Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
1 Aug

When Listening to Your Body Doesn’t Work

Hunger largely comes down to perceived energy and/or nutrient insufficiency. Your body thinks that it needs more calories and more energy, and hunger sets in to get you to eat the food that contains those nutrients. Now, if perception matches up well with reality – if you truly do need more nutrients – things are good. You need some food, you eat some food, and you stop when you’ve had enough. In this situation, listening to your body is a good idea. That’s what all those Primal people (including me) are talking about when they tell you to “just listen to your body, maaaaaaan,” because for those people, it truly is that simple. Eliminating the excess carbs, the refined sugar, the grains, and the processed seed oils while adhering to the other Primal laws regarding exercise, sleep, stress, sun, and all the rest was enough to right the ship.

But that’s not everyone. Sometimes perception does not match up with reality. Sometimes your body thinks it needs more nutrients when it really doesn’t, for a variety of reasons. This isn’t actually an example of your body lying to you, since your body “believes” what it’s saying, but the end result is the same: you eat something that you really don’t need. It’s a bit like how your friends and family who worry about you eating all that fat and protein try to push bran muffins and whole wheat pasta on you. They’re operating under a fundamentally broken set of assumptions, but they mean well.

So, why does this happen? What’s going on when someone’s sense of hunger is broken? When doesn’t listening to your body work?

When you can’t access your stored body fat.

Body fat is stored energy; it’s long-term, slow-burning fuel that our bodies love to use, and should be able to use very well. But what happens when you can’t burn it very well?

You burn sugar instead. After all, you need energy from somewhere, and research shows that those who have the most problem with hunger – the obese and the formerly obese – burn more carbohydrate than fat, whereas those who generally don’t have much of an issue with hunger – the lean – burn more fat than carbohydrate. Problem is, our ability to store glucose as energy is inherently limited and dwarfed by our ability to store fat as energy. We can store pounds and pounds of the latter, while the former is perpetually scarce. We can keep only around 100 grams of glucose on hand in the liver and 400 grams in the muscles, depending on their size. That won’t last very long, and once it’s used up, you need more food – especially if your ability to burn body fat is impaired. When you need more food, you get hungry. If your body is used to burning sugar, you’re going to crave sugar. The resultant sugar craving is very real, because sugar is what you “need,” but it’s not what you need.

So, if you’ve had success losing weight with Primal eating, but still have trouble curbing your appetite, this could explain why –  you may not be totally fat-adapted. You can, and likely will, but it will take time.

When you’re insulin resistant.

Remember how I said insulin is an indicator of nutrient availability in Monday’s post on carb feeds? Heck, some have even gone so far as to call insulin a “satiety hormone.” After all, it can cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain, where it interacts with various systems to tell the body that food has been ingested and is currently digesting, and that maybe you don’t have to eat for a bit. Of course, that’s only the case if you’re insulin sensitive. If you’re insulin resistant, your body/brain won’t get the message that insulin is trying hard to convey.

Thus, insulin resistance promotes hunger. You eat, and insulin is released, but your body tells you to eat some more despite the much-ballyhooed ability of insulin to act as a satiety hormone.

When you’re addicted to junk.

What if you weren’t actually even phsyiologically “hungry”? What if your body didn’t think it was missing nutrients or fat or carbs – but rather it just wanted another hit of that sweet, sweet junk food? Last week, I showed how our brains and bodies respond to pleasurable, tasty foods by secreting endogenous opioids – brain morphine, really – that, together with dopamine, cause you to want more of whatever food triggered those secretions. This wasn’t a problem back when we only had access to real, whole foods like meat, plants, fruits, nuts, and roots, because those foods didn’t act as hyperstimuli of our reward systems. They caused modest, appropriate opioid and dopamine responses in the brain, promoting repeated consumption but not compulsive overconsumption. Fast forward to today and it’s a very different world full of people doing odd food-related things that make absolutely no sense:

People eat cans of Pringles and become immediately disgusted with themselves for doing it. They’re repulsed by the Twinkie even as it makes its way into their gaping maw. They throw up in their mouth at the thought of  McDonald’s “chicken” nuggets, yet find themselves in the drive-thru after work, ordering a value meal despite themselves.

It’s crazy on its face, but it actually makes perfect sense at the same time, because our natural reward systems have been hijacked by a constant barrage of delicious (but gross) food. You want the stuff even if you currently have no physiological need for calories.

When you are compelled to eat junk, don’t listen to your body. Eat something Primal, something nourishing, something that approximates what you’re craving only using real food. So, if you want some Sour Patch Kids, grab some raspberries. If you want a Big Mac, go for a grass-fed burger over salad.

When you’re experiencing reactive hypoglycemia.

Normally, you eat some food, your blood sugar goes up, insulin rises to take care of the nutrients, the nutrients are partitioned to their respective holding places, your blood sugar normalizes, and all is well. You’ll get hungry again, only when you need the food, when your body truly needs an input of energy. In some people, however, eating food (especially carbs) causes the pancreas to secrete an inordinately large amount of insulin, way more than you actually need. Your blood sugar drops from its postprandial high, but the insulin goes above and beyond, and your blood sugar continues to plummet past “normal.”

Your body implores you to “eat, eat,” even though there’s no real need for added energy; it’s just that your low blood sugar is indicating a need for caloric energy. In people with well-functioning metabolisms, lower blood sugar generally matches up with a need for calories and nutrients. In the reactive hypoglycemic state, the two do not match up. Hunger is constant, but you’re not really nourishing yourself. You’re just eating to push up that blood sugar.

In one sense, listening to your hypoglycemic body is working, because eating carbs raises your blood sugar and you feel better. But in the long run, it isn’t working, because you’re eating more than you need to eat, you’re gaining weight, and you’re not fixing the situation. Sticking with foods that don’t elevate your blood sugar to such dizzying heights (protein and fat) should give you better control over your blood sugar.

When your sleep is bad.

I harp on the importance of sleep all the time, and I’m going to do it again here. Lack of sleep isn’t just bad for alertness, circadian rhythm regulation, stress hormone secretion, bags under the eyes, exercise performance, etc., etc.; it’s also a potent appetite stimulator. Furthermore, not sleeping also worsens glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, meaning when you do (inevitably) eat, it won’t sate you and you’ll be more likely to store it as fat. You’re also more likely to eat junk when you don’t sleep, because it increases the brain’s susceptibility to food stimuli.

When you’ve had a bad night’s sleep and your body is craving food, eat. Don’t fast, because that’s just heaping one stressor on top of another. Eat something you know is good – pastured bacon and eggs, a Big Ass salad, some sweet potato. And get some sleep, so it doesn’t happen again.

In all these situations, we are faced with a decision to make: do we listen to our bodies and feel “better,” or do we ignore them and do what’s “best” for us? There are no easy answers. If you’re not yet a fat-burning beast, you’re in for a rough time. If your blood sugar gets low enough, you might faint. Ignoring your body’s cries to eat something probably isn’t a good idea in that situation. If you haven’t slept, you should probably eat, but not junk. At some point, however, saying “no” to your body’s signals or figuring out how to fix the broken machinery that’s precipitating the messages is going to be necessary. That’s where something like the 21-Day Total Body Transformation, which removes the guesswork from all this so that you follow an established framework, or the 90-Day Journal, which provides a foundation for doing your own “formal guesswork,” comes into play.

Your body may appear to be working against you, but it’s doing it’s best. It’s responding to perceived physiological needs, even if those perceptions are misguided and confused. Whatever you do, don’t despair. Don’t give up. You’ve got a great community here, folks who’ve been there and back again, folks who can help you get things moving in the right direction.

In future posts, I’ll be discussing some other instances where the body’s messaging should be viewed with suspicion, so stay tuned.

Now let’s hear how you guys have dealt with confusing hunger messages in the comment section. Until next time, take care!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Thanks for all these great comments and advice. It’s good to know I’m not alone (struggling with PMS / cravings), and there are some useful strategies here.
    The main point I am taking from all this is that a few weeks or even a few months of a Primal / paleo diet / lifestyle is not always long enough to achieve rebalance. It may take longer before the body starts to give more sensible signals that we can trust.
    The important thing seems to be that the longer you resist those crazy cravings, the more diminished they are likely to become. That fact alone should help strengthen resistance.
    I feel stronger facing today having just read all of these comments. Thanks Mark and everyone who contributes.

    Sally wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  2. Thanks for the great post! I’ve been reading over a bit of the 90 day journal and I’m getting pretty excited about holding myself accountable for some much needed self-care.

    yoolieboolie wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  3. If I get hungry when I obviously shouldn’t be I smash down a big glass of water…if that doesn’t work, a ‘man up’ pill usually does the trick (Note: ‘Man Up’ pills are not available over the counter :)

    Isaac wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  4. I guess I’ve been lucky so far with primal. Before going primal, I had severe reactive hypoglycemia, which I “controlled” by simply eating every couple of hours. This started in 1996, and I’ve gradually gained weight (with a few episodes of weight loss but the overall trend was up and up).

    I’ve been Primal for a little over 2 months now (total weight loss is 41 pounds including 6 weeks efforts before primal), and it only took me maybe 5 days to get over the carb flu. A few weeks into it, I started IF’ing, something I never could have imagined doing pre-primal. My body quickly became fat-adapted, and I feel so great now. I do feel light-headed once in a while sorta like the hypoglycemic feeling I used to get. It was confusing until I realized that I was actually dehydrated. I think as a fat-burner, you need more water, more frequently than a carb burner does. But I am also very strict. I am usually in ketosis. I don’t follow the 80/20 rule. I’m more like 95/5. I have a couple of squares of dark chocolate daily and some wine on the weekend (sometimes too much … my one naughty indulgence). Otherwise, I am very strict (probably more paleo than primal).

    I also don’t have any dairy. I used to LOVE cheese, but I found that I don’t miss it at all. I thought I’d cut it out for a month and add it back in, but I haven’t bothered.

    I also don’t have carb cravings even though I used to love bread and pizza. I went 18 days straight in college having pizza at least one meal a day. Now I don’t think about it.

    I think that if you are having trouble with cravings and with losing weight on primal, take a hard look at what you are really eating. Are you baking SAD style desserts made from “primal” ingredients? Those are fine once in a while as an alternative to eating something worse, but they can become addictive too. They aren’t as bad as the alternative, but they aren’t good either.

    Are you really eating enough good fat? Enough protein? Eating right is a big part, but not the only part, of the primal lifestyle. Are you lifting heavy things, having lots of slow movement, and intense sprints/intervals once a week? If you aren’t doing these things, then you aren’t really primal. Everyone is different, and maybe some people have certain issues that genuinely make primal more difficult for them, but I suspect that most people respond well if they follow all of Mark’s primal laws (and back off the 20 of the 80/20 if you aren’t responding so well).

    en2ec wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  5. I’m borderline diabetic, heavily overweight, nowadays maybe fat-adapted since I can go the whole day without eating before I start to get hungry, but I haven’t been losing any weight even though with the amounts I do eat I should. But I do work nights, between 2 and 6 in the morning, I sleep, most times, in two shifts, some hours before going to work and a bit more after work.

    So I’m guessing the problem might be with my sleeping schedule. I usually also do eat after work and right before going to bed, that’s one of the times during the day when I am hungry. Should probably do something there, I just haven’t been able to figure out what.

    owl wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  6. Regarding sleep, I don’t sleep well at all on weeknights. No matter what I do to wind down before bed, my brain won’t stop working when I hit the pillow. I generally sleep fine on the weekends. What else can I do? I really don’t want to take a sleeping aid, but I feel like it’s my only option right now. Thanks!

    Kim wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  7. “When you are compelled to eat junk, don’t listen to your body. Eat something Primal, something nourishing, something that approximates what you’re craving only using real food.”

    So are you saying I’m actually doing the right thing when I grab a spoon full of Coconut Manna instead of a spoon full of peanut butter?

    Jared wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  8. Hi
    Same problem with appetite. I lost 20 pounds going primal. But the last 7-10lbs won’t move. started keeping a food diary. I found myself at 1200 calories a day and no appetite. Also I started taking antihistamines to get me to sleep deep all night. My appetite went through the roof! I’ve gained 5 pounds. It wasn’t just fake hunger my stomach growled 2 hrs after a big meal.

    Again it just proves how everything is balanced. Fix the sleep and it sets off an appetite chain reaction that has taken me 2 months to try and control. I think that until things settle out you just try to minimize the damage. I think my uncontrollable hunger is under control so I’m ready to fight the fat again.

    I also think that in women when you get rid of long stored fat you release long stored hormones in the fat and my body goes haywire. Everytime I loose old fat i’m a mess for 2 days. Then things normalize.

    It’s hard and discouraging but makes you realize how important it is to get rid of old fat!!

    Kellie wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  9. Ok here is my problem…..pastries…I do not miss pasta, rice, bread etc….but a sticky bun or a danish just about caves me every time…so what is my body craving and what can i substitute that will silence that craving? This is honestly my last hurtle in going 100% primal and i think it is what is holding me back from turning from a sugar burner and being overweight to a fat burner and starting to drop some real pounds. Anyone have any suggestions or suffer from the same craving/addiction? Thanks

    Dan wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  10. Can anybody help me with the challenge of breakfasts on the go? I am a principal with small children at ho,me and I seem to always be in a hurry and I am tired of eating eggs all the time. I also have not found the perfect combination of Almond milk and Whey protein as of yet either? Can anybody help me out here?

    Mike wrote on August 2nd, 2012
    • “Can anybody help me with the challenge of breakfasts on the go? I am a principal with small children at ho,me and I seem to always be in a hurry and I am tired of eating eggs all the time. I also have not found the perfect combination of Almond milk and Whey protein as of yet either? Can anybody help me out here?”

      Mike, I feel you. I’m a full-time working mom with a 4-year old + 3 other little ones we help care for. My mornings are crazy sometimes. I love my veggie omlettes & bacon but yeah, you get sick of eggs sometimes. I rely on leftover salad with a protein (fish, chicken etc – I ALWAYS make enough food at dinner for leftovers), or canned fish like sardines, salmon or tuna. I also make whey protein smoothies – I don’t care for almond milk but I add thick coconut milk, frozen berries, spinach & kale, and sometimes cold coffee in the mornings (I make extra coffee and store in the frig) – I often add a TBS of almond butter to thicken up. Sometimes for breakfast I will chop up raw veggies (carrots, celery, cauliflower + apple) and stir some almond butter and/or coconut butter in with them. This is one of my fave snacks too.

      Good luck to you!

      mars wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  11. BJML,

    Sounds like your doing great! You experience (rapid weight loss, plummeting triglycerides, etc) closely mirrors my experience and many others that followed me into primal eating.

    When can you listen to your body to tell you what and when to eat? Based on research, what Mark has said, and my and other’s experience, here are my thoughts: 1. If you “need” to eat to “feel good” or avoid an energy crash or killer headache, DON’T listen to your body. These are all classic symptoms of being a “sugar burner.” Eat more clean saturated fat, a lot more. 2. At least for men (women’s hormones are so much more complex), craving carbs is a major sign of trouble. Eat more fat and get “fat adapted” as Mark would say. A high carb diet literally shuts down the genes responsible for telling your muscles to burn fat. A high fat/low carb diet will deactivate those genes quickly (Mark has previously referenced this study). 3. Can you easily fast a meal or two and excercise hard while fasting? If so you are absolutley “fat adapted” and those are very, very good signs you can listen to your body.

    Gene wrote on August 2nd, 2012
    • Gene-thanks for the feedback. Sometimes it seems like there’s so much to change, it gets overwhelming. I have sometimes decided just to fast when it’s really late, then I get hungry right when I’m trying to go to sleep. My go to snack in those times is a square of 85+% chocolate with a tablespoon of coconut manna-it seems to calm the hunger pangs and let me sleep. I will try listening to my body and just continue to play things by ear. BJML.

      BJML wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  12. I’ve actually experienced how I workout is just as important as how I eat in my efforts to become fat adapted. Constant high intensity workouts had me craving crabs like a madman. If I had an issue it’s eating too much fat, since i’m still trying to get ripped

    JPizzay wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  13. Interesting post! Finally I find answers to some questions. I’m primal for 18 months but I have not actually lost weight I gained. In June of this year, helped perhaps by the summer heat, having little hungry I started fasting from dinner to lunch. I noticed I had a little hungry for lunch and ate more by habit than genuine hunger, but for me it is already a great success having skipped a meal. Then I started to “play” with intermittent fasting and I realized that the body needs less food than what the mind thinks.
    Gone are the cravings for bread, pizza and pasta but if it is true that those who skip a meal is fat easily adapted for then still the cravings of sweet foods?

    Sally wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  14. JPizzay,

    All I can say is that, for me, high calorie/high fat and infrequent high intensity workouts have worked. At 38, I am 5’11 175 and ripped. I eat 350-400 grams of clean saturated fat, 175-200 grams of protein and 80-90 grams of carbs a day. I skip breakfast 1-2 times a week. I do a “sprint 8″ twice a week and a weighted pushup/pullup/abdominal workout twice a week (I know, I know, I gotta get squats in there).

    What makes me laugh is that I am way stronger, muscular and ripped than when I was 18 and lifted weights for an hour a day six days a week! Back then I ate a high carb (but lower calorie diet) that squashed my body’s production of HGH and testosterone. Now I eat a high-fat primal diet that encourages the production of testosterone and HGH and practice high-intensity workouts that do the same. Now my hormones work for me rather than against me.

    I think our culture’s low-fat brainwashing is more effective than even many in the primal crowd give it credit for. It is difficult even for many primal heaters that I know to really embrace a diet that has at its foundation clean saturated fat. Likewise many people have trouble overcoming our cultures brainwashing that body mass is a function of how many calories we eat and that all calories are created equal. As Gary Taube’s research indicates, body mass is more much more a function of the type of calories we eat.

    Gene wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  15. This is something of a timely post for me, but sadly I cannot comply with Mark’s recommendations at this time. For the last 5 months, I’ve been battling some serious, chronic digestive problems, which I’m mostly convinced are centered on either my gallbladder or some hormonal/ auto-immune condition. My (former) gastroenterologist had ZERO answers for me after numerous tests and procedures (including 2 CAT scans, blood & stool tests, and an endoscopy), and now I’m on a self-prescribed liquid diet- again- eating mostly soup and protein shakes. My stomach just doesn’t seem to know how to digest solid foods anymore; even something as smooth as almond butter and mashed bananas causes cramping and pain. Liquids only keeps me out of the “hurt locker” (as I’ve come to call it), but I know that I can’t- and WON’T- do this forever. I’m completely demoralized; I miss my bacon, steaks, and salads, but if I’m in constant pain after eating anything “normal” what the hell am I supposed to do? =( Has anyone else here had this problem? I was Primal for 6 months before any of it started, though I had been dealing with it on & off for 6 years before it got really bad and constant. Any suggestions? Please help! (I’m posting this in the forums too, btw) Thanks for any advice you can give me…

    Siren wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  16. Great post! I was addicted to junk food in the teenage years of my life and guess what,I was obese. Once I finally decided to transform myself, I made one very important change. Instead of filling my kitchen cabinets with Doritos, hot dogs, jams, chocolate bars,etc (this list can go forever), I filled it with organic almonds, baby carrots, Whey Protein, kidney beans, etc. This changed the options I had available, which changed my life. It starts in kitchen!!

    Hassan wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  17. I’ve been 90% Paleo diet and exercise for the last 4 months with outstanding results, losing over 40lbs. I found that it was very important to track net calories (calories consumed minus exercise burn off) and make sure I was below my BMR to ensure weight loss. You will lose weight initially by just reducing your carbs but it is my experience that sustained weight loss requires calorie monitoring.

    John wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  18. John,

    Another possibility is that, as long as you eat good calories (good fat, protein), your body will keep you in balance by adjusting you metabolism, body temp, activity level, appetite, etc. Conversely, This is why calorie restriction is so often counterproductive. Your body doesn’t know you are trying to lose weight; it thinks you are STARVING. It compensates by reving up appetite, dropping body temp, lethargy, etc. we don’t need to be mathematicians to be lean. Think of Grok. He was hard and lean and maybe had no language much less a concept of balancing calories vs energy expenditure. Our bodies do that naturally. That is unless we screw it up by allowing for a carb induced hormone disaster called insulin and leptin resistance.

    Gene wrote on August 2nd, 2012
    • For the most part I agree with you, its just that in my particular case when my total net calories rose above my BMR fat loss stopped. I also kept my carbohydrate macros generally between 75 and 100 grams, utilized Intermittent fasting and from time to time would go VLC combined with carbohydrate refeeds.

      John wrote on August 2nd, 2012
  19. Good post with excellent points, & I began to read all the comments by all you brilliant peeps but 4 pages was just too much.
    Mark did miss a major instigator of cravings. Candida and parasites are still a big issue for many! When my system gets them (it cycles through at times due to immune and lyme issues, irrespective of diet choices), nothing seems to help the carb and sweet cravings. I just do my best to stay with low carb versions of things and double down on the candida killers. Ugh.

    Elizabeth wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  20. Very interesting point about the reactive hypoglycemia. I know my hunger cues are broken….even when I stick with very low carb.

    Barbara wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  21. Well, I’m not a scientist but i’m thinking that maybe that hunger signal isn’t caused only by a need of calories but by a need for other nutrients. Thereby your body has the energy it needs -and probably a lot more- but it still lacks basic nutrients wich carb foods don’t provide in fair quantities.

    Fabian Barrera wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  22. Yes, listening to your body is not always the right thing to do. Certainly programmes like radiantrecovery will say the same – you heal your mind first by eating the right foods, even if you are craving sugar etc and only once that re-reducation of the brain has taken place and the brain chemicals are in place then you can know what you need but until you are off those addictive substances what you think you want isn’t it.

    I made the mistake the other night of having 70% dark chocolate. I cannot really have it. I’m a sugar addict. It was as if I’d taken a drug – I always sleep for 8 – 9 hours every night immediately, all my life but if I have a stimulant like that (and for a time I was addicted to raw cacao for the same effect which I’d heat up and dip fruit into like a cocaine or heroin addict) it is dreadful. I feel the best person on the planet. I have plans and schemes. I could not sleep for for 5 hours after I went to bed. I was still high the next day. That is cacao in the dark chocolate. The Mayans reserved it as a food for the special people in their society. So do be careful about it if you have that brain chemistry which means you are a sugar addict as it works on the same bit of the brain as other addictions, as computer games, as speed does.

    So until then I had been feeling better eating better, although over loading with fruit but that is heaps better for me than junk food. However I do need to address the fruit issue andn if I have any nuts in the house they are all eaten, 1000 calories in one go just like that, no ability to ration or stop eating when full of nuts at all, I have to eat all of them. I also think there are male and female differences in these things too although plenty of men are sugar addicts as well.

    Anyway I need to do keep up with this as this way of eating has always made me feel good. I cannot have an “off”/indulgence day though as if you are an addict you cannot say Sunday is alcohol or cocaine day. Of course you can’t. So sugar addicts cannot do that either nor can they do their addictive substances in moderation. We don’t work like that.

    Need to lose the weight I put on since I had started eating badly again.

    I need to work out what % of Fat/Protein/Carb I should have so as best to keep happy (stable brain chemistry, no blood sugar changes, adapation to PMT period each month is ahead for me of everything in terms of needs) and secondly to lose weight.

    I will start with 7 pounds to lose first although I’d love to lose 35 and my new boyfriend wants me to lose some which is fine (I agree with him).

    EnglishRose wrote on August 3rd, 2012
  23. mineral deficiencies can also cause hunger when the body doesn’t need more calories. minerals are required for the body to use vitamins and for all the organs/hormones to function properly. a false hunger could indicate the body’s need for more minerals.

    Kristen wrote on August 4th, 2012
    • You’re right Kristen. Low carb diets do make some people excrete important heart healthy minerals from the body – leading to not just hunger but also palpitations, heart racing or pounding, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold extremities.

      I can’t tolerate going low carb. If the Japanese (and most South East Asians), Kitavans, the French and other tropical island nations can look fit and lean while being on a high carb traditional diet, then I’m all for it. I’m tired of brain fog, low thyroid, cold limbs, dizziness, muscle cramps, high cholesterol that comes with a low carb diet.

      Paleo does not have to be low carb. You can still go paleo and eat carbs, it didn’t kill the Kitavans. And I am NOT an isolated case in terms of the above symptoms, here are some studies reporting the side effects of ketogenic / low carb diets:

      1. Bloom WL, Azar GJ. Similarities of carbohydrate deficiency and fasting. 1. Weight loss, electrolyte excretion, and fatigue. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1963; 112: 333-337.
      2. Stevens A, et al. Sudden cardiac death of an adolescent during dieting. Southern Medical Journal, Sep, 2002; 95 (9): 1047-1049.
      3. Surawicz B, Waller BF. The enigma of sudden cardiac death related to dieting. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 1995 Mar; 11 (3): 228-231.
      4. Bank IM, et al. Sudden cardiac death in association with the ketogenic diet. Pediatric Neurology, Dec, 2008; 39 (6): 429-431.
      5. Bergqvist AG, et al. Selenium deficiency associated with cardiomyopathy: a complication of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia, 2003; 44 (4): 618–620.
      6. Johnston S, et al. Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2006; 8 (5): 1055-1061.

      Sylvia wrote on August 7th, 2012
  24. Great post! Anybody can lose weight by not eating or eating shakes or the like. The key to PERMANENT weight loss is fat loss. If you lose fat and protein through a low calorie diet, you’ll gain it all back eventually. And the most efficient way to lose fat is a low-carb diet. That also helps to get insulin under control, which is our main storage hormone. When insulin is high, fat loss is almost impossible.

    Dr. Schuster wrote on August 4th, 2012
  25. Thanks ya’ll. Had a smoothie for breakfast this a.m. and it was palpable.

    Mike wrote on August 6th, 2012
  26. Question: I am still breastfeeding my 8 month old… I have been trying to loose weight (and have over 40lbs!) but I still have another 10-15 to lose. Everytime I start to do well (eating and exercising) by body demands I go on a junk binge!! I have been exercising really well but find I am so hungry and crave carbs (I am still trying to avoid)… is my body pissed that I am trying to lose this extra weight while I am still feeding my baby? Will I not be able too until I wean??

    Alexis wrote on August 8th, 2012
  27. The second paragraph of this article reminded me of a dinner at a church last winter. I went up the salad bar and was served a bowl of great mixed greens, then asked what bun of the two kinds I wanted. I said I didn’t want one. Before I could make a move to sit down and eat the salad, the question was repeated, as was my answer. “You don’t want a bun????”
    Nope, just the salad, thank you.
    And then the well-meaning old lady put one on top of my salad anyway!
    I had to put a little frustration in my tone and say she might as well take it back because I wasn’t going to eat it anyway, so she did, and I was left thinking, what’s wrong with this world.

    Animanarchy wrote on August 15th, 2012
  28. my frinds I know one true , food with olive oil…

    masa bayrağı wrote on August 17th, 2012
  29. The more time I spend eating high protein and low carb, the less hungry I get. I’m able to fast for about 16 hours now and feel great, whereas before I was eating pastries all morning just to feel alive. Thanks Mark!

    Daniel wrote on September 1st, 2012
  30. If you don’t work out or care, then SFU. Nothing is ever 100% for everyone, just pick up a few pieces and adapt to general knowledge. I love any tips that are not big Pharma, Move on and live long!

    Victor wrote on December 3rd, 2012
  31. I tried the high fat/low carb primal diet several times each time with the same result….weakness, overwhelming fatigue, severe painful abdominal bloating, the contents of my stomach not digesting and the projectile vomiting of undigested meals many hours later. I discovered that the animal fat was the problem. My system will NOT properly digest animal fat. I ended up switching to my own low fat variation of paleo/primal that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and extra LEAN cuts of meat. A high fat/low carb diet isn’t the cure all for everyone.

    Becca wrote on January 22nd, 2014
  32. I’m so confused with myself right now. I’ve cleaned up my diet over the past six or so months, and I feel and look so much better. However, I still get sugar cravings, not really any other kind. I find that maybe once a week (or once every two), I’ll treat myself to a “cheat meal” and go out for ice cream, make brownies, etc. Once I do that though, I want more. I know this is because I didn’t receive much nutritional value from eating that ice cream, but I’m so mentally conflicted. People say that I shouldn’t deprive myself of “bad food” because when my brain goes into deprivation mode, THAT’s the food I’m going to want. But then people are also saying that I shouldn’t give into the cravings, because it’s not what my body ACTUALLY wants. So when I’m craving ice cream once a week, do I eat it or not!? When I make a healthy dessert, I still find myself wanting the bad version, but is this just because our brains like to rebel?

    Lisa wrote on September 3rd, 2014

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