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Three months low carbing destroyed me

Blog Forums Raising Metabolism Three months low carbing destroyed me

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  • #10205
    cindy01
    Participant

    I have VERY cold hands and feet throughout the day, even sitting in the sun. I experience low blood sugar symptoms after consuming high glycemic foods. I feel detached, unalert, confused and vacant. My concentration is poor and I have no motivation. I can barely have a stimulating conversation and my mental acuity is deteriorating. I’m on a constant blood sugar roller coaster. I am not a diabetic but have a family history of diabetes. I also have no diagnosed illnesses.

    The problem? Following a low carbohydrate diet for three months. All of these symptoms I have described I NEVER experienced before reducing my carbohydrate intake. It did not work for me and I acknowledged that returning to a carbohydrate based diet would seem optimal. All these symptoms I experienced during low carbohydrate dieting, but in more extreme forms. Ever since I’ve returned to eating unprocessed carbs (potatoes, fruits, vegetables, some rice, no gluten) I still feel terrible. Why? I ate these foods liberally and handled carbohydrates very well prior to low carbohydrate dieting. I never felt cold. I felt energised.

    I gradually increased my carbohydrate intake over a period of two months. I am now at the recommended 250-350g range. I’m assuming this is related to insulin, and I know low carbohydrate diets promote insulin resistance for those who are insulin sensitive. Blood tests all returned normal. Since this seems the most likely culprit, I’m going to try restoring my insulin sensitivity, but it gets worse everyday. I don’t understand why my side affects are so extreme, I’ve read many experiences of those who failed on low carbohydrate diets and they adapted back to carbs very well their symptoms were temporary. I have been experiencing these symptoms for a month now.

    Would really like to get some suggestions/advice on this. My doctor is a little reluctant and thinks anxiety is contributing to this. I’m anxious due to my ill health and that is a lazy diagnosis. I do not feel myself.

    #10226
    The Real Amy
    Moderator

    Cindy01, Matt will probably have better advice that I do, but your issues sound pretty common for what people can experience on low-carb. You are right that people usually recover their ability to handle carbs more quickly. My two pieces of advice are:

    1) Be sure you are getting enough salt, and maybe even have your doctor check your sodium levels with a blood test. I say this only because hyponatremia very closely mimics blood sugar symptoms, as well as the fact that it sounds like your blood sugar levels tested normal. For years I thought I had low blood sugar issues. Not so, I finally learned. Increasing my salt by a LOT (like adding plenty of salt to everything, even pizza) completely stopped my blood sugar rollercoaster. This is especially common in our salt-phobic society of the last couple of years. Everyone undersalts and is afraid to add salt. The effects are HUGE.

    2) Exercise can be very helpful in helping your body utilize excess glucose. If you aren’t doing exercise/weight training, maybe that would help.

    #10231
    cindy01
    Participant

    Thank you, Amy. How do I contact Matt? As far as I know all the professionals listed here require a fee to contact/provide advice.

    I add salt very liberally to my rice and potatoes etc. but I eat quite a high fruit diet with plenty of minerals, I’m sure my sodium/electrolyte levels are balanced but it probably wouldn’t hurt to add a little more

    I run 4-5 times a week, and about 5-6 miles a session. Another thing to note, carbs aren’t fuelling my workout as efficiently as they did before. I remember having a bowl of rice for breakfast (and nothing else) and that would fuel me for the rest of the day as well as a workout session! Now I eat 3-4 bowls and still feel awful.

    I can’t believe the extensive damage short term glucose deprivation can do and the horrendous side affects trying to reverse the damage.

    Thank you for your advice.

    #10234
    RegL
    Participant

    Hi Cindy,

    I see a few red flags right off the bat. First, if you were fueling yourself for an entire day on a bowl of rice and including a run on top of it, your metabolism was likely damaged even before you did low carb. As Matt points out in Diet Recovery 2, endurance exercise suppresses metabolism. If you compound that by eating very little, your body becomes very efficient at conserving energy by tuning the metabolism down.

    The second thing I see is that you eat a high fruit diet. While this is fine and a healthy habit for someone with a normal to high metabolic rate, it’s not a good idea for those in recovery for two reasons: fruit has a high water content and a lot of potassium. Even though you are using salt, eating a lot of fruit (with its high potassium) dilutes the salt in your bloodstream and you’re losing the metabolism boosting effect of the salt.

    What are your temps like?

    I would suggest that while you’re trying to recover you either cut out or cut significantly back on your running and replace some (or most) of your fruit with starchy carbs. Also, if you haven’t read Diet Recovery 2, I highly recommend it. Matt lays out all the science behind his method, which is really beyond the scope of a single forum post. :)

    #10237
    cindy01
    Participant

    Yes, I embarked on low carb to stop my restrictive eating cycles and eat until satiation without weight gain. I don’t know why I didn’t quit as soon as these symptoms appeared but I was stubborn and continued anyway, hoping I would eventually become ‘fat-adapted’ and the symptoms would subside. The ‘low carb flu’ reassurance was false hope, as it seemed like ‘low carb eternity torture’.

    I try and balance my starch and fruit intake and attempted high starch for a few days with no success, the hypoglycemic episodes just worsened and my energy did not improve.

    I don’t take my temperature because I’ve only been recently listening to and reading Matt Stone’s recommendations/views but I can tell you my hands are like ICE.

    Thank you. I can actually recall that on my high starch experiement I wasn’t tracking calories and they were probably too low (probably 1000-1200), so I will reattempt and aim for 2000 calories.

    #10248
    The Real Amy
    Moderator

    Cindy, Matt can be contacted via the “Get Help” link at the top of the screen.

    It sounds like you probably did have some issues pre-low-carb so maybe there is a longer recovery time for you now, and maybe you will need to cut down on the running for a bit. I would also say definitely make sure to salt those starches well, especially with the work-outs, and also make sure you are getting enough protein so it’s not just all carbs.

    I will also note that I don’t think a bowl of rice is such great fuel for a run (especially hours before). I’m amazed you could run on that before! You must have had good body stores. Maybe instead of lots of watery fruit, you could try dried fruit, particularly before running. I think it’s great fuel personally.

    #10255
    David
    Moderator

    I agree with what Reg and Amy are saying. It’s possible you were nearing a crash even before you started the low-carb diet, and the diet may have merely accelerated the process. If that’s the case, you’ll never recover if you only return to the pre-low-carb behavior. Since you no longer feel well with the old habits, it’s worth considering this possibility.

    I often get impatient and want to return to the way I lived before I started having health and energy problems. And if I’m honest with myself, I can see that I perpetuate health issues by pushing my limits too far. When I start to feel good, I’ll exercise too much, work too hard, party too long. That may or may not be your issue, but in my case, I realize that I need to find new behavior patterns if I’m ever going to be consistently well.

    #10283
    Dutchie
    Participant

    Cindy,when I first started Eat4Heat with the for S’s at first it was all great,had great energy etc. but it soon became very ugly with effects I’ve never experienced before in my entire life and it made it almost impossible to live somewhat of a life.
    Just like you,my bloodsugar/hypoglycemia was all over the place! when I took out one of the S’s,the Starch which left me with Sugars/Salt&Saturated Fat my bloodsugar now is way more stable now.

    #10300
    Ashley
    Participant

    I would take a break from running for a bit. You won’t lose your conditioning overnight. And I would eat more dried fruits and other sugar sources that have less water and see if this helps.

    #10326
    Jdubs
    Participant

    I concur, it seems like your pre low carb lifestyle was already wrecking you. Now you are trying to return to that lifestyle. You may have to really consider some foods and calorie amounts that may not make a whole lot of sense to you. you should also cut the running out and only do a few days of walking a week. Eat ice cream, cookies, chocolate, pizza etc. you can and should eat some rice and potatoes and meat and some veggies and fruit but I find without some “junk”food thrown in, I can’t quite get all the calories I need. Making these changes can be very emotional and scary for someone very attached to lots of exercise and “healthy” eating. And from what I’ve experienced it takes about roughly four to six months and a lot of discomfort at first before seeing decent results. Some people claim to see results in a week or two, this makes me a little skeptical but who knows. Most people’s stories I’ve read put it more at the time frame I mentioned. You can eventually ramp up the exercise and start cutting out some of the junk food but I myself would suggest chiilin for a year or so and trying to adapt a different perspective on life before putting yourself back on the treadmill of life. It’s hard. It’s a mental challenge to live simply and laid back and go against our hard wired desire for perfection.

    #10331
    Jdubs
    Participant

    Cindy, I just wanted to add that I had every symptom you are having while having all of the tests and having nothing proven to be wrong. I’m convinced that the type of endocrine disruption (adrenal fatigue etc.) that occurs after long term stress and dietary restriction causes some seriously awful feelings and symptoms without anything showing out of the ” normal” ranges on hormone and glucose tests. If you really have no hidden problems of major proportions you should be able to push through the glycemic feeling episodes eventually. I was worried about being pre-diabetic or something but now I can eat Insane amounts of sugary crap and actually feel pretty good. Not that I want to make it a habit but its nice to know I have the ability if indeed it. Just three months ago a bowl of frosted mini wheats would spike me out then crash me leaving me feeling sick and miserable.

    #10332
    Ashley
    Participant

    The tests they use are kinda like testing for a fever with a meat thermometer. They are about catching people a little before they die. They are not about optimal function. Because they do not have anything to help until things are dire.

    • This reply was modified 9 years ago by Ashley.
    #10380
    cindy01
    Participant

    Thanks every one. I usually workout at night and fast until the morning. I only drink water post workout. When I wake up, I feel great but as soon as something touches my lips or I sip some water I instantly feel terrible again. I really suspect it’s my workouts since I haven’t worked out in 2 days prior to this workout and noticed the episodes subside slightly. It’s very unpredictable.

    Low carb seriously suppressed my appetite, my calories and carbs are still consistently low, the thought of food is making me feel sick. After adding my food log to the tracker app I only seem to be getting only 100-200g of carbs a day. Ugh.

    Can any one else share some low carb experiences and side affects? The low carb gang are so condescending and dogmatic, I don’t see many expressing any opposition or sharing bad experiences and the extent of such diets developing poor health consequences.

    #10384
    Finngarian
    Participant

    I tried low carb for very short periods of time (probably no longer than a month) and I stopped it because it created carb cravings and sugar cravings where there were none before. I felt really bad on it, was constantly drinking, was constipated, just felt horrible. All of them ended in me making a batch of cake frosting just to eat!!! Then by a massive starchy foods binge.

    I can’t imagine running while eating a low carb diet. I used to run 6-9 miles per week, not much compared to you but I felt bad enough not fueling myself properly (or getting enough rest) and I can’t even begin to imagine how bad I would have felt eating low carb and trying to run.

    #10417
    Jdubs
    Participant

    My first foray into low carb was an anti-candida diet. No fruit, no sugar, no bread etc. I had no idea what a low carb diet was I just knew that supposedly some nasty intractable yeast that can turn into a fungus was lodged in my intestines making Swiss cheese out of them. Four solid months of that and then my first big crash. It was a Fourth of July weekend and I was home being a bit of a recluse to avoid the carb temptations of a holiday weekend. I broke down and for some reason made spaghetti. I got real sick. I also got cravings for other stuff that also made me sick as well as suffered from fatigue and foggy brain. I basically missed a week of work it was so bad. I finally pulled myself back together and got back on a slightly less restrictive diet. Over the next year I kept the diet up as much as I could with some ups and downs until I just had a bad night where I broke down and ate some watermelon and two bowls of fruity pebbles. It totally wiped me out. I literally felt like I was having nervous system problems like M.s. or something. My legs felt so weak I would just turn around and go home after only getting fifty feet on a walk. I missed a few days of work and just said screw it I am going on a fast until this stuff straightens out or I die. Yes I was that desperate. I was also seeing an alternative doctor as well as scouring the Internet for any solution to my worsening fatigue, foggy brain and nervous system like problems. After a twelve day fast ( which in hindsight was probably a very stupid thing to do in my malnourished state) I finally quit the fast and started slowly eating again. It was at this time I discovered the paleo thing and started eating tons of meat and dropped all of the grains and beans. I started eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and steak for dinner. All of the sudden I felt great. I had tons of energy. I maintined the weight lost of my fast and actually started getting some abs for the first and probably only time in my life. In hindsight a lot of the energy was just adrenaline spikes. It was usually too much energy. I felt very euphoric. It’s almost like a drug. I think that’s why a lot of low carbers are so zealous. I know I was. I’m actually embarrassed thinking about how much I tried to spread the gospel. That was August. By October a one week crash. By march a huge crash that I’m still not fully recovered from. I don’t give a damn what anyone says, you need carbs, calories, sugar, and plenty of nutrients to function in today’s high stress world. If you were eating a bowl of rice and then running five miles chances are you were putting yourself into a state of malnutrition. Along with the malnutrition is the adrenal burnout as well as a messed up ability to correctly use insulin etc. If you are truly in this condition or even close to it, the only way out is to give up on the dietary dogma and the need for perfectionism and total control over your body. Find your own path back to re feeding and nourishing your body. And try to find ways to get lots of rest and light exercise like stretching and short walks. I know I’m getting a bit long winded here but it helps me reflect and reorient myself. I have come a long way in the last few months, my hope is coming back and I never want to go back to the hell of the last few years.

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