When you first get started on a diet, your body takes time to adjust. Most people naturally eat a large proportion of carbs in their diet before deciding they need to lose weight, and some reduce the amount or type of carbs they eat, or at least change the way they eat carbs.
Quite simply, this can cause headaches!
But don’t worry, once you get used to your new way of eating, the headaches will normally go away. But what causes them in the first place?
A reduced carb diet can cause a diuretic effect – to put it simply, you need to pee more. Doing this reduces the amount of fluid and sodium in your body – you may need to increase the amount of water you drink, and maybe slightly increase your salt intake. When your brain is slightly dehydrated, it lets you know by giving you a headache. A lack of sodium can cause light-headedness. The two together are not so good!
You may also suffer from carbohydrate withdrawal – just like giving up smoking can cause big changes in the way you feel, giving up carbs can have the same effect. Completely cutting out carbs causes the biggest effect, and the withdrawal symptoms usually cause headaches as your body tries to figure out what is going on.
You can reduce the effect by gradually lowering your carb intake over a short period – usually a week does the trick. Most people finds that this works – however, a few have found that the headaches are just the same.
If you still find you are having the same headaches after a week, it may be worth looking in to other ways of changing your diet. Headaches can prevent you from doing many things that you either need to do or enjoy – if low carb eating is not for you, make a change.