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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Top Ten Reasons I'm Low Carb

By HERWriter
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related image Image by DanaTentis/Pixabay

I'd had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for years before I tried a low carbohydrate diet. Some CFS symptoms shrank within 24 hours. Substantial improvement showed itself within 48 hours.

That was eight years ago. Eating low carb hasn't healed me completely, but it plays a significant role in my health.

1) Brain fog

This lightened the first day. My thoughts were less gossamer, more inclined to go from spark to actual completion. A refreshing change.

2) IBS symptoms

That first day, my stomach, subject to aches, cramping and stabbing pains for over 10 years, began to relax. Within two days, it was ... quiet ... serene.

3) Anxiety

This one surprised me. Anxiety that had been with me since adolescence ... vanished. Like smoke from a burned-out fire, on a refreshing breeze, it just ... wafted away. Within days the sense of impending doom which had clung to me like a barnacle for years, drifted off as well.

Troubled teen? Apparently not. I'd been a teen with unrecognized grain sensitivities.

4) Numbness and tingling

Before low carb I had within me a constellation of shooting stars, stinging pins and needles showering me with tiny blasts and pops. Bursts of static crackled under my skin, any old time, all day long, every day. Tingling ripples ran up my calves and across the top of my head like waves. All of this eased with low carb.

5) Tremor

An inner vibration accompanied me throughout most of my CFS odyssey. Like the strobe of a 70's disco ball. But when I stopped eating grains a sense of clarity emerged. Like stepping onto solid land after an extended time out at sea.

6) Tinnitis

When numbness and tingling would escalate, so would the tinnitis. Sometimes white noise. Sometimes a roar like an angry ocean. Sometimes a delicate ticking in my right ear. As other neurological symptoms receded, due to this dietary change, so did the distortion in my ears.

7) Muscle weakness

I had no stamina before switching to low carb. I petered out walking from my bedroom to the living room. Within days I felt steadier and stronger, with greater endurance.

8) Ravenous hunger

Previously, I'd be hungrier after a big, carbohydrate-laden meal than if I'd eaten nothing at all. A plate of spaghetti inevitably led to two plates. I'd eat till my stomach ached. And still I was hungry.

If I had a sandwich, I'd be hungry while I was eating it and hungrier when I finished. Rice made my hunger skyrocket with every mouthful.

When I began eating only meat and low-glycemic vegetables, the hunger vanished. When I ate ... I got full. No cravings later. I'd feel fine for four or five hours. Unless you've been out of whack the way I was, you can't know the bliss of this.

9) Rapid weight gain

My weight increased slowly with middle-age creep and baby fat in my late 30s. But in my 40s, it spiraled. I went from 130 pounds thirty years ago to 200 pounds. CFS contributed over half of that.

Within days of the switch, I started losing weight. Pretty typical of new diets. But I was eating, initially, three pounds of meat a day. That's what my body said I needed and that's what I ate. And still I was losing pounds every week. Eventually I lost 50 pounds.

10) Hair Loss
My hair had been falling out. It littered my pillow in the morning, and the bathroom counter when I'd brush my hair. Three months into low carb, it stopped falling out.

Eating more protein, vegetables and fats, and eating less starch and sugar, hasn't allowed me to walk away from CFS. But I strode many giant steps forward. I am less frail, less prone to relapse.

Some people with CFS will do better on low carb. Some may not. When I began this change, I didn't know if it would do me any good. I'd tried so many things and nothing helped in those early years. I'm just glad someone wrote about low carb, and gave me the chance to find out. Now I'm paying it forward.

I spent 15 years losing the battle against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Three years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.

http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Add a Comment10 Comments

I am curious that what you are describing could be something i have been going through without knowiing what it is. Getting tired easily and stomach discomforts etc. A low carb means reducing my sugar intake right?

April 30, 2010 - 4:28am
HERWriter (reply to Charmaine)

Hi Charmaine,

Fatigue and stomach problems can be indications that your diet isn't agreeing with you, yes. Now, there are a number of other things that are causing this too. But diet is most definitely one possibility, and one that people and doctors often don't think of.

Low carb involves reducing your sugar intake. It also involves reducing your starch intake by cutting out things like bread, rice, noodles, baked goods, anything with flour in it, a few types of vegetables like potatoes and corn that are very starchy so very carby. Also cutting way down on or cutting out most fruit, except for a few like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and lemons and limes.

It may mean increasing your meat consumption and your healthy fats and oils consumption. But low carb does not necessarily mean high protein. The main thing is to get rid of the carbs that are unhealthy for those of us with sensitivities to grains and other starchy foods.

May 1, 2010 - 7:21am

I just happened to read your comments. I would like to ask you, and hope you read this and respond:
Have you ever had any surgeries in you lifetime? Have you ever had a Hysterectomy? It is interesting; in that, I just went on a high carb diet, and refraining from eating any meats, and I feel, I think, better. I guess it goes to show: every body is different. If you would not mind; however, please answer my questions. Also, I am dealing with the same with CFS; thus, I know what you have been dealing with, and also I suffer with RSD - (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), and have ever since a fracture to my left ankle, and this brought on RSD; which is a Nerve Disease/Syndrome. Has any doctor ever diagnosed you with this?

April 29, 2010 - 8:15pm
HERWriter (reply to SeeDandy1)

Hi SeeDandy1,

As to surgeries, I had my tonsils out as a teenager, and wisdom teeth surgically removed a few years later, so was under anesthetic then. No hysterectomy though.

I agree, everyone is different. My two daughters would not be able to eat the way I do and be healthy or comfortable. A friend of mine with FM gets more pain not less if she goes low carb.

I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with so much. That is alot on your plate.

Not quite sure which condition your last question is referring to ... CFS or RSD? As to CFS none of my tests showed anything definitive about CFS. I eventually told my doctor I thought that's what I had and he didn't disagree with me. Filled out some forms for me that said I had CFS. So I guess technically that was a diagnosis.

My naturopath listened to my description of my symptoms, we're calling it CFS because it's simpler to talk about it if you can call it something. But really she just focuses on what symptoms I have, and works on finding the source of them and eradicating them.

If I haven't replied to what you were looking for with your last question let me know.

May 1, 2010 - 7:14am
(reply to Jody Smith)

Hello Jody, Thank you for your reply to me. I want to state, first of all, you sound to be very smart and you seem to have been researching what related to what we are discussing. I have to ask you, with your reply to me; what do you refer to with "FM"? Are you referring to Fibromyalgia? I have been diagnosed with that also by the best of specialists (so called). He has even written two books on the disease/syndrome. People with Fibromyalgia do deal with so much CFS. So, could you answer my question if you meant "FM" to be Fibromyalgia? Now, it is tough, so many times, for professionals to 'Name That Illness/Condition/Syndrome/Disease'. Just as you said with your 'Naturopath' - "..it's simpler to talk about it if you can call it something..." I do have benevolence for a few professionals with trying to pin-point what ails one; yet, I have also been to some bad physicians who only want to herd a patient out of the office with just giving something a name. I hope this not to be your case with something else going on; on top of CFS, and why I did ask a few questions. We are at the mercy of people we see and trust at times to put faith into them to diagnose us correctly.

Thank you for your kind thought with understanding I do, indeed, have "a lot on my plate". I would like to get answers as to why I do suffer with such CFS. I know it is due to: RSD, aftermath of a Hysterectomy gone wrong, and also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia; plus, I deal with Chronic Pain; especially, in my left leg, due to a fracture, and first Orthopedic doctor writing me off as 'well' and healed, and I went around for eight months with my leg still broken. (This caused the RSD to develop.) Plus, I went to another Orth. doctor. He did a surgery to heal this fracture by putting a plate and screws in the area. I did, after that, suffer with an infection. He then took out the plate and screws, but there was a partial screw left in there; along with metal debris which has since caused me four aftermath infections and open wounds which I continuously deal with. Some of my 'CFS' is just from this alone; I am sure of with having to deal with more surgeries to heal the wounds, etc... It is an unwanted cycle. This is why I did ask about any surgeries you may have had. On a side note: never, ever get a Hyst.! It should only be a 'LAST RESORT', and tell everyone you know this. There are too many alternatives - and if one wants to deal with CFS; just have a Hyst., and this is one very common aftermath of problems.

I wish you well, Jody. I appreciate your insight and wisdom.

May 1, 2010 - 8:05pm
HERWriter (reply to SeeDandy1)


You have really been through it. Man!

In answer to your question, yes, by FM I do mean fibromyalgia.

I hope you find answers to your ongoing questions, and that you find health care professionals who can help you regain your health.

May 1, 2010 - 8:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am just beginning my journey into low carb. I doing it to fend off diabetes. I hope I have as good of results as you are having. You can follow my progress here: http://www.living-low-carb.com/

April 28, 2010 - 8:15am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Congratulations on embarking on a low carb journey. I know people who have reduced the severity of their diabetes and some who have come back to normal because of low carb. Don't know if I can say they don't "have" it anymore -- if they switched back to their old eating habits they would be diabetic again eventually. But whatever you call it -- it is doable. Very doable.

I checked out your blog by the way. Nice work.

May 1, 2010 - 7:06am
EmpowHER Guest

Very well written and articulate. Congrats on all counts.

April 28, 2010 - 6:36am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks, Anonymous #1.

I'm glad you liked it.

May 1, 2010 - 7:01am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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