This morning I found this great description of “Atkins Flu” on the Livestrong.com website. Bob and I both suffered the first three days after lowering our carb intake.
The Atkins induction flu is a term used to describe the side effects sometimes experienced by Atkins dieters when they start restricting their carbohydrate intake to very low amounts. The symptoms of the Atkins induction flu include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, irritability and nausea.
There are two main causes of the side effects sometimes experienced when starting on a low-carb diet. The first is carbohydrate withdrawal. Most people are used to eating about 50 percent of their calories as carbohydrates, so drastically switching to a low-carb diet comprising less than 5 percent to 10 percent of the calories as carbohydrates is a big dietary change. If your body was used to running on carbohydrates, you might require some time to adjust. The second cause is dehydration. Low-carbohydrate diets tend to be diuretic and help you get rid of unwanted extra water in your body, but if you do not properly replenish the lost fluids and electrolytes, dehydration and the accompanying side effects can occur.
Atkins dieters can start experiencing induction flu symptoms in as little as 12 hours after cutting their carbohydrate intake. The symptoms usually disappear within four to five days, although they might last up to a week for some dieters.
If the symptoms of Atkins induction flu are caused by carbohydrate withdrawal, patience is your only strategy. If you let your body adjust to this new way of eating, you will soon feel like you have more energy. To eliminate the diuretic effect of the Atkins diet, ensure that you stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Taking 1/2 tsp. of salt, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce or 2 cups of broth a day also is recommended to replenish the lost electrolytes. Talk to your doctor about this recommendation if you have been told to limit your sodium intake.