Paleo Diet Challenges & Solutions III from Chris Kresser


Make sure to read Part 1 and Part II of this series first if you haven’t already.

Almost everyone I’ve worked with has at least a few days of experiencing sugar cravings and uneven energy when they first switch to a Paleo diet. This is especially true if they’re transitioning from a “Standard American” or other higher carbohydrate diet such as low-fat/vegetarian/vegan. For some people, though, these symptoms can persist beyond the initial few days. They continue to experience some combination of:

  • Intense sugar cravings (that are often unrelieved by eating carbohydrates)
  • Energy dips or crashes — especially after meals, or in the late afternoon
  • Lightheaded, dizzy, jittery or shaky
  • Anxious or agitated
  • Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme hunger (i.e. feel like you’re going to die of you don’t eat)
  • Spaced out

It’s not hard to understand why you might give up on Paleo if you continue to have these symptoms for more than a few days. They’re incredibly disruptive and they make it hard to function normally. Fortunately, they’re usually not difficult to address once you understand what’s causing them. In my work with patients I’ve discovered that the three primary causes of these symptoms are:

  1. Sluggish fat burning.
  2. Blood sugar imbalances.
  3. Micronutrient deficiencies.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.



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