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I'm Tired: need more carbs or less carbs?

by (3280)
Updated about 11 hours ago
Created May 10, 2012 at 12:33 AM

I awoke this morning without an alarm, after my regular 6.5 - 7.0 hours of sleep.

I felt very tired throughout the day (like I wasn't controlling my blood sugar well). No, I'm not a diabetic, but I know what sugar crashes feel like. I felt particularly tired in the afternoon at work, and after dinner. BTW, that big smoothie was half after breakfast, then the other half in the afternoon. (No smoothie or fruit after dinner, only the butternut squash with dinner).

Looking at my foods for the day:

http://s14.postimage.org/8u62etpxd/food_5_9_2012_8_21_07_PM.png : alt text

67% Fat, 16% carb, %17 protein of 2,400 calories.

I guess I haven't been doing a good enough job of being anal with my food diary because there were periods during my 2 months of paleo where I felt really tranquil, steady, well rested (and not yawning).

I know I need a tweak.

Question: should I increase my carbs or decrease my carbs?

Thanks, Mike

PS: I should say I'm 5'10" male, 188 (lost 10 of the 20 I want to lose). I didn't work out yesterday or today. When I do, it's nothing too strenuous: maybe 30 minutes on the elliptical or 30 minutes swimming), or light weights at the gym.

Medium avatar
0 · May 12, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Strongly agree with Michelle 22 on going protein heavy in the morning. The "continuation of the nighttime fast" concept seems to hold for me as well. Appetite is completely manageable for many hours.. I save the fruit until the afternoon to tear through the second 1/2 of the workday.

Been doing Paleo focused Detox type salads to get veggies in throughout the day. Throwing in walnuts or cold beef or chicken. Really solid combo for sustained energy.

Good luck to you! Keep experimenting to get your optimal combinations.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7
243 · December 10, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I'm pretty low carb, but finding I am really tired in the morning in the last couple weeks, going to start having more carbs and see how that does.

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5381 · September 16, 2012 at 4:18 AM

^ Probably not. Maybe you need to watch your evening light exposure. I am inclined to think that 9 is optimal. When humans have no evening light, they sleep biphasically, for a total of something like 8-10 hours.

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5775 · September 15, 2012 at 9:53 PM

This is what I noticed. I love butternut squash. Love it. Eat that or sweet potatoes in-excess on my high-carb days. However, broccoli, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, romaine, etc...these should be a staple every day!

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15400 · May 10, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Ok, I won't :) You need to vary your starches (aren't you tired of butternut squash?), your vegetables and your protein. How about adding some fish? You need to add some leafy green (just some kale is not enough), sulfur rich vegetables and rainbow colors. May I guess - you cook for yourself, right? I have nothing against fruit - berries are excellent, but think of them as your dessert. Your menu sounds almost like Danny Roddy's. Bone broth? Organ meats? Good luck driving to NYC and back. My Gosh - that's a long ride! Stay awake!

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90
982 · May 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

yes..skip the fruit.

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3280 · May 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

please don't scream! (btw, I had butternut squash for lunch & dinner, and the shake had 6oz of kale - two 3oz servings). I will up the veggies and cut the fruit today). Good timing on the wake-up calls for less fruit: I'm driving from Philly to NYC and back today. In the past, I have gotten very tired, especially on the drive home, especially after a big lunch (eating out) meeting.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901
681 · May 10, 2012 at 1:42 AM

That image is rather small.

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3280 · May 10, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Any comment on Dan's point above about combining protein with the shake being a problem?

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3280 · May 10, 2012 at 1:17 AM

BTW, if I wake up naturally (without an alarm) after X hours, does that mean that X is enough? (even if X is 6?)

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90
982 · May 10, 2012 at 1:12 AM

skip the fruit..you really do not need it. just pack in the fat and protein esp in am anfd I agree to go with veg 85% the rest of any carbs you consume. you should feel better right away if you leave out fruit.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 10, 2012 at 12:53 AM

good points. BTW, the shake was consumed over a 6 hour period, but it probably had too much sugar.

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11 Answers

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194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7
11
3979 · May 10, 2012 at 12:46 AM

1: You need more vegetables! Nutrition will give you energy! Green things like kale, collards, swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, things like that. Get green vegetables in you at least twice a day. Make it a part of your FOOD, not just something you down at the beginning of the day.

2: Your breakfast is a problem. Cantaloupe and bananas with chicken? Food combining usually isn't a big deal, except for here. The cantaloupe is getting in the way of the digestion of the chicken for a number of reasons, including enzymes and dilution of stomach acid. 2 bananas at the beginning of the day is a significant jolt of sugar, which would easily leave you feeling crashy for the rest of the day. Aside from being too much sugar (all at once), eating fruit with meat tends to be problematic, absorption/digestion-wise.

3: Chocolate isn't the medicinal health-food people claim it to be, really. Even sans the sugar, theobromine is a psychoactive drug that gives you a high and a crash. I find that my energy (especially mental and emotional energy) is better off and more stable without it.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 10, 2012 at 12:53 AM

good points. BTW, the shake was consumed over a 6 hour period, but it probably had too much sugar.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · September 15, 2012 at 9:53 PM

This is what I noticed. I love butternut squash. Love it. Eat that or sweet potatoes in-excess on my high-carb days. However, broccoli, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, romaine, etc...these should be a staple every day!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
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15400 · May 10, 2012 at 4:52 AM

I looked at your chart a I want to scream... WHERE ARE YOUR VEGGIES???? Cabbage, carrot, onions, beets, mushrooms - do I need to make a list? Why no veggies? You had no veggies for dinner!!! What about berries? No wonder you are tired - your nutritional balance is a little off.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

please don't scream! (btw, I had butternut squash for lunch & dinner, and the shake had 6oz of kale - two 3oz servings). I will up the veggies and cut the fruit today). Good timing on the wake-up calls for less fruit: I'm driving from Philly to NYC and back today. In the past, I have gotten very tired, especially on the drive home, especially after a big lunch (eating out) meeting.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · May 10, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Ok, I won't :) You need to vary your starches (aren't you tired of butternut squash?), your vegetables and your protein. How about adding some fish? You need to add some leafy green (just some kale is not enough), sulfur rich vegetables and rainbow colors. May I guess - you cook for yourself, right? I have nothing against fruit - berries are excellent, but think of them as your dessert. Your menu sounds almost like Danny Roddy's. Bone broth? Organ meats? Good luck driving to NYC and back. My Gosh - that's a long ride! Stay awake!

3294e6aecf099cc9e19cb0d5fe3d6829
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40 · May 10, 2012 at 1:13 AM

You may need more sleep. Try upping to 8 hours in a blacked out room.

"Of course the need for sleep varies by individual. Though most of us fall into the pot of the seven-eight hour average, others of us genuinely can???t get by without nine or ten. A few lucky ones among us hit our optimum with only six or so hours of shut eye."

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-definitive-guide-to-sleep/#ixzz1uQPYwi7W

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 10, 2012 at 1:17 AM

BTW, if I wake up naturally (without an alarm) after X hours, does that mean that X is enough? (even if X is 6?)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5
5381 · September 16, 2012 at 4:18 AM

^ Probably not. Maybe you need to watch your evening light exposure. I am inclined to think that 9 is optimal. When humans have no evening light, they sleep biphasically, for a total of something like 8-10 hours.

1e36119906da54831601a7c23674f581
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698 · September 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Dunno.. I used to get like that eating ketogenically.

I eat a high-carb diet now entirely of meat, eggs, lots and lots of fruit, some dairy, fermented food, and dark chocolate.. Unless I have under slept, or overworked myself with exercise I don't get sleepy blood sugar crashes anymore.

The anti-fruit (OMG fructose!) brigade around here are full of crap IMO. Ofcourse if you're trying to adapt for a very low carb diet then avoid the carbs.. but eating carbs on a regular basis isn't necessarily going to send your blood glucose flying out of control.

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5188 · May 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Tiredness suggests more sleep - it's not always about food. I wake up pretty much the same time every day, just before the sun gets above the horizon. If I go to bed at midnight I get 6 hours sleep. If I go to bed a sunset (9pm) I get 9 hours sleep. Doing one of those regular tends to leave me feeling a lot more tired than the other.

You may also be in no man's land on your carbs. Not enough to be bouncing off the walls all day but just too many to be fully functioning on fat. I doubt this is the problem but even so you would probably feel better from a day fasting, and equally from a day feasting. You might find some B vitamins would help, but personally I wouldn't pay too much attention to the parents screaming about eating your veggies. I would try and work in bone broth and liver etc. though...

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1657 · May 10, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Whether you need more or fewer carbs to feel optimal is largely dependent your unique body chemistry, your activity level, etc-- personally, I feel WAY better on lower carb. Try a week of going lower carb and see how you feel. If that doesn't do the trick add in more "safe" carbs and see how you feel. Tweak until you find YOUR perfect balance-- good luck!

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7
243 · December 10, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I'm pretty low carb, but finding I am really tired in the morning in the last couple weeks, going to start having more carbs and see how that does.

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0 · May 11, 2014 at 3:19 PM

WHY YOU GET TIRED EVEN WITH ENOUGH SLEEP

http://selfhacked.com/2014/04/13/people-get-tired-even-enough-sleep/

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
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2029 · September 16, 2012 at 3:59 AM

My personal experience with carbs has been that I do NOT do well with simple sugars like fruit in the morning ("complex carbohydrates" like potatoes or buckwheat don't seem to have the same effect). Starting the day with practically any jolt of simple sugars sets my blood sugar on a roller coaster ride all day, and I'm grouchy, tired hungry all day long. I can eat fruit and starch the rest of the day (combined with sufficient protien+fat), just fine, but I have to have a protein-rich, low-carb breakfast first. I think I had this explained to me that in a short fasted stated (right when we wake up), our body is still pretty vulnerable to those concentrated doses of sugar, compared to other times of the day. I sometimes actually get sick with nausea if I eat fruit in the morning. But if I wait until afternoon, I'm good. Something to think about.

I agree with everyone else about increasing the vegetables, especially leafy greens. If you can tolerate them of course.

B6400137b7a50279de74a24a2e08ae7f
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205 · September 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM

I think too much fruit can indeed be a problem due to the insulin spikes but removing it altogether? Probably unnecessary. The fruits you mentioned are on the low FODMAPS list.

I would definitely go for more of a balance of fruit & vegetables though.

Caveat: if you have an overgrowth of candida then the fruit can absolutely be a major issue. Additionally, fructose malabsorption occurs in about 30% of the population, so that can lead to more gut fermentation regardless of the FODMAPS. In other words, I think figuring this out req's a closer look at your gut microbiome, not just your energy levels.

B3222ea49a60d1d12a9d25f194c0f873
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225 · September 15, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I would say the fruit could be a problem, too. You want to have protein with carbs, I learned that having a diabetic child. But fruit while good for you does affect glucose. Even consuming it throughout the day you are spiking, crashing, spiking, crashing - that alone could be making you tired! I was also wondering if I needed more vegetables in my diet because I have been tired. Now I am thinking it may be something else.

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3280 · May 10, 2012 at 12:55 AM

I think for my next shake, I'll reduce the sugar a bit. Maybe make this: (this is for 2 servings):

http://s13.postimage.org/5eijj157r/lower_carb_shake_5_9_2012_8_47_47_PM.png i'm-tired:-need-more-carbs-or-less-carbs?

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90
982 · May 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

yes..skip the fruit.

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90
982 · May 10, 2012 at 1:12 AM

skip the fruit..you really do not need it. just pack in the fat and protein esp in am anfd I agree to go with veg 85% the rest of any carbs you consume. you should feel better right away if you leave out fruit.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 10, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Any comment on Dan's point above about combining protein with the shake being a problem?

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