South Beach Diet - Help--something's not quite right!

06-08-2011, 02:19 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm kind of new here. I've had an account for a while but haven't gotten around to posting much until now. So---nice to meet you all! Also, reading your posts on progress and success has been so very encouraging for me. So thank you very much for helping this endeavoring lurker. :)

But my road has not been so successful yet. I have kind of a big problem. I think I may be doing the diet wrong because after a certain point, my hair starts to fall out in droves! It's positively horrifying!

I started the SB diet in September and was doing fairly well for someone with PCOS (makes losing weight a VERY slow process...) but about a month into Phase 2, the left side of my hairline started thinning out rapidly. I stopped the diet at once and started using Rogaine (which only helped a little). Sadly, this abrupt stop caused me to gain back all the weight I'd lost initially and then some. But at least my hair started recovering.

A little under one month ago, I started the Dukan diet (which is very similar to SB) and it's been going great. But... the hair loss has started up again. I'm just devastated.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong--I'm following all the instructions, drinking lots of water, alternating veggie/protein days, eating oat bran everyday, 2 servings of dairy each day, etc.

But I sense the hair loss will only worsen if I continue. Why is it that my body won't allow me to lose weight? I'm trying to make myself healthy and it's completely backfiring! Is it that I've been so overweight for so long and have been eating unhealthily all my life that my body has adapted to being unhealthy?! I just don't know what to do anymore.
Has anyone experienced a similar problem with low-carb diets? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm incredibly frustrated and upset by all this and feeling very lost right now. :(

06-08-2011, 02:44 PM
First let me say that i am in NO WAY an expert on either SB, Dukan, or PCOS. However, I do know that hair loss is a side effect of PCOS, which is due to the amount of testosterone in your body and possibly hypothyroidism. I have read that decreasing dietary sugar *may* help over time with hair loss, but if you are following SB then you should already be doing this. Also, maybe try increasing the good fats you eat like fish (especially high omega 3 like salmon), nuts, avocados, etc. They help to keep your coat nice and shiny and are allowable foods on SB, which is not a low fat diet (good fats, at least). Again, I am not an expert, just someone very interested in health and nutrition and very concerned for your situation. I would definitely consult with your doctor. It may be SB related, it may be PCOS related. But it may also be a little bit of both. I hope you can find some sort of balance between managing your weight loss without the hair loss as well. That is NOT the type of weight we want to lose!

06-08-2011, 02:58 PM
It is not uncommon for people in a caloric deficit to experience hair loss. Hair growth(and nail growth) are not neccessary, vital functions for the body, and when you arent eating enough calories to support ALL of your bbodies functions (i.e; when you are losing fat) the non-neccessary ones can shut down. For me, it wasnt hairloss, but i lost my period... for 2 whole years! i also take FOREVER to heal from any scratch or cut or bruise.... these are side effects of your body shutting down that which is not vital to survive
Id like to add that i really no nothing about PCOS, so it might be related to that as well.

06-08-2011, 03:37 PM
Hi Mooglechan, I have no particular knowledge about this situation at all. But I want to thank you for posting about this and I hope you'll keep us updated with what you find out. Welcome out of lurkdom ((HUG)).

Also, what about exercise? Maybe go back to your diet from before, but pump up the exercise (and your metabolism) and see if you can approach fitness/better body more from that side of things. At least that would determine if its a certain nutrient that you cut out when dieting, or if it is involved with simple caloric deficeincy as mkroyer talks about. But of course I second asphyxia63's recommendation to consult with your doctor above all else.

06-08-2011, 04:14 PM
Can you post a sample menu from your SB days? I can't comment on Dukan as I have no experience with it, but from the sound of it you may not be getting enough calories.

06-08-2011, 06:08 PM
asphyxia63, thanks for the info! I'll try upping my intake of good fats, eat more fish and take more fish oil. I only take one capsule of fish oil per day, but my doctor recommended boosting the dose during dry weather (for my dry eyes primarily, but I'm sure it'll help with overall health too!).

mkroyer, omg--no period for two years?! It sounds wonderful! But maybe not in the long run? The caloric deficiency makes sense. But do all those functions that shut down right themselves once you're off the diet? I don't know how I feel about going bald permanently at the tender age of 25. ;___;

FurnaceOfAchievement, I'll definitely keep all of you posted. I've been skimping a little on the exercise this past week because I was incapacitated by menstrual cramps (so not fun!). So maybe that had something to do with my problem? Well, I'll get back on track now that the hemorrhaging has stopped. :P

Mmckellen, one of my usual SB diet menus included 2 scrambled egg whites and 2 slices of Canadian or turkey bacon for breakfast, a cup of coffee, sliced cucumbers and 1/2 boiled chicken breast for lunch, 15 almonds and low-fat string cheese for snack, and grilled lean beef with a salad for dinner. Oh, and a piece of Trader Joe's delicious sugarless dark chocolate w/ almonds for dessert. I always drink plenty of water (1.5 liters per day) and exercise as regularly as time permits.
With Dukan, it's basically the same diet except I get to eat an oat bran pancake (oat bran, low-fat ricotta cheese, egg, Splenda) and I get to add veggies to my diet every other day, alternating all-protein days with protein+veggie days.

Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice! I'll consult my doctor again, but the last time this happened all she did was prescribe Rogaine and showed little concern. *sigh* I miss the sweet and compassionate doctor I used to see when I had PPO health insurance.
But I feel better about this problem now that I've heard your thoughts. :carrot: I'm starting to think I'm not eating enough, or maybe often enough. That's something about cutting sugar and carbs completely out of my diet--I have no appetite or cravings for anything anymore. Could be a blessing and a curse, huh?

06-08-2011, 07:21 PM
It's hard to know if you are eating enough without knowing what you weigh, but I will tell you that at 159 lbs. what you describe on SB would not be enough for me. Sounds like your breakfast may only be about 200 calories, and then you aren't eating anything until lunch...I'd add a bit of lf cheese and some veggies or V8 to breakfast, have a mid-morning snack of 1/4 cup hummos and cut veggies, or lf deli roll ups. I'd add some salad dressing and greens to your lunch for some additional fat and veggies. Afternoon snack sounds good, as does dinner. Losing hair can also be a sign of not getting enough protein. Why not eat the egg yolks? They are full of nutrients, and everyone says - not the devil they used to be considered to be.

06-08-2011, 08:53 PM
I'd also talk to my doctor or dermatologist about the hair loss. They have more insight into what's going on inside to cause it.

06-09-2011, 04:18 AM
My first thought is that you may not be getting enought fat in your diet... hair loss is a very common side effect when that happens. If you weren't getting enough with the mandatory healthy fats at lunch and dinner while on South Beach, I'd say to make sure to include the optional serving at breakfast and a serving of nuts every day.

The meal template in the SB FAQS is still a huge help for me... even after several months on SB, I use it to evaluate what I'm eating from time to time.

06-09-2011, 01:00 PM
Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice! I'll consult my doctor again, but the last time this happened all she did was prescribe Rogaine and showed little concern. *sigh* I miss the sweet and compassionate doctor I used to see when I had PPO health insurance.

Moog, I'm about to get way more personal than I normally consider appropriate. Sorry if this crosses the line. In my opinion you should see another doctor, even if it means paying out of pocket or going to a low-cost clinic. I'm young too (age 24) with limited resources, but a good doctor who is compassionate and advocates for your best health is worth it. I had a medical issue (reactions to medications) that one doctor didn't take seriously. I suffered for a year before I finally took the bull by the horns, did a LOT of research, called a bajillion other doctors, and found one who could help me. It sounds like you already have a previous doctor - it never hurts to call their office, explain that you don't have PPO health insurance to cover them, ask about payment plans/discounted rates, and get his/her 2nd opinion. If I started losing my hair I would be flipping out, so it might be worth the hassle and $$$ to deal with someone you think will actually help you and care about you.

06-09-2011, 08:05 PM
Thank you for being so concerned--I appreciate your honesty and, hey, don't worry about getting too personal. You're coming from a well-intentioned place which is never inappropriate. :)
I'm starting to think it might be time to switch back to my old doctor. At the very least, to address this present issue. I'm perpetually broke but you're completely right that I can't exactly put a price tag on my health. As they say, "If you don't got your health, you don't got anything." Huh, can't remember what movie that was from. LoL
Okay, I'll get my act together now. Thanks again for your support! -hugs-

06-09-2011, 08:22 PM

Oh my goodness--I am way under-eating then! Because I'm at 175 right now. Eek!
Okay, I'll add a few snacks in between meals. My energy level could use a boost too. I'll just be careful not to overdo it so that my weightloss continues to progress.
Aren't egg yolks bad for cholesterol...? I don't have a cholesterol problem but I figured I'd be preventative. But is the whole egg yolks = bad cholesterol notion one of those archaic health myths? If so, I'll gladly eat yolks again--they're delicious!!

06-09-2011, 09:34 PM
Aren't egg yolks bad for cholesterol...? I don't have a cholesterol problem but I figured I'd be preventative. But is the whole egg yolks = bad cholesterol notion one of those archaic health myths? If so, I'll gladly eat yolks again--they're delicious!!

You're correct, that advice is passe. Here's what Dr. Agatston has to say about eggs:

Dr. Arthur Agatston: The yolk in whole eggs contains many healthy nutrients and actually has minimal effect on cholesterol. The Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that up to seven eggs per week were safe and there is no evidence that more than seven eggs per week causes problems.

03-02-2013, 08:29 PM
Omega-6 deficiency could be another problem on this diet as described, in addition to Omega-3.

It's unclear if you are using any added oils or what you are doing for salad dressing, but an ounce of whole almonds will not provide enough omega-6, especially if they aren't chewed very well, and animal foods contain very little. So you might find you need to add the right kinds of plant fats, not just any fats. I would try adding an ounce of walnuts which have a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3.

03-02-2013, 09:36 PM
Hi XAOC, welcome to the site since it is your first post. Although, you just posted on a very old thread from 2011. Try to check the dates first before you start posting and reviving dead threads. Thanks.