Why some people don't tolerate very low carbs- A response to your question
Dr Schwarzbein's diet is not about low carbs. It is about balanced carbs and balancing the amount of carbs you need according to your energy needs. She is critical of very low carbs because it cause an imbalance on all your hormones which regulate our metabolism (which she defines very well in her book). When our metabolism is not working properly, because the hormones that regulate it are out of balance, then we have many difficulties in the long term. The reason some one with burnt out adrenal glands feels more tired when adding carbs after being on a very low carb diet is because when the hormones become more balanced, the symptoms of low adrenal function becomes more apparent. She discusses this in her book, stating as one improves his/her diet, there true metabolic state becomes more apparent. Many people with burnt out adrenals will use stimulants to feel better. Things such as caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, etc. Initially the symptoms seem worse as we come off of the stimulants, but coming off of the stimulants is necessary for the body heals. She recommends a gradual approach to healing to minimize these withdrawal symptoms. As healing occurs and adrenal function improves, one should start to feel more energetic. However, this does take time. How much time? Well this does depend on how much healing is needed. Dr Schwarzbein does not recommend a total daily amount of carbs like some low carb diets do. She recommends balance at every meal based on you energy needs. This makes sense if you understand anything about gylcemic load. Not eating more carbs than you need at any given meal, based on your specific energy needs, to minimize too high a spike in glucose and thus insulin. If your insulin and glucose spike too high, this can upset all the other hormones in your body. In addition to balanced meals, she also recommends small frequent meals. Balanced meals includes a balance of protein, carbs, fats, and non-starchy vegetable at every meal. She never recommends eating protein and/or carbs alone. This again is important to maintain a balance in all your hormones. If you read the Schwarzbein Principle II she had revised the protein recommendation. And while she does state: "the more healthy fats one added.......", you have to understand that a lot of fat for someone use to following the recommendations of Low fat, may not be a huge amount of fat. In her second book, rather than unlimited protein, she recommends balance protein in relation to the amount of carbs per meal. It has been my experience as a Nutritionist, that most people don't get even the RDA for protein and this is usually low for most people. Skipping meals is a vey stressful event for our body, which causes the release of stress hormones, which then causes an imbalance in all our hormones. To prevent this she recommends never skipping meals and eating small frequent meals, especially if your body needs to heal an unhealthy metabolism. Our body structures are mostly made up of protein and fats. carbs are mainly used for energy. When we eat more carbs than we burn for energy, the body needs to store this. When we don't eat enough protein and fats to rebuild our muscles we end up breaking down more than building up. Since lean body mass weight more than fat, we can lose pounds. But it takes up more space, so our bodies take up more space and weigh less. It is the excess carbs on a daily basis, year after year, that causes insulin resistance. By limiting carbs to reverse insulin resistance and providing adequate protein and fats to help rebuild and heal the body we can correct and heal our metabolism. The other portion of her diet focus on the quality of foods, something that is frequently missing from many low carb diets. She recommends whole real foods and undamaged fats to provide all the macro and micro nutrients needed to rebuild the body. There are other aspects to her diet such as stress reduction and exercise, but I will let you read her book if you are interested in these details. Again, the focus is about healing the metabolism and this is a very critical part of the healing process too.
Again, to summarize, Dr Schwarzbein recommends balanced meals to include protein, fat, carbs, and vegetables at all you meals to keep your hormones balanced. When your hormones are balanced, your metabolism is balanced. She stresses over and over again, time is needed to heal and one can feel worse before they feel better. This is often the case when we get off of stimulants which give us a false sense of energy and well being. These stimulants never produce lasting energy or real energy and cause lots of damage, and then we need more and more stimulants to just feel good. Getting off of stimulants can leave us feeling down until the body has time to rebuild and replace the natural stimulants that will give us more balanced and sustained energy. This will always take time irregardless of the approach one uses to heal and why so many people give up when using natural approaches to healing. Hope this help answer the question about Dr Schwarzbein's diet and why coming off a very low carb diet may initially cause more fatigue. By not going through the healing process, while you may initially feel more fatigued when you add in carbs, if you continue on a very low carb diet, you may find you will burn our your adrenals even more, and eventually your will feel more and more fatigued even on a very low carb diet.
Last edited by lk2094 : Sun, Feb-17-13 at 20:36.