3

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Going very low carb/ Ditching fruits. Nutrient deficiency?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 06, 2010 at 9:21 AM

I'm thinking about going very low-carb and therefore considering ditching fruit for at least one month, for gut healing purposes and to become more insulin sensitive. The only thing that is holding me back is the idea that if i cut on fruits i might end up with some nutrient deficiency.

My question: Can one get all the necessary nutrients from all the other foods?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 29, 2010
at 06:09 PM

Incidentally, I don't mean to come off as judgmental in the above comment. I'm not trying to insult you, merely pointing out that your situation appears very unique when it comes to modern anecdotal all-meat experiences.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 29, 2010
at 06:02 PM

They're very odd because I've literally never heard of anyone else suffering from them on an all-meat diet at all. That you managed to suffer acute deficiency in under a month on a regimen which does not cause acute deficiency in most people over years suggests something "very odd" going on: both because no one else has that problem, and because it happened incredibly quickly. So, either you're doing the diet wrong or you have a pretty unique set of metabolic issues.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 29, 2010
at 02:08 PM

I'm not doing anything "very wrong" but am not eating raw or rare meat due to low stomach acid. I'm waiting for a shipment of betaine HCL and once I add that into my diet then I will hopefully be able to eat under-cooked and therefore higher nutrient meat (muscle or organ). Low stomach acid probably meant my liver stores of vitamin C were already low so a month is plenty of time to notice deficiency (according to several vitamin C sources online). Skin changes, gum problems and loose teeth are symptoms of vit C deficiency, so I'm not sure why you call them "very odd results."

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 24, 2010
at 05:03 AM

Those are very odd results.. in fact I've never heard of anyone else getting loose teeth from meat only, let alone in just a month. Hell, even sailors on old time ships would last longer than that eating hardtack and drinking grog. It sounds like you're doing something very wrong.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:50 AM

I've been on a meat-only regime for about a little over a month and I'm disappointed to report symptoms of scurvy: tooth/gum issue - a front tooth that shifted inward and is now chafing my tongue; dry hair, scalp; liver spots (small but recent abundance); skin changes (peeling unrelated to sun exposure, and the feel is different); lethargy/fatigue (but that's a sign of many things); pale complexion. It was the tooth that tipped me off to research it. I've just started vitamin C supplementation.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on August 07, 2010
at 12:23 AM

Fruits are hardly nutrient dense. Look up the nutritional info of offal (liver, kidney etc) sometime.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on August 06, 2010
at 04:10 PM

There is a wide spectrum between raw and well-done. Needing only small amounts of vitamin C in the absence of carbohydrates, medium seems an adequate compromise.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:51 PM

Thanks for the nice input. Very helpful!

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:27 PM

Nice resource there! Thanks

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:25 PM

Great answer there pfw! I've been paleo on the low/moderate carb side for 2 months now and i already went through that ketogenic state everyone "loves" so i think i'm gonna handle that just fine. Thanks a lot ;)

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on August 06, 2010
at 12:07 PM

Agree with Kikilula and pfw, we really need to get over this fruits/vegetables-are-essential idea

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 06, 2010
at 10:58 AM

How do you define "safe"? He's only looking to do it for a month.

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5 Answers

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11
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 06, 2010
at 11:08 AM

For a month? You'll be fine. I did a year without much trouble. As already noted, Stefansson did a year without any trouble. People at ZIOH have done it for longer. Don't worry about cutting out fruit - fruit doesn't contain anything you can't get elsewhere.

A note on vitamin C. Vitamin C is required in collagen synthesis as a means to convert an amino acid into another protein which you need to build collagen. No vitamin C, no new collagen, you get scurvy. Except when you eat all meat, you don't get scurvy. Best theory as to why I've seen is that meat, being meat, contains a great deal of the proteins necessary for building collagen, so you don't need vitamin C to do the conversion, so you don't get scurvy. Ah, the beauty of meat. You don't need to eat raw meat, just rare or medium.

Doing ZC for a lifetime is a question mark because no one has actually done that in modern times with medical supervision (the bear half-counts but no one wrote a case study about him to review). But for a month? Your biggest problem will be dealing with adapting to a very ketogenic diet in such a short timeframe. It took me a while (3 months) to get into the swing of VLC. The first month was weird, as your body is adjusting to a pretty novel situation.

Anyway, good luck on your ZC month and don't worry about anything. Just don't overcook your meat and you'll be fine.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:25 PM

Great answer there pfw! I've been paleo on the low/moderate carb side for 2 months now and i already went through that ketogenic state everyone "loves" so i think i'm gonna handle that just fine. Thanks a lot ;)

1e68c6909db3ce6c272a7a0bf2c2978b

(320)

on August 06, 2010
at 12:07 PM

Agree with Kikilula and pfw, we really need to get over this fruits/vegetables-are-essential idea

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 19, 2010
at 02:50 AM

I've been on a meat-only regime for about a little over a month and I'm disappointed to report symptoms of scurvy: tooth/gum issue - a front tooth that shifted inward and is now chafing my tongue; dry hair, scalp; liver spots (small but recent abundance); skin changes (peeling unrelated to sun exposure, and the feel is different); lethargy/fatigue (but that's a sign of many things); pale complexion. It was the tooth that tipped me off to research it. I've just started vitamin C supplementation.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 24, 2010
at 05:03 AM

Those are very odd results.. in fact I've never heard of anyone else getting loose teeth from meat only, let alone in just a month. Hell, even sailors on old time ships would last longer than that eating hardtack and drinking grog. It sounds like you're doing something very wrong.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 29, 2010
at 06:02 PM

They're very odd because I've literally never heard of anyone else suffering from them on an all-meat diet at all. That you managed to suffer acute deficiency in under a month on a regimen which does not cause acute deficiency in most people over years suggests something "very odd" going on: both because no one else has that problem, and because it happened incredibly quickly. So, either you're doing the diet wrong or you have a pretty unique set of metabolic issues.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 29, 2010
at 02:08 PM

I'm not doing anything "very wrong" but am not eating raw or rare meat due to low stomach acid. I'm waiting for a shipment of betaine HCL and once I add that into my diet then I will hopefully be able to eat under-cooked and therefore higher nutrient meat (muscle or organ). Low stomach acid probably meant my liver stores of vitamin C were already low so a month is plenty of time to notice deficiency (according to several vitamin C sources online). Skin changes, gum problems and loose teeth are symptoms of vit C deficiency, so I'm not sure why you call them "very odd results."

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on September 29, 2010
at 06:09 PM

Incidentally, I don't mean to come off as judgmental in the above comment. I'm not trying to insult you, merely pointing out that your situation appears very unique when it comes to modern anecdotal all-meat experiences.

10
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 06, 2010
at 09:53 AM

Cutting all fruits: easily achieveable and beneficial. Vegetables almost invariably contain more nutrients than fruit without the fructose. Low carbohydrate vegetables can also provide you with tonnes of nutrients with minimal carbs. Personally I've not had any fruit at all, aside from strawberries about three times this summer, but have consumed about 0.5kg of veg per day.

Cutting all carbs: This is a more controversial question. You can cover a great variety of nutritional bases on just meat and fat, far more than you would on a standard wheat-dominated 'balanced' diet. This is especially so if you regularly consume offals rather than plain muscle meat. On paper this would leave you struggling to get a variety of nutrients, especially things like magnesium, potassium, vitamin C etc, which tend to be found more in plant foods. The counter-argument to this fear, is that people who do live on meat-only diets often seem to thrive, with Vilhjalmur Stefansson and the inuit often cited as examples. One of the rationales for this, is that eating a very low-carbohydrate diet might decrease the need for various minerals. For example, vitamin C has to compete with glucose in the body, so far lower amounts are needed in the absence of carbohydrate; plausibly with lowered insulin, inflammation etc, one needs lower amounts of lots of minerals. It would make sense that in a mimicked starvation mode, your body would be able to survive only on its own resources of meat and fat, without intake of large amounts of nutrients from plants, but it's up for debate whether this is optimal or sustainable.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:51 PM

Thanks for the nice input. Very helpful!

4
0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on August 06, 2010
at 10:14 AM

Some answers to your quetions on Zero Carb/ very low carb you can find in this fascinating forum: http://forum.zeroinginonhealth.com/index.php

There you can find downloads for the books of Vilhjalmur Stefansson - very intresting to read...

I don't feel any need to eat more than an occasional hand full of berrys fresh from my garden or some onions, garlic, herbs and greens for better taste with my meats... I feel great with that way of eating.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:27 PM

Nice resource there! Thanks

1
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on August 06, 2010
at 01:02 PM

Cooking is far superior than raw in fact you can not get to many of the vits in raw veggies since cooking opens the plant up for digestion. somethings can be eaten raw but PROPER cooking is not going to kill anyone from lack of nutrients. Yes reliable information is tough to find.

1
35a9207254408c6907f7082640c7bfaa

(822)

on August 06, 2010
at 10:09 AM

Good Calories, Bad Calories has some extended discussion of the idea David mentioned that requirements for some vitamins may drop on a low-carb diet. "Extra" vitamin intake may be required to deal with fructose, ethanol, anti-nutrients in grains, etc, and of course that's what most people eat so that's where the RDAs are set.

But to make life more complicated I've also read the meat-only diet is only safe if the meat is raw, as cooking can destroy Vitamin C and possibly other vitamins as well. So if you cook your meat, you may need some other uncooked foods to avoid deficiencies.

There's plenty of anecdote out there but finding reliable information is tough.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on August 06, 2010
at 04:10 PM

There is a wide spectrum between raw and well-done. Needing only small amounts of vitamin C in the absence of carbohydrates, medium seems an adequate compromise.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 06, 2010
at 10:58 AM

How do you define "safe"? He's only looking to do it for a month.

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