Coping with Negative Reactions to a Low Carb Diet

Businesswoman talking on the phone in office
Jamie Grill/Iconica/Getty Images

Question: I felt lousy on a previous low carb diet. Does that mean they aren't for me?

Answer: Not necessarily. There some common but easily fixable sources of negative reactions to low carb diets:

1.“Carb Crash”. This is my term for the fatigue and irritability that can happen in the early days of a very low carb diet – usually around days 3-5, while the body is adjusting to its new source of fuel.

Happily, there is an easy cure. As Atkins says, “…although their bodies would almost certainly adjust during the second week, there isn’t any good reason for feeling washed out and sickly for even one day”.* The answer is to eat a few more carbs. Atkins recommends more vegetables and nuts, but in my opinion it’s safe (and faster) to get a bit more of a carb hit with something like half an apple or some berries. Just don’t sabotage yourself by going for a donut. The idea is to ease your body through the transition comfortably.

2. You may not have been paying enough attention to the composition of the diet – making sure you were getting enough fiber and a good mix of recommended nutrients.

3. You may have been on a one of the very low carb diets, when your particular body may be suited to a less drastic cut in carbs.

4. The first 1-3 days can bring on a fierce desire for carbohydrate foods. It is important to understand that this will pass.

The most important thing is not to go hungry. I find that eating foods with a lot of fiber and healthy fats is helpful.

*Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution page 140

Continue Reading