"Sugar flu"

jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
Has anyone at some point cut way back on sugar in their diet, and experienced headaches or anything? Or moving forward, any other dietary fluctuations that caused them? I read about this on Mark Sisson's blog (Primal Blueprint etc.)


  • Robert MRobert M Red Chipper Posts: 22 ✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »
    Has anyone at some point cut way back on sugar in their diet, and experienced headaches or anything? Or moving forward, any other dietary fluctuations that caused them? I read about this on Mark Sisson's blog (Primal Blueprint etc.)

    Are you cutting out just sugar or carbs all together? I've done a ketogenic diet (very low carb) at times and the first couple days can be kind of rough but after that you'll feel much better.

  • keith ckeith c Red Chipper Posts: 142 ✭✭
    @jeffnc Been doing low carb a while now. I don't recall feeling it. I've heard it called KETO flu. So I assume it can happen. Supposedly there are some KETO supplements that can get you into Ketosis and bypass this. But I don't know if they work and have no recommendation on them.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, I used to eat a lot of sugar. Then I cut back substantially and didn't really know what was going on, but did generally seem to be getting some mild sort of "blah" headaches. This was about a year ago. But now I'm wondering if my "tolerance" is down and when I indulge a little (although not as much as I used to regularly) I sometimes, but usually not, feel slightly funky. But it could be a coincidence, I'm not sure. I really doubt I'm in Ketosis :)
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,081 -
    My first week of Keto (stripping carbs and sugar largely out of my diet) I experienced the Keto flu and felt like trash cans for a couple days.

    Lemon water + chicken broth (the sodium content is awesome) helped a ton.
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  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
    Sucrose withdraw is very real. In fact, the withdrawal has been linked to that similar to heroine, and it registers in our brain just as strong as cocaine. The flu is real, but be stronk my friend, you'll find once you stop eating it, you won't even crave it anymore. And please don't go to the artificial sweeteners, it's the same sh*t. Diet coke might as well be called heroine-0. Everyone keeps looking for the new "OH this sweetener isn't as bad, Sugar In The Raw, Stevia, and who knows what tomorrows new artificial flavor of the year will be. They keep trying to fit a triangle into a square peg. It ain't happenin. Also, it'll take your body about a month if you are going extremely low-carb to re-tool your enzymes to optimally run on fat rather than carbs. And don't forget that some people's metabolism is more tailored to run on carbohydrates rather than fats. Each persons tolerance is different, so don't just blindly follow the "low carb is the way of life!". PM if you have questions, iz what I do for a livings.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You're not saying stevia is artificial, are you?
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
    No, I'm saying it's all sweeteners. Everyone wants that sweet taste and thinks this is the new "OH, this ones not bad!" They are all bad. Enjoy it for what it is, like a beer or glass of alcohol, and enjoy it like all things, in moderation. I just can't stand the fact that peoples say "oh, this one's healthy!" ITS...ITS MADE FROM ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS! Yeah, well so is rattle snake venom.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    References for stevia being bad for you?
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jfarrow13 wrote: »
    And don't forget that some people's metabolism is more tailored to run on carbohydrates rather than fats. Each persons tolerance is different

    Actually this is something that I intuitively believe in, even though I hadn't read any science to back it up.
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm more saying that stevia, and all sweeteners in general, satisfy the need for constantly having hyper-palatable food, as well ellicite certain neural pattern responses which produce strong cravings for these. Craving these foods, which in general aren't good for you, will overall lead to most likely weight gain and or the negative effects associated with them. I don't really have the time to dig through it, just google sweeteners, brain chemical response, insulin sensitivity, insulin response, ect on scholarly articles or PUB Med. Your a smart resourceful man with a research background. I don't know if Stevia specifically sparks an insulin response, but if you are adding this to all your foods, and find yourself in constant need for hype palatable food, some type of sugar fix, ect...your not fixing the problem, your smoking cigarettes instead of shooting up heroine. It ain't good for you, it's just...not as bad I suppose.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've done plenty of research, thanks :)

    Protein, for example, sparks a significant insulin response, which means certain arguments I've read, which might or might not be wrong, are still non sequiturs. You know the type of people that get enraged when they year there are large concentrations of dihydrogen monoxide in our city water supplies.


    You have to do a lot of work to separate the wheat from the chafe, especially in a relatively "young" field such as nutrition research (where admittedly progress is retarded by extremely powerful and greedy corporate special interests.)
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 336 ✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »

    You have to do a lot of work to separate the wheat from the chafe, especially in a relatively "young" field such as nutrition research (where admittedly progress is retarded by extremely powerful and greedy corporate special interests.)

    This cannot be understated. When it comes to fitness and health just "googling" is not a good strategy. Easily 85% of the research is questionable, if not flat out wrong.

    Not sure about the sugar thing. You made the change a year ago and have been getting headaches ever since? Maybe there are other micronutrient deficiencies that have occurred as a result of the change?
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I made a pretty strong cutback on sugar, and I felt overall kind of blah and had mild headaches for a couple weeks. Haven't had much since, but then I eased back into what is my "new normal" diet. Not as low sugar/carb as when I first cut back, but lower than before. But every once in awhile I'll get a strange mild headache. I'm also susceptible to migraines, but haven't had one of those in quite awhile.
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
    I honestly don't think there is an industry with more miss-information than the fitness and health industry (except maybe politics). Saying 85% of research is questionable if not flat out wrong is....mmm...I think kind of conspiracyish. Look at who payed for the study, and analyze the methodology. Even if they are clearly funded and attempting for a certain outcome, information can come out of the study that is useful.

    One thing I can pretty firmly hang my hat on though is that for the average person, sugar is bad. Your not a body builder looking to take advantage of insulin spikes to shuttle nutrients into cells, or to use insulin-like growth factor to promote musclar hypertrophy. You aren't hitting timing windows, or balances your macros (I'm not a IIFYM's guy, that shit is bogus and stupid, but macro's are important to use as a concept, not as a bible). You just like how it tastes. And your energy requirements, meal composition, ect don't reflect using sugar's properties to your advantage. That being said, does it really matter for you? Probably not, but let's not pervert the research and bend it to justify our uses for it. Like I always tell clients, know it for what it is, and be comfortable accepting that. Stop trying to justify it. It's OK to like sweet foods, but like all things in life, moderation.

    Also, protein does cause in insulin spike, but think of it in context. Look at the amount of insulin released, and then examine what insulin is designed to do specifically. To super oversimplify things, insulin in a transport hormone. Amino acids cannot cross the cellular membrane without the aid of insulin and other transport mediators.
    The difference is, when glucose cannot be metabolized immediately or stored as glycogen, it has to be converted into triglycerides to be stored as fat. Further, protein loses about 1/3rd of it's caloric value during digestion, if amino acids cannot be used, the process of turning them into sugars is lengthy and energy consuming, and then turning those sugars into fats...adsfjoisaf enough. I'm done writing papers on this, they already exist. Sugar is bad. Jeff, you've already etched the neural path into your brain for the need for sugar. Those connections cannot be undone, since you've subsided on sugar for so long. Therefore, you will experience lifetime withdrawal, and very likely withdrawal headaches if that pathway doesn't receive that electrical stimulation. Putting 2 stevias into your coffee won't kill you. It won't make you fat. You'll be fine. It'll get rid of your headache, just "medicate" as necessary, not more. Be conscious of your sugar intake, and try not to mix sugar with fats, the ultimate in lipid storage.
  • RTLHPokerRTLHPoker Red Chipper Posts: 88 ✭✭
    There's a real physical and chemical addiction to sugar.

    It lights up dopamine receptors in the brain and it's just as if not more addictive that opoids.

    Your reduction of sugar and headaches could be caused by very many things. Most likely it's a blood sugar crash and lack of energy as your body attempts to transition over to using more appropriate fuels.

    You could be dehydrated as well. You could be short on sleep as well. There are ALOT of things going on in the body and pinpointing the cause(s) of things ends up becoming a scientific experiment to keep certain variables the same while changing others.

    It's like every scientific experiment conducted - only the subject is your body and you are the experimenter.

  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    I would just like to add that one reason I've been slow to accept or research the negative effects of sugar is that I never experienced any of the things people claimed were associated with sugar. (To be fair I exercised a lot, still do but not as much.) No weight gain, no "sugar high", no good feeling, no crash, no feeling from lowering blood sugar, no feeling of addiction or anything like that. I would often not eat any sugar at all (except what might be found in catsup or something, it's everywhere) and not feel any different at all. It was only when I made a serious attempt to cut out sugar for a longer period at once, like a week. Only at that time did I experience mild headaches, and some mornings a lack of energy. When I eat sugar I experience nothing but a pleasant taste, which is obviously what nature intended (not that nature intended sugar to so processed or abundant.)

    I have some background in biochemistry, and I have read a fair amount on evolutionary biology. One thing I've learned for sure is that this stuff is fucking complicated. There are few simple answers when it comes to our diet and differences among us.

    On the one hand, our "advanced" evolution as humans has allowed us to get into trouble with our diet, beyond what evolution can cope with in the time required. (Given a few million years or so with a sugary diet we'd adapt just fine, albeit with a fair amount of suffering in the mean time. Evolution doesn't care about suffering.) On the other hand, it also might allow us to optimize our diet beyond what evolution can provide in the time required, beyond mere survival and reproduction. If we can figure it out.

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