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The Carnivore Diet – Symptoms and Cures

Symptoms and Cures when Starting the Carnivore Diet

You may experience significant symptoms when getting adapted to The Carnivore Diet.

In this article, I’ll review common symptoms and some tips and tricks to overcoming these.

Getting Started on The Carnivore Diet

Often, nearly always, when you start a Carnivore Diet, you will experience adverse symptoms and side effects. It is what I affectionately call the “Trough of Despair” or the “Trough” for short.

This is the adaptation period.

The symptoms you experience is your body’s natural response to carbohydrate restriction and the elimination of addictive agents and chemicals.

Symptoms

Common Symptoms Include:

Brain fog, headache, chills, sore throat, digestive issues, dizziness, irritability, bad breath/smells, bad taste in mouth (metallic), dry mouth, cravings (sugar!), muscle soreness, jaw soreness, nausea, diarrhea, poor focus, and decreased performance, energy, and drive, cramping, rapid heart rate, insomnia, night sweats, and nocturia (peeing a lot at night), hot or cold,

I sat on a toilet for a week, threw up in the middle of the night, AND I had been on a low carb diet for 20 years.

If you are coming from a ketogenic (keto) or high fat/low carb diet (HFLC), the transition is generally easier (but there are still symptoms you need to be aware of!) than someone coming from a Standard American Diet (SAD – yes it’s sad for a reason) that is high in carbohydrates.

These symptoms are a result of your body undergoing major metabolic and hormonal changes.

What’s Going On?

The 3 Major Adaptations

If you decide to venture into experimenting with The Carnivore Diet there are 3 major adaptations that your body is going to undergo.

1. Fluid Rebalancing

Since you are eating fewer carbs, your insulin levels drop, which sends a signal to the kidneys to release sodium from the body.

Losing 10 lbs of water in a couple days is not uncommon as water follows sodium out of the body.

Glycogen is then converted to glucose as the last energy usage before switching to mainly fatty acids.

2. Transitioning from Sugar to Fat for Energy

As your body switches from burning mainly sugar to fat for energy, your body needs to make many modifications on the way.

Your amount of suffering (or lack thereof) depends on your metabolic flexibility. This is your body’s ability to adapt to different fuel sources, which depends on a number of factors including genetics, and especially how you ate prior.

If you have been accustomed to eating a lot of high carbohydrate foods, it can feel a lot like giving up other addictions (nicotine, cocaine, etc.)

3. Hormone Response and Rebalancing

As a couple example of hormones responding and rebalancing, let’s look at thyroid hormone and cortisol.

T3 thyroid hormone levels may decrease. T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid that is closely connected with dietary carbohydrates. It plays a major role in regulation of body temperature, metabolism, and heart rate.

Cortisol plays many crucial functions in the body, including regulating blood sugar and controlling inflammation. During this transition, your body thinks, “I’m starving for sugar,” causing a release of cortisol to increase blood glucose. This is a natural sympathetic stress response, also known as “flight or fight” to go hunt for food.

Cures for Carnivore Adaptation Symptoms

You can dramatically lessen and perhaps even eliminate most of the suffering in the “Trough” by using some tricks to help bridge your body to the adapted state of bliss.

6 Tricks and Tips to Limit Or AVOID the “Trough”

1. Eat more meat.

Under-eating is the #1 Reason people unnecessarily suffer.

Early on, it’s common to feel extremely hungry. Eat.

Don’t try and restrict calories or track macros. Don’t worry about gaining fat.

2. Hydrate

Take your body weight. Now divide it by 2.

This is a good target amount of water to drink (in ounces) per day if you are having ill symptoms.

After adaptation, you drink to thirst (no need to measure/monitor) but if you are feeling like crap during adaptation – make sure you are hydrating.

3. Electrolytes

As you lose a lot of excess water, you also lose a lot of electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride.

Supplemental electrolytes can help immensely.

Pink Himalayan rock salt on your meat can provide the extra sodium and chloride.

This is adequate for some people.

Many people need some help in the potassium and magnesium department as well though…

You have a couple options:

  1. Drink Meaty Bone Broth – In addition to water and sodium, this will give you some potassium which will offset some of the discomfort caused at a cellular level.
    • It’s important that the bones have some meat on them because that’s where the potassium is.
    • Here’s my favorite recipe
  1. Supplement – A popular choice among the carnivore community is Pink Himalayan Salt for their Na+, “Ionic Potassium” by Trace Minerals Research for K+, and a Magnesium Citrate powder.

Supplemental Electrolytes Daily Ranges:

  • K – 500 – 3500 mg/day
  • Mg – 250-500 mg/day
  • Na – 2-7g/day

4. Solving GI Problems

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are extremely common, especially if you are coming from a low fat diet.

Even though you are ready to dive all in, your gallbladder and pancreas might not be ready to handle the increased fat intake. When first starting you may have inadequate bile and lipase to digest the increased fat intake. This leads to diarrhea and all kinds of GI distress.

One solution: You can reduce how much fat you’re eating by choosing leaner cuts of meat. I don’t recommend this approach. This will simply prolong the adaptation period. Translation = you will suffer far longer than you need to.

Much Better Solution: Supplementing for 2-4 weeks

Supplement Solution:

Start with a simple lipase supplement taken a few minutes BEFORE meals.

This is the one I used.

It freed me from the toilet after spending two weeks married to it.

  • Start with 1 tablet and if you still have some discomfort go to 2.
    • 6,000 lipase activity unites LU

For most people, lipase alone does the trick. However, some people need to exogenous bile.

Ox bile, taken with meals, is your next step.

Your final step, if still having GI issues, especially, if they are GERD/acid reflux related is to help the stomach. Many people produce inadequate stomach acid to facilitate digestion and proper metabolic signaling. Yes. It’s low stomach acid that results in GERD, Heartburn, Acid Reflux.

A Betaine HCl supplement is the answer. Don’t take this with anti-inflammatories which could result in ulcers. It should automatically include pepsin in it, but worth checking just to make sure. Common dosage range between 3-5g/meal.

Supplements are a BRIDGING STRATEGY – NOT A LONG TERM NEED. The goal is to be off all of these after the first month. They let your body catch up.

Rendered Fat

For some people, the type of fat is what causes the GI distress.

If the previously mentioned supplements don’t help, then you may need to remove rendered fats.

Rendered fat is fat that is cooked out of meats and becomes liquid.

For example, if you don’t handle rendered fats well, drinking the liquid fat in the skillet after cooking is a recipe for disaster (pants).

One Last Note On Poop Problems

You will likely notice that your bowel movement schedule changes. It’s very common to go less frequently. Much less frequently. Don’t worry you’re not constipated, and it’s normal. Volume also tends to decrease. Your body absorbs and uses meat very efficiently. Not a lot goes to waste.

5. Sleep

As someone who has treated many patients with sleep disorders, I can tell you one thing for certain, if you get good shut eye, everything else in your life will be better.

Insomnia is common during adaptation, and since you are purging water, nocturia is also an interrupter. A few hacks that help:

Sleep hacks:

  • Keep your room pitch black (blackout curtains, cover LEDs) and COOL
  • Start winding down 2 hours before bed (no screens or at the least put them in night mode)
  • Don’t eat within a few hours of sleep if you can help it
  • Be conscious how much you are drinking later in the day
  • Be asleep before 11 (a cortisol spike happens if you are not asleep around this time)

6. Sweat

Exercise helps.

Sweating is a natural detox mechanism.

Since you are finally giving your body the nutrition it has been craving, you give it the opportunity to expel toxins. Give your body a hand and help it detox by getting some exercise and sweating.

Athletic and Training Performance

Athletic and training performance almost always decreases for anywhere between 1 and 6 months, before you find a whole new level.

KILLING CRAVINGS AND ADDICTIONS – “Brain Changes”

Besides the metabolic and hormonal changes mentioned, you may also experience alterations in what I call “Brain Changes” that occur along the “brain-body highway” a  signaling control system between the gut and the brain.

This communication highway influences everything from hormones to neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA that play huge roles in mood, cravings, and addiction.

Not unlike many drug addictions, you may go through withdrawal symptoms from foods or other substances (especially sugar) which you have become physically and neurologically addicting.

Cravings are common and the best solution is to make sure you are eating enough fatty meat. Not eating enough meat and eating meat that is too lean are the top mistakes.

In the gut (a hub in the brain-body highway) the microbiome is undergoing a battle where the “good bacteria” are growing and populating and the “bad bacteria” are starting to die off. These bad bacteria that thrive on sugar are being starved, and they are going to do everything they can to try and get you to eat sugar, especially via sending you strong cravings. If you stay strong, starve the bad guys, the cravings will die with them.

COMMIT

This is an experiment you have to commit to.

If the commitment is loose, I’d recommend waiting until you find a burning desire or some urgency.

Most people experience adaptation symptoms which can range from annoying to a certainty that you are going to die.

There are also psychological and social pressures you have to overcome.

Commit by knowing why you want to experiment and always keep in mind the pot of gold that just might be on the other side of the rainbow.

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Comments

  1. Will not have a gallbladder cause any issues with the carnivore diet?

    1. Hi Randy, great question. Many people who have had their gallbladder removed eat a carnivore diet without any issue. It may take a bit longer for the body to get adapted depending on the previous diet, however.

  2. I think at week six, I am experiencing these symptoms. Is that normal? Isn’t usually earlier?

    1. Usually they do appear earlier. Depending on your symptoms may not be diet related. Also, straying from the diet can cause symptoms to be drawn out longer.

  3. I was ultra low carb keto then started to move towards only carnivore before going on an extended fast. When I break the fast I want to refeed with bone broth and then only eat carnivore, I’m hoping this will make the transition to carnivore easier. Many have said you really can’t eat meat too soon after a fast as it’s too hard on the stomach. Any thoughts on this?

    1. I can’t speak too much on extended fasts; however, meat is extremely efficiently digested via the small intestines. My guess would be meat would be the best thing to eat after an extended fast. Maybe keep that first meal a bit light, but I think after that you should be good to go!

      1. Thanks so much. I stopped my fast due to exacerbated hypothyroid symptoms (body temp was 34.8c). I take thyroxine. I saw that many said keto could be a bad idea for t3, what about carnivore though? Which, I guess is not technically keto? I am seeing my gp, but the knowledge on this is tricky. (Btw sushimi went down very well as first main meal after bone broth!)

        1. I don’t know if I would say keto is bad for hypothyroid, but I have seen that several people improved the condition on a carnivore diet. It often is a result of an autoimmune response that can be a result of eating inflammatory foods/leaky gut/plant-based protective mechanisms. I’d say worth a 90 day experiment 🙂

  4. I started on the ZeroCarb diet late Feb and loved it right away. It calmed all my IBS symptoms within a day. Then about week 3 i started getting acid reflux/GERD related symptoms like this article talks about. I have never experienced this and now it is full blown into a feeling in my throat that something is stuck. Super annoying. Can you elaborate a little bit about what happened in my body and exactly what i should do now? Thank you!

    1. I find it is often a result of the type or quantity of fat. For example, too much pork bacon is troublesome for many or too much rendered fat grease from a burger. Generally, just draining off the rendered fat solves the problem. If you had issues with GERD in the past or had low stomach acid, an HCl + pepsin supplement can be helpful for awhile.

  5. Great reading! I’m experiencing a really bad diarrhoea which is making me considering going back to my keto diet of 2 % carbs, 18% protein and 80% fat. My macros on carnivore are approximately 27% protein and the rest is fat. Is the fat percentage still too high? Strange if it is considering the previous fat intake on keto. I’ve been trying carnivore for nearly a week and I don’t want to quit, but my gut issues are affecting everything at this point. No gym, no social activities, no grocery shopping even.

    1. My guess would be that it is the rendered fat that is giving you issues. I would be sure to drain off the cooked fat, and I wouldn’t add fat to anything, just stick with the meat. If you are still having any issues than I’d recommend checking out the 30-day guide to going full carnivore. There are some supplements that can help with the digestion in the early going. The other thing it could be is that you are coming from a high fiber diet which absorbed all the water – that is typically the job of the colon which gets “lazy” after awhile of non-use, so it may just take a bit for it to get onboarded to doing its job again.

  6. I’ve lived by the principle of eating protein in a timely manner after workouts. Does carnivore affect this? Would it be optimal for me to eat immediately after my workout, or is it okay to wait a few hours?

    1. The “anabolic window” has been shown to be a much bigger window than most thought. It’s perfectly fine to wait a few hours after workouts before eating (there is evidence that waiting at least 30 minutes after a workout is optimal from a digestive stand point).

  7. What digestive enzymes did you take when starting? It looked like there should be a link or picture above? But didn’t see one. Thanks for the great resource!

    1. You are right – I need to fix that!

      Have you downloaded the 30-Day Guide to Going Full Carnivore (you can grab it at the bottom of this page)? There are links to it in there. In the meantime, I’ll get these links working on the page 🙂

  8. Ive been doing this for 4 days now.

    High fat ground beef and bacon has given me epic non stop diahrea.

    Aside from the above i have been surviving on an assortment of steaks and tuna.

    Im not sure about eating organ meat because ive never eaten it before.

    If i cut out the rendered fats and continue without organ meat, would you say id be ok?

  9. A couple years ago I had a stool sample test show I have ascaris; roundworms. My understanding is these parasites live in the small intestine. Since I learned of this problem I’ve tried numerous remedies, both herbal and pharmaceutical, but nothing has worked to kill the worms. Is there a chance the carnivore diet might be able to help force this parasite out of my intestinal tract?

    1. Unfortunately I’m just not that familiar with ascaris, and so don’t feel qualified to answer. But if nothing has worked, I feel it may be worth a try.

  10. I’ve been taking only meat/ghee//butter/eggs/cheese for ten days now and although i’ve adapted fairly well otherwise, my hemorrhoids flared up today. Its not too serious but should I be worried? Ive pooped only thrice in the last ten days.

    1. It’s not uncommon for previous issues to flare up before resolving. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. 3 bowel movements in 10 days is completely normal (your body absorbs meat very efficiently). It may be worth going without dairy for a bit to see if that improves things.

  11. I’m on day 13 of carnivore. The last two days I have transitioned to OMAD not because I wanted to per se but because I was only hungry once during the day. I have been trying keto for two years and just couldn’t make it stick but carnivore is a breeze! BUT the loose stool is beyond. Good news it’s only once or twice a day. I don’t really feel like it horrible diarrhea if that makes sense cause it isn’t often but it’s unpleaseant!! I’m guessing it is the fat from what I’ve read and researched (though I was mostly HFLC before). I ordered lipase today from your above recommendations. Other than this I feel better than I have ever felt. How long should I give the lipase? Will the adaptation be complete at that point? Thanks!!!

    1. The lipase should help significantly. I’d gradually reduce the amount you take over a month or so (by then you should be fat-adapted). Other adaptations can take more/less time, but the fat digestion generally takes just a few weeks.

  12. I have had excessive diarrhea on Keto & im struggling to get into Ketosis/lose weight consistently. Will the lipase help with more consistent weight loss?

    1. Hi Heather sorry to hear about the struggle.

      The bowel issues are likely from getting “fat-adapted” and lipase will help you digest the fat better. Lipase isn’t going to help you lose weight though (and either is being in ketosis necessarily). Without getting to technical here, ketosis means you are burning fat for energy, but if you are eating more energy than you are using then you won’t lose fat.

      I think this article can help explain a bit better: https://www.kevinstock.io/health/fat-loss-and-the-carnivore-diet/

  13. Great article! Thank you 🙂
    I have been having issues with fast heartbeat and a higher rate of hair loss on carnivore. Would that be due to the hormone responses and rebalancing? Only started about 6 weeks though, maybe coz of the occasional “vege decorations” i was eating.
    Have been carnivore 90% of the time past 2 months. Yesterday i ate some salad with my omelette at a restaurant and paid for it “MAJOR” in the toilet!! Has never happened to me before prior to going carnivore 🙁 Could it be my gut not being used to that amount of fiber?

    1. Yes the heart rate increase during adaptation is a common symptom, though I’ve not heard / seen cases of hair loss (actually the opposite, and color returning to hair…)

      And yes at a restaurant it’s hard to know what all is in the food / what they are cooking with.

  14. Hi Doc

    Great information, thank you.

    I started the diet a week ago. I work on oil rigs all over the world and as such I don’t have total control of meat preparation. For example, last night all that was on offer was glazed ham. I tried to get as much of the sugar off as possible but ultimately not all of it. I figured that eating the fat was more important than eating the little bit of sugar. Is this correct?

    Furthermore, the staple diet of the country I am in now is pork. Lots of pork. Will this slow the rate at which ketosis kicks in? I think I have dropped about 500 grammes in body fat – so far so good.

    Thanks in advance for you response all your replies above.

    1. Hey Mike, doing the best you can with what you got is all you can do. I wouldn’t worry about fat (macros) or calories or ketosis. You will likely be in varying levels of ketosis naturally, without going out of your way to add fats. That said, if you feel low energy, maybe try and eat a fattier cut your next meal.

      Pork is fine as long as you tolerate it fine (some people don’t do well on pork).

      Hope this makes sense / helps!

  15. I’m on day ten. Experiencing all these symptoms! It is so bad that sometimes I really feel like I want to die. Today I cannot even get out of bed. My body is I excruciating pain, making every other symptom feel so much worse. Q: will drinking chronic medication for Thyroid and depression make adaptation take longer? And will pain and nausea meds also do that? – It has been 10 days of hell. But I haven’t buckled, yet.

    1. Hi Karen, sorry to hear about the struggle. I would make sure you are getting your electrolytes and if it’s digestive problems I would try some digestive supplements (like lipase) and maybe go to leaner cuts for a couple meals. Medications can influence adaptation but you need to talk to your doc before going to adjust anything. I have a feeling there is light at the end of the tunnel (which is near!) Let me know if I can help further.

      1. Thank you. Yes, digestive definately. I’ve had many years experience with digestive issues, so I can sort of handle it. Nausea and vomiting not so pleasant though. But the aches in my joints and myscles are really the worst. And it feels like every lymph node in my body is inflamed somehow. I’m holding on for dear life and don’t want to give in to other foods. I’m desperate for health to return and weight-loss is now more important than ever as doctors are pressing me for bariatric surgery. I’m not interested to go that route at all.
        Seeing that I am particularly nauseated today, would it be ok to not eat, even though I feel hungry as well?

        1. Yes I know some people will fast early on to help get through symptoms. You can also go towards a smaller meals if that helps.

  16. Hi Kevin,

    I’m 8 weeks ZC.
    Physically I feel fine and haven’t really had any adaption issues so far.
    But mentally, I’m really have been experiencing this sad feeling. Like I can’t find any joy in anything. Nothing else except my dieet has really changed and I haven’t really felt this way before…
    I’m sure I eat enough (have been tracking).

    Any ideas?

    1. While most people experience the opposite (finding mental health that had been elusive for so long), I have heard some people mention this. Almost always it’s just a short phase that passes as they get more adapted. My best guess is that microbiome and hormonal changes that accompany the adaptation period are responsible. Sorry I don’t have any better advice and perhaps being patient and letting the changes run their course.

      1. Hi Dr. Kevin and John (from the above comment about feeling sad),

        I can offer a different perspective on the sad feelings you, John, and others are experiencing along with other unexplained emotions that may arise as you change/heal your gut and body. My boyfriend/partner and I have just shifted this week from 3 months of Keto to Carnivore – strict for me for health reasons although some dairy this week as I transition. My partner is struggling and sad is one of his symptoms. I have extensive training and many years of experience as a shamanic practitioner, psychic medium, healer and therapeutic massage therapist (LMT). Your emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies and your chakras shift and heal as your physical body changes and heals. Childhood memories may surface, past trauma, patterns, and attachments will be released and old energies shifted. You are changing your core physical body and all the energy bodies change too! 🙂 Old stored fat may release emotion as it becomes fuel for the body or is simply burned off. The belly is the seat of our emotions and you are changing everything about your gut and digestive system so it is natural for emotion to arise. Your emotions serve as a guidance system and may signal you to make a change energetically. Some suggestions I can offer from our personal experience on this journey and from my experience working with clients:
        1. Get regular therapeutic massage! And/or chiropractic work or acupuncture. Massage moves lymph and eliminates toxins from the body, boosts immune system and reduces stress. Lots of health benefits to bodywork!!
        2. Energy work such as Reiki, chakra balancing, shamanic illumination, soul retrieval, crystal healing and other energy therapies will help shift the physical and the emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
        3. Walking, yoga, tai chi, dance, stretching, meditation are all very beneficial and gentle ways of dealing with sadness and other emotions.
        4. Go barefoot on the earth – on your lawn or patio! Sit next to or lean against or hug a tree. The electromagnetic energy of the earth is very healing and centering/grounding. Trees are very calming!
        5. Breathwork – so many paths here – and can elicit rapid change so start slow here.
        6. Talk with a trusted friend or partner or clergy (if applicable) – in a safe space of nonjudgement.
        I hope this perspective helps. We are all very focused on what food with which to fuel our body and brain and heal our gut. We forget that as we toss the healing stone (changing our diet) into the lake (our entire physical body and energy systems), the stone sends waves and ripples through the lake to all the shoreline (all our bodies are affected in some way)! Kudos to all who are exploring Carnivore and abundant gratitude to people like you Kevin, who guide us and share their wisdom gained from their own journey with Carnivore.

        1. Carol thank you so much for taking the time to share this with everyone!

          Grateful to have people like you fill this community 🙂

  17. I get Dizzy, and at some point my right arm get numb a bit, is that normal? Some chest disconfort too.

    1. Hi Jean, during adaptation there is a large fluid re-balancing where these symptoms are common. I would recommend an electrolyte supplement as keeping these up tends to help.

      1. Thank You, would it be enought if i consume more salt ?

        1. That will probably help. And I would probably include some magnesium and maybe some potassium. There are numerous products where you can get a good mixture.

  18. I only have one perfectly functioning kidney. I’d like to give the Carnivore diet a shot, what are your thoughts?

  19. I have just started the carnivore diet (about 2-3 weeks) and I still like to have one cup of coffee a day, the thing is I have to have sugar in it or it tastes awful (and I use oatmilk). Is this ok? or should I try to cut out the coffee completely.

    1. Hey Dean, I would really recommend getting rid of the sugar and oatmilk.

      I do recommend people cut coffee at some point (for some period of time) as sometimes this makes all the difference (not necessarily right at the beginning as that can be a tall ask – killing coffee addiction and adaptation symptoms as the same time).

      Many people add coffee back in and do just fine, but many people do better without.

  20. Thank you so much for these tips. I’ve attempted the carnivore diet a handful of times in the past 8 months, but have never lasted because I struggled to make it through the adjustment phase. The lipase supplement has been a god send so far! And I’ve got the ox bile ready just in case!

  21. Any thoughts on a sore lower back right side after three weeks of carnivore. Eating mostly scotch fillet, lamb, eggs, drinking tea and coconut butter several times a week.

    Toileting is normal. No discomfort.

    1. Perhaps it’s diet related / adaptation symptom; perhaps from sitting/working out/sleeping/or any other of myriad potential causes.

      I’d give it a couple weeks and see if it doesn’t resolve.

  22. Hey Kevin

    Definitely struggling in this second week.

    Feel like I have the flu and am kind of depressed. Feel like my anxiety is up and my ability to tolerate work-related stress etc is really diminished. I am sleeping loads as well and managing to get some exercise in to sweat out the bad stuff.

    I come from several years of Paleo and intermittent fasting. Lower carb than normal folks I would imagine but not low carb by any means.

    Toughing it out but damn…. I don’t feel great.

    On the sunny side – no GI issues and I am losing weight daily which was one of my key goals here. I am literally just having to crawl into bed at 8pm and punch my way through the day. I am telling everyone I am ill (not self inflicted).

    My wife thinks I am idiot. 😉

    Mac

    1. Hey Mac, sorry to hear about the struggle – but this is not uncommon. Some people adapt easier/faster than others.

      Undereating is one of the biggest issues. You mentioned no GI issues which is great, but I’d equally make sure you are eating enough fatty cuts. Eating too lean early on is a recipe to feel terrible.

      Your wife will change her mind in time 🙂

  23. Hi Kevin,

    I’m also curious about the insulinogenic effects of all the meat/beef. There are some sources that say that beef raises insulin. Should we be concerned about the insulin? What’s your take on this?

    1. Yes beef raises insulin (just thinking of food can cause a release of insulin). But there is no reason to be concerned about this. Insulin isn’t bad, per se. In fact, it’s necessary. It’s hyperinsulinemia that is bad. I don’t think there is any reason to worry that an all meat diet could ever lead to hyperinsulinemia, in fact, quite the opposite – it is likely protective of such a disease.

  24. Hi, thanks for this site. I’ve been keto since mid January 2018, and very low carb for the past month or so. I started zero carb 3 days ago and am alarmed that I’m not hungry despite low caloric input. I’m eating beef, water and coffee with butter and mct oil. I’m having to force myself to get a decent amount of calories. I’ve lost all the weight I need to through keto and am trying zero carb for health. I can normally eat more than enough calories in a day. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards,
    K

    1. This is very common. Appetite tends to go up and down while getting adapted.

      I remember I was initially ravenously hungry, and then I had a few weeks of little appetite. I wouldn’t worry about it. If you feel your energy is low – use that as a signal to try and eat a bit more, but no need to force yourself to discomfort.

      Dropping the coffee and butter/mct could also help. This can overly suppress appetite for some people.

  25. Hi Kevin, I’m on day 28 and up again at night with insomnia. I’ve searched the internet far and wide but no one seems to mention reporting any ultra violent dreams? I constantly have super vivid nightmares of killing people, fighting off weird ghoulish beings that seem to be attacking me. Blood spills all over the place. My eyes are even blood shot red during the day and I feel high and spaced out lately. I have severe inflammation on the upper left side of my stomach area that is acting up more now than earlier. I’m coming from being 10 years ex-vegan/fruitarian and heavy psychedelic user. Perhaps these are all detox symptoms surfacing to be released from the blood? The dreams are really troubling I feel like I’m taking on a vampiric energy, it’s kind of scary. Any thoughts?

    1. So it sounds like you are coming from a pretty extreme background with long term veganism/fruitarian and drug use. And you are still fairly early in the adaptation period. This makes it very difficult/impossible to try and determine what is going on / what might help other than your body is going through massive changes/stimulus and symptoms should be expected. People often experience renewed dreaming as a function of better sleep (REM sleep) but the content of those dreams is more of a psychological nature (not so much food dependent) from my understanding of dreams. I would perhaps consult a psychologist about the dreams, and try and give the body a bit more time to adapt.

  26. Hi,

    I’m 10 weeks ZC now.
    First 2 months I didn’t experience any problems nor any serious adaption symptoms.

    Previous week I started getting some diarreah and turned out to be sick.
    Heavy diarreah for 3 days , really tired, headaches and lots of muscle pains.

    It got better by the weekend but i have had small diarreah attacks every time I eat and since yesterday I feel really tired again and the diarreah is back full force.

    I eat beef, eggs, bacon and drink bone broth.
    Occasional coffee and dairy (eggs, cheese, milk since month 2).

    I should add I keep losing weight, while I’m following up on caloric intake and making sure I’m getting enough in…

    Any ideas?

    thanks!

    1. It could be a number of things. What I would do is:

      1. Limit water (and especially coffee!) around meals
      2. Limit/Watch out for rendered fats
      3. I would go without the cheese/milk

      I don’t think it’s fat adaptation (unless you significantly increases fats recently…) as you were good for 2 months – but you could try lipase and perhaps ox bile if it continues to see if that helps (you could also just try a bit leaner cuts of meat).

      This is why “Level 3” is in the 30 day guide – it can help you get to the bottom of it 🙂

      1. Thanks, I started beef/bacon and water only the first 30 days…

        I just really don’t like the weight loss.

  27. Background: I’ve been keto since 1/1/18; carnivore the wrong way, i.e. all vit/min supplements you mentioned, since 7/24/18, I’m F 63yo, 5’10” 155 lbs.

    I’m on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy for estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Will carnivore diet balance these hormones too? If so, when should I stop taking them?

    Had gallbladder removed 2000 (not addressed in download) and have been taking probiotics and enzymes for years. Should stop taking? Unclear as to which supplement should I use for digestion and diarrhea (lipase, betaine hcl, ox-bile)? I’ve been married to the bathroom for at least a month.

    Very excited about doing this write. Thank you!

    1. Great questions.

      1. I would work with your doctor on the hormones (perhaps monitor over time and adjust accordingly)

      2. Many people do carnivore just great without a gallbladder. Lipase and ox bile as digestive supplements are my recommendations to help as you get adapted. I’m not a big proponent of probiotics.

      All the best!

  28. Whew, good to know that voracious hunger is normal when starting carnivore! I was 100% satiated on keto and often couldn’t eat all my calories for the day, but today (Day 1 of full carnivore) I could have eaten a whole cow! I’m 69 years old, female, sedentary, hypothyroid and I weigh 135.5 lbs (lost 15 lbs on keto). Today I ate 121.4 gms of protein, 123.2 gms of fat and 7.4 gms of carbs (dairy). That’s 1620 calories… yikes! Well, let’s see what Day 2 brings tomorrow! 🙂

    1. A good sign your body was craving some nutrients 🙂

      Appetite can take a while to regulate, so it’s something to be patient with.

  29. I just started taking antibiotics for a sinus problem. Immediately i feel fatigued and low on drive/motivation.

    Does this sound normal for someone on a limited diet?

    1. Antibiotics have a major impact on gut microbiome. Lots of potential impacts of this (one of which may be a decrease in drive/motivation), which is why I would only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

      1. Its a pain. Ive had sinus problems since last year but have only been to the doctor about it in the last couple of weeks. I guess ill just have to wait it out.

        What are your thoughts on probiotics while on this diet?

  30. Hello,
    can I ask you – how about joint pain, swollen hands and neck – lymh or thyroid (not sure). I had kidney failure month ago and Im 10 days in this woe. (I was one year on keto) I experienced pain in kidneys when I was eating keto, but when Im on carnivore, its OK, but I feel pain in every single joint in my body. I thought its gout. Even if not, and it would pass, can it be something that will stay in my joints forever?

    Also the swollen hand is on the right side as my kidney failure was. Isnt possible that its connected?

    Thank you for an answer, Caroline 🙂

    1. Hi Caroline, of course I can’t give you medical advice here and recommend you work with your nephrologist. But 10 days in is very early and you are likely going through adaptation symptoms that will resolve in time.

  31. on day 38. some days i feel like the worst days of adaptation are over and then other days it seems to come back(weak energy, elevated heart rate, sleep issues, dizziness). at what time frame would you personally say “this diet should be making me feel better not worse” and stop? this is like toward the end of week 5 for me. i was thinking 90 days. but now i am questioning that decision.

    1. Hey Andrew, sorry about the struggle. So different systems take different time periods to adapt. For example, people tend to get “fat-adapted” in maybe a few weeks but hormonal balancing can take a few months. It’s different for everyone. I remember it felt like I was going to have a foot cramp every night before I went to sleep for probably 8+ weeks. Of course, it got better. I think if you decide to stick it out 90 days, you’ll be glad you did.

  32. Hi. 78 days carnivore. I have been tired in the afternoons for the last three weeks. Also, during this time, I have been taking berberine, neem +, olive leaf extract, and oregano oil for a nasty case of SIBO. I have IBS-C. When I take too much Mg and herbal supplements to go, I can get the SIBO. I am doing better with the supplements. These could be making me tired, or just the SIBO itself.

    I also take the bile (no gallbladder), Betaine HCL, and digestive enzymes. I have been going through waves of candida die off. I was LCHF for a year and a half before, though not strict.

  33. HI there. I’ve been carnivore for about a month now and have experienced lightheadedness for about a week. I’ve made sure that i’m well hydrated to no effect. I have had brain fog. I have looked and felt physically better with the exception of this lightheadedness. Is this a common side effect? An electrolyte imbalance of sort?

    Thanks for the time

    1. It is common. It can be from a number of adaptation symptoms (perhaps lower blood pressure) – I would make sure you are getting adequate salt. Likely will just take a bit of time for hormonal systems to adjust.

  34. Hi Dr. Kevin,

    Thanks for all of this great info. About the second week of carnivore for me after 7+ years of being a vegetarian. Yes, I am experiencing some ups and downs, but nothing I can’t handle.

    My question is, you mentioned a couple of times in the comments about not being a fan of probiotics. I recently had a lot of oral surgery and had two rounds of major antibiotics, so I’m thinking my gut microbiome is wiped out. Not great in general and particularly not when I’m suddenly asking my gut to digest something it hasn’t in over 7 years. Would you say probiotics are okay to replenish or still no?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. That’s a good question. From the research I’ve done, I’m not convinced they will help. Will they hurt? Probably not (but perhaps they may interfere with a natural re-population). Wish I could give better advice on this, but I’m just not sure.

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