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Low carb depression connection?

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Old 07-30-2008, 12:37 PM   #1
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Default Low carb depression connection?

I'm not specifically doing the Atkins program, but recently I have cut all refined carbs and grains from my diet. The first time I did it, I made it for three days and then spiraled downward into one of the deepest depressions i have ever been in. Fortunately, it was short term, but it was very intense. I did a lot of binging, ate a lot of chocolate, refined carbs and other things that are strict no-nos. It took almost a week to pull myself up out of it. Today is my second day of returning to the carb restrictive diet, and I feel myself spiraling downward again. I come from a long line of diabetics. This is the main reason I want to restrict the carbs. Short term depression is, in my opinion, a fair trade to not get diabetes. What I would like to know is if anyone else has had this sort of reaction to a carb restricted diet, and how long it may take to get past this if I continue? Thanks in advance.

Michelle
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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wow, i find that i am just the opposite. i did south beach phase one a while ago, and when i was able to add carbs back in, i was miserable and depressed. you may be going through carb withdrawal. are you eating good carbs; ie whole grains? i would get monster headaches during my withdrawal period. It lasted about a week for me. are you exercising? that helps me beat the blues sometimes.

if it lasts longer than a week, maybe there is something else in your life triggering it. i hope this helps.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:50 PM   #3
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There has been a documented clinical link between low carb and depression and it can result in what you described, especially if you are prone to depression anyway. Low carb isn't for everyone. If it impacts you personally, a different diet approach will be necessary. You might be interested in the book the Serotonin Power Diet, based on the published studies linking low carb and depression. http://www.serotoninpowerdiet.com/

We're all unique and what's good for one person may not be good for the next. You might want to talk to your doctor if a change in diet doesn't help.

Good luck
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:11 PM   #4
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Hi Michelle,

I am specifically on Atkins (4+ years) and can honestly say I have never experienced anything like you are describing however, a lot of people do experience what is commonly referred to as "Induction Flu" which can produce symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, nausea, "brain fog and muscle cramps. This is temporary & should last no more than a few days to a week.

Would you mind posting exactly what you are eating when you're low carbing? You may not be getting enough nutrients. Also, since you mention diabetes runs high in your family, is it possible you could be diabetic or even hypoglycemic and not be aware of it? I know that sounds a bit odd however, my ex was hypoglycemic and the Dr. suggested he see a psychiatrist due to the symptoms he exhibited.

All the best to you!!


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Old 07-30-2008, 09:41 PM   #5
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Red Baroness: There are many things in my life right now that could be triggering depression. I just find it strange that the serious lows seem to be at low carb times. I do not eat whole grains. I do not eat grain at all when I am on plan. I do however eat many fresh fruits and some starchy veggies.

Suzanne: I did follow the link you posted. There were definitely some things that seemed to click, but if I ate that high of a carbohydrate diet, I think I would go into hypoglycemic shock. If I eat a meal with only grains, even whole grains, and vegetables, within 45 minutes I am shaky, nauseous and lightheaded. I don't think that diet would work for me. Also, I do not (normally) have a tendency toward depression at all.

Jersey Gyrl: A typical day starts with fruit, eggs with sauteed veggies and feta cheese. Celery and almond butter for a snack. Lunch is a huge salad with about six ounces of chicken, fish or seafood, olive oil and vinegar dressing and some cheese. Apple and sunflower seeds for snack or plain full fat yogurt and fruit, and dinner is six ounces of meat and a combo of fresh and/or steamed veggies. My daily vegetable intake always includes (but is not limited to) spinach, broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, and mushrooms. I also eat apples, grapes and grapefruit almost daily. I do get hypoglycemic lows pretty regularly, but these are caused by eating too much sugar or refined carbs, or by not eating at all. The quick cure is a candy bar (which I try not to do) or some orange juice followed by some protein. I know I am not diabetic. I had gestational diabetes, and still have the monitor. I check my blood sugar occasionally, and it is always normal. Also, I have been dealing with the emotional part of the hypoglycemia for years. This feels different. Hypoglycemic lows make me grumpy, impatient, and irritable. The depression I felt made me not be able to stop crying.

Thanks all of you for your help. In the morning I am going to eat some oatmeal with breakfast and see if that makes a difference. At this point (9 pm) I still feel the downward spiral. I am not going to let myself get back into binge mode for any reason. If the oatmeal helps, I will make some adjustments to my diet. If not, I will stick with the low carb and accept that maybe all the emotional stress in my life is finally starting to catch up to me. Thanks again.

Michelle
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150reasons View Post
Jersey Gyrl: A typical day starts with fruit, eggs with sauteed veggies and feta cheese. Celery and almond butter for a snack. Lunch is a huge salad with about six ounces of chicken, fish or seafood, olive oil and vinegar dressing and some cheese. Apple and sunflower seeds for snack or plain full fat yogurt and fruit, and dinner is six ounces of meat and a combo of fresh and/or steamed veggies. My daily vegetable intake always includes (but is not limited to) spinach, broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, and mushrooms. I also eat apples, grapes and grapefruit almost daily. I do get hypoglycemic lows pretty regularly, but these are caused by eating too much sugar or refined carbs, or by not eating at all. The quick cure is a candy bar (which I try not to do) or some orange juice followed by some protein. I know I am not diabetic. I had gestational diabetes, and still have the monitor. I check my blood sugar occasionally, and it is always normal. Also, I have been dealing with the emotional part of the hypoglycemia for years. This feels different. Hypoglycemic lows make me grumpy, impatient, and irritable. The depression I felt made me not be able to stop crying.

Michelle,

While I certainly do not profess to be a medical professional, I have had a lot of experience with hypoglycemia due to my ex having it. We were to countless Dr's...including an endocrinologist, neurologist & psychiatrist...basically to no avail. Unfortunately, the majority of Dr's do not understand or recognize hypoglycema. It became a trial & error situation as far as me trying to modify his diet. Basically, I eliminated white bread, pasta, white rice, potatoes, sugar & desserts. He ate rye or whole wheat bread, spinach pasta, couscous, lots of veggies, meat & eggs. We found him eating every few hours throughout the day, kept him from having any episodes.

Let me assure you Michelle, hypoglycemia can produce many symptoms...
fatigue
insomnia
mental confusion
nervousness
mood swings
faintness
headaches
depression
phobias
heart palpitations
a craving for sweets
cold hands and feet
forgetfulness
dizziness
blurred vision
inner trembling
outbursts of temper
sudden hunger
allergies
crying spells

You may want to have a look at this link, it is quite helpful: http://www.hypoglycemia.org/diet.asp
I notice you eat a good amount of fruit..and thought this was quite intersting:
"DO -- Watch your fruit consumption. If you are in the early or severe stages of hypoglycemia, you may not be able to eat any fruit. Some patients can eat just a small amount. Your diet diary will help guide you. Avoid dried fruits completely"

I hope you will find this info helpful in geeting to the root of your problem.

All the best to you!!
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for the link. That was very informative. The oatmeal this morning seemed to help. I think I am simply a person who does need some good grains in my diet. If that doesn't completely do the trick, I will start eliminating fruit as well I also think that I need to eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals with small snacks. Often, I forget the snack and find myself snappy and shaky while trying to prepare some suitable food. Thanks again, I really appreciate the info.
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:35 PM   #8
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Fruit. You nailed it Jersey Gyrl, it was the fruit. Thank you!!!! So, what did your ex do for snacks? I sort of rely on fruit for snacks and don't really know where to turn now. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-09-2008, 01:23 PM   #9
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Maybe a small piece of cheese? A few slices of ham?
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:54 PM   #10
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Well, keep in mind he wasn't on low carb. He used to snack on cheese a lot and I used to buy stone ground whole wheat crackers that he used to eat with peanut butter that had no sugar added. He also ate a lot of sliced turkey, ham & roast beef.

I'm sorry fruit is a problem for you but...at least you found out what what causing your problems

Hypoglycemia is no joke.

All the best to you!!
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