This May Be Why You Are Tired on a Carnivore Diet
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Does Carnivore make you tired? How long does it last? And how to fight against it!
Did you start the carnivore diet, thinking it would be all unicorns and rainbows? You had heard of the thousands of success stories from people on websites like MeatRx, and you were excited to get started, but… wham!!!
You feel like crap, you are sleepy, cranky, grumpy, and foggy, and you want to curl up on the couch and watch Netflix.
Is it possible you will feel tired on the Carnivore Diet? Yes. Can the issues be resolved? Most likely.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor; this is not medical advice. Consult with a physician about any dietary issues or changes.
What is the Carnivore Diet
Carnivore is a very low-carb diet; many people even refer to it as Zero Carb. This is a bit of a misnomer as things like eggs do have a bit of carbohydrate in them.
On Carnivore, you eat only animal products like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
You avoid everything from the plant world, like grains, seed oils, sugar, chocolate, fruit, and vegetables.
People generally still drink things like coffee and tea on Carnivore. These things are derived from plants but seem to have less of an impact on health than plant foods and can help with adherence, but we go way deeper in the article below.
What is the definition of tired?
“In need of sleep, or rest; weary” – Oxford Languages English Dictionary.
What could be making you tired on Carnivore
Let’s delve into what could make you tired and how to possibly remedy this situation.
As I mentioned before, the Carnivore is a very low-carb diet. So if you are coming from a standard Western diet, your body has to make a considerable shift and start using fuel from the body or dietary fat.
The body does this by breaking down fatty acids to make ketones, which it uses for energy. (1)
The body can be pretty inefficient at this, to begin with, not because it can’t do it well. It is just that it has likely never had to do it for a long time.
However, the body is awesome and is always striving for efficiency. Therefore eventually, it works out how to produce enough ketones to match your energy needs. This is when you are said to have become FAT ADAPTED.
So you may feel tired or experience spikes and energy dips in the adaption phase. This is natural and should pass.
Surprisingly, people who come from Keto to Carnivore can experience further adaption issues from low carb to zero carb.
This transition is usually milder and doesn’t last as long.
People have found that getting a suitable electrolyte and salt balance is very important when trying to keep your energy levels up and avoid feeling tired.
A lack of proper electrolytes is just one of the top 11 carnivore diet mistakes.
When you transition from a sugar burner to a fat burner, your body dumps a lot of water, salt, and glycogen from your body. This can lead to fatigue and the dreaded Keto/Carnivore Flu.
People have said that the remedy is simple.
What they do is consume more sodium, potassium, and Magnesium. The easiest way to do this is to simply salt your food with a good quality salt like Redmond Real Salt.
I recommend looking for good quality rock salts like Redmond, which are unrefined and have all the natural micronutrients still intact.
They give our readers a 15% discount too! Use “Wild” at checkout or this Redmond Real Salt link.
You can also drink a salt water blend like Snake Juice, made popular by Cole Robinson:
- Water = 2L
- Potassium chloride = 1 tsp (No Salt)
- Sodium chloride = 1/2 tsp (Himalayan Pink Salt)
- Sodium Bicarbonate = 1 tsp (Baking Soda – Redmill Brand)
- Magnesium Sulphate (Optional) = 1/2 tsp (Food Grade Epsom Salts)
Many electrolyte brands are on the market, too; just make sure they contain no sugars or sweeteners.
Redmond Real Salt makes a great carnivore diet-worthy one that is unflavored and contains no sweeteners. It contains the following blend of electrolytes per serving:
- 1000mg of Sodium
- 500mg of Potassium
- 1585mg of Chloride
- 75mg of Calcium
- 60mg of Magnesium
Here is a quick review video we did on Re-Lyte. Remember, if you want to try this out, use “Wild” at checkout or try this Redmond Real Salt link to get 15% off.
I hope you are now seeing how it is a significant shift to go from a mainly carb-heavy fuelling strategy to a fat-burning one.
This may affect your hormones, and you may have energy and sleep issues until they regulate and rebalance.
For example, T3 Thyroid Hormone could dip, impacting your metabolism, body temperature, and heartbeat. (2)
I wouldn’t say it is common, but I have known people to report heart palpitations when they first go onto Carnivore.
The hormone rebalancing can have an impact on sleep quality and length, which can cause tiredness.
Fortunately, your body is always looking for balance, so it will usually adapt to your new way of eating.
Every gram of carbohydrate you consume is turned into glucose, aka sugar.
Make no mistake about it; sugar is a drug. It lights up your brain, just like cocaine does. And just like coming off any drug, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
There could be periods when you feel like crap and dream about bathing in caramel. It is just something you are going to have to ride out.
Just like quitting smoking, some people find it more challenging than others, and some people take longer to quit the habit than others.
However, when you do kick your sugar habit to the curb, you will likely feel better than ever before. Just give it a chance.
Not eating enough
This is a classic mistake. The transition to carnivore can be stressful to the body as it has a lot of adaptions to make quickly.
So don’t make its job harder by denying it the required building blocks and energy.
I recommend trying to eat too much in the first few weeks; really try to pack in as much food as possible.
Even Dr. Shawn Baker, author of “The Carnivore Diet,” gives a real basic suggestion for men to eat 2 pounds of meat per day and women to eat 1.5 pounds per day.
Obviously, a lot has to do with weight and height, and those recommendations are very general. But you get the point.
People can try to do too many things at once, which can negatively impact adherence. For instance, they could be trying a carnivore diet for weight loss, so they are limiting calories. This is a bad idea.
Or they have heard people do intermittent fasting and only eat once or twice daily on Carnivore. So they try doing that straight away. Again it is a bad idea to try to force that; let that happen naturally later on.
My one tip for success
Hopefully, I haven’t painted a gloomy picture, and now you think you will never sleep again.
Yes, there could be transition issues that lead to tiredness.
Yet, there is a straightforward thing you can do to make the transition as easy as possible:
EAT A LOT OF SALTED FRESH RED MEAT
The general rule of thumb is to “salt to taste.”
This will ensure you eat enough, fulfill all your nutritional needs, and keep your electrolytes optimal.
Then whatever transition issues you have, unfortunately, you will have to take these on the chin until they pass.
So grab a ribeye steak, cook it, sprinkle some salt on it Salt Bae style, and enjoy.
Your lifestyle may also contribute to your sleep issues, so it is a good idea to have a general sleeping strategy in place. For example:
- Reduce stress in your life
- Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime
- Use blue light-blocking glasses when the sun goes down. I use high-quality blue blockers from RA Optics. They give our readers 10% off! Just use “Wildlumens” at checkout.
- Try a blue light screen protector for your phone or laptop at night. My go-to is: IRIS
- Pay attention to your circadian rhythm, so as much as possible, get up when it gets light and go to bed when it gets dark
- Have a dark and quiet room to sleep in, and get blackout curtains for your windows to get rid of light pollution
- Have a cool room to sleep in
These should all help to varying degrees.
I place a lot of value on the wisdom of the crowds. Nutritional science is so far out of whack nowadays it is almost useless.
Go check them out and see what you think.
Being tired is no fun, and it is no way to live.
If you are tired, you must figure out why and fix it.
What makes you feel tired will be very individual, and so will how you fix it.
Yet there are common mistakes, which hopefully I have covered for you. So hopefully, you now have the tools to go out and resolve whatever you think the problems could be.
- Redmond Real Salt and Re-Lyte Electrolyte Mix (15% Discount)
- White OakPastures Regenerative Farmed Meat (10% Discount)
- Carnivore Crisps (10% Discount)
- Live Water Glass Bottled Spring Water (11% Discount)
Knowledge and motivation stacking
I recommend getting these two books to help you on your carnivore diet journey.
- The Carnivore Diet by Dr. Shawn Baker
- The Carnivore Cookbook by Jessica Haggard (for a limited time, use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
Then I highly recommend you get a highly affordable carnivore diet coach through MeatRX! This is a coaching group created by Dr. Shawn Baker himself, and I am a coach. You can book me here or check out the other roster of coaches.
And finally, have some fun at our Wild Lumens YouTube channel, where we discuss the carnivore diet and share recipes! Good luck on your journey!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.