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Sudden indigestion, lack of appetite, what the...?

by (297)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created July 26, 2011 at 3:47 PM

I've been about 80% paleo since September 2010 (I ate dairy, rice, and added raw sugar to coffee). In the end of June I gave it all up. I also stopped eating nuts and significantly cut down my fruit intake. With the exception of butter, ghee, and heavy cream, no more dairy. I'm still drinking coffee, but I've cut it down to two cups a day. The only way I'll stop drinking coffee is if I'm dead.

I've been very good, haven't cheated, and felt fine up until recently. For the past week or so I've had next to zero appetite. I'm down to one meal a day and I'm not particularly keen on eating even that. Yesterday I ate 3 eggs, 2 oz steak, 6 cherry tomatoes and 1/2 avocado at around 2 pm. I did a HIIT workout at 6 pm, ate an orange after, but nothing else. Except water.

Then at around 5 am I woke up with... I'll call it indigestion, but frankly, I don't know what it is. It's a feeling like there's a heavy hot rock sitting in my stomach. Some gurgling (very little) and lots of burping. It was bad enough that it kept me up. I've drunk tons of water and it's better somewhat, but it still isn't gone completely. This has happened twice now. Last time it was also many hours after I'd eaten.

Haven't eaten anything new or done anything new apart from giving up non-paleo foods. My energy level is just fine. I'm sure I'm not sick. Any ideas what's going on?

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297 · July 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM

Thanks, Amanda. The thing is, I haven't changed anything in my nutrition apart from eliminating rice, dairy, and sugar. I had no such problems before. I do eat sauerkraut pretty often, but can't eat yogurt because of inflammation issues.

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297 · July 29, 2011 at 2:04 AM

I don't know if it's actually food sitting in my stomach. It was at least 10 and at most 15 hours since I'd eaten. Can food even sit in the stomach for that long? Eek.

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1054 · July 26, 2011 at 6:58 PM

This is what I was going to say, supplement with HCl if the feeling is indigestion and food sitting in your stomach. If the food is sitting in your intestines, however, that's a different story.

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8757 · July 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

IFing works great for me, helps with digestion acutally. But I don't eat one large meal, I eat 2 to 3 or 2 plus a snack. No large amounts in general for me, never had indigestion.

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7540 · July 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Don't know how many veggies you're eating but eating very large amounts can cause bloating and indigestion.

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78422 · July 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Ah - I'm still trying to fully get off the IF express. I started with a protein and fruit smoothie in the morning and that sparked my appetite sooner. Given that its been hot, I found drinking my meals was easier on me while some will disagree. Whatever - it worked. Then I gradually increased what I ate through the day until now, my dinner is "normal" size with more carbs. Increasing my carbs/decreasing my protein was the key in the whole thing.

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297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Thanks for the advice. I don't know if it's too much meat... I don't feel like I eat too much of it at all. I can't stomach steak more than once or twice a week. I vary fish, pork, ground beef, or chicken every day. Lamb every now and then (the bastard is expensive, boo). Most of my plate is usually taken up by veggies.

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297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I agree, 100% carnivore makes no sense to me either. What I should point out is that I wasn't trying to do that, or to IF like this. It just happened. I would wake up and think, "I should eat", then realize I wasn't hungry. Next time I'd look at the clock it would be early afternoon, and I'd think "Okay, now I really have to eat something!" But the appetite still wasn't there, or it was weak. I'd force myself to eat and then couldn't look at food for the rest of the day.

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297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:24 PM

It was hot last weekend, but not anymore. Yesterday was pretty cool, actually.

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297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:23 PM

I kinda had a gut feeling (ha-ha) that's what it was. Question is, how do I get off the IF train? Do I force myself to eat? Doesn't seem right...

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78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Totally! If I eat too much protein I feel like a rock is in my tummy. I'm with you - I must eat a balance of carbs and veggies with my protein. And I can't eat as much protein as most paleos. Whatever that means :)

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78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I wonder if this is why I can't find enough info for IF and women. My suspicion is that IF works better for men. Perhaps we are made to eat more frequently due to our bodies being built to nourish and grow children. Just a theory.

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7540 · July 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM

+1 That first paragraph is exactly what I found too when I tried eating only 1 meal a day for a brief period.

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5 Answers

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78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:15 PM

This totally happened to me after a couple of months of IF. I realized that I was eating too much at once and my body couldn't digest it properly. I went back to several small meals and found that my energy level improved and became more balanced and that nasty indigestion went away. I also found that if I ate too much protein with one meal the same happened. Now, I'm starting to get my appetite back whereas with IF I felt like my internal signals were off.

Oh - and green tea and increased water consumption helped me digest better too. I'm baaaad at not drinking enough water so I added a cup of green tea AFTER my meals and that was a helpful addition to ward off indigestion.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821
8757 · July 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM

IFing works great for me, helps with digestion acutally. But I don't eat one large meal, I eat 2 to 3 or 2 plus a snack. No large amounts in general for me, never had indigestion.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · July 26, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Ah - I'm still trying to fully get off the IF express. I started with a protein and fruit smoothie in the morning and that sparked my appetite sooner. Given that its been hot, I found drinking my meals was easier on me while some will disagree. Whatever - it worked. Then I gradually increased what I ate through the day until now, my dinner is "normal" size with more carbs. Increasing my carbs/decreasing my protein was the key in the whole thing.

Medium avatar
297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:23 PM

I kinda had a gut feeling (ha-ha) that's what it was. Question is, how do I get off the IF train? Do I force myself to eat? Doesn't seem right...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I wonder if this is why I can't find enough info for IF and women. My suspicion is that IF works better for men. Perhaps we are made to eat more frequently due to our bodies being built to nourish and grow children. Just a theory.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3
7540 · July 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM

+1 That first paragraph is exactly what I found too when I tried eating only 1 meal a day for a brief period.

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2
78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Lack of stomach acid (yes, maybe due to eating too much meat, but maybe it's not that at all). Supplement with hydrochloric acid for a while and should return to normal. Take one HCL capsule once you begin eating (a protein meal). Next meal add one more HCL capsule. And so on, until you feel warm in your stomach, then back off one capsule. Stay at that amount for a couple of weeks. If your stomach starts to feel warm during that time, back off another capsule. I am not up here much any more so email me if you need help with this and find it useful.

Medium avatar
297 · July 29, 2011 at 2:04 AM

I don't know if it's actually food sitting in my stomach. It was at least 10 and at most 15 hours since I'd eaten. Can food even sit in the stomach for that long? Eek.

91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6
1054 · July 26, 2011 at 6:58 PM

This is what I was going to say, supplement with HCl if the feeling is indigestion and food sitting in your stomach. If the food is sitting in your intestines, however, that's a different story.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3
7540 · July 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Don't know how many veggies you're eating but eating very large amounts can cause bloating and indigestion.

Medium avatar
297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Thanks for the advice. I don't know if it's too much meat... I don't feel like I eat too much of it at all. I can't stomach steak more than once or twice a week. I vary fish, pork, ground beef, or chicken every day. Lamb every now and then (the bastard is expensive, boo). Most of my plate is usually taken up by veggies.

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187 · July 26, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Sounds to me like your gut bacteria is out of balance. The good bacteria in your gut help you digest and if they're out of kilter you can't digest your food and it will ferment in your gut leading to wind etc. Tim Ferriss talks about eating sauerkraut with every meal or at least breakfast. If not sauerkraut (you can make your own) then plain yogurt or supplement with a good quality acidophilus complex. Let us know how it goes and what it turns out to be. Good luck, Amanda

Medium avatar
297 · July 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM

Thanks, Amanda. The thing is, I haven't changed anything in my nutrition apart from eliminating rice, dairy, and sugar. I had no such problems before. I do eat sauerkraut pretty often, but can't eat yogurt because of inflammation issues.

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7540 · July 26, 2011 at 4:05 PM

It's pretty common to experience lack of appetite in the heat; is it really hot where you are? FWIW, I've had this too a few times- sudden loss of appetite and feeling like my food is sitting in my stomach forever. I wasn't sick either. I just kind of figured it was one of "those things" and it went away in a couple of days so I didn't worry. Appetite naturally fluctuates anyway.

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297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:24 PM

It was hot last weekend, but not anymore. Yesterday was pretty cool, actually.

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15385 · July 26, 2011 at 4:41 PM

The same kind of thing happened to me after being really gung-ho for about 3 weeks. Not the exact same symptoms, but lack of appetite, especially for protein and fat, less energy, poor sleep, and poor digestion. This was after a month of the exact opposite.

I got a little too into the low carb thing and was eating almost exclusively protein and fat, probably something like 10-25g carbs per day. I already had a decreased appetite and was eating basically one big meal a day. One day I sat down in front of a nice juicy ribeye steak and couldn't take a bite. I had overdone it.

To get back on track, I ate a low-protein meal 1-2x per day for a couple of days (i.e. fruit and yogurt, or just fruit, or a big serving of vegetables dressed in olive oil), which is normally non-Paleo, but this is what my body was craving. After a couple of days I felt better, and after that I made a point of mixing more carbs, vegetables and fruits into every meal, and to be sure I ate at least two solid meals a day. I still stay in the 50-100g carb territory which is "low carb" for many people, but can include a lot of vegetables if you pick the right ones.

The fasting and "one meal a day" thing works for a while, but for me, not long term. If I try to pack a day's worth of calories into one meal, I can do it one or two days, but after a few more days it doesn't work.

This is where Mark Sisson's version of this diet makes a lot more sense to me than other approaches, he advocates lots of fruits and vegetables -- about twice the amount of protein, by volume -- with every meal. I think it is a mistake to try to go 100% carnivore.

Medium avatar
297 · July 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I agree, 100% carnivore makes no sense to me either. What I should point out is that I wasn't trying to do that, or to IF like this. It just happened. I would wake up and think, "I should eat", then realize I wasn't hungry. Next time I'd look at the clock it would be early afternoon, and I'd think "Okay, now I really have to eat something!" But the appetite still wasn't there, or it was weak. I'd force myself to eat and then couldn't look at food for the rest of the day.

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78422 · July 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Totally! If I eat too much protein I feel like a rock is in my tummy. I'm with you - I must eat a balance of carbs and veggies with my protein. And I can't eat as much protein as most paleos. Whatever that means :)

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