Monday, May 11, 2015

I'm Low Carb but Can't Fast; Need Supplements

Here are two annoying myths about low-carb diets: everybody on a LC diet can fast, and nobody will need supplements. I've been low-carb for over five years, and fairly strict: slip-ups give me acid reflux within a few days. But I can't fast and I still need supplements.

I don't mind needing three real meals a day plus snacks or taking vitamins. What's annoying is people not believing me when I say I need to do this.

"But, are you sure?" they ask. "Are you really low-carb? Did you just start? Is it just cravings? Have you stopped eating grains?" I'm sure I'm hypoglycemic: I had most of the symptoms most of my life and the blood glucose meter confirmed my falling blood sugar when I tried to fast. I quit eating wheat five years ago. I know cravings from hunger and don't have a history of binge eating. A medical test confirmed that I had iron deficiency anemia; if I don't take iron pills, I get so weak I can barely prise myself out of a chair. Without my other vitamin and mineral pills, I get constipated and I have heart palpitations, trouble swallowing, and acne. Wounds take weeks or months or longer to heal. (Lest anyone associate my diet with these problems, I had all of them before I started low-carb, and my nosebleeds from septoplasty finally healed eleven years after the surgery some months after I started a low-carb diet plus supplements.)

Dr. Atkins, who treated thousands of patients, recommended that his patients eat three solid meals a day (unless they weren't hungry for them) and take supplements. He said hypoglycemia was common. This brings me to another annoyance: business lunches. Where I work, there's usually nothing at a business lunch I can eat. "Oh," someone says, "can you eat salad?" Yes, I can eat salad. But with no protein and little fat, combined with an hour and a half at a noisy restaurant where I can't make out any conversation because everyone is talking at once, I'll be all out of nice by 2 PM. Ross Perot used to have business meetings where everybody stood. Not only should everybody stand, they should all eat stinky fish during the meeting. Everyone will be feel a little happier from the omega 3s, and yet be back to work in a few minutes.

"But," you say, "some people are allergic to fish." Are they sure? Do they just dislike it? Are they craving something else? Have they had an allergy test? Oh, OK. Those people can eat raw kale instead.


Galina L. said...

More accurate statement will be that the LCarbers can more easily train themselves to fast.
I also have a fish allergy, which annoys me to no end, but much less than attitude others who have no idea how it can be.

tess said...

it's been so educational, listening to your experiences and those of other individuals.... way too often, we assume that our reactions to lifestyle factors are more universal than they are -- i for one think that if a wreck like me can do X, then everyone surely can -- NOPE. :-)

thanks for sharing!!!

Lori Miller said...

Galina, I definitely don't get as hungry between meals as I used to before LC. Once in a great while, even, I won't feel like eating a meal, usually on the weekends.

Tess, that reminds me of people who've been blessed with a great deal of good looks, talent and energy and were in the right place at the right time with the right resources, giving pep talks on how everyone can succeed just like they did.

tess said...

OH yeah.... that's a "favorite" of mine, too!

Larcana said...

I agree we have to do what works for each of us. I used to have hypoglycemia before low carb, now it's rare. But I take supplements for my joints because I wrecked my knees running all those years and without the MSM/chondroitin I ache. I tried gelatin alone but the other two help more.

Lowcarb team member said...

Having just written a statement on Diet Doctor 'never be without eggs in your larder'... of course for me that's fine and eggs do form a large part of my LCHF menu plans BUT I've also thought to add (unless of course you may have an allergy to eggs!)

For any LCarber we do not all eat all the same thing, at the same time of day ... we need to take our lifestyle into consideration. I eat no more than 50 carbs per day whilst others may have only 20 or 30.

Share our experiences, learn from others and our own personal experiences - it just makes sense to me.

And should the word Can't be included in any part of a healthy lifestyle? That's for each of us to decide...

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

Larcana, I wonder if hyaluronic acid supplements would help your joints also. I might add that I can't run very far or fast. (Maybe I could if I were fleeing a predator and pumped full of adrenaline.) But I bet I could still climb a tree.

Jan, I totally agree we don't all need to be doing the same things--and everybody isn't going to get the same results. I go through a lot of eggs, but mostly as an ingredient in mayonnaise, grain-free bread, custard and other foods. (An odd thing: my dog takes meat and eggs outside to eat them. She takes vegetables in the dining room to eat them. But she eats bread, made of eggs, coconut and flax seed, in between in the kitchen.)

Larcana said...

I haven't tried hyaluronic acid supplements...hmm I may add that as well. Thanks.

Tammy Bush said...

I also had a dx of iron deficiency anemia and blood tests showed low minerals as well. My idea is that I had SIBO--a sort of low-grade chronic infection of the gut. This wasn't diagnosed, but I followed advice from the blogs AnimalPharm:
and Cooling Inflammation:

It's my understanding that some gut bacteria eat minerals and therefore there isn't enough left over for us,unless we have so much surplus from added supplements.
I had many symptoms you discuss in your blog: GERD, bloating, difficulty with milk, grains, legumes, FODMAPs and by 1)removing irritating foods 2)reintroducing a variety of good bacteria (probiotic supplements and fermented foods) 3) reintroducing prebiotic foods to feed the new bacteria, I have had great success after a year or so of perserverence at returning to eat pretty much anything, even crappy food when I'm stuck at an airport or something. I prefer a lowish carb paleo diet but I really think the key for me was allowing the gut to heal and reintroducing a diverse microbiome and maintaining that. I lingered with mild symptoms and no ability to cheat on just a low carb diet for about 3 years until I worked hard to reorganize the gut biome. What do you think?

Lori Miller said...

Having been through upper GI problems myself and knowing how miserable they are, I'm pleased that you solved your problems.

I just found out that bad bacteria do eat iron and your body will withhold iron if you have a systemic infection.

All my GI symptoms are gone and I can get "glutened" once in a while without symptoms. Still, there could be something wrong that makes me need supplements even on a good diet. I don't mind taking probiotics or avoiding bad foods, and I like Quest bars (they have prebiotics fiber). Fermented foods mostly sit in the fridge uneaten. I'll read the links you provided. Thanks!

Lori Miller said...

I read about the main symptoms of SIBO: gas, bloating, GERD, diarrhea, constipation...I probably had SIBO when I started a low-carb diet five years ago. I haven't had much of those problems since. And the one and a half courses of antibiotics I just took for a dental infection would have killed some intestinal bacteria.

I've read that celiac patients who've been gluten-free for years continue to have nutrient deficiencies. I don't have celiac, but I think my gut might have been damaged (perhaps by many, many courses of antibiotics in my life) and will probably never return to normal, given the amount of time it's had to heal.