What Happens When I Eat Too Many Carbohydrates

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Yesterday I had such a nice day. I started out the day with a walk, as I did on Sunday, and the mornings are nice still. Soon it will be so hot it will be like walking out into an oven, even at 4am.

I even did another vlog on my walk, and intended to put that up yesterday but didn't quite get around to it. I had some trouble with the video editing and my son wasn't able to help me fully until he got off work so there was some delay getting it done and up.

Anyway… after I did the interview with my husband on Friday, I guess he had started to feel like he had a sore throat, so he decided to stop eating sugar. He hasn't always eaten so much sugar as he was getting with the Oreo Cakesters, this is a recent new “addiction” for him, and in the past years we have always cut out sugar if we feel we are getting sick.

He told me on Saturday that his throat didn't feel right, and he thought he was getting sick, but he didn't tell me he'd stopped the cakesters cold turkey. By Sunday morning he was really feeling awful, and now thought he had the flu… with a headache, and joint aches and feeling light headed. He was just miserable.

I was at my computer and he had been resting in bed, but came out to sit on the couch and was telling me how awful he felt, and now he thought he had a sinus headache, so he decided to take some garlic, which started to burn his stomach.

He fell asleep for a few minutes and when he woke up he said his headache was gone and he felt a lot better, until he stood up and the headache came back and he said he felt light headed. He sat back down and asked me if I thought this could be die off since he had stopped eating cakesters over 24 hours ago.

I looked at him and said yes it was certainly possible, and not only that but also carbohydrate withdrawal, and I read him this bit from the book Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky:

You may not experience hypoglycemia while consuming carbohydrates as usual, but it may hit you over the head hard as soon as you cut down on them, or drop them altogether. That's what the Atkins and similar diets have done to hordes of unsuspecting people who went from a high-to-zero diet overnight, completely unprepared. You don't really want to repeat their unfortunate experiences: relentless migraines, severe fatigue, alarming drowsiness, intense depression, obnoxious irritability, impaired speech, blurry vision, lapsed memory, sometimes
a scary bout of fainting. To prevent all that from happening to you, too, aren't you better off knowing why it's happening and what you could do to avoid it?

Let's address the why question first. It's simple: When you cut down on carbohydrate consumption, your pancreas, still unaware of the sudden change, releases more insulin than is now required. This happens because a healthy pancreas releases insulin in two stages. The first stage is an unconditional release of stored insulin in anticipation of, or in response to, a meal. The second, and much later stage, is a response to glucose as it gets assimilated from digested carbohydrates.

When you cut down on carbs, the unconditional release of stored insulin is adjusted to your new eating pattern gradually. While the adjustment is taking place, you may still experience moderate headaches, similar to ones that happen while waiting for a meal or missing one. I call this condition the “hungry spouse syndrome” because, in addition to the headache, elevated insulin makes people irritable and angry. For the same reasons, hyperinsulinemia is often at work in abnormal behavior patterns such as road rage, spousal abuse, workplace violence, and the like. The more insulin and glucose in the system, the more violent and aberrant the behavior.

So if you don't rush things and reduce carbs step-by-step the pancreas will gradually adapt to your new diet, and insulin-induced hypoglycemia will go away for good.

See, without the cakesters, the food I serve my husband is what I eat, which is pretty much a low carb version of GAPS. I do try to serve my husband the high carb vegetables, because I feel he needs them since he has a strenuous job where he gets a lot of exercise.

After that, my husband said some things that led me to believe he is doing to finally stop eating cakesters. If he stops eating cakesters, he's one step closer to doing GAPS, so basically I started gearing myself up to do what I can to make sure he has meals to take with him for lunch when he's out working.

I cooked twice as much meat last night, made a big salad and then I thought I should make some kind of GAPS legal muffins so he would have something to take with him and could eat easily.

I had cooked two acorn squash yesterday, and made the nut butter and squash pancakes as I'd planned to (today I need to remember to do the olive oil drizzle thing), and I did also juice some carrots and made enough to last a few days.

Anyway, I had a lot of acorn squash and I thought it would be perfect to make some almond flour [affiliate link] muffins for him and also use the acorn squash so I googled and found a recipe that looked like it would work. Even though it had baking soda [affiliate link], the rest of the ingredients were GAPS friendly.

I was suspicious of the honey [affiliate link]… 3/4 cup for twelve muffins, but I thought I would try to make the recipe with the amount it called for first, and if they worked out, I could lower it next time. I know from experience that 3/4 cup would be way, way, way too sweet, but maybe not as sweet as the cakesters and my husband might like them.

I didn't put in the hazelnuts called for and nuts sometimes put my husband on the toilet, so I used some blueberries I'd dehydrated.

I also added in 1/4 cup more of butter than called for.

The muffins didn't cook too well. They were very soggy when finally done, and more like pudding in the muffin tin.

I had to scrape the muffin tops from where they were stuck at the top of the muffin tin just to get down to the papers to pull the muffins out. And I decided to take a taste or two… and then we were off and running… I ate one, and it was sickeningly sweet, but very delicious.

As I was working to extricate the remaining muffins, the temptation grew stronger and stronger and stronger, and I succumbed and ate a second muffin.

Thank goodness I stopped there, but the damage had already been done.

The first thing I remember was feeling really really tired and while sitting at the couch I just wanted to go to bed. But the only thing to eat for dinner at the moment was some grilled steak – which I'd already eaten so really wished I could just go to bed. My husband said he would just eat steak, but I didn't want to leave our older son without only steak, so I got up to make at least a salad, that would be quick and I could go to bed.

The next thing I remember was not being able to find the salad spinner bowl, so that I could dry the lettuce. I snapped at my husband about that, and then said, “I'm getting SICK and TIRED of being the ONLY ONE doing anything around this place.”

You should know my husband didn't sleep the night before, he got home late around 2:30am and had to leave at 4:30am, so he didn't go to sleep, just stayed up. Which I knew that, and so you know when someone hasn't had any sleep it's not really the best time to start nagging and complaining. My husband didn't respond, and I noticed right away that I was having a reaction, and told him I was having a bad reaction to the honey (sugars) and squash (carbs) in the muffins. So then I had to work really hard to keep my thoughts inside my own head because I kept thinking more and more things that were bothering me. Finally, I almost started crying. And I was also very angry at myself for succumbing to the too sweet muffins. It didn't stop there. I started to feel depressed and overwhelmed. I knew that I was sliding downhill so I took two Kava Kava, a Vitamin B Complex 100 (both to help my nerves) and got into a detox bath and just stayed there about an hour. After I got out of the tub, I went to bed, but I just felt morose and depressed. And, no longer sleepy. That was the most annoying to me, since I know I cannot eat that many carbs just before going to bed, unless I want to have insomnia.

It is going to be a challenge if my husband does start really go on GAPS because I think he needs the normal version of GAPS, while I need to do a low carb version. If I make the high carb vegetables, it is hard for me to resist eating them. But I need to make them along with dinner so he has them. He has lost a lot of weight already, and I think eating the higher carb vegetables will help him to keep from losing more weight. He is about at an ideal weight for his height, but I don't think he should lose anymore weight.

This morning I was telling him about what happened last night. I told him I could really feel the night and day difference in my mood and disposition, like when I said I was sick and tired of being the only one doing anything around here. He said, “It's true. You are the only one doing anything.” I replie, “Yes, but what is the point in complaining about it? It's not like you have time to help and it's not like I'm doing that much. I'm washing dishes and cooking and that's about it.”

When I'm on an even keel, doing GAPS, I really don't stress about it. I do what I can, and it's not like my husband is complaining, and no one else is complaining. So why worry about it? I can only do so much, he's working many hours so he can't. So without the sugar induced complaining, I'm a lot more calm and serene.

And this round of intro has even furthered my suspicions that I simply do better with less carbohydrates. This is not to say I'm getting zero carbs, but definitely eating a high amount of carbs messes me up.

I figure in the two muffins, I got two tablespoons of honey, which is 34 carbohydrates, and four tablespoons of squash, so that's another 5 carbs. I just don't do well on that amount of carbohydrates, especially since I've been on intro and barely started having winter squash in pancakes.

Which by the way, I was able to control myself and only eat two small pancakes when I ate then plain, instead of slathering on butter and honey mixed together.

Sorry for such a very long drawn out post.

I did not sleep enough and I believe I am going back to bed. Thankfully I am on vacation today. Also, my oldest son seems to have a sore throat and my throat feels funny… it scares me to death when my son gets sick because no telling how a cold will affect his asthma. He hates going to the doctor that just the thought of him getting sick freaks me out a little bit. It's obvious to me that my body is going to be a little whacked out for a day or two.

I'm convinced that a low carb version of GAPS is right for me. Before I started doing intro this time, I was noticing that I was feeling unhappy, and I think it was due to the fruit and carbs. Before I ever did GAPS, these things didn't matter. If someone told me I could change the way I felt with my diet, I would have rejected their suggestions immediately, as I had no intention of restricting the foods I loved to eat (which I had already determined made me feel like crap).

Okay, that's it. Over and out.

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12 thoughts on “What Happens When I Eat Too Many Carbohydrates

  1. Starlene,

    I’m sure I am not alone when I say ‘Thank You’ for your honesty and transparency! I have been following your blog for some time now and it has been so helpful to me in evaluating things in my life, food wise and other wise. Have a blessed week.

  2. Wow. I’ve experienced the sugar crash before when I go off GAPS…. but with an nursing toddler and a young metabolism, I’m starved for carbs. I struggle to figure out the highest calorie, highest carb version of GAPS I can do just to keep myself satiated. Thanks for your post about your challenges, they really help broaden my view and see how different each person’s needs are.

  3. @Jennifer, thank you for your kind words. I did lay down and take a nap… either 2 or 3 hours. I feel better. Darn, those muffins really did me in! I’m still feeling bummed out, but I know it will pass soon.

  4. @Jen, I almost want to say I envy you. 🙂 I can think of so many things I would be eating if I had your “problem”. I would definitely be making lots of smoothies, for one thing. I have a recipe on my blog for one that uses butternut squash and tastes just like pumpkin pie. Especially if you can have dairy products! I would be using cultured cream and plenty of egg yolks and lots of fats, along with plenty of peas, carrots, winter squash and beets. Also, interestingly I did not experience one of the things I usually experience with blood sugar drop and that was the shakiness. I did however, have the bad mood and tiredness. We are definitely all different, and I hope you are able to find ways to load your meals with carbs and calories. Can you do nut butters? Those can add a lot of calories when hidden in a smoothie. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  5. Thanks again for an honest post, I am still trying to figure out why my weight loss has stopped….wondering if I am also sensitive to the honey and high carb veggies…

  6. @Alicia, the way I can tell is when I eat honey or fruit or high carb vegetables I feel hungry sooner, even when eating good fats and protein with those foods. Also, another dead giveaway for me is the “addictive” behavior I feel towards the food in question. I could eat two cups of butternut squash and still be thinking about it and wanting more and going back for seconds and thirds. Even though I don’t count calories, it makes sense to me if I’m eating four cups of butternut squash with half a cup of butter it’s going to make a difference in my weight eventually. There is some science behind how this all works. One day I still try to make a post and put it into words of my own. Anyway, you might want to just check in with your behavior towards honey and high carb vegetables and see how they affect you. Also, if you are fairly new to GAPS, Dr. Natasha says from her FAQ:

    Question: I weigh myself regularly and it seems that I am becoming heavier. It concerns me as I used to be overweight. Is the GAPS diet going to make me overweight?

    Answer: As your digestive system starts functioning well and nourishing you, any nutritional deficiencies will be eliminated. One of them is osteoporosis, which is universally present in GAPS people – due to many nutritional deficiencies they have poor bone density. As your bones will start re-building themselves, they will become heavier and hence you will weigh more. This is a good sign to be welcomed. The GAPS diet will re-shape your body to the healthy size and weight it is supposed to be – normal and healthy for you. Beauty – is health glowing through your skin. So, it is a good idea to put your scales away and concentrate on getting yourself healthy.

  7. I do eat high carb veggies (carrots, squashes, etc.) but I try to keep nuts, nut flours and honey to a minimum. I’m like you: if I make a batch of pancakes, I could probably eat the entire batch at a sitting. So I have 3-4 pancakes for breakfast and that’s it. I keep thinking of it as ‘dessert’ or a ‘treat’. That helps. I have 2 hot teas a day which amounts to 3-4 tsp of honey a day. I might have a fruit a day as well. I’m terrified of losing my milk supply even though it never happened with my first child (I nursed until he was 3 but wasn’t on GAPS) and not with my second either (he’s 15 months, still nursing and eating very well on almost-full GAPS). So it’s just in my head! I can’t wait to see how intro goes for me… I’m chomping at the bit!! Amazing – I never thought I’d be excited to go on intro, but the possibilities for healing are endless!

  8. When I was pregnant before I started GAPS I was doing the Brewer’s Diet briefly, then the Weston A Price Diet. I felt awful after eating my sprouted bread sandwich for lunch. Lunch made me feel so exhausted and out of it that I started eating only light veggies like celery with some yogurt, and only a few at a time. It helped a lot to cut down my carbs. These days I feel like I need more carbs because my energy levels have been low on days when we are running low on produce.

  9. Hi Charlotte, I didn’t know you were doing the Brewer’s Diet. I have steered many newly pregnant mamas to that site. You are probably right about needing more carbohydrates if you are low on veggies since that is our primary way to get them on GAPS if we’re not eating a lot of fruit.

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