In a paleo diet, people have foods similar to what humans in the Paleolithic era may have been consuming. The diet includes free range meat, eggs, vegetables, seafood, seeds, fruits, and nuts. Before you make a switch to this diet, you need to consider its drawbacks:
- Low-carb flu: Some people experience lethargy, shakiness, irritability, and fatigue when they suddenly try to eliminate starch, grains, and legumes from their diet while making a switch to a paleo diet. Although there are sufficient plant-based carbs in a paleo diet, there is still a drastic change for people whose previous diet was heavy on beans, bread, and pasta. The symptoms of low carb flu last for a maximum of three to four weeks. The body adjusts by burning fats instead of carbs. Low-carb flu can be avoided by making a gradual switch to a carbohydrate-free diet.
- Ketogenic breath: As the body switches to burning fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, it undergoes a process called ketosis. The byproduct of ketosis is acetone, and acetone carries a distinct scent. The production of acetone is normal, and one can overcome its odor by chewing gum.
- Hypothyroidism: Long term exposure to a low carb diet can lead to side effects like shakiness, excessive fatigue, sluggishness, excessive sensitivity to cold. All of these are symptoms of hypothyroidism. A low carb diet suppresses the appetite, and the body can go to a starving mode, leading to a weight loss. Weight loss forces the brain to downregulate the thyroid process to save more energy. One can deal with these issues by consuming paleo permitted vegetables which are good sources of carbohydrates.
- Cravings: Like any other diet, even a paleo diet can make a person crave certain foods that are not permitted in the diet. When it comes to a paleo diet, people get a strong urge to eat French fries and potato chips during the initial stages of transition. But after the transition, a person may have high energy levels and increased mental focus and clarity. The initial cravings can be a bit hard to deal with, but if one stays determined, the craving will wear off after a couple of weeks. After this, the person following the diet is less likely to get sudden cravings.
- Excess protein: A paleo diet primarily comprises of animal protein in large amounts. People get proteins from meat, shellfish, poultry, fish, and eggs. Except for fish, most of the foods consumed are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. It has been noted that excessive consumption of animal protein leads to an increase in the bad cholesterol levels in the blood and a decrease in the good cholesterol levels. Such a condition can increase the risk of heart diseases. High protein content can also affect the kidneys as they are forced to work harder for removing additional waste.