The Atkins Flu

In my last post describing how some people feel sick when doing Atkins induction, I was describing what’s called among low carbers ‘Atkins Flu’. I’ve heard of it, and experienced mild versions of this in the past – but now for the first time, I have the full-blown version of it: body aches, feverish feeling, chest cold – you would think I have the actual flu – but who gets the flu in August?

So – did I take my own advice? In a word, yes. I was not at my best yesterday, but I still did my normal routine. I did turn down an invitation to play tennis, but accepted an invitation to go out to dinner. I really didn’t want to, since I felt pretty crappy, but Life’s An Experiment, so what the hell?

I’m glad I went. We had a great time, and I had a great meal that was pretty low carb so I didn’t  break my diet. Also, while waiting for a table, I went to Starbucks and got a large coffee. Coffee isn’t for everyone, but boy, did it help reduce my symptoms.
Do I feel great this morning? No. The primary symptoms changed from sore throat to chest congestion, but I still got up 5am to write this and will probably get through the day without being at death’s door.

So anyway – why am I experiencing these symptoms this time? I just did hard core induction a few weeks ago. I can only speculate:

  • I have a real cold. Coincidence. I rarely get sick since living low carb, but I’ve been eating a lot of carbs lately, so perhaps my immune system is running at at less than ideal.
  • Because my body is burning fat, and a number of toxins are stored in your fat, these toxins are released as your body burns your fat as fuel, and my ‘cold’ is my body reacting to the toxins. That sounds very plausible and scientific like, eh? I don’t think it’s that. I lost 90 lbs of body fat after years of eating crap food and never felt like this.
  • I’m getting old. Well, I’m certainly older than last week, but not by much. I think the ‘I’m getting old‘ excuse is a bit of a crutch for people who feel lousy. Maybe some lifestyle changes would make them feel less old?

My conclusion? Probably the first one and maybe a bit of the second and third. I’ll never know for sure, and a battery of doctors couldn’t guess better than I just did. I’ll survive.

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One thought on “The Atkins Flu

  1. Hello,
    My husband and I have just started a low carb diet because he was recently diagnosed with diabetes and for a few days I have been feeling sick and very thirsty as well. Now I know I may not actually be sick, it could be the carb flu. I guess it is nice to know that my body is burning the fat away but I feel so drained and exhausted. Unfortunately with a 7 and 4 year old I am not able to get alot of rest. I am hoping to lose about 80 pounds…..wish me luck!

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