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Keep lowering carbs, how low is too low? What does it all mean?

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  • Keep lowering carbs, how low is too low? What does it all mean?

    Hi there!

    I have some questions regarding Primal eating. I've read through a great number of Mark's posts and navigated through some of the forum posts as well but I feel the need to consult on an individual basis! I feel Primal eating is quite individualized and some advice on how others have done is much needed.

    Here's the lowdown:
    - lactose intolerant since infancy
    - I have polycystic ovarian syndrome - so low-carb is the way to go for me as I'm predisposed to type II diabetes and a host of other things
    - at 15 I have been diagnosed with GERD - and taken everything from ranitidine to Nexium for it - I learned to control it with diet (no fried foods, oranges etc)
    - at 19 I was given a diagnosis of IBS after years of intestinal distress - all fresh produce went right through me
    -for the past year I've gone through a very hard time personally (separation, divorce, etc) and since then have developed the following food intollerances (i.e. severe stomach pain, hives and rashes, weakness, lightheadedness, brain fog, etc): gluten, sadly: all nuts, most seeds (pumpkin seeds, etc), eggs, and legumes ~~ essentially I feel almost debilitated when I eat any of these foods
    -the type of IBS also changed to constipation - especially after I noticed gluten kills my intestine

    - I have been gluten-free since January of this year
    - 130 g/day carbs for the summer
    (at this point I lost 30 lbs since last year, very happy as I have always struggled with my weight)
    - 100 g/day carbs for the past month
    - 60g/day for the past week


    Here are the questions:
    1. What does it mean that the lower I drop the carbs the better I feel? e.g., 10g carbs/meal makes me not as hungry and can last for up to 4 hrs without another meal. If I eat 15-20-or 30 g carbs in a meal I suppose my BG is spiked and I get stark raving hungry sooner but how low is TOO low?
    My BG is 4.3-5.0 every morning after a 12 hr fast.

    2. If I stay at 50-60 g carbs/day for a few months is there a chance I can strengthen/heal my body to be able to take up to 100 g /day again? I'd really like to eat more of my favorite veggies and I rrrreally miss fruits.

    3. Could this be associated with my adrenal glands and the amount of stress I've been under for the longest time? If I can focus on relaxation, destressing, sleeping, and healing can I improve my carb tolerance to a (still Primal) higher level? What about the food intolerances to eggs, nuts, etc?

    Thanks for your insights! I really need them right about now!

    Basil

  • #2
    When you lower your carbs are you replacing the calories/volume of food with more fat and protein? That may be the main reason that lower carb meals leave you more sated, more so than the lack of carbs.

    Working out with intensity (think sprinting, weight training) uses glycogen. Emptying your glycogen tanks improves your ability to metabolize carbs since your muscles and liver will want to restock glycogen.

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your rough go of things recently. And welcome to the forum.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi yodieawn, thx for the insight and kind words

      I have actually not increased the fat content (I eat about 100-120 g fat/day) but just slightly increased the protein content per meal (to a level of about 120g/day for my weight of 115 lbs, trying to add muscle). For example, I used to eat 6 times a day (b/c if I didn't eat every 2 hrs my low BG symptoms were killing me) so I split my protein intake over six meals. Now I eat 3-4 times a day so I have more at one sitting - while also decreasing carbs. Overall the calorie intake has actually decreased - I track using fitclick.com

      I lift free weights (getting heavier every week ) 3 times a week, do high intensity intervals about twice a week (sprinting, skipping rope), and walk an hour at least every other day.

      However, due to the amount of stress and my somewhat lacking coping abilities, I sleep quite poorly (i.e., wake up throughout the night and can't fall back asleep, usually at 3 am, 4 am, 5 am...).

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you trying to lose a lot of weight or just get healthy?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BasilIsBliss View Post
          Here are the questions:
          1. What does it mean that the lower I drop the carbs the better I feel? e.g., 10g carbs/meal makes me not as hungry and can last for up to 4 hrs without another meal. If I eat 15-20-or 30 g carbs in a meal I suppose my BG is spiked and I get stark raving hungry sooner but how low is TOO low?
          My BG is 4.3-5.0 every morning after a 12 hr fast.

          2. If I stay at 50-60 g carbs/day for a few months is there a chance I can strengthen/heal my body to be able to take up to 100 g /day again? I'd really like to eat more of my favorite veggies and I rrrreally miss fruits.

          3. Could this be associated with my adrenal glands and the amount of stress I've been under for the longest time? If I can focus on relaxation, destressing, sleeping, and healing can I improve my carb tolerance to a (still Primal) higher level? What about the food intolerances to eggs, nuts, etc?
          1) It means that you are on the right track. If you start feeling yucky (massively tired, etc.) then maybe you have gone too far in lowering the carbs. But as long as you are feeling good and it is working for you, roll with it.

          2)Yes. Once you get things stabilized and in a good place, fruit will be your friend again. I know what you mean about missing it.

          3)Absolutely. The raging levels of cortisol in your bloodstream are making everything harder for you, digestion, probably sleep. I don't know if your food intolerances would go away but a lot of people have reported that many kinds of allergies have completely disappeared on Primal.

          I wish you all the best. Welcome.

          p.s. I love your screen name.

          Comment


          • #6
            Best of luck! Sounds like you are on the right track!

            Yes, I agree that if/when weight loss is not your goal and/or you are quite physically active, you can add back fruit/carbs to 100 or 150 g.

            I have sensitivities to many of the foods you mentioned. Eggs have been hard to live with out (as they are everywhere!), but it's becoming easier & easier!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thx for the insights and kind words

              Yodiewan ~ I did not increase protein or fat overall, just increased protein per meal (before it was split b/w 6 meals, now I have 3 meals and one snack). I eat about 100-140 g fat/day, around 120 g protein/day for my 115 body weight - trying to put on muscle.

              I lift weights 3x a week (lifting heavier all the time and can real push-ups now!). I do 10 min of high intensity intervals 2x a week - sprints or jump rope. I walk an hour every day or every other day.

              Otzi ~ I am not trying to lose more weight, I'm just trying to be healthy and build muscle. The low carb level I'm at now is only to control my BG symptoms, I would prefer to raise it to allow for more veggies and some fruit.

              Paleobird and Sunnysara ~
              I feel better knowing I'm on the right track, and hopefully will be able to heal and have fruits be my friend again. I miss being at 100-150g carbs/day but I don't miss how it made me feel like I was a slave to food - i.e. couldn't make it a full two hours without eating. I was eating 6 times a day, all meals under 20g carbs, accompanied by protein and fat, but I was just not feeling well - ravenous most of the time, and the hypoglycemic symptoms were rampant (irritability, shakes, dizzy, light-headed, etc). Now, with lower carbs, it's been more manageable.

              I hope that lowering the stress and cortisol and keeping carbs at this manageable level will allow me to heal. Glad I posted !

              p.s. I also miss eggs and nuts a lot!! they are all over the primal recipes and I would really enjoy the variety they bring to my diet.
              Last edited by BasilIsBliss; 10-19-2011, 02:18 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                The only thing you can do is experiment. Keep doing VLC for a while, then ramp the carbs back up for a few days or weeks and see how you feel. Try different sources to see if you handle them differently, etc. If you are really healthy your body should be able to handle a wide variety of macronutrient ratios, but PCOS is nasty stuff.
                Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                My Primal Journal

                Comment


                • #9
                  I happen to be very carb sensitive and remain at no more than 20g a day. A while back I read in both Dr. Richard Bernstein and Dr. Michael Eades that it's best to limit carbs to 10-12 g per meal (no more than 12g) to moderate the insulin response. I've found that works for me. Anything higher (e.g., 20g at one meal) will incite ravenous hunger.

                  I've been eating at this carb level (Primal, too) for several years and have never felt better.

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                  • #10
                    Hi Emmie, just read your post and I would like to find out if your manage to have any fruits while staying on 20g per day. Do you count your carbs or just know what you can/cannot eat? Do you manage to eat some fruit on 20g per day? I have just started and would like to stay on 20g but would like some fruit, should I count my carbs to know exactly what I am eating?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just wanted to reply in case I could maybe help your situation with food intolerance and gerd etc. I've had similar issues with my digestion and severe vitamin/mineral deficiencies even though I ate a healthy diet. What I have come to find out is I don't produce enough stomach acid...this causes vit/min deficiencies which cause all your detox pathways to shut down or not work right, so you become intolerant of salicylates, amines, histamine, etc. Its a bit complicated, but not enough stomach acid is the main cause...
                      I know you say you have gerd which a lot of doctors say is too much stomach acid when in fact in most cases, its caused from not enough stomach acid and your stomach is having trouble digesting your food. So taking nexium makes the situation worse. If I were you I would see about digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid supplements.
                      Just my experience though...I realize you could have totally diff problems causing your situation.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for this snoopy. I have considered that before too as I've read a bit that suggest this might be the case. Digestive enzymes help me a lot actually, can eat a few almonds if I take them, etc. I haven't tried hydrochloric acid supplements but I am interested in pursuing this. Is it something that can be found at health food stores?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thx emmie, I'm glad to find someone with a similar experience. I definitely feel just right with 10g/meal. Glad to hear you've been eating this way for years and it works well for you

                          I suppose if I really wanted to increase total daily carbs to a higher level I could eat more frequent small meals while staying at this low level per meal.

                          I'm also curious as soon2beslinky is regarding fruit!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thx Uncephalized, good idea with the different sources - I strangely find broccoli make me ravenous but steamed eggplant or zucchini is fine. Anyways, good thing for me to keep in mind when experimenting and observing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              On fruit--I find that fruit (which I love) is a real 'trigger' food for me, as is anything with sugar or artificial sweeteners in it. And since I avoid sugar because all my siblings have diabetes, I generally avoid fruit--except for a special occason. Any fruit would use up my carbs for that meal totally.

                              (I have lost a substantial amount of weight, but I'm finding that maintenance is equally challenging for someone like me with a disordered metabolism, so I probably have to be more careful than most of you.)

                              However, whether or not you can manage fruit is an individual thing and something you can experiment with. Usually, berries are best to start with.

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