High Carb and Still Fatigued

by 25 · July 11, 2012 at 04:02 PM

Hi All,

I have been eating paleo since September last year. I ate low carb, lost weight and generally felt amazing. Had mental clarity, focus, oodles of energy and good sleep.

However, in April this year some bad things started happening. I started experiencing debilitating fatigue, brain fog, unexplained aches and pains. I got my thyroid tested and sure enough my T3 was way low and TSH high. I tried a thyroid complex and it worked for a while but then the symptoms returned. The situation became quiet terrible and I lapsed into eating grains and immediately felt better. I always ate a whole foods based diet, so even while eating grains they are all home cooked and not much processed food in my diet. Now, 2 months later I am 22 lbs heavier. I am 5'2" 170lb. Was 148 in April. The extra weight makes me feel bloated but the fatigue, aches and pains, mind fog were all gone on grains.

Now I am 1 week back into eating Paleo and I am already feeling the same symptoms. Today I spent the whole day sleeping. I have to read something at least 10 times before I can grasp the meaning. I am a therapist by profession and mind fog is something I cannot afford.

So, I had figured that last time I had gone too low carb. So this time to ease my transition into Paleo eating I decided to supplement with lots of starch. Only starchy tubers and no rice. Also even though I need to lose around 35 lbs I decided to not restrict calories. All this with a view to first eating healthy and then worrying about weight loss.

My question is, why did I feel better on grains than on tubers? What to do now about this fatigue? I know just how bad this can get, it was pure hell for me in April. I had to take 2 weeks off work. Last 3 days have been something like that for me and I can see this getting worse.

Sample day: Breakfast: A large portion of meat ( buffalo) with lots of mashed potatoes and butter. Lunch Vegetables with a goat curry Dinner Same as breakfast.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

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6 Replies

4395 · July 11, 2012 at 03:13 PM

Do you have the autoimmune type of thyroid disease called Hashimotos'?? Its the most common type of low thyroid and I suspect you have it based on the instability of thyroid symptoms you describe.

With Hashimoto's and depending on the autoimmune activity, you can have good production of your own hormones one day, and bad the next. Your thyroid meds are not full replacement so when some is provided by your own body and its inconsistent, you get lots of thyroid symptoms.

I know. I've had it for years however through a diet and supplement regimen similar to Terry Wahl's approach to MS, I have lowered my Tpo Antiobodies into the "negative" range. Still too high though, as I don't consider 30 to be negative. I still consider it to be Hashimoto's but its not a full-blown active destructive process!.

I suspect you are not on enough thyroid Hrt.
I do best with both dessicated thyroid (Nature-throid) with a small amount of Synthroid (levothyroxine) as one or the other was very very problematic for me.
I you haven't had your Thyroid antibody levels checked, do so as soon as you can.

Its important to go by symptoms, not lab values. And lab values often are best with they are at the upper 1/3 of the reference range for Hashi's.
This website will help you a lot: Stop The Thyroid Madness www.stopthethyroidmadness.com

435 · July 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM

Although I try to avoid eating them, I do find that grains suit me better than tubers.

I normally eat low carb, but if I add some sweet potato it unlocks this bingeing-type of hunger that I don't feel with any other foods (including if I cheat and eat a bagel). If I eat a white potato it feels like it sits in my stomach for ages and I feel gross for a day.

I'm not quite sure what I will do when I'm ready to introduce more carbs, I guess small amounts of fruit, pumpkin, etc.

4234 · July 11, 2012 at 02:08 PM

Perhaps instead of starches you should try fruits. I actually get a significant portion of carbohydrate from rather sweet things such as dates or dried fruit. Yesterday I made pork chops with a nice mango salsa. If you are having white potatoes, there are some chemicals in there that don't agree with many people, like saponins which don't agree with anybody.

4176 · July 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM

I think that actually for most people long term low carb is a bad idea, the reason people feel amazing is because on low carb you have increased adrenaline similar to drinking a coffee. But I believe this is not sustainable and you're body eventually falls into exhaustion. I'm not too good with the science but this is my understanding, IF and low carb for me were awful. Try skipping the protein with breakfast, but keep up the fat to stunt the insulin, see if that helps at all

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1012 · July 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM

Has your thyroid numbers returned to normal? Hypothyroidism causes fatigue; you need to straighten your thyroid out before worrying about your diet.

660 · July 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM

It's very possible that after just one week your body is still adapting, especially after the roller coaster ride you have been on. I wonder if it's necessary to go immediately to high-carb, especially if weight gain is an issue? Why not start with moderate carbs - slowly adding in the potatoes and other starches that you were avoiding before and slowly easing off of the grains? That might be a more smooth transition for your body, and you might be better able to take note of what does and does not agree with you.

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