FAQs: Am I Going Through Carb Withdrawal?

I would like to state, I am in no way a licensed medical professional. For those asking questions that pivot on an answer that only a medical professional can answer, I will not be answering those. I would recommend you speak to a licensed dietician or your medical provider.  *Please review my medical disclaimer in the legal tab.

Any answers are from my own personal experience and extensive research. They should not be considered medical advice.

Are you experiencing dizziness, weakness and feeling like you're coming down with the flu while on Atkins Diet Phase 1 Induction? If so, you may just be going through sugar withdrawal. Read more to learn how to ease your symptoms.

Dear Satch, 

I started Atkins a week ago and I'm still in the induction phase. All of a sudden I started to get dizzy and feeling strange. Is this normal?

Thank you, 

Amber Lynn K.

Here goes. Anytime you start another way of eating, whether it be low carb, high-fiber, vegan, no gluten, your body is going to react differently.

According to Atkins expert tips, this phenomenon you're experiencing is referred to as the Atkins Flu. Although this is not the type of flu that will require you to buy a bunch of cold medication, it's the type of flu that's considered, "withdrawal" or "detoxification".

Some symptoms you may be feeling are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

The main reason for this is due to carbohydrate withdrawal. Sure, it's nothing like what I expect a drug withdrawal to be, but none-the-less, it's still withdrawal. The reason for this is you are abruptly stopping the consumption of carbohydrates.

Take this little exercise. Think back two weeks prior to you starting on the Atkins Diet. Write down what you ate (if you can recall it). Once you do this, look online for the carbohydrate count and jot it down. I promise you, you probably consumed over 85% carbs, and I'm sure they weren't good healthy carbs. As much as I'd like to think marshmallows are healthy because they're fat-free; they're just not.

Now the second reason; the most important reason you're feeling these symptoms is, your body is starting to use up the stored glycogen (which is a type of carbohydrate) and it's using that as fuel. This, my friend, is called ketosis. This is what you want to be in. While you're in ketosis, you will be burning your fat; hence, you'll be losing that weight.

Ideally, the Atkins Flu shouldn't last more than a week, but since everyone is not the same it may linger longer in some individuals.

I would suggest at this point, to drink a lot of fluid. Of course, I recommend 6-8 glasses of water a day, but I would also suggest a drink that will replace your electrolytes. My go-to drink is Powerade Zero. It has zero carbs, zero calories and has the required amount of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. You can grab this at most grocery stores. Make sure it's the one with the white label that says, NO CALORIE.

Atkins also works as a diuretic (which means you urinate a lot). Please remember, your fat is being flushed away during urination and defecation, but imperative you replace the fluids you are purging from your body.

In closing, if any of these symptoms persist for more than a week, consult your healthcare provider, as these symptoms can be caused by an underlying medical condition.

Please let me know down below in the comments section if you have experienced any of these symptoms, and if so, what worked best for you to relieve them.