Paleo diet side effects include diarrhea, tiredness, and trouble sleeping

Paleo diet side effectsBy now, you probably heard about the Paleo diet, but have you heard about its possible side effects, including diarrhea, tiredness, and trouble sleeping? The Paleo diet is a style of eating similar to that of our caveman ancestors. This means a complete elimination of all things processed. Instead, it focuses on foods that could be hunted and gathered during the time of the Stone Age.

Acceptable foods for the Paleo diet include free-range meat, eggs, seafood, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. The current Western diet mainly consists of sugar, grains, and processed food. Those who embark on the Paleo diet have noted greater energy, weight loss, and overall improvement in health. On the other hand, going Paleo may also bring on some unwanted side effects.

Side effects of the Paleo diet


Low-carb flu: Many people may first experience fatigue, lethargy, irritability, and shakiness when they remove starches and grains from their diet, these types of foods are not part of the Paleo eating style. If you typically consume high amounts of bread and carbohydrates, going Paleo may be quite a shock to your system. In fact, the “low-carb flu” may even last for weeks as your body works to find a different source of energy rather than carbohydrates.

A good way to prevent the low-carb flu is by gradually weaning yourself off carbohydrates rather than banning them all at once.

Ketogenic breath: As you switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat, your body shifts into ketosis. A byproduct of ketosis, acetone has a distinct scent. Not a reason to worry, it may be unpleasant, however. Try chewing on mint or cilantro to ease ketogenic breath.

Hypothyroidism: Being on a low-carb diet for prolonged periods of time can produce hypothyroid-like symptoms such as cold sensitivity, fatigue, and sluggishness. Your appetite can also get suppressed, eventually sending your body into starvation mode. Large weight reduction comes with slower thyroid function as a way for your body to conserve energy. You can address this problem by eating a lot of Paleo-approved vegetables.

Cravings: When you restrict your eating style so much, you may find yourself also experiencing intense food cravings. The good news is, the cravings don’t generally last for too long. You can gain some mental clarity once they subside.

Excess protein: The Paleo diet is loaded with protein. An increase in animal protein can raise LDL cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, your kidneys must work harder in order to filter the excess protein. This can be taxing on the kidneys, raising the risk of damage.

Paleo foods that may make you sick

Even though the Paleo diet may seem like a healthy way of eating, some of the foods associated with this regimen can make you sick. Dubbed the “Four Horsemen of Paleo,” these foods could be responsible for any possible illness you may be experiencing.

Nuts and nut flour: Although nuts are healthy, over consumption can be hard on your gut and aggravate your existing stomach problems.

Eggs: If you have a leaky gut, egg whites can slip through the intestinal walls and enter the body. Experiencing a post-nasal drip or memory fog could be a sign that you need to eliminate eggs from your daily diet. Mid-morning bloating or diarrhea are other indicators that you need to remove eggs from your diet.


Excess fruit and honey: Even though fruits are healthy, they still contain a lot of sugar. Paired with honey, it could be a sweetness overload. If you experience diarrhea, abdominal cramping, or gas, cut down your fruit and honey intake.

Dairy: Many people can’t tolerate dairy products well, especially if they have another gastrointestinal condition. If you feel bad after consuming dairy, you should probably eliminate it to see if you start feeling better once again.

The Paleo diet isn’t for everyone, and you should definitely speak to your doctor or a nutritionist prior to switching to make sure it doesn’t cause you more harm than good.

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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