoons of salt 30–60 minutes before exercising is the solution, and can make a huge difference in performance.
  2. Adaptation to burning fat takes weeks. The second cause of reduced early performance is not as quickly fixed. It simply takes time for your body to shift from being a sugar-burner to burning primarily fat for energy, even in the muscles. It takes weeks or a few months. This adaptation will be faster the more you exercise while on a low carb, high fat diet. The end result has many benefits (see below).

Increasing Physical Performance on Low Carb

While transitioning to a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet often reduces early physical performance, the long-term effect has many benefits. This is something that has only recently begun to be appreciated. In fact, a lot of elite athletes are now experimenting with LCHF diets and in some cases they are now crushing the competition.

The benefits of a LCHF diet in sports are mainly seen in long-distance running and other endurance events. The body’s fat stores are huge as opposed to the minuscule glycogen stores. This means that once fat-adapted, an athlete can perform for long periods of time without needing much (if any) external energy. This frees the athlete from having to activate his or her gastrointestinal organs during activity – a large amount of blood flow can instead be directed to the muscles. This also minimizes the risk of digestive issues during the activity.

Another benefit comes from the reduction of body fat usually seen on low carb. This reduction in body-fat percentage and lightening of your body is a huge bonus for most sports.

Learn More

Do you want to learn much more about maximizing your physical performance on low carb? Then check out our interviews with several of the world’s leading experts on the topic, as well as the movie Run on Fat and people with their own experience to guide you:

 
Run on Fat – Cereal Killers 24.7 out of 5 stars5 stars81%4 stars11%3 stars3%2 stars1%1 star1%189 ratings1891:01:17Low-Carb Performance – Professor Stephen Phinney4.4 out of 5 stars5 stars66%4 stars16%3 stars8%2 stars8%1 star0%24 ratings2429:34I Knew Nothing – Professor Tim Noakes4.7 out of 5 stars5 stars86%4 stars5%3 stars3%2 stars2%1 star1%76 ratings7628:51

A Better Version of Me4.4 out of 5 stars5 stars57%4 stars32%3 stars6%2 stars3%1 star0%127 ratings12715:01The Truth about Low-Carb Performance – Jeff Volek4.6 out of 5 stars5 stars71%4 stars20%3 stars5%2 stars2%1 star0%39 ratings3920:43



Watch the free interview with Professor Phinney on physical performance on low carb
 


 
Hair Loss on Low Carb

Temporary Hair Loss

Temporary hair loss can occur for many different reasons, including any big dietary change. This is especially common when severely restricting calories (e.g. starvation diets, meal replacements) but it can also occasionally happen on low-carb diets.

If so, it usually starts 3-6 months after starting a new diet, at which point you’ll notice an increasing amount of hairs falling out when brushing your hair.

The good news is that even if you should be so unfortunate this is only a temporary phenomenon. And only a percentage of your hair will fall out (the thinning will rarely be very noticeable to others).

After a few months, all the hair follicles will start to grow new hair, and when you have regrown your hair it will be as thick as before again. Of course, if you have long hair this could take a year or even more.
 

Background

To understand exactly what is happening it’s necessary to know the basics of how hair grows.

Every single hair strand on your head usually grows for about 2-3 years at a time. After that it stops growing for up to 3 months. Then a new hair strand starts growing in the same hair follicle, pushing the old hair out.

Thus, you’re losing hair every day, but as the hair strands are unsynchronized this is not so noticeable. You lose one hair and another starts growing, i.e. you always have about the same number of hair strands on your scalp.

Stress and synchronized hair loss

If your body experiences significant stress, more hair strands than usual can enter the resting phase at the same time. This can happen for many reasons, like these:

  • Starvation, including calorie-restricted diets and meal replacements
  • Diseases
  • Unusually demanding exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Psychological stress
  • Any big diet change

As the new hair strands start growing a few months later all these formerly resting hair strands will drop at almost the same time. This is called “telogen effluvium” in fancy medical terms (read more about it), and it’s relatively common.

What to do

If there was an obvious triggering factor 3-6 months before the problem started – such as giving birth or transitioning to a strict low-carb diet – you don’t really have to do anything. In all likelihood the problem will be temporary.

As long as you eat a varied and nutritious low-carb diet it’s very unlikely that stopping it will speed up the hair regain, it will likely happen as quickly anyway. And unfortunately, you can’t stop the hair loss from happening once it has started, as the resting hairs will fall out whatever you do.

It’s possible to order blood tests for nutrient deficiencies, but unless you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet (with no supplements of iron, B12) it’s unlikely that they will show anything interesting.

How to minimize the risk of hair loss when starting low carb

First, temporary hair loss is relatively rare after starting a low-carb diet, most people never notice anything like it.

There are no studies on how to minimize this small risk, but it’s likely helpful not to restrict calories, i.e. don’t do a low-carb and low-fat diet (AKA “starvation”). Instead, eat as much fat as you need to feel satisfied and not hungry, an LCHF diet.

It may also be helpful to reduce other sources of stress during your first few weeks on low carb. Sleep well, be kind to yourself in general, and preferably don’t start an intense exercise program at the same time (wait at least a couple of weeks).

 


 


 

Elevated Cholesterol

Analyzing cholesterol on a low-carb dietFirst the great news: A low-carb high-fat diet usually result in an improved cholesterol profile, indicating a lower risk of heart disease:

The classic effect of a low-carb diet on cholesterol is a slight elevation, partly due to an elevation of the good (HDL) cholesterol, indicating a lower risk of heart disease. This especially as the cholesterol profile also typically improves in two more ways: lower triglycerides and larger, fluffier LDL particles.

It has also been shown that two years with low-carb, high-fat diet advice results in reduced signs of atherosclerosis.

Potentially troubling cholesterol results

However, there are also potential problems, even if they are rare. On average, the elevation of total and LDL cholesterol is so small that most studies do not even pick up on it. But for a smaller number of people – possibly around 1-2 percent of the population – there can be worrying elevations of LDL and total cholesterol, beyond what can be considered normal. This potential risk is worth taking seriously. It can also be worth taking steps to correct it.

For example, a small subgroup of people, probably partly due to genetics, can end up with total cholesterol numbers over 400 mg/dl (10 mmol/l) on a strict low-carb diet, and LDL numbers over 250 mg/dl (6.5 mmol/l). This is not normal. Even if the lipid profile is otherwise good – with high HDL and low triglycerides – it may be unhealthy.

Looking closer at modern cholesterol tests in such cases there’s usually a high LDL particle count, and the apoB and apoB/A1 values are usually abnormally high. These numbers all indicate an increased risk of heart disease.

What to do

If you get a non-healthy lipid profile on a low-carb diet there are a few things to consider, in this order:

  1. Stop drinking Bulletproof coffee (butter, coconut fat or MCT oil in coffee). Don’t drink significant amounts of fat at all when you’re not hungry. This alone can often normalize cholesterol levels.
  2. Only eat when hungry and consider adding intermittent fasting (consistently reduces cholesterol levels).
  3. Consider using more unsaturated fats, like olive oil, fatty fish and avocados. Whether it will improve your health is unknown, but it will lower your cholesterol. And as it’s abnormally high that may be enough of a reason.
  4. Finally, if step 1-3 is not enough: Consider whether you really need to be on a strict LCHF diet for health reasons. If a more moderate or liberal diet (e.g. 50–100 grams of carbs per day) can still work for you, it will also likely lower your cholesterol. Just remember to choose good unprocessed carb sources (e.g. not wheat flour or refined sugar).

More details

LCHF and LDL – Dr. Sarah Hallberg4.4 out of 5 stars5 stars70%4 stars12%3 stars6%2 stars5%1 star4%93 ratings9328:56For more details about low carb and the percentage of people who get higher LDL cholesterol, watch this talk by Dr. Sarah Hallberg.

To statin or not to statin

Statin Nation4.6 out of 5 stars5 stars77%4 stars14%3 stars2%2 stars2%1 star1%68 ratings681:02:45When cholesterol is high the question of cholesterol lowering medication, statins, is often discussed. These drugs do lower the risk of heart disease, but at the risk of very real side effects, like reduced energy, aching muscles, diabetes type 2 and a marginally reduced IQ.

As a general guideline, if you’re at high risk of heart disease, five years of taking a statin drug can reduce your risk of an heart attack by 1 percent and lengthen your life by about 3 days. Only you can decide whether that is worth the risk of side effects.

Please note that even these relatively small statistical benefits are a best-case scenario, as they are based on Big Pharma-funded studies.

It’s abundantly clear that effective lifestyle changes can have a far larger impact on your heart health than taking a statin drug. And without the side effects.

My cholesterol

FWIW, here are my cholesterol tests after 10 years on a low-carb, high-fat diet.


 


 

Low Carb and Alcohol Tolerance

Low Carb and Alcohol Tolerance

When on a strict low-carb diet most people need significantly less alcohol to get intoxicated. So be careful the first time you drink alcohol on low carb. Possibly, you only need half as many drinks as usual to enjoy yourself the most. Low carb will save you money at the bar.

The reasons for this common experience is still unclear. It could be because the liver is busy producing ketones or glucose, and thus has less capacity to spare for burning alcohol, slowing down the process.

Alternatively, it could be because alcohol and sugar (fructose) is partly broken down in similar ways in the liver. Eating less sugar could thus make your liver temporarily less adapted to break down alcohol, just like drinking less alcohol would.

No matter the reason, you’ll likely tolerate less alcohol on low carb. Be prepared for it.

Obviously, if you’re going to be driving be extra careful. Don’t ever drink and drive, period.

 

 

Next

Keep reading about Common Questions and Answers About Low Carb
 

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99 Comments

  1. Ross
    Mary, your morning distress is probably more related to what you ate for dinner than what you ate for breakfast. But not to worry: while your body is becoming fat adapted, some intestinal issues are normal as your gut biome shifts to dealing with the very different things you're eating. I also have had some distress that settled down after the first 1-1.5 weeks.
  2. 1 comment removed
  3. Amanda vd Watt
    Frequent urination on the LCHF plan!!!
    Can you please explain to me why this happens.
    Thank you
    Replies: #54, #84
  4. Hi!

    If you are a member I recommend you to ask one of our experts. :)
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/member/ask-the-experts

    Frequent urination on the LCHF plan!!! Can you please explain to me why this happens. Thank you

  5. Chris van den Bergh
    Nancy I am a lay person. I refuse to use statins for one reason only, the manufacturers include in the packaging a list of contra indications. Read those notes by the manufacturer and take note that they actually warn you how dangerous the products are.
  6. Nuala
    Hi I've been on lchf diet for about 2 months now and have had to cut out cardio as my legs just don't have the energy, they get sore after a few minutes. I try to work out five times a week and some of that is with a personal trainer. He suggested I up my carbs a bit but once I do I start to gain weight. Just looking to know if there's something I can do or take to regain my energy levels
    Reply: #57
  7. matej
    It happens the same to me. In the beginning it was fine, 5-6hours on bike with no problems. Today i suffer I do not even motivation to go out.
  8. Karin
    Yes, I have also read an article stating the same. I switched to sea salt collected from the rocks in Crete and Kithira. Tastes much better also. Found the pink rather strong.
  9. Dog Lover
    Started Low Carb on Monday and have lost 3 pounds. I have really low energy. Is this normal?
    Reply: #73
  10. Brenda combs
    Than you for the info on this website, I I started LCHC a week ago I have a question about stevia is it OK to use it?
  11. Melissa
    can i have sugar in my tea.
  12. Margaret Coe
    I've been on the LCHF diet 5 weeks this coming Friday. It has cleared up pimples and skin eruptions around my mouth where my CPAP mask rubs. Also, the arthritis pain in my thumbs has disappeared and I also have steady weight loss. I know for sure that I am walking with a more fluid gait. I never would have thought so many positive changes were possible so quickly.
  13. Hope
    Gwen, I do see that your goal was to heal your gut and that is good. I also suggest reading/studying the GAPS diet, by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. She has written two books I know of thus far, one of them is called Put Your Heart in Your Mouth...it's about the relation of heart and cardiovascular function to your gut.i think you can find the book on Amazon or her official website. Hope this helps.
  14. Trish
    I am on the diet 3 days and I have headache and very tired

    Trish

    Reply: #65
  15. Hi Trish!

    Have you tested this:

    "The Cure: Water & Salt

    Salt & waterAny problems can be minimized and sometimes entirely cured by getting enough water and salt into your system.

    For example try adding half a teaspoon of regular salt to a large glass of water. Drink it. This may reduce or eliminate side effects in 15-30 minutes. If so, this may be repeated once daily if needed during the first week."

    I am on the diet 3 days and I have headache and very tired
    Trish

  16. Jenny
    Please there is an issue that is out there that hasn't been addressed here - "The Keto Rash".
    This seems to be a predominant problem experienced by 80% undertakers of the keto diet. I'm presently experiencing this itchy annoying rash, started my LCHF diet 3 weeks ago and started to notice this rash about 4 days ago. It started mildly from just underneath my breast and by day 4 has spread to my chest and neck. There are so many theories as to why this rash occurs when you are on a Keto diet but no one has discovered the root cause of this problem. If treated by antibiotics, the rash goes away and comes back after awhile if you continue the diet. Some have found relief and cure by increasing carb intake or completely coming out of keto. Please is there a known cause and prevention/treatment for this rash? Why does this rash occur? Please i'm really bothered by this especially because the itch is becoming unbearable and I do not want to take antibiotics.
  17. yash
    Thank you. This article helped me a lot.
  18. gbl
    My total cholesterol, high hdl and low low tryclycerides, has been over 10 mmol for decades. I can't imagine why it would now be any more worrisome (sic). I haven't been concerned about it to now, so won't be starting to. More concern about my NAFLD.
  19. Marianne
    Hi Jenny, I am having exactly the same problem as you. I am avoiding a trip to the Doctors and antibiotics. I just thought it was the extra dairy. Mind you stopped the cream and switched to coconut milk and cream to no avail. Rash still present and driving me mad!
  20. Francois
    I have lost 12kg in 2.5 month from 98 to 86, I am 1.9m. I am strict with LCHF.
    My blood glucose is going up from 90 where it had been for the last 2 years to 110 now with LCHF.
    Any one has an idea why?
  21. Estelle
    Since I started with the LCHF lifestyle I have had an increase in Uric Acid. What should I do to reduce this?
  22. deborah
    Oy! Not feeling bad really, because I decompressed into LCHF. But after years of fighting, I've finally succumbed to diabetes (a1c 6.6!) after being forced to abandon a high fiber diet due to a chronic partially-blocked small bowel (CAT scan shows adhesions binding it -- no doubt from one of my many earlier surgeries -- kidney cancer, colon rupture, sigmoidectomy -- no more surgery for me please!). 5 weeks ago, I was put on 500 mg of Metformin a day, a low dose, and I see it's fine with the diet. But I'd like to see what LCHF alone does and want to go off it. I'd had numb feet, leg cramps after I started Metformin, and I really would rather not take it. Any advise, thought, experience?
  23. Laura
    I have been on low carb (20) for one week and lost 2 pounds. I was hoping for more!!! A couple of those days I felt headachy and kinda fluish. Hope next week goes better.
  24. Lisa
    I've been on LCHF for 3 weeks. Last 2 days I've been dizzy so have had salt water and it seems to of helped. But for the last week I can't sleep I'm tired but my brain is acting strange. it's noisy or rushing sorry I can't explain it, just say it's not relaxing it's active. I'm worried I'm going to have a stroke or a fit. Cos I'm tired I do eventually drop off but then I have that falling feeling and wake. I'm lying here awake with a noisy brain trying to relax it. I'm not sure what's wrong.
    Replies: #76, #88
  25. LorArr
    Hi! I have a question!
    I'm taking HCG drops, will this work with a strict low carb diet and intermediate fasting?... I'm an actress and I need to lose wait very fast for a rol, next week. I know, that fast weight lost could be dangerous, but this is an emergency
  26. Lisa
    I felt so bad like I had a hang over. I was walking round like a zombie feeling dizzy. I had lots of salt water for a few days but didn't really help me. I couldn't sleep either. Yesterday I had to have a slice of toast and extra veggies. I felt a lot better. I I also had a good nights sleep. I don't understand what happened I was fine the first two weeks. Lost weight and didn't feel hungry but that all changed the third week.
  27. Mark
    I'm not in any need of weight loss but I realized on a relatively high carb diet that I just didn't not feel at balance. I was at an optimal weight of mostly muscle mass already with good regularity but I had been experiencing angina for unknown reasons even with fairly good energy levels. About a week ago I switched to a LCHF (maybe not so much fat) regimen and although I did experience the dreaded headache and constipation, their effect was minor and the feelings of angina almost immediately dissipated within the first few days. As well, I entered ketosis (even with slightly higher levels of carb intake) by the 2nd or 3rd day and experienced higher energy levels. By the way, one effect I hadn't read about is that the clarity of mind is astounding (What a benefit that is at work ! This protein must be feeding my brain) While there is no free lunch, I'm glad that the benefits of LCHF definitely outweigh any temporary side effects that come with the change. I definitely didn't need to be eating all of those donuts and pies anyway (and I say that whereby I don't care what someone weighs - they are just no good for anyone if a long level life is your goal)
  28. Jay
    Before I started my Keto diet, I read this page especially carefully because I wanted to be prepared for any side effects. One nasty and the most terrible side effect of this diet the Diet Doctor did not include is Keto Rash (prurigo pigmentosa). I am currently experiencing this rash and it started appearing a couple days after I had started the Keto Diet. It's extremely itchy and it takes weeks to recover. I don't believe all who do this diet will surely have this side effect but if you google, there are a number of people who already experienced the rash after they start the Keto diet. I wish this website had that information so I could stop immediately after seeing the symptom. I thought it was caused from dry weather or some fabrics. Because the diet was only change I had, I could luckily end up in researching more side effects by this diet. It seems more and more people are getting interested in this diet and they refer to related information provided this website. Therefore, the diet doctor should include this terrible skin rash as one of the side effects caused by this diet.
  29. Patricia
    Im thinking about starting this diet but after reading all the problems sone are having I am a little sceptical. Where are the answers to these questions. This may help with my decision.
  30. Elizabeth
    Hi I started diet 4 weeks ago and lost 8.5lbs first week but only lost 1.5 second week and then a pound last week. Followed the plan but have experienced painful foot :( blood levels raised indicating gout, never had this before?? Not sure if I should continue?? Been enjoying the diet not feeling hungry and occasionally only having 2 meals a day.
  31. Lisa K.
    Lisa
    I am 64 years old and started LCHF at 30# overweight. It is very SLOW and I must follow strict low carb regimen, but I have lost 13 pounds in 9 months. My most recent medical check up showed every one of my lab measurements to be in the center of the normal range. My doctor (who sniggered at my choosing LCHF eating) is very happy with the results. Wish I was losing weight as fast as I used to in my younger days but I write to encourage the older babes like me to just stick with it and be patient. The results will happen.
  32. Mary T
    Reply: #85
  33. Brittney
    I have thought about going low carb for a while, but I am a runner and have maintained an 80 pound weight loss for the past year. Since runners need a certain amount of carbs, is this a suitable plan? Please help. I am in the middle of trying to reach my ideal running weight (122, currently 138)
    Reply: #86
  34. Judie Collins
    This way of eating is a natural diuretic. That's the simple answer and it's something I enjoy. No water retention! But due to that I find that I have to make sure I get enough electrolytes - a good healthy salt, potassium and magnesium.
  35. Judie Collins
    Wow.... good info. I hadn't even thought of candida die off, but makes perfect sense!
  36. Judie Collins
    Your body switches from utilizing carbs for energy to utilizing fat for energy, which gives you a much larger energy source for endurance athletes. You run out of carbs, but you don't run out of fat. I used to be a serious bodybuilder and would run out of carbs and have to eat sugar to keep going. Once I made the switch I never had to be concerned about running out of energy.
  37. Mary
    Does anaybody have trouble sleeping? What can i do to help me sleep when on this diet?
  38. Carl
    Hi Lisa,

    I've had the same symptoms, I'm glad it's not just me! I also found after a high fat meal at night, I would wake up with heart racing. I have had difficulty sleeping, with similar things going on, brain being noisy and feeling quite irritable. I have found that if I increase my healthy carbs by a further 20-30 grams per day this does help, I usually have a bowl of fruit salad to boost my carb intake, so effectively having the moderate carb allowance.

  39. S
    For those who feel palpitations, hair loss, frequent urination, I felt it too. Just up your carbs, mainly from veggies and one fruit a day. See how that feels. If this is not enough, add another fruit or small sweet potato. Find your personal balance of fats, carbs and protein. After the carb you might feel like walking, it's a good time to exercise. I lost 20 lbs in a year with eating more and enjoying my foods cause I love the fats. My fat loss mainly came from my stomach and legs, not my face, which is what happens to me on a high carb diet.
  40. 1 comment removed
  41. Michelle
    Been on this diet for 2 weeks... i know it ain't much but i havn't lost any weight! lost lots and lots of fluids and i thought it would show on the scale, but nothing :( anybody know if its normal? been on this diet before and it was grate! lost 1kg every other day in the beginning! and now nothing :( can somebody help me understand?

    TNX!!

  42. Sam
    I was on a strict 2-4 grams of carb per day from the 4th of July till the day before Thanksgiving when I had my blood work done. My Total cholesterol and ldl shot up. I was very disappointed because I lost around 30 lbs and felt great. Was my elevation in cholestrol due to my minimal intake of carbs? FYI I have been struggling for around 10 years with high cholesterol and being overweight?.
  43. Christopher Barlow
    I thought this was due to incorrect estimation of LDL from TG formula - not an actual increase in LDL?? http://www.docsopinion.com/2017/01/02/ldl-cholesterol-overestimated-l...
  44. Pauline
    I did this diet a couple of years ago. The only side effects I had were the fuzzy head and lack of energy for the first few days then it was amazing. I felt energised and my brain felt sharp and i was never bloated. This made me happier than the weight loss to be honest! I did strict no carb for 3 weeks and lost a 18lbs. Then worked up to building in carbs. Unfortunately I slipped back into old habits after about a year! I then decided to go to Slimmimg World ... big mistake! This made me convince myself it was ok to eat lots of pasta, rice and low fat products. As a consequence I eventually crept back up to my original weight before low carbs. It was an interesting learning curve!! This week I've embarked back on low carb although not doing no carb this time. It's definitely the way forward for me and I'm very excited to be back on plan :-)
  45. Roberta
    Hi Andreas, what about adding Kombucha on the drinks section, and how it fits in this way if eating. Does it go with the 'liberal' lchf section, it also satisfies the need to drink something fizzy. Also, kimchi / sauerkraut is the other ferment that helps a lot with digestion.
  46. M.M. Rich
    Yes I also have a tiredness problem. if I do exercises I actually gets black outs. So extremely tired.
    Please where can U get the answers of 56 and 57 ?
    Replies: #97, #99
  47. Hi M.M!

    It's common with tiredness. What you can do is drinking water with salt. But if you have been eating LCHF for 2-3 months and still have the problem then it could be a good idea to add so much carb back as you need to get rid of the problem.

    More reading here:
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/side-effects#inductionflu

    Yes I also have a tiredness problem. if I do exercises I actually gets black outs. So extremely tired.
    Please where can U get the answers of 56 and 57 ?

  48. Amanda
    Is there discussion on fatty liver disease ?
  49. TheResearch
    If experiencing tiredness during cardio it may be worth building a carb 'reload' day into your routine rather than simply increasing your carbohydrate intake on a daily basis. Generally the reload day occurs every 10 - 14 days and serves to re-establish the glycogen stores in your muscles. The reload obviously takes you out of ketosis, however upon reverting back to your LCHF routine your body quickly reverts (and becomes better at reverting) within 24 hours. For those people who miss certain foods it can also act as a 'treat' day which can be a positive motivation in not straying from the path.
  50. Miranda

    I have read many materials including the American Heart Association Website which still suggest eating fats low in saturated fat. I have a family history of strokes and fear eating too much fat?

    You are absolutely correct! A diet high in saturated fat and LDL cholesterol will most certainly increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Most of the foods recommended in this diet have high levels of both. For example just one egg contains over 200 mg of cholesterol, that is 70% of the recommended daily allowance. This lchf diet may be effective for weight loss for some but there are many other diets and lifestyle plans that can help you reach your weight loss goals and will not increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. For example diets rich in whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, can drastically lower your risks for those aforementioned diseases. Plant foods are naturally low in saturated fats and contain no LDL cholesterol. I wish you all the best in your health and fitness goals!

    Reply: #101
  51. Undecided
    Please back up your assertions with supporting material. Many research studies suggest that the correct approach to LCHF may do the opposite of what you say>
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/low-carboh...
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