2

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Why would I get woozy on an empty stomach before but not while eating paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 10, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Here's a question that popped into my head today while I was in the middle of Body Pump at the gym. If you're not familiar with Body Pump, its basically 45-50 minutes of low weight high rep weight training for your entire body. It's fun.

Anyway, this morning I woke up and decided I would go on an empty stomach, and I expected to do really poorly. Before switching to paleo, I had attempted the class after 5-6 hours not eating and quite literally almost passed out, so I was really worried.

This time, though - besides a bit of weakness at the beginning, I powered through with no issue. And I wasn't even really hungry when I got back home but I forced myself to eat some eggs, sausage, and about 1/2 of a potato.

So what's changed that now I can do heavy activity while fasted but I couldn't ever do it before? Is it the lack of carbs? The Ketones? I'm just wondering what the scientific explanation behind it is.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on April 12, 2011
at 03:46 AM

Just because most of them said something doesn't mean it's right. Just ask yourself: Why exactly do you believe that? If you have a reason, let me know. Otherwise, I'll stick to my point: Hunger is a signal from your body. I'm sure your body isn't well-adjusted to you not taking its signals seriously. If you're sufficiently paleo and not hungry, there's no reason to eat. Or perhaps if you're simply not hungry, there's no reason to eat.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 11, 2011
at 03:20 PM

Yeah, I still eat dinner every day no matter what, and its difficult not to eat lunch, especially in a lunch pizza meeting O_o

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 11, 2011
at 12:25 PM

Most of the people on Paleo sites / forums say to eat after working out, especially starch (otherwise I wouldn't have eaten the potato because I'm supposed to be on Whole30) - its a good thing I did though after working out yesterday I spent 2 hours working on my car and that was hard work.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on April 11, 2011
at 01:46 AM

Never force yourself to eat anything. Your hunger is a signal for whether it would be a good idea to eat. The idea behind paleo is you can make those signals reliable by living a sufficiently natural life (not eating modern food, exercising, etc). If you're doing the paleo thing, forget about all that crap about how you should make sure you eat after a workout or whatever else they told you. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!1

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on April 10, 2011
at 10:03 PM

You didn't do all that on that little bit of food, you did it all on stored bodyfat. Like our bodies are designed to do ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 10, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Same here! I was hypoglycemic and would black out after 4 hours of not eating. I can go 24 hours without any crankiness. I can also have a powerful workout in a fasted state without seeing spots or shaking.

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7 Answers

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6
D5ef6397b5e2fd6fe5f093da5e3d403b

(742)

on April 10, 2011
at 07:20 PM

For me, it was the regulation of my blood sugar. Before I went Paleo, I was hypoglycemic, so I couldn't go even 3 or 4 hours without food of some sort. Once I went Paleo, my blood sugar and insulin levels became stable. Now I can go an entire day or longer without food - plus throw in a workout - without any ill effects. I'm hungry, yes, but I have MORE energy rather than getting woozy, bitchy and tired.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 10, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Same here! I was hypoglycemic and would black out after 4 hours of not eating. I can go 24 hours without any crankiness. I can also have a powerful workout in a fasted state without seeing spots or shaking.

4
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on April 10, 2011
at 07:14 PM

With less carbs your body switches to burning more fat. When you become more efficient at burning fat you can go for longer periods without eating and you typically don't experience hypoglycemic symptoms (wooziness, lack of energy, etc). That's the simple explanation at least.

3
1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

on April 10, 2011
at 09:51 PM

It's amazing to be able to go 16 hours non stop on two eggs,a can of tuna, and some butter tea.Did my first beach hike this year(5 miles) completely fasted, and didn't get the least bit weak.It's got to be the blood sugar being regulated,because killing sugar/grains is all I did.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on April 10, 2011
at 10:03 PM

You didn't do all that on that little bit of food, you did it all on stored bodyfat. Like our bodies are designed to do ;)

1
6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on April 11, 2011
at 02:00 AM

This is an almost unanimous result. The more modern crap you eat, the more you feel like grazing all day. Basically everybody who goes "paleo" finds that out of nowhere they can go a whole day without eating, fast and be fine, skip breakfast and feel excellent, go 3 days without eating and still have energy, etc. The tendency is to skip meals, feel awesome, and go many many hours without eating. I constantly go 20+ hours without eating, doing tons of hard exercise along the way, feeling light and powerful. And that trend will only increase.

When you're paleo, you don't need to eat as MUCH, and you don't need to eat as OFTEN. Normal people have to graze all day long or they'll start feeling "woozy" or dizzy or or something. Paleo people find the opposite. Often they feel BETTER when they don't eat. Of course you need to eat SOMETIME, but all the old rules stop applying. Don't feel bad about skipping breakfast. It doesn't matter if you only eat one meal per day. Whatever. Just follow your hunger. Forget about all the conventional wisdom like "eat a bunch of small meals evenly spaced throughout the day". NORMAL people came up with those rules; they needn't apply in OUR world.

1
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on April 11, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Same here! I would never leave the house without a big breakfast, and then a few hours later had to eat something again. I would never even dream of exercising on empty stomach! And when I was hungry, I felt sick. I had to eat NOW.

enters paleo... :) now I can fast, I can workout after 16h of fast and I have energy and feel great. It's quite amazing!

0
Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 11, 2011
at 01:46 PM

EDIT: I totally read the thread title wrong, so this info doesn't really answer your question. In case you were wondering about exercise blood sugar regulation, well, here you go!

My guess:

-- Biochemistry alert :( --

When on SAD, you are insulin insensitive. Circulating at any given time, especially after insulinogenic meals, is an unusually high concentration of insulin. Insulin leads to glycogen synthesis and uptake of free blood glucose. This is a normal parasympathetic process, a "resting" process. Insulin binds to receptors on most cells of the body that leads to a signal to take in sugar from the blood. Insulin binds to cells in the liver to tell it to form glycogen from the liver for storage.

When on Paleo, you are insulin sensitive. While exercising, glucagon and norepinephrine/noradrenaline are present in much greater quantities than when at rest. These hormones bind liver cells and signal glycogenolysis, a process that digests glycogen into glucose and releases the free glucose into the blood where hungry, worked-out cells can take in the glucose and metabolize it for energy (I'm looking at you, slow-twitch muscle fibers). This is a normal sympathetic process, a "fight or flight" process.

Both insulin and glucagon/norepinephrine bind to different, antagonistic receptors on the same liver cell type. SAD dieting increases base insulin levels relative to glucagon/norepi levels. Paleo dieting reduces base insulin levels relative to glucagon/norepi levels. In the case of SAD, insulin's signal to the liver may be so strong relative to that of glucagon/norepi that the glycogenolysis process that would otherwise feed your hungry muscles is instead being antagonized by the glycogen synthesis signal from insulin. Paleo, on the other hand, prevents this antagonism by attenuating insulin levels and allowing the glucagon/norepi signal to transmit to the liver.

Net effect of SAD: Too strong base insulin signal -> insufficient glycogenolysis -> low active blood sugar -> insufficient sugar supply to muscles and brain -> muscular and mental fatigue

Net effect of Paleo: Relatively weak insulin signal -> proper transduction of glucagon/norepi signal -> glycogenolysis -> increased blood sugar -> sufficient sugar supply to muscles and brain -> maximally efficient muscles and neuromuscular pathways -> bulging muscles -> hot new girlfriend

0
A329ac44674ac574d29d05e70e9a1f2f

on April 11, 2011
at 04:50 AM

I agree, I feel much better even when not eating. It's difficult for me to ignore the conventional wisdom we've had drummed into us sometimes though - I often eat for the sake of three square a day, rather than hunger necessarily - but thanks to this I'll actually listen to my body (novel concept eh? :D)

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 11, 2011
at 03:20 PM

Yeah, I still eat dinner every day no matter what, and its difficult not to eat lunch, especially in a lunch pizza meeting O_o

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