Whenever I go into a fat loss mode, I get a rash on my upper abdomen, my back, my scalp, the back of my neck, and now even on the inside of my elbow. I recently started doing some intermittent fasting, and am also experimenting with cutting out all fruit and nuts for a while...hence the fat loss and the rash that accompanies. I'm wondering if others have experienced a rash with fat loss? Mine usually lasts a long time, weeks, months even...I would love to figure out how to resolve it once and for all. I have no desire to suppress the rash, I know that whatever is coming out needs to come out, and that the skin is the best possible place for this to happen. Thanks, Aura
asked byRogue_Nutritionist (11099)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on May 22, 2011
at 01:21 PM
I had the same thing happen when I started a low-carb Paleo diet. My goal was not to lose weight (started 165lbs 6ft) but rather improve energy and wellbeing. After about 2 weeks on the diet the rash started on my neck, then spread to my chest and back. My lymph-nodes became very swollen. At first I also thought it was fat releasing toxins (since I dropped down to a very thin 150 lbs), but after 2 months of the rash continuing to grow I realized this may not be the case. So then i thought it was a food allergy, since i had added so much new food to my diet...eventually i was down to eating only ground beef and butter for a few days...still it got worse. The dermatologist had a biopsy done which showed it was simply eczema, and claimed it was likely caused by the dry winter air. Eventually i just gave up and began eating oatmeal and pizza again, and mercifully the rash started to retreat.
I came to the conclusion that the low-carb diet were essentially drying me out and this was confirmed to me by a post on the dangers of low carb diets over at The Perfect Health Diet.
What connects a zero-carb diet to dry eyes, dry mouth, dry airways, and dry gastrointestinal tract?
Tears, saliva, and mucus of the sinuses, airways, and gastrointestinal tract are all comprised substantially of glycoproteins called mucins. Mucins are primarily composed of sugar; they typically have a number of large sugar chains bound to a protein backbone.
I now eat closer to the Perfect Health Diet and have had no problems. Weight has leveled off at 160 lbs and energy is good. I have since experimented with going low-carb and the rash returns within 3 or 4 days.
I'm assuming you are very low-carb from your no fruit comment, so based on my experience I would recommend increasing carbs with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, fruit and berries. This may slow weight-loss but in my mind is a fair trade-off.
on September 13, 2011
at 02:28 AM
It could also be linked to an increase in omega 6 released from cell membranes or omega 6 derived fats - arachidonic acid released from fat cells along with fat loss. This then provides building blocks for the pro-inflammatory hormones which increase (in my observation) anything a person is prone to, like eczema for example. Try increasing omega 3, I'd suggest up to 10 caps a day for a few weeks, to dampen these hormones, and increase anti-inflammatory hormones. Also cut down as strictly as possible any sources of omega 6. Do use good quality omega 3 fish oil, and perhaps a small amount of codliver oil which has vitamin A in it.
on May 22, 2011
at 07:28 AM
Yes this is very common. Many people get rashes, pimples, boils, etc... It is caused from the release of toxins which is commonly stored in fat.
on June 13, 2012
at 04:40 AM
I also experienced a persistent rash and small papules on my stomach for several months when restricting carbohydrates and sugar while losing 25 pounds. This was accompanied by intermittent constipation which I never experienced before in my life.
Eventually the rash went away, but came back for a few months a year later.
Even though I have continued for 18 months to eat significantly less carbs than I used to, I have concerns about whether this way of eating is actually very healthy for me, based upon the skin reactions I've had and the negative impact to my digestion.
It appears my "symptoms" are not unique.
on January 30, 2014
at 03:09 PM
I don't know how much my answer is going to be read now. Hopefully my answer will revive the thread so that more people will know the truth.
It is very common for unusual reactions to occur when there is a change in diet. Two things are most likely occurring simultaneously: 1- there's a quick weight loss which, means the fat cells are releasing their contents within. Many don't realize that the body uses fat cells to store much of the junk we ingest. If there's quick weight loss then there is quick release of toxins; release is faster than the body can process out through the liver (i.e. crap and piss out) and therefore resorts to other methods of releasing toxins. 2- If there was an imbalance in your flora (like candida or other overgrowth that tend to live off sugary foods, i.e. the American diet) then a quick change in diet will cause much of the bacteria living within the gut to die off. We're talking millions of bacteria beginning to die off at once. This is all material that becomes poisonous when it's dying off and therefore, the body must get rid of it. Equally so, it will go through a rough period of trying to cleanse more than it can in one shot.
This whole experience has a medical term. It's called Herheimer's Reaction.
on June 13, 2012
at 06:54 AM
I think it may be owing to ketones, which, according to wikipedia: "ketones [...] are more volatile than alcohols and carboxylic acids of comparable molecular weights. These factors relate to pervasiveness of ketones in perfumery and as solvents."
As someone with berserk TRP channels I seem to react to carboxylic acids and alcohols in particular (and breathing perfumes/solvents = bad news), and this sensitivity seemed to develop when my diet was at its lowest-carb/calorie levels. Having scanned some low-carb forums where people discussed rashes that were persistent long after having lost the weight, I suspect that the detox concept is off the mark, unfortunately. I think sensitivity to the body's own ketone production may be to blame, especially if you're throwing coconut oil/medium chain triglycerides into the mix. I now react more to coconut oil more than most things, and suspect that it's not just my previous attribution of salicylate content but also carboxylic acids and increased ketone production.
Like you, I still strangely feel better with at least intermittent ketosis, and find that my rashes have mostly disappeared after having sorted out sensitivities and re-introduced more carbs. I eat a fairly hearty portion of carbs in the evening to help with leptin and cravings and arrest ketosis, but eat LC or VLC during the day; this seems like the best compromise I can work out. I'm not sure what overall carb count is, however; maybe I'm mostly avoiding ketosis altogether but still low-carb enough to reap some benefits.
Unfortunately, the sensitivities developed during that time (sensitivities which can bring on urticaria independent of ketones at this point) don't seem like they're going to ever completely go away - but there has been some improvement. Maybe they will; maybe they won't. But intermittent ketosis/lower-carbing and avoiding similarly volatile chemicals is what works for me now. Hope that helps.
on May 22, 2011
at 11:17 PM
I feel good in all other ways eating this way, and whenever I experiment with adding carbs over the years, I inevitably gain weight, andget irritable and depressed ....pretty clear other than the eczema that this is the way I'm meant to eat. When I was very young, I broke a thermometer in my mouth, and have often wondered if this rash is mercury coming out.
on January 22, 2017
at 04:05 AM
I was on my 7th day of Keto and suddenly the next day my inner arms became red and started itching, the following the inner thighs. I am loosing weight, feeling good on Keto but can not take the itching and the rash as it keeps spreading.
I have upped by carbs alot today sadly, but hopefully the rash goes away by tomoorow.
It really sucks to be on keto and experiecnce the rash.
on March 05, 2013
at 12:57 AM
It sounds like Candida die-off. When you stop "feeding" your yeast (Candida Albicans) with sugars, and starches that turn to sugars, it dies. The toxins then can overwhelm the body's ability to clear them out, giving you "symptoms", which may include rash (as well as just feeling plain "yucky" all over) ... I'm not a doctor, but just have personal experience... You could check out "Candida die-off symptoms"..