Ketones are produced in the body when you run out of stored glycogen (from sugar and carbohydrates) and begin to use your own fat stores to produce energy. Ketones are an excellent source of energy, and just like carbohydrates, can be used to synthesize ATP – the basic building block of energy – in the brain. When switching fuel source from carbohydrates to fat, however, there is an adjustment period.
Initially, you may experience light-headedness, fatigue, general irritability, or flu-like symptoms as you enter ketosis, but these problems usually only last a few days. These deleterious effects occur because your brain takes a period of time to switch from using carbohydrates to ketones for energy.
If the problems with energy persist for more than a few days, it is a good indicator that you have other nutritional work to do before going off of carbohydrates. This is an important point: the caveman diet is not for everybody all the time. It is for people who have a high enough level of nutritional status to tolerate going off of most carbohydrates without negatively impacting their blood sugar levels. The health of the adrenals, the pancreas, and low levels of toxicity all play a role in allowing carbohydrate cessation, and if this preliminary groundwork has not been addressed, serious discomfort can result.
On the next page, we discuss some basic nutritional strategies to curb the negative effects of ketosis.
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