Got Fatigue from Low-Carb Diet? (Enter contest, win books!)

Got Fatigue from Low-Carb Diet? (Enter contest, win books!)

By | June 15, 2012 at 10:38 am | 86 comments | Low Carb | Tags: , , , ,

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Calling all current and former low carbers!

Are You Hitting a Low-Carb Wall?

More and more people are going low carb these days, and no wonder. Most of us are eating far too many carbs, and switching these empty calories out for nutrient-dense foods is often all it takes to set you on a road of painless fat loss and better health.

But for some, leaving the carbs behind isn’t as easy as they had hoped. Occasionally, a person does start to see the body fat transform to lean muscle and their waist size shrink, only to be faced with new problems. These issues can range from fatigue—either right away or months after switching to low carb—to body temperature fluctuations and even hair loss.

I’ve been studying diet and nutrition for a decade. For the past several years, I’ve studied weight loss and low carb diets in particular. I’ve even developed and implemented a weight loss program (called TRIM) based on the nutritional principles explained in my books Deep Nutrition and Food Rules.

With all that experience, you might think that I’d have a simple fix for those of you who have adopted a low-carb diet but then ran into trouble. I don’t. That’s because—as any leading low-carb expert will tell you—it’s a complicated issue. The truth is, we’re still learning how different physiologies react to a low-carb diet. Everybody’s different. And so although most people’s body’s can adapt to burning fat instead of sugar fairly readily, a lot of folks who would like to enjoy the many benefits of low-carb diets (like Paleo, Primal, Deep Nutrition, South Beach, Dukkan, Atkins etc.) are wondering why their body’s seem to reject low-carb and hanker for the familiar comfort foods of rice, bread and pasta.

I call it “hitting the low-carb wall.” And although low-carb practitioners don’t yet know everything about why this sometimes happens, we have zeroed in on a few possible reasons people hit the wall, and how they might get past it.

Change is hard. It’s hard for you physiology too and some people need to take extra measures to get their bodies to burn fat efficiently after years of burning sugar. For others, the problem is more complicated and that’s where Dr Cate needs your help.

1) Lack of fat burning enzymes.
Years of carb consumption in excess of 100 gm per day means your body almost always had plenty of carb around and has shut down most of the enzymes for burning fat. There are different solutions for getting past this. One solution is to simply grin and bear it and in a week or two you’ll be running on ketones. Another solution is heavy exercising, which bypasses the insulin resistance most people have. Still another is prescription medication use, including metformin (Glucophage) and eventide (Byetta).  (If you take diabetes medications you should not attempt this on your own.)

In these first few days and weeks after cutting carbs your insulin levels decline. Insulin helps us to retain salt and Dr. Erik Westman, co-author of The New Atkins for a New You, explains some people develop headaches and fatigue from the lost bodily salts:

In those who don’t have salt-sensitive conditions like heart failure or uncontrolled hypertension and to minimize fatigue/headaches during the first few weeks, we advise salt supplementation, and bouillon is an easy way to do this. Bullion ameliorates fluid shifts that may be a cause of fatigue for some people.

2) Thyroid problems.
Most of people who have been following a SAD for decades have some degree of insulin resistance and are also resistant to other hormones, including thyroid hormone. This is probably why so many on the SAD develop thyroid disease. While cutting carbs is a necessary step towards resolving insulin resistance, the change in energy source requires a response from the thyroid gland and your thyroid may not be up for the challenge. The solutions for getting past this are less clear but in my clinic I advise those with insulin resistance to cut carbs one meal at a time starting with breakfast and give each change a two week interval for your body to adapt.

3) Inadequate carb consumption.
We know most Americans eat way too many carbs but we don’t know if some people need more carbs than others for the long term. I have advised my patients to make their daily carb intake goals range from 30-70 grams per day and so far have not had anyone running into trouble even after many months.

Still, some do. Dr Westman’s believes that adding back carbs may improve symptoms because of the salt-retaining effects of insulin, not the carbs per se:

In those who experience improvement from adding more carbs, the energy return may have nothing to do with the carb itself! It may rather be the volume increase from renal sodium retention from the rise in insulin after eating the carbs.

Experts are standing by to help!

It is likely that, if you’ve hit the low-carb wall, one or more of these issues are at play. And that may be not be all: there may be other underlying health or lifestyle issues loading a few extra bricks on your wall, which can best be identified by a low-carb expert. But there is more work to do for us to be able to help you better, and that’s where you can help.

If you’ve had problems—any problems, whether they started right away or months down the road—trying to go low-carb, we want to hear from you! Tell us your story about how low-carb wall got in your way, and whether you got through it, or decided to turn around and go back to your old diet.

Whether you’re a true diet and nutrition expert in your own right or just someone who wanted to lose a few pounds and would like to know more about why low-carb let you down, this is your chance to teach the experts!

 Share Your Story, Win Autographed Books!

Tell me your story and be automatically entered for a chance to win a copy of both of my books (Winner announced on July 4, Independence day 2012). Together, we’ll all learn a little more so that everyone can have a better chance to have the health, and the waistline, of their dreams. (Winners selected who already own both books may elect to have the books shipped to friends and relatives around the world.)

Update: Round one winners have been selected and announced on July 8 2012. Round two winners have also been selected. Please subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you are notified.

For every seven qualifying histories there will be one winner so invite as many people to participate as you can!

 In the comment field below, include as much of the following information as you can:

1) sex, age, height, weight on starting low carb, current weight.

2) When did you begin low-carb and why (for weight/other health issue) and did you do Atkins, South Beach, Paleo or other and when did you start having problems?

3) Please outline your problems the more you can share, the better. If you sought advice from a health professional what was the advise and did it help?

4) If you provide blood test results, please put them into context of by providing dates and information on what your diet was like and what your problems were at the time. Same for medications particularly blood glucose/blood pressure/thyroid/other hormone/anti-depressants/sleep aids. Please include any adjustments made, why, and what the effects of the adjustments were.

5) Highlights of your family history, ie obesity, auto-immune diseases, hormone problems particularly thyroid.

Contest Rules:

1) Answer questions above in comment field below. (Please avoid asking questions about your personal health history!)

2) Subscribe to our RSS feed (if you haven’t already) to be notified of the drawing.

3) Spread the news on Facebook, twitter, everywhere you can! (Click share, below)

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86 Comments

  1. HannahT (1 year ago)

    I started this diet when I was 16. I was 306 lb, and 5′ 6″. For three months I stayed strict on a 30 carbs a day diet. I lost 25 pounds the first month. The next one I lost five. The last I lost nothing. Starting in may 2012 (4th month), I started cheating occasionally. It was the end of the year and my school had food parties for honor students and such. It was extremely hard to resist. My energy had been zapped for a while. The year went on and I fell more and more until the summer was a bad binge. My grandma ate a high carb diet and I spent time at her house. It was torture. I got back on the diet and lost almost nothing. Holiday time came and it got ruined again. New year came and I got mono. I had to have some energy and the low carb gave me nothing. I went to noodles because it was the only thing I could eat as I proceeded to get sick 6 times in 3 months. I couldn’t bear with the fatigue from the diet and our finances made it hard to stick to it. So my mom and I went back to the old habits. I refuse to go back on that diet because I was running myself ragged with high school and the diet. I didn’t even have the energy to excersize at the YMCA. I had to have more energy to finish school to graduate so I stayed off. We have been eating cheap stuff to get by until I get my money for college in August. I would like to do a different diet that watches carbs but doesn’t restrict them so severely. I think the low carb diet didn’t work for me. We still eat a lot of meat but we also eat a lot of bread and pasta. Some of the new habits stuck but I can’t help it. Could it be possible that I wasn’t burning my own fats? I have diabetes 2 and Hashimoto’s (not requiring medicine yet). I have been afraid to go back to my doctor because I gained back all the weight and I know he will yell at me. I don’t do well with that and it tends to have the opposite effect. Could it be that I need more carbs or something? With college coming up, I hope to find a different diet but I don’t know what I should try.

  2. Got Fatigue from Low-Carb Diet? Enter contest, win books! | Answers From April (1 year ago)

    [...] via Got Fatigue from Low-Carb Diet? Enter contest, win books!. [...]

  3. fatigue while on atkins | Health Wealth Builder (1 year ago)

    [...] Got Fatigue from Low-Carb Diet? | drcate.com [...]

    • Brian (1 year ago)

      Dear Dr. Cate,
      I started Low Carb in 2009 and I was 36, 240lbs, 6′ tall…I am now 39, 158lbs…I lost the weight in a little over a year and maintained at 150lbs since…My set back happened in August 2012, My father was in the hospital the whole month, it was very stressful and even though I was staying on track I gained 3lbs, toward the end of the month he passed away, and not to use it as an excuse I went off track for 3 days and ate very bad. After the 3rd day I felt so bad I knew I needed to get back on track and feel better. So that Monday I stepped back on the scale and was 165lbs! 15lbs heavier then what I was maintaining and 12lbs gained in 3 days. I got back on track and within a week or two I had got back to 158lbs and then it stopped. I have been there for 11 months and I have got down to 156 a couple of times but it jumps right back to 158 for no reason. I guess I am confused as to why I did not bounce back to 150? I have went off program before on special occasions but they were rare, and I may have gained 10lbs on a weekend but as soon as I got back on track within a couple of weeks I would be back to 150, I also have kept measurements and the only thing that has changed is I have gained 1.5-2.0 inches around the waist. Could I be holding on to these 8lbs because of a lot of stress I had when my father died? Could there be something off inside me? Has my age caught up to me? Or something else wrong? I just at a loss. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide me.

      • Dr. Cate

        Dr. Cate (1 year ago)

        The main reason for failure to lose weight is failure to access your fat stores. Make sure you are eating enough foods with a variety of fatty acid types, as doing so can improve your ability to burn a variety of fatty acid types. More info in this category of posts and in Chapter 8 of Deep Nutrition.

  4. June Fynn (1 year ago)

    1) sex, age, height, weight on starting low carb, current weight.
    Female, 59, 158cm, 61kg now 59.9kg, body fat percentage slightly decreased which is encouraging.

    2) When did you begin low-carb and why (for weight/other health issue) and did you do Atkins, South Beach, Paleo or other and when did you start having problems?
    I began low carb, low fat, moderate protein (Lean for Life based on the Lindora program) about September 2011, lost approximately 9kg over 5 months I think, this was over the New Zealand summer, I continued with this eating style but cheated a lot, now I think because of the low fat I was hungry & subsequently gained about 5 kg back. My biggest concern though was that my body fat percentage increased & seemed like it just kept creeping up. I had purchased Tanita scales in 2011 that measures this.
    Just over a month ago I had my cholesterol levels checked & the ratio wasn’t great either 3.9, high LDL . I had just started including some coconut oil in my diet.
    I have been eating gluten free about 9 years, recently discovered that cruciferous vegetables & dairy products have begun to effect my digestion so decided that something needed to change to improve my IBS symptoms.
    The high fat, particularly coconut oil in my case, low carb bone broths, adding some kefir coconut water probiotics & moderate protein seemed to help a little. I would like to add more fermented vegetables but am wary of cabbage because of the IBS symptons I got from cabbage, broccoli, kale & rocket in particular.

    3) Please outline your problems the more you can share, the better. If you sought advice from a health professional what was the advise and did it help?
    I recently became very tired & developed an outbreak of cold sores (herpes simplex) after adding raw cacao nibs & camu camu powder to my breakfast smoothie. Mainly I think this was the increased levels of L-arginine from almond milk & cacao and a reduction in L-Lysine from largely cutting out dairy products, which I am working on adding back in probably with raw milk yoghurt as other raw milk products are hard to get in New Zealand, to the best of my knowledge farmers are not allowed to sell raw milk by law, though they can give it away! I stopped the cacao & camu camu & added some sweet potato (called Kumara here in NZ) & butternut squash to my lunch & dinner & my energy levels have begun to improve.

    4) If you provide blood test results, please put them into context of by providing dates and information on what your diet was like and what your problems were at the time. Same for medications particularly blood glucose/blood pressure/thyroid/other hormone/anti-depressants/sleep aids. Please include any adjustments made, why, and what the effects of the adjustments were.
    I take amytriptiline to help me sleep, menopausal insomnia, have been taking it for more than 10 years

    5) Highlights of your family history, ie obesity, auto-immune diseases, hormone problems particularly thyroid.
    MY sister & father both celiac, my sister also has history of graves disease, unfortunately she had her thyroid killed with radioactive ion treatment.
    My mother developed ITP & Stevens Johnson/TEN (both auto immune disorders) in the last month of her life 6 years ago. No obesity in my family that I am aware of. Type 1 diabetes in a great grandfather I believe.

  5. James (1 year ago)

    Male
    31
    5 ‘ 8
    13 falling to 12 stone

    Reason – Weight Loss and seeking enhanced feeling of well being as explained below

    No family problems known.

    My story is this. Ever since a child I have needed to eat more than most. If I wanted to exert myself physically for any sustained period of time then I had to intake some form of food staple 1 – 2 hours before exercise. The amount of times I would try and break this rule, having seen others nip to the gym after work having not eaten since dinner. Time and again I would run out of steam and feel weak and shaky in minutes no matter how in shape I was at the time. Eventually feeling somewhat of a slave to this and always carrying a belly no matter how many times a week I ran, cycled or trained I decided it was time for a change. I heard Rob Wolf on a podcast and thought it cant harm to try a low carb diet.

    So I reduced my carb intake. I don’t believe in counting the amounts, just learn the gist of the theory and go right? The only carbs I ate was a Coconut Oil and Kale shake with a pear in it in the morning and a small to moderate portion of rice or root vegetable on a night and maybe a sugary alcoholic drink every other night. I have to say the results were instantaneous. No ‘low carb flu’ here rather -low and behold without early carbs I flew. I basically replaced any carbs that I would have had for breakfast or dinner with an array of nuts and seeds. In this time I increased meat intake by around 2.5 to 3 times to what I was eating previously.

    The first benefit I noticed was being cured from the mid morning sleepiness that had plagued me my whole life. 10-11 am yawns where my blood sugar must have soared from a bready breakfast was replaced with a sharper focus and energy, some of the other things I noticed as the diet progressed were (by the way if you are getting bored with this happy little story hold tight for the darkness)

    • Stinky breath and potent smelling sweat as the weight started falling off me
    • More energy in general especially when first waking up
    • Never been tired until I hit the pillow and shut my eyes on a night time
    • I never felt peckish. If I was hungry I was hungry but no silly cravings of “Oh I could just eat a…”
    • I could now go much long periods without food. I could happily train tea time if I had not eaten since dinner
    • Less muscular aches and pains even though I was training pretty hard with kettle bells
    • I noticed a rapid rise in the rate I healed from cuts, spots things like that.
    • Sex drive dropped dramatically in the early stages of low carb diet. This was a first for me, although as I man I found this somewhat peaceful actually even with the Mrs nagging!
    • I just felt light and springy in general

    I now thought high carbs where the devil as everything seemed better on this diet. The carbs I consumed on a night just relaxed me and prepared me for bed. I thought I had cracked it. I gradually increased weight training, took creatine, had bedtime ZMA drank hemp protein – my body was looking good and by adding a few more carbs on a night I started to gain muscle pretty quickly although the scales still registered slight weight loss as my belly shrank and abs saw the light of day for the first time in my 30 years.

    ……….And then…..3 months in. In under a week I went from someone who could wake up and throw kettle bells about to not wanting to get out of bed. I still felt strong if I needed to be but I felt shattered, depressed and not myself the best way I can describe it is by saying it was hitting me at some mid point between the physical and mental and negatively impacting both. This is at a time in my life where everything was going reasonably well. I had nothing to blame but when something went wrong it was like I had zero fortitude with which to fight it. I felt like I was slipping away and really loosing myself. Today I have not gone to work having a broke down over a couple of glitches related to my incompetent mobile phone provider. This is not like me. I am a usually very strong emotionally. I usually shake things off very well and do not take myself at all seriously. I felt the part of my very being that is needed to cope with stress is simply not there and I did not know why. I have suffered from mild depression so as to recognise what it is twice before when things were getting me down, just for a couple of weeks each time but I sprung back no problem. Since reading this article I feel better even though still far from normal and I am convinced this sudden physical and mental fatigue is due to my low carbing. It feels very much like some imbalance in my brain. The only precursor to feeling like this was a weird lust for sweet food last week and drop in sex drive over the last couple of weeks.

    My plan now is to rest a week (from training) and add more carbs either just on a weekend or around midday each day. I will likely avoid my previous addiction which was bread and look to potato be it sweet or regular.

    I have to reemphasize how weird and sudden this has all been.

    Thank you for the article.

  6. tam (2 years ago)

    4) Insufficient sodium (which can cause dehydration believe it or not), which you need more of when you cut carbs. Your body retains less sodium, then passes water and potassium to get even with the sodium. Your blood pressure also goes down. See one of Volek & Phinney’s ‘Art and Science of Low Carb’ books. This should be rule #1.

  7. Imogene (2 years ago)

    @PaulB – Please share what your daily diet consists of ios that you able to support your exercise/activity level. Do you fuel before and after exercise? What are you fueling with? (mostly complex carb?….or proteins?) I am interested in finding if I am in ketosis, but had read that many ketostixs were designed for use by diabetic people, so ketosis in non-diabetics can not be detected with ketostixs. Any ideas about this? What brand do you use? Where did you purchase them?
    Do you count calories? Do you know the approximately breakdown (%) of fats, protein and carbs in your diet??

    Many things for help and suggestions!
    Imogene

  8. PaulB (2 years ago)

    Upon further reading I realized a week was not a fair test of low-carb. Now six weeks have passed. Strength and exercise ability have markedly improved. I am in ketonuria ( proved by Ketostix) most of the day and I honestly feel I have more steady energy. But while I am perfectly able to do intervals on the stepmill ( I mean repeated short bursts at high speed) I continue to feel I overheat more quickly on this diet, and perhaps as a result do not have as much stamina for extreme work. (I’ve read that taking salt just before may help.). I have a 700-mile bike tour coming up and am a bit apprehensive; I would hate to lag behind my pals just because of a damn diet! (maybe that’s a guy thing.)

    I would like to further report that, at six weeks, my lipids are outstanding: 187 (T.chol), 96 (LDL), 80(HDL), 53 (Triglyceride.) This is far better than statins and even niacin has ever been able to accomplish for me (a few years ago my T. Chol was 339!)

    I have lost 12 pounds on this diet so far. On the whole I am very pleased with the results, especially as my body has adjusted over the weeks. The upcoming tour will be a good test whether the diet, for me, does indeed cause fatigue.

    Thanks for your interest.

  9. Kamila (2 years ago)

    In the comment field below, include as much of the following information as you can:

    1) sex, age, height, weight on starting low carb, current weight.
    female, 37, 5.4, SW:197, CW:183

    2) When did you begin low-carb and why (for weight/other health issue) and did you do Atkins, South Beach, Paleo or other and when did you start having problems?
    began Atkins in April 2012 for weight loss

    3) Please outline your problems the more you can share, the better. If you sought advice from a health professional what was the advise and did it help?
    I have lost about 10 lb the first 2 weeks, felt good, had energy and lost most of my horrible carb cravings. Couple weeks ago my hair started falling out, I feel exhausted all day, cranky and crave caffeine. I am taking homeopathic remedy, I took another dose but I’m yet to see if it had any effect. I have had De Quervain’s thyrotitis about a year ago and haven’t been feeling right since. I have extremely low tolerance to humidity and heat, dry skin/hair. Also I started having acne problems. I never had much acne ever but now it’s all over my face and body. I considered that I may be allergic/sensitive to Stevia which I used a lot lately so I stopped it a week ago. My family doctor warned me about the sustainability of Atkins and other low carb diets and basically doesn’t support it.

    4) If you provide blood test results, please put them into context of by providing dates and information on what your diet was like and what your problems were at the time. Same for medications particularly blood glucose/blood pressure/thyroid/other hormone/anti-depressants/sleep aids. Please include any adjustments made, why, and what the effects of the adjustments were.
    All my test were unremarkable, even all my thyroid tests, the only thing that was low was ferritin.

    5) Highlights of your family history, ie obesity, auto-immune diseases, hormone problems particularly thyroid.
    Mother was short stature and obese, sister is short stature, obese and has chronic thyroid inflammation and is on thyroid meds (hypo), father overweight, extremely low tolerance to heat and humidity, dry skin, pre-diabetic, maternal grandfather- suspected gluten intolerance, chronic diarrhea.

  10. Donna (2 years ago)

    1) sex, age, height, weight on starting low carb, current weight.
    Female, 40, 5’3″, 248 9 mos. ago (though unsure of exact weight at start of LCHF) current: 240

    2) When did you begin low-carb and why (for weight/other health issue) and did you do Atkins, South Beach, Paleo or other and when did you start having problems?
    I began LCHF/Swedish in May for weight loss and the other reported benefits – avoiding diabetes, improved Cardio-vascular health, improved energy

    3) Please outline your problems the more you can share, the better. If you sought advice from a health professional what was the advise and did it help?
    I’ve had the “low carb flu” when first starting. After a family wedding in which I planned, and did go off the LCHF, I restarted the next week. That was about 10 days ago. The first couple of days were awful, then I was fine. Except the past two days when I’ve been low energy, and had headaches. Maybe it’s the diet or something else. Diet seems most likely, though, since I don’t have any other symptoms of illness. I have consulted a doctor since I’m not confident of getting anyone in my area that is open to something other than the CW and SAD.

    4) If you provide blood test results, please put them into context of by providing dates and information on what your diet was like and what your problems were at the time. Same for medications particularly blood glucose/blood pressure/thyroid/other hormone/anti-depressants/sleep aids. Please include any adjustments made, why, and what the effects of the adjustments were.
    I don’t have any recent blood test results. I did get a glucometer and my blood sugar has been good: 77-97 before and after eating.

    5) Highlights of your family history, ie obesity, auto-immune diseases, hormone problems particularly thyroid.
    Cardio-vascular disease runs in my family, along with some overweight. My bro and I are the heaviest in our extended families. My mother has had hypothyroid. Maternal grandparents had Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, respectively.

    • Dr. Cate

      Dr. Cate (2 years ago)

      Donna did you mean to say you have not consulted a doctor?
      The cut off for normal glucose many of us who specialize in metabolic health now use is 90, not 100. A fasting glucose over 90 often indicates some insulin resistance.

  11. Lynn (2 years ago)

    1. Female, 56, 5’7″, 160 pounds starting low carb, currently 178 pounds.

    2. I started low carb Nov. 2009 after I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Started with the Rosedale diet, then Dr. Bernstein’s diet. I’ve done lots of variations (Atkins, paleo, etc.), but generally stay under 30g of carb/day, around 50g of protein (no grains or packaged foods). I recently tried low carb/extremely high fat (150-200g/day); my BG initially went down almost to normal, but drifted back up to the 150-180mg/dl range after a week or so.

    3. The problem is that I can’t lower my blood glucose or lose weight. After more than two and a half years of low carb, I haven’t lost any weight (in fact I’ve gained weight) and my blood glucose is 150-180mg/dl, the same range it fell to when I started low carb (at diagnosis my BG was 364). My doctor prescribed various sulphonylurea drugs that had no real effect on my BG. Currently the only medication I’m on is Metformin (2000mg), which lowers my BG somewhat, but seems to cause some fatigue for me (I take supplements of all the B vitamins).

    I tried insulin for 3 months last winter; my BG was lower, but I gained 20+ pounds, so I stopped taking it. Why do some people gain weight on insulin? I was eating <30g of carb, and about 1300-1400 calories a day. If a person is in ketosis, and they are burning fats for fuel, what happens to the glucose? Do they burn both fats and glucose, or does the body have some other way to get rid of excess glucose? Is it possible that I don't use much glucose at all, so when I took insulin, it converted all the excess glucose to fat?

    My liver seems to pump out endless amounts of glucose, even though I eat very low carb and only 50g of protein/day. Why don't I lose weight on low carb?? Where does my liver get all this glucose, and why does it think I need MORE when my BG is already too high??

    4. Blood glucose is always high (150-180mg/dl). My 4x/day saliva cortisol test follows the standard curve through the day, but is very slightly above the 'normal' range. HS-CRP is 4.2 (high).

    Other tests: lipids are good, blood pressure is good, thyroid (TSH, free T4, free T3, TPO) is normal. Vitamin D tested low, so I'm supplementing. Sex hormones are on the high end of normal. All other blood work is normal.

    5. My father and his mother were 'thin' diabetics (Type 2), but no obesity or other health problems in my family.

  12. Imogene (2 years ago)

    Update:
    I have been limiting carbs and calories by eating per Deep Nutrition and NOT snacking for the past month. ( Have not yet added offal though.) That is not very long, but it has been very difficult to convert from someone who eats every 3-4 hours to eating every 5-6 or longer. Some days, I just have bone broth in the morning and eat lunch and dinner. My weight is 107lb today.

    My experience is very similar to PaulB in terms of huge fatigue and low energy for exercising. I can no longer drive my heart rate high. Before low carb, I maxed out around 175′s. Now, I can only drive up to 165′s for the same type of exercise.

    My latest 10-hour fasting blood test results (July 16, 2012): BP 105/69; Cholestrol 165; Triglycerides 110; Glucose 85; HDL 60; LDL 83.
    This is the highest ever I have tested for triglycerides and LDL.

    Thank you Dr Cate!

  13. PaulB (2 years ago)

    Hi — I am 61, a lifelong exerciser having just begun a low- carb diet and am already noticing a dramatic drop in my ability to exercise, although that may now be moderating somewhat.

    I fit the type described by Diane Kress in her Metabolism Miracle — working out 90 minutes or more a day and still unable to maintain a stable weight. My lifelong self- description has always been “I’m either gaining or I’m losing, never in-between.” Over the past several years the gaining part has grown, alas, stronger. Last fall I bicycled the Sierra-Cascades route (in a nutshell, 2,000 miles of mountain passes from Canada to Mexico) and in six weeks lost 24 pounds. When I got home I resolved “this time it’s gonna be different!” but within a few months the pounds relentlessly piled back on, despite my daily regimen of climbing more than 300 flights of stairs each day ( a 90-minute routine on the stepmill.). I never consume fast food, soda, candy or deserts but do crave carbs like thick rye bread and thin style pizza crusts. When I was a kid my favorite food was a mayo-only sandwich!

    Anyway I am mindful of my exercise routines and use a heart monitor. In the first three days on Kress’s low-carb diet (<25 gm of carbs per day) my stair climbing fatigue point instantly fell from 90 minutes to 20 minutes ( the final 10 minutes barely hanging on) at a speed about two levels slower than I was used to. Normally it takes about an hour for my heart rate to exceed 140, as it gradually climbs during the workout, but now it was nearly 150 after 15 minutes, and I was sweating profusely. Normally I am quite comfortable at 100% effort ( you couldn't pedal up a 10,000-foot incline if you weren't) but this was not comfortable at all!

    Over the next three days I was able to extend the workout a few minutes per day but still at a slow speed, and with the same discomforts occurring a few minutes later each day.
    Today (after a week). I was able to climb 45 minutes but again at a slow pace, and with the same heart rate rise and sweating occurring again a few minutes later than before. By now I had hoped my body would have adjusted better than this!

    At this point I should hasten to add the discomforts were not of a cardiac nature ( I regularly consult a cardiologist) but of what I could only describe as a system-wide energy failure.

    I don't know if this description is of any value, but I thought I would toss it into the ring.

    Thanks

    • Dr. Cate

      Dr. Cate (2 years ago)

      Your lab testing results, particularly fasting glucose, cbc, and LDL would be of great value.
      Thank you!

  14. Ang656 (2 years ago)

    Female, 28, 5′ 10″ before low carb weight got to 266 then I stopped checking so I am sure it got higher. After low carb 198. After low carb revolt (currently) 230.

    Started the low carb thing in 2008 after losing 320 pounds…..of ex husband ;-) he ordered an infomercial weight loss miracle “the 6 week total body makeover” I took it, the principles and research looked sound and the meals looked like reasonable whole food recipes. The first week was the hardest but at the end of eating a very low carb six meals a day regimen I started to see my belly fat shrinking. So I stayed with it over the next two years I lost almost 70 pounds. With a combination of low carb and spin classes and body pump classes.

    I was ceaselessly exhausted, and felt hungry an hour or sometimes less after my “meals”. Typically I had spinach with egg whites for breakfast, a snack of 2oz turkey breast and strawberries or cantaloupe, lunch salad with tuna and lemon, another snack of turkey breast and low sugar fruit, dinner, chicken breast with salad and some type of dark greens as a side. I ate like this for two years. Occasionally going off as a cheat day. For the most part I was hungry and irritable and so so tired. But being skinny was more important than feeling well, right?!?

    I continued on. I was regularly seeing a doctor who saw me at my heaviest and put me on beta blockers for pre hypertension that she thought was a contributing factor to my having severe migraines. That was all, no extra test, no alternate treatments just a pill twice a day everyday for the rest of my life. I trusted my doctor, they know best…. When I raised the question of my fatigue and other things I associated with the low carb life I was told to just stick with it and eat less carbs, if I was doing it right I would lose more. Soon after I was feeling better and stopped taking the beta blockers and seeing that doctor. I decided I needed to find the cause not just treat symptoms.

    Family history….take a seat we will be here a while Dad, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack at age 33, he says it was a medication mix up something about diuretics, Mom, Sister, Maternal Grandmother thyroid disorders (grandmother obese), maternal grandfather, obesity, heart disease, death of congestive heart failure.

    Around 2010 I found “The Makers Diet” and subsequently “Nourishing Traditions” my world turned right side up for the first time in my adult life. I have abandoned to low carb life and enjoy a whole traditional real food life. Trouble is since my real foods life I have regained 30 pounds and still feel as tired as ever my blood pressure is fine now and very few migraines (unless I visit SADtown). I am seeing a new doctor who has done a round of tests (waiting for the reveal soon). I have also recently had the Merina low dose IUD removed, the new Doc suspects that and thyroid for my troubles.

    • Ang656 (2 years ago)

      I forgot to mention that I was always sick. It seemed like I cought everything! I would be sick for two weeks well for a week then be down with something else for three. Several upper respiratory gunk up type colds and a few times bronchitis.

      Since my real foods and raw milk love affair I’ve had maybe two colds in two years.

      JERF it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. | The Farmpartment (2 years ago)

    [...] with fatigue problems. (Well, I discovered that after I curiously followed the link to her “Low-Carb Poop-Out contest,” and I admit I was expecting something quite a bit weirder!) Everyone who leaves a story is [...]