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How long until being sugar-adapted stops working?

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  • How long until being sugar-adapted stops working?

    Hello. I am a 17-year old girl (of Central-European descent), my height is 170 cm and my weight is 40 kg. I come from a family of skinny people with fast-metabolisms, big eaters, of course never eating typical American processed, packaged/canned, ready to eat junk but also never health-obsessed, not even a little bit (for example, we would have never considered sugar our enemy before, it was just an ingredient in many of the dishes, same with wheat and rapeseed oil for example). None of us has ever been Paleo for a single moment, we've been eating a traditional Polish diet full of all kinds of food (including wheat in all forms - obviously! wheat has always been the staple here, rye, legumes, dairy, huge amounts of chicken, various meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, refined sugar, genetically modified rapeseed oil for frying everything, a lot of homemade cakes and sweets full of sugar, it was a traditional thing; nothing organic, everything conventional, meats also) all our lives, except for the last year; we haven't been experiencing any serious health problems then (for example cancers - not yet, hehe), just some typical stuff - my acne, bloating, gas, constipation, sometimes fatigue and feeling moody, mouth odor, smelly sweat, slowly appearing signs of aging, like skin getting worse and probably liver-connected dark spots appearing on forehead (this one for my parents, though people have always said that they look 15-20 years younger, no kidding, good genes I guess).
    Since the last year, we've been really poor and all we can afford in huge quantities are potatoes, sourdough rye bread (we don't want to buy wheat breads anymore, they taste awful), lots of fruits and some vegetables. We buy the same things everyday morning - around 10 pounds of potatoes and 2 huge loafs of sourdough rye bread; I eat the majority of it, my parents and sister just eat small quantities because they aren't that hungry. I've been strictly vegan for the last year, the rest of my family members probably too. It's a cheap and easy way to eat right now. All of the health issues mentioned before are completely gone now, but some new problems appeared. As you can see, all our calories come from carbohydrates now. My parents and my sister don't eat much daily (around 700-1100 calories a day, sometimes less, I've counted, they don't feel the need to eat any more, which really surprises me!!!), though I'm constantly hungry and I consume at least three times the calories they consume. I feel the urge to eat something every 1-2-3 hours (depending on how much carbs I just ate). I didn't gain any weight this year though, I actually lost a few pounds despite my huge caloric intake, I lost muscle mass too. My parents and sister lost weight too and now they keep loosing very slowly. My only "outer body" issue is dry skin and dry eyes (do dry eyes instantly mean diabetes? I hope not...), the rest is perfect, super fast growing nails and hair, bruises disappear and scars heal very quickly.
    My parents and sister eat around 200g of carbs daily (or probably less, like 150g), which is very healthy on my opinion and won't damage them, that's a safe amount of carbs, no insulin and blood sugar problems I guess. I feel that I wouldn't survive on 200g of carbs though, I'm always hungry and I constantly grab more food - potatoes, bread, fruits. I'm tracking my nutrition on Cronometer and it says that I eat 400-600g of carbs everyday, never less than 400g. I eat a few big bowls of mashed potatoes with lots of salt everyday, 10-15 slices of bread with mustard and vegetables, a lots of sugary fruit if available (2,5 pounds of cherries in the season in one sitting is normal for me, though it's obviously not an everyday thing).
    I'm sure that I already have some serious insulin and blood sugar problems that I've developed on this very high carb diet, I just hope that I haven't ruined my pancreas yet and that I will be able to heal it later. I hope I don't have diabetes yet. I looked up the symptoms of diabetes and I don't meet the criteria for 1 or 2 type except dry eyes and tiredness 2-3 hours after eating. The tiredness I get isn't the typical diabetic tiredness though, not the "I want to sleep or lay down", it's another kind (spaced out, cranky, lazy, not-energetic, like all energy has been used) and disappears instantly after I eat more carbs.
    It feels so unhealthy and wrong to be hungry, cranky and tired that short after meals, normal eating people feel that way maaaany hours after eating their last meal (I know my meals aren't complete though... no fat, not enough protein for a growing girl from potatoes). I feel super good, energetic, 100% healthy, happy, vital during eating and right after I eat, but two hours later I need to eat more carbs or I get moody and wanting more food. My parents and sister didn't get that thing, maybe because they eat much less carbs and didn't send their hormones into crazy mode. I have no idea what happened to me. Maybe I'm sick or maybe I'm just sugar-adapted (which sucks terribly and is an awful thing). I've read Mark's articles on being sugar adapted and about how fat is the prefered source of energy for the human body. I would really like to be fat-adapted but unfortunately I currently cannot afford that yet, no healthy and cheap sources of fat here that I could get everyday, while potatoes and bread cost almost nothing. I'm afraid that I will have to stay on my sugar-adapted very high-carb diet for the next year (until I become 18 and can legally earn my own money).
    My questions are: Am I doing serious damage to my body? Is it irreversible, or will I be able to reverse it later, when I finally will be able to go to work and earn money and buy real food full of protein and fat, not just massive amounts of carbohydrates? What's the exact damage that being sugar-adapted in connection with massive amounts of carbonydrates does to a human body in long-term?
    Do you think I could go on this way for another year and then completely recover with fats and protein, even if it would take a lot of time? Or will another year of minimum 400g carbs a day make me a terminally ill diabetic?
    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Do thin people in your community have a high rate of diabetes? If not, you are likely fine. As you get older, you will probably not be able to stay thin on 400 g + of carbs and you will adjust (like it sounds like the older people in your family have).

    You sound like a young, healthy person. Don't give yourself diseases to worry about.
    “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
    Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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    • #3
      The main concern I have is how much refined sugar I eat - cakes. sweets etc. Thats what will give you insulin or pancreas problems. Its difficult to get this even from eating fruit because usually your appetite slows once you've eaten enough fruit. It is much easier to eat too much cake than too much fruit.
      Healthy is the new wealthy.

      http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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      • #4
        YOU NEED TO EAT FAT AND PROTEIN. You will probably feel a lot better once you start adding those into your diet. You'll probably find that you don't need to eat as many carbs once you add that in.

        For those who missed it, this user said they have been vegan for the past year and did not mention eating any kind of protein or fats.
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          The OP also said that she was really poor. Sometimes people need to make decisions that factor in overall realities of life, and I'm opposed to hanging boogeymen over people's heads when they are making necessary choices. The fact is that eating this way right now is unlikely to cause any damage.
          “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
          Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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          • #6
            Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
            The OP also said that she was really poor. Sometimes people need to make decisions that factor in overall realities of life, and I'm opposed to hanging boogeymen over people's heads when they are making necessary choices. The fact is that eating this way right now is unlikely to cause any damage.
            I guess I disagree. Not eating protein (would canned fish be affordable? I don't really know, I cannot say I have struggled in that way before) or fat to me would mean feeling very sick until that was remedied.

            I do not mean to seem unsympathetic. The OP's situation is pretty far out of my ability to understand, I guess, and perhaps I should not have commented at all.
            Last edited by namelesswonder; 06-25-2013, 08:39 AM.
            Depression Lies

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            • #7
              Eating 3x as much food as anyone else while losing weight and becoming malnourished sounds like you have malabsorption issues of the sort that are very common in people with full-blown celiac. You may not be able to afford a regular doctor, but this is an issue you shouldn't be diagnosing yourself. Look for a clinic that has sliding rates, or look for a government program for poor people.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
                The OP also said that she was really poor. Sometimes people need to make decisions that factor in overall realities of life, and I'm opposed to hanging boogeymen over people's heads when they are making necessary choices. The fact is that eating this way right now is unlikely to cause any damage.
                She's posting on an online forum, talking about tracking what she eats with Cronometer...so there's some kind of computer or smartphone with internet access at her disposal. Too poor to try for better nutrition but paying for internet access? Those are some skewed priorities.

                OP, it's not likely you're doing yourself any lasting damage, such as instigating Type 2 diabetes, doing what you have to do for now. That said, there has to be some way you can introduce some protein and fat into your diet. I do second the suggestion that you may have some malabsorption issues given you're eating that much in a day and still losing weight, have no energy, etc. Namelesswonder said it - you need protein and fat in your diet, if only the barest minimum to begin with until your money situation improves.

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                • #9
                  I agree, needs at least more protein, some fats. I see "huge amounts of chicken, various meat, eggs" mentioned... these should be included.

                  When I tried having mostly potatoes for a while, I felt completely run down after a few days due to the lack of any significant amount of protein.

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                  • #10
                    Let me see if I understand.

                    * You eat pretty much only carbohydrates because you cannot afford other foods.
                    * You eat quite a bit of food in quantity and in calories every day yet you are always hungry.
                    * You feel a need to eat every hour or two otherwise you feel hungry and feel spaced out, cranky, lazy, not-energetic, like all energy has been used

                    You could be me a few years ago. I know exactly what you fee like.

                    The thing that fixed me was to eat sour cream, butter, eggs, cheese, meats, low carbohydrate vegetables and low sugar fruits (berries). It may not be possible for you to get much meat, but can you get eggs, sour cream, cheese and butter? A small meal of cheese with butter on top or sour cream with berries mixed in or eggs and vegetables was enough for me to stop that feeling of chronic hunger and keep me satisfied long enough I could go hours without eating. Once I could go hours without eating, I became more fat adapted and then I started to lose weight.

                    These days I can handle sugar better than I could back then. I mostly eat a high protein, low fat, moderate carbohydrate (100-150 grams) diet these days, but I used the high fat diet for almost a year. Perhaps your access to protein-rich foods will improve in the future.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                    • #11
                      hi rinjani,

                      the fact that you are questioning your diet and have the drive to be more healthy at the young age of 17 is a great sign. you are on the right track. while what you're eating is not ideal, it is not the most unhealthy diet despite what people here might say. you definitely would do better with less carbs and more protien and fat, but you seem to be eating mostly unprocessed home made food which is great. are you still vegan? if you are okay with eggs, you could include them in your diet as they are a cheap but good source of protein and fat. if you want to be vegan, that's fine too. you could add beans and other legumes to your diet along healthy fats like olive oil. I'm from India. we have eaten legumes for centuries and there are people who live well over 100 years and remain healthy on this diet.


                      there is no one right diet. I've met people who are healthy on variety of diets. what works for one person might not work for another.
                      Ones who try my curry are not ones to leave in a hurry

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lemontwisst View Post
                        She's posting on an online forum, talking about tracking what she eats with Cronometer...so there's some kind of computer or smartphone with internet access at her disposal. Too poor to try for better nutrition but paying for internet access? Those are some skewed priorities.
                        OP could be using the internet at school, a library, an internet cafe, or on a mobile device where her family is locked into the contract and have to pay for it regardless of whatever financial changes they went through last year. Also, she's only 17 and it is unlikely that SHE gets to set the priority for spending within the household. Its sounds as though the rest of her family is not concerned about their food situation. She says she wants to change how she eats, is unable to do so for another year, and is scared about the consequences of her circumstances. I'd be more willing to blame the decision makers for skewed priorities, if that is even the case.

                        OP, it is highly unlikely that one more year of continuing to eat this way while you are so young will leave you with terminal diabetes, or any diabetes for that matter. It is also highly likely that any negative health affects you have will resolve themselves in a year when you can begin to eat more healthfully.
                        No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.
                        -Maimonodies

                        The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.

                        Babes with BBQ

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                        • #13
                          I really think you need meats / fish / eggs and other fats. There must be some meats that are cheap in Poland. Here it's the organ meats and they are fantastic nutrients, they're dirt cheap. How about lard or tallow from the butcher. That has to be cheap.
                          "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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                          • #14
                            Personally I'm highly suspect of the OP's motives for a variety of reasons.
                            Just to mention one:
                            Lard = Poland = Lard
                            yet lard was not mentioned even once in the extremely long dissertation.
                            "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

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                            • #15
                              Step 1: Get a job
                              Step 2: Buy meat
                              Step 3: Eat meat
                              Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 till the day you die.

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