After several months of very-low carb, I've discovered that whenever I cheat with, say, a scoop of ice-cream or a bar of chocolate, aka a sugar bolus, aka a layman's version of the oral glucose tolerance test, I very quickly start showing symptoms of a massive allergy attack or common cold -- my eyes water, my nose runs, I sneeze. I feel like my parasympathetic nervous system is being massively overstimulated.
Does this happen to anybody else?
If you've regained insulin sensitivity, how do you react to an overdose of sugar?
asked byMeng_Weng_Wong (1694)
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on May 12, 2010
at 04:30 PM
If you are very insulin sensitive you would probably not experience a negative reaction to sugar.
What is more likely is that months of very low carb eating has made your body quite resistant to insulin, this enables the smaller amounts of glucose created by your liver to be directed to your brain where it is most needed.
Peter at Hyperlipid has some interesting posts about this, he calls it physiological insulin resistance.
If your body has become insulin resistant, when you eat a concentrated source of sugar like ice cream the sugar has nowhere to go causing a higher than normal peak of blood glucose. The glucose will be cleared from your blood if you are not diabetic but the delay in this could cause your symptoms. If your had the opportunity you could try testing your blood sugar levels after eating some sugar to see if this is happening. Of course there is individual variation in how people respond to any diet.
on May 12, 2010
at 04:12 PM
Congratulations! Your insulin sensitivity has returned! That's exciting!
Yes, this describes how I react too. Sneezing, exhaustion, welling up of the sinuses. I never actually get sick, but I can tell that my body is unhappy with me for cheating. Why I keep doing it, I have no idea.
on August 11, 2010
at 07:35 AM
I originally wanted to just add a comment to Matthew's excellent post, but I think a new answer might be in order, because there is something about Peter's discussions that I have just now come to understand, and hopefully can explain clearly. It is specifically Peter's second post that addresses this thought that I always had about so-called physiological insulin resistance: "Well, so what if my elevated FBG is due to insulin resistance in the muscles that I acquired from healthy high-fat eating. Elevated FBG is still elevated FBG, right? And all that glucose in my blood would still be doing damage . . ." But there's a difference, and the key is that the average BG level over the day will still be much lower in a paleo eater than in a true pre-diabetic. And it's also the case that the pre-diabetic will have much higher peaks.
on June 01, 2011
at 07:08 PM
After a month of pretty strict low carb and no sugar, I was nibbling on some dried mango, thinking that I was getting a lot of vitamin C and not much sugar. I think I literally felt my pancreas secrete insulin... I felt a little tingling below my solar plexus and I felt a rush of something going around in my bloodstream. I felt a bit of a sugar rush, then after a while felt lethargic and "dirty" for about an hour.
I later looked at the label for the dried mango and realized that I had eaten about 25g of sugar which is about 6 tsp, probably more than I had had in the entire previous month!
on August 15, 2010
at 12:34 PM
Ugh. Yes. I had a glass of "punch" at a wedding yesterday and felt woozy and stupid more or less immediately. (This wasn't an alcohol effect.)
on May 12, 2010
at 03:54 PM
When doing very low carb I noticed that even a cup of berries could make me feel a whole body huge sugar rush. I think part of what you are experiencing could be related to that since I've seen ice cream be 25+g of sugar in a cup. Probably a lot more but I haven't looked at a label recently.
That being said, after eliminating most sugar from my diet (exceptions on berries and some choccolate) I have found that doses of sugar even over 5g at once immediately make me feel sick. I get many common cold type symptoms almost immediately. I basically recommend removing sugar and keeping it that way.