Don't Try Paleo Without Reading About These Side Effects

Paleo: celebs love it. Trainers love it. Food bloggers love it. And it seems like everyone under the sun has suddenly become a paleo convert. But going paleo isn't all salmon dinners and cashews (though, trust us, you will eat a lot of salmon dinners and cashews)— there are some wild side effects you may not have heard of. Here are the things to be aware of if you're considering going paleo.

Bad breath

Sorry, paleo fans— turns out taking dietary advice from cavemen isn't the best for your breath. While cutting carbs from your diet is great because it focuses your body's energy on fat burning (ketosis), a byproduct of this is the production of something called ketone bodies— unfortunately, ketone bodies can smell unpleasant, as can acetone which is another byproduct of keto diets.

Flu-like symptoms

Making good dietary decisions should make your body feel great, right? Unfortunately, many paleo practitioners find that just the opposite is the case— at the beginning, at least. Severely cutting down on carbs can have an initial effect that's not unlike the flu— headaches, lack of energy, and just a general feeling of being run-down. This is just your body struggling to shift from burning carbs to burning fat, especially if your "metabolic flexability" (the ability to switch back and forth with ease) is impaired. After powering through a few days of this, however, you'll get your energy back and find that the other symptoms subside.

Loss of appetite

While you may not consider this a true "negative" (especially if you're going paleo to lose weight), it's worth noting that many people experience a loss of appetite when switching to a paleo diet. Your body enters ketosis from eating fewer carbs than it's used to and ketosis tends to trigger a loss of appetite. Additionally, if your body is thrown off by the change in diet it may enter a sort of starvation mode to conserve energy, which can also create feelings of not being hungry (even when you are). The best way to remind yourself to feel hungry is to add "safe starches" (such as sweet potatoes) back to your diet. While this loss of appetite will subside after an initial period, it's enough to make some people decide paleo isn't right for them.

Undeterred and thinking of trying paleo for yourself? Here's our beginner's guide to get you started.