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Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 20, 2010 at 4:40 AM

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1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 09, 2011
at 05:56 AM

Eat 1 tbs butter with each meal. Or some type of fat.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 21, 2010
at 10:00 PM

Just realize that ketostix can be flaky. They don't always tell if you are in ketosis. They only tell if there are excess ketones in the blood. So once your body adapts, there's less excess in the blood (because your body uses them) so the strips don't show anything. For my part, when I first went into ketosis, I was using them to compare how I felt. ie. I feel like crap today, yep, strips say I'm in ketosis... :)

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:19 PM

Thanks, that's what I'm trying at the moment.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:17 PM

Thanks, I never did try Ketostix to actually check ketosis, although I was actually seeking ketosis as much as just trying to switch to natural carbs first, then experiment with ketosis and IF etc.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:15 PM

Thank you for the comment, hearing this information really adds to my knowledge that my problem is unusual. I'm very positive the potato consumption is not the problem, I tried the potato only for specific experiments, most of them time I was relying on fruit since it took a while to cook the potatoes.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:01 PM

I checked Mark's Daily or any articles for help and implemented those first, but nothing seemed to do the trick.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Yes, I can eat a ton of natural carbs and this will almost definitely not do anything against this 'brain fog'.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:59 PM

Hearing just your thoughts is helpful, perhaps I made some mistakes somewhere in my testing. I try some of these suggestions one more time.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:58 PM

I appreciate the detailed response David. Hmm, what I mean by sugar has not been direct table sugar persay. I should have mentioned that in the article. Rather, it seems any junk with caloric sweeteners such as a pastry or candy will do the trick in lifting this 'brain fog', whereas I'm 99% positive any fruit or sweet potato, even when cooked to be very sweet, does nothing to mitigate it. I know, chemically they should be the same, I'm getting the glucose and fructose, but my experience seemed different. Eating a lot of paleo carbs did not make things worse, just not better.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:36 PM

Thanks, very interesting. I never even considered that, I'll read up on this stuff and ask a practicioner

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:35 PM

Not to imply that I always had little calories at the beginning, just I'm very sure this primary issue was independent of calories.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:34 PM

-I used Fitday a long time ago and I was eating a wide variety of veggies so I'm pretty sure there weren't any deficiencies, but I'll plug my current Paleo diet in to cron o meter just to check, thanks. -Thanks Andrew, I'll experiment supplementing with magnesium and give it another go after the holidays. -The calories didn't seem to make a difference, I could eat very little calories and have high energy at the beginning, but once the brain fog set in I could eat a ton of calories from fruit and potatoes and brain fog didn't seem to even decrease at all.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on December 20, 2010
at 11:25 PM

Scott says the brain-fog is not related to the amount of carb he is eating.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on December 20, 2010
at 05:46 PM

have you logged how many calories you are taking in? Are you eating enough? It's possible that deleting high calorie sugar foods has left you in too big of a defecit.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 03:33 PM

It could also be a candida/leaky gut tag team which could explain the die off symptoms only when on paleo.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 20, 2010
at 02:46 PM

"You just have not stayed on the low carb way of eating long enough. Keep at it and you will become a fat burning machine." ^^^THIS^^^

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 20, 2010
at 02:44 PM

"Usually" It took me a little longer. Not every human will experience the exact same results.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 08:28 AM

As is standard here at paleohacks, try supplementing with magnesium.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 08:27 AM

One month is the amount of time "low-carb flu" usually lasts.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 20, 2010
at 04:44 AM

Have you tried to plug your diet into cron o meter? That can sometimes ID deficiencies. You might want to look at The Perfect Health Diet since it allows rice.

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10 Answers

6
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on December 20, 2010
at 09:57 AM

I suggest you read this posting at Mark's Daily Apple.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-diets-affect-short-term-memory/

......when you cut carbs so dramatically from previously levels, your memory and cognition will likely get fuzzy, your mood will swing and your energy levels will drop. This is normal and to be expected when cells that have been programmed for decades to burn primarily glucose are now being deprived of this main fuel. It???s especially true of the brain. But as we discuss here so often, life is about gene expression and the signals your send those genes. When you deprive a sugar-burning human of his/her carbs and replace those calories with fat and protein, your genes get the signal to start up-regulating fat metabolism and ketone production. After three weeks, the acclimation (we call it ???keto-adaptation???) is usually complete and brain cells start to thrive on a mix of ketones and the small amount of glucose produced in the liver via gluconeogenesis in the complete absence of carbohydrates. In fact, much of the brain prefers ketones to glucose when you are in ketosis. It???s a beautiful thing. Energy overall increases, mood stabilizes, you think more clearly, that regular three-hour hunger for carbs disappears, you burn off fat stores, you can skip meals with no noticeable effects, etc.

You just have not stayed on the low carb way of eating long enough. Keep at it and you will become a fat burning machine.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on December 20, 2010
at 11:25 PM

Scott says the brain-fog is not related to the amount of carb he is eating.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:01 PM

I checked Mark's Daily or any articles for help and implemented those first, but nothing seemed to do the trick.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Yes, I can eat a ton of natural carbs and this will almost definitely not do anything against this 'brain fog'.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 20, 2010
at 02:46 PM

"You just have not stayed on the low carb way of eating long enough. Keep at it and you will become a fat burning machine." ^^^THIS^^^

4
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on December 20, 2010
at 09:14 AM

If your experience is indicative of the problem then I think we can safely rule out all of the normal transitioning-to-low-carb solutions, since your symptoms seem to be problems that are nothing to do with high or low carb, but exclusively to be brain fog that is cured by wheat or sugar -"This 'brain fog' only disappears by ingesting definitely sugar and possibly grains also (I know grains alone doesn't do it)."

The thing is though: what do you mean by sugar? All of the fruit/vegetables you're eating will equally contain sugar. Sugar (sucrose) is after all, just fructose + glucose and the carbs in a carrot are going to be 70% sucrose, which you can digest pretty much instantly once they're cooked thoroughly. Some thoroughly cooked potato/sweet potato ought to hit your bloodstream as glucose pretty quickly too, so unless your problem is not cured by (glucose) sugar, but only by (glucose + fructose) sugar, one would have thought that potatoes would have some effect. Fruit, of course, is even more obviously identical to the 'sugar' that is the only cure for your condition.

One suggestion might be that you're not eating enough of the sugar (in potato/vegetable form), but only getting enough when you cheat on refined sugar. So to test this definitively, cook up roughly 2.5kg of sweet potato (approximately your daily calorie needs sans protein) until they're as cooked and soft and close to sugar as can be and see whether they have an impact on your brain fog. Or if you want to test this with plenty of fructose rather than mostly starch/glucose (since the above would only give you 100g sucrose) make up a soup/mash of carrots or butternut squash (you'll need a couple of whole butternut squashes just to make sure you're getting a decent amount of sucrose). If these work then you'll know that your body just needs adequate carbohydrate while in a carbohydrate burning mode. Otherwise, you'll be back to working out why your condition is only alleviated by pure, unmixed table sugar.

Also if you're eating potatoes on a semi-regular basis, then it sounds like you've not transitioned to a fat burning metabolism. Perhaps you therefore remain in an essentially carb-burning metabolism, while intermittently restricting your carbs? This might explain why you crave carbohydrates (via a craving for sugar). But of course if eating 2200 calories of potato doesn't resolve matters then we know this isn't the problem. You might want to simply ensure that you actually do move to a fat burning metabolism rather than a sugar burning metabolism where your sugar is conjoined with some fibre and plant chemicals, by cutting out all the carbs and ensuring you get into ketosis. This might take a couple of weeks of genuine low carb brain fog (I suggest eating a lot of coconut, so your body has no choice but to produce ketones) but after that you might break free of your need for carbohydrate of all sorts.


The only suggestion that might plausibly fit the only-refined-sugar-has-an-impact model is, I think, Andrew's that this is gut dysbiosis. Perhaps, the assorted plant chemicals in anything but refined sugar stops the yeast from feeding? This doesn't sound entirely plausible though: most people with such problems would also suffer from eating tonnes of paleo carbs, which can't be entirely protective against yeast/bad bacteria, being virtually nothing but sugar by the time they've been cooked enough.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:59 PM

Hearing just your thoughts is helpful, perhaps I made some mistakes somewhere in my testing. I try some of these suggestions one more time.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:58 PM

I appreciate the detailed response David. Hmm, what I mean by sugar has not been direct table sugar persay. I should have mentioned that in the article. Rather, it seems any junk with caloric sweeteners such as a pastry or candy will do the trick in lifting this 'brain fog', whereas I'm 99% positive any fruit or sweet potato, even when cooked to be very sweet, does nothing to mitigate it. I know, chemically they should be the same, I'm getting the glucose and fructose, but my experience seemed different. Eating a lot of paleo carbs did not make things worse, just not better.

4
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 08:34 AM

This sounds like a classic case of candida overgrowth. Kill the sugar, grains and starches. Load up on probiotics and digestive enzymes. And wait two months to a year. Read up on the gaps diet. Talk to a practitioner. You can ask google for guidance but a practitioner familiar with gut health is going to save you time like you won't believe.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 03:33 PM

It could also be a candida/leaky gut tag team which could explain the die off symptoms only when on paleo.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 01:36 PM

Thanks, very interesting. I never even considered that, I'll read up on this stuff and ask a practicioner

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 20, 2010
at 05:58 AM

For me, that brain fog is ketosis (burning fats instead of carbs). I found that if I got strict no carb, the brain fog lasts for a shorter time. If I take a little carbs (yams/potatoes/etc) the brain fog lasts a longer time. If I take more, the brain fog goes away, but then I'm not in ketogenesis burning fat. If I go strict and work through the brain fog, I can add a little carbs back in and not get the brainfog back. If I splurge too much carbwise, then I'm screwed. Your mileage may vary, that's just what happened for me.

Buy a box of the ketostix and see if they show anything for you in terms of ketosis.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:17 PM

Thanks, I never did try Ketostix to actually check ketosis, although I was actually seeking ketosis as much as just trying to switch to natural carbs first, then experiment with ketosis and IF etc.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 21, 2010
at 10:00 PM

Just realize that ketostix can be flaky. They don't always tell if you are in ketosis. They only tell if there are excess ketones in the blood. So once your body adapts, there's less excess in the blood (because your body uses them) so the strips don't show anything. For my part, when I first went into ketosis, I was using them to compare how I felt. ie. I feel like crap today, yep, strips say I'm in ketosis... :)

1
27de9c782b75b7690c0393aa07a54a88

on December 20, 2010
at 05:54 AM

I have talked to a lot of primal/paleo people, and have not heard this particular complaint from any of them. If you are getting plenty of healthy fats, a variety of colorful veggies, and are properly avoiding the high gkycemis fruits in excess, then the only thing I can figure is that the potato consumptionis spiking your blood sugar and in turn insulin production. I feel you may be keeping yourself addicted to sugar in this regard, and your withdrawals are sending you back to your old ways of eating. Lose the potato, and make sure that your reducing your glycemic intake. Contact me on Facebook/"Dr. David a. Flynn's Factual Health Page if you need more support, or would like to discuss further. Never give up,never surrender. Best in health, and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays ect.ect.

David Flynn,B.S.,D.C.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:15 PM

Thank you for the comment, hearing this information really adds to my knowledge that my problem is unusual. I'm very positive the potato consumption is not the problem, I tried the potato only for specific experiments, most of them time I was relying on fruit since it took a while to cook the potatoes.

1
Fac1af832cc3c6a20059c41411fd0f6b

(1548)

on December 20, 2010
at 05:36 AM

For me the brain fog is from getting gluten contamination in foods. Go a while without, feel great and function well, then get a little and it all goes bad and the decline is more noticeable than the recuperation.

Vitamin B12 helps counteract it some for me.

0
368712635a54d64a3464af89f67b2c47

(-28)

on December 21, 2010
at 05:44 PM

The Every Other Day Diet plan (EODD) is developed by Jon Benson who claims that he can lost over 70 pounds of stubborn fat, got rid of those ugly pockets of belly fat, arm fat by eating my favorite foods each and every week!

0
49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa

(840)

on December 20, 2010
at 05:30 PM

Rather than switching to paleo abruptly, try transitioning to it slowly. Go back to your original diet, and over the course of several weeks, slowly reduce your intake of non-paleo foods.

If you find that you still have "brain fog" after your transition, I'd suggest reverting to your original diet, and transitioning even more slowly. Say, take twice as long.

Ee0cfe1ba69a1b5ca7c2187d25bc07b7

on December 21, 2010
at 02:19 PM

Thanks, that's what I'm trying at the moment.

0
Medium avatar

(3029)

on December 20, 2010
at 05:40 AM

Your body is transitioning from running on carbs to running on fats. The transition seems to be a bumpy road. I would make sure I was using plenty of the finest quality fats I could get my hands on. Butter from grass-grazing cows (like Kerrygold), not the regular supermarket butter, and so on.

I have brain fog issues (not from diet changes). I haven't yet figured out what makes it worse and what makes it better. What I do know is that when my brain is a bowl of mush, I go to my acupuncturist and I get some immediate relief so that I can function for work.

If you try acupuncuture, make sure you go to someone really good.

Good luck.

0
1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

on December 20, 2010
at 05:14 AM

Is there some magical 1 month scale? It may take you longer to cleanse yourself from the damage you have done to your body! This "brain fog" will go away when YOU find the foods that are causing it! It's up to you and you only to find what food is causing it. Bottom line.....there is no magic 1 month time limit.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on December 20, 2010
at 08:27 AM

One month is the amount of time "low-carb flu" usually lasts.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on December 20, 2010
at 02:44 PM

"Usually" It took me a little longer. Not every human will experience the exact same results.

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