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My Energy Problems And Hypoglycemia (Page 1)

Hello. I'm a 40 year old male and have been struggling for as long as I can remember with energy problems and I guess, based on descriptions I've read - hypoglycemia. Doctors find nothing unusual with me though I think they believe I'm somewhat of a hypocondriac which I can understand from their point of view.

I seem to have two main problems. The first is an energy problem - where I will eat food and feel crushing exhaustion within about 10-15 minutes. I can feel it coming on after eating. It's not a good exhaustion - it feels horrible. I can wake up feeling great with lots of energy and eat and within minutes it all "flips". It doesn't seem to be hypoglycemia cause there is no shaking or other symptoms of hypoglycemia - more like a case of instant chronic fatigue - it takes about 6 hours to lift completely. It seems to come from certain kinds of carbs though any kind of carb can set if off if the quantity is sufficient.

With this energy problem, it seems the worst offenders for me are grains and some non grains like - Quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal and wheat. I originally thought the problem could be gluten (wheat, rye, barley oats) but I got tested and was clear and like I said, some of the worst reactions were from non gluten grains. Potatoes generally don't give me this effect unless I have like say three potatoes - then I will start to slide. But if I have one potato I am ok. Yuca (a root vegetable like potato) is the same. No exhaustion unless I overindulge - which I usually don't. To compare, even 1/5 of a cup of oatmeal or even a few tablespoons of quinoa will bring extreme and inappropriate fatgiue. I find rice extremely constipating so I avoid it though it behaves like potatoes energy wise.

I suspect with these grainy things that the fatigue I get from them has something to do with their starch makeup or because the starch is fragmented into pieces as opposed to any protein based allergy because the effect is pretty fast and I get it from unrelated grains and non grains. What's funny is that potatoes are high GI and don't "crash" me while supposedly lower GI starches are horrible for me. I have read that there is a satiety index and potatoes rated higher than any other food in terms of an ability to satiate hunger. I wonder if there is some sort of connection.

The other problem I have seems to come from fructose. Certain fructose heavy foods give me "hypoglycemia" within 20 minutes - a sweaty, shaky paniky feeling - like exhaustion and wired anxiety at the same time often followed in a half hour by a ravenous hunger- not pleasant. The worst offenders for me are beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, dried fruits like dates and honey - honey crashes me and gets me shaking within minutes (maple syrup causes me no problem compared to honey). Oranges and apples seem to be not that bad if I keep the amount small. It's an odd thing because I can (but don't) drink soda with high fructose corn syrup and get no bad effect - it seems if there is a certain percentage of other sugars (glucose, sucrose) with fructose then it won't crash me. I don't understand it.

Sucrose (table sugar) itself (which is half fructose) gives me no bad reaction even in a relatively large quanity (though I generally avoid sugar). I have noticed in the past that if I added it to the oatmeal it made the oatmeal less crashy. Also, I get less of a crash effect if I eat something like oatmeal later in the day (though it still brings on an "inapproptiate" fatigue effect).

I've often wondered if the grainy things like quinoa and buckwheat, oatmeal and wheat had some relationship to fructose because the initial fatigue is very similar. The difference is the fructose will morph into hypogycemia after the initial fatigue and the grains/starches just go into extended fatigue/exhaustion. I've read about things called "fructans" which are composed of fructose molecules I think but I'm not sure if these grains are composed of that.

I don't believe that I have any serious herditary fructose intolerance because this would have showed up on tests and I would have damaged organs - maybe I have a very mild version of it? Also, i can eat things that have fructose with no bad effects - the problem seems to be the way the fructose is ratio'ed to other sugars - glucose seems to be protective somehow. Maybe the problem is high GI "fructose foods"?

On a separate note - I am "allergic" to dairy/soy (I was as a baby and both still make me feel terrible generally) so I avoid them pretty strictly. I also avoid chocolate - it gives me instant depression.

Because of these grainy and fructose problems I have (and that I can't eat dairy/soy) - I tend to avoid breakfast - which I know is bad - but I feel good when I don't eat compared to when I eat. In fact, I feel very good when I don't eat food for a while. I can definitely fast for periods with no ill effect so I guess I don't have any type of fasting hypoglycemia.

I do have one cup of coffee in the morning - it gives me a high - I know that is bad too - but that's the extent of my caffeine intake. I basically avoid sugar and caffeine. I intend on quitting the coffee totally tomorrow, which shouldn't be too bad cause its just one cup. I have stayed strictly caffeine free for long periods in the past and I still suffer the above effects so I can't blame the caffeine though I do believe it does makes everything generally worse.

What i would like to do, considering my issues here, is devise some sort of breakfast I could eat that won't make me feel so horrible. Potatoes get old very fast. Anyone have any suggestions? It is breakfast that has always screwed me up - that first meal. I don't want to eat protein all the time - I tried a few high protein diets (atkins, loren cordain, paleo, life without bread) and they seem to be fine at first but then I feel almost as bad as when eating my "reactive carbs". Probably because of the fruits. I wish there was some middle ground.

Anyways, thanks for reading and for any advice.
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replied April 21st, 2007
Hi Tomsey

It sounds like your having a pretty crap time!

Please please go and see a nutritionist. You can read so much stuff on the internet and people can advise you of so much that in the end it just all turns into mixed messages.

It sounds like HG, but to be honest it sounds strange that you don't react to table sugar! The rest of it sounds familiar, except I wake up feeling awful because my blood sugar is so low. I need to eat every two to three hours or I turn into a monster and mostly an hour after I eat I have reactive HG - Rubbish eh?

All I'm saying is that you are unique and therefore you owe it to yourself to find a good fully qualified nutritionist to get a unique diagnosis to find out for sure what it is and how to treat it!

It may cost a bit - but you can't put a price on good health!!!!

Wink
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replied April 21st, 2007
Thank you sunlizard. Yeah I agree I should see someone. I'm just a little stubborn - I have had bad experiences. I should research it and find someone good to work with.

Regarding being able to fast - that's only if I have nothing - no coffee or anything - from the time I wake up - If I do eat something early - especially a dense complex carbohydrate or fruit, then I am pretty much screwed up all day. What I end up doing sometimes is hold off on eating upon waking until as long as comfortable (8 hours sometimes - thats when I will start to get a natural hunger) and then eat a medium sized meal usually with refined food (avoiding my allergens - dairy/soy).

I know that sounds bad but it actually works better for me then trying to eat something in the morning - at least the way I've tried doing it. Maybe a better strategy would be to eat very low carb in the morning, go a little higher at lunch and then dinner have the highest - but overall keeping the carbs not too high. Just wish I knew how potatoes and oatmeal differ in carb content/structure to cause such a different effect for me. Also I wish I didnt have to be so concerned about food - its definitey a drag and not a pleasure for me.

Anyway, i think I will quit coffee this week and then next week see a nutritionist and try to work out something.

Thanks for listening and your advice!
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replied April 21st, 2007
I've been reading a lot about all this over the past few days and one thing I've noticed with many of these foods - dates, bananas, oatmeal etc that give me fatigue is that they are high in tryptophan and carbohydrate - which can make you sleepy because the carbs stimulates insulin release - which clears out amino acids that compete for access to the brain, allowing the trytophan to access the brain where it is converted to serotonin and melatonin. Maybe I am especially sensitive to this and this is part of the issue. So I guess eating more protein with its various amino acids that include trytophan combined with less insulin stimulating foods would be better especailly in morning and afternoon.

Regarding potatoes - they definitely spike insulin but apparently don't have much in the way of trytophan on their own so maybe this is the difference for me in terms of them vs oats. Apparently quinoa's level of trytophan is high too. Maybe that is it.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
As far as I k now, carbs are made up of single sugars linked together. The more links and branches there are the more complex it is then the slower it will breakdown, which is what your aiming for and I think that with that in mind the reason why potatoes make you feel crap (and me also) are because the chain of sugars is very short, therefore if it raises your blood sugar quickly it will make it fall quickly with the over production of insulin and that's what causes your reactive HG!

My nutrionist is aiming at looking at my overall well being as well and taylor making a diet for me, which does not seem that restrictive compared to what I thought she was going to do to me. This lets you "live" and socialise as well. Still early days though, will keep you posted as to how I'm doing.

She didn't just look at foods which effect the HG, she looked at whether my other organs are getting enough of what they need so that they can support my HG. For example, she things I have a sluggish liver - that's why I have night sweats and wake up alot - because my liver is struggling to clean up my body at night. she also looked at my adrenal glands which are an important part of regulating sugar.

I'm no nutritionist and certainly have no qualifications, I can only tell you how I feel, but apart from the knowledge you get from a nutritionist, providing you click with them, they need to be able to offer you support as you many need it on the road ahead!

Very Happy
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replied April 22nd, 2007
Hi Sunlizard. I'm definitely going to look into getting a nutritionist. Actually, potatoes are generally ok for me - as is believe it or not - soda (half glucose and fructose) and sucrose (I avoid these though - bad for teeth, health and weight). Its certain complex carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, wheat and buckwheat that make me feel terrible (intense exhaustion). I was thinking maybe its the high trytophan content of these foods coupled with the high carb content that makes me feel bad. Also, bananas and dates have high trytophan and high starch/sugar. These are my two worse fruit food reactions. It just seems that my worse foods are high trytophan/carb combinations. Foods that have the tryptophan and the fuel to get it in the brain. Looking into it further last night, I am amazed by the consistency of this.

I guess one solution is to eat protein at every meal and keep the carb content relatively low and for me, avoid high trytophan/high carb combos.

Of course I could be wrong on this but it does seem to fit.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
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Very confusing. Certain aspects sound like hypoglycemia, but there are many things not making sense here. Drinking pop while having trouble with beets? Very odd, especially considering you can eat potatoes, which are pretty much just as awful as beets. Why do you think tryptophan is causing a problem? That wouldn't make any sense because it's a natural sedative. In addition, if you're eating protein with the foods you're eating that have high levels of it, nothing happens. You have to eat them on an empty stomach with no protein for it to have an effect.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
Hi Stan. Yeah I'm not really sure what's going on. Definitely though naturally high fructose foods give me hypoglycemia no matter what I eat with them. I think it depends on the percentage of fructose relative to other sugars within the specific food. Soda doesn't bother me - even on empty stomach - I think maybe because of the way it is processed. I've read it (high fructose corn syrup) behaves more like sucrose (wikipedia) - at least the 45%-55% version. Sucrose doesn't bother me - even though it is half fructose. Maple syrup gives me no reaction but honey feels like death. If I have beets or carrots or honey or dates - i get hypoglycemia pretty bad.

I was thinking along the lines of trytophan in terms of maybe i have a somewhat unique problem with it. For example - potatoes on an empty stomach with no protein doesn't bother me as long as it is just one - but even a spoonful of quinoa or oats brings on intense fatigue even with a little protein. I don't know if it is trytophan or the unique structre of grain starch that causes it for me...

Just today I had a seltzer, a watercress salad with lite tomatoes with olive oil, lemon, and salt dressing, one pork chop and some mixed vegetables (zuchiini and carrots) and the carrots gave me fatigue and hypoglycemia (mild) which I'm still enduring now. Definitely fruits and vegtables with a certain fructose profile give me a kind of reactive hypoglycemia.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
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Are you sure you are actually experiencing hypoglycemia? It sounds more like you may have food sensitivities or allergies.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
I was thinking allergies for a while - especially with grains until I discovered quinoa (and buckwheat) - a non gluten starch, gave me the very worst fatigue effect. Regarding hypoglycemia, I get the same exact effect from carrots, dates and honey and I don't see how they are related other than I think having high fructose levels. Does anyone know the percentage of fructose to total sugars in these vegetables? Or what there exact sugar makeup is? I'm also a little confused as to the GI of these fructose foods - my understanding was that these were all very high but new studies show they are lower - not accounting for GL. Seems certain varieites can be very high.

I've read on mendoza that honey originally tested very high (120+) but I saw on glycemicindex.com ratings in the 50's and 60s.


About the fructose effect I have no doubt - it brings on fatigue followed by a sort of panic/hormone effect in my body - I get sweaty and anxious - the only thing that I find helpful is refraining from activity and drinking cold water. Orange juice helps a little too. It passes with time. If it was one food I would think allergy but its multiplie foods that have something similar. I guess it could still be an allergy.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
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Fructose problems but you're drinking orange juice? This makes no sense. Have you tried taking straight fructose to see what happens? That would solve the question real quick. You can purchase it at the supermarket.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
Yeah I know that's why I was thinking it's percentage of fructose in a single food vs glucose or other sugars in that same food that makes the difference. I've tried cookies made with pure fructose and they crashed me bad.

My understanding is that the principal sugar in oranges is not fructose - but sucrose/glucose.

http://ginews.blogspot.com/2006/06/low-gi- food-of-month.html

Sucrose/glucose doesn't bother me - though sucrose does break down into half fructose. I guess my body can handle the breakdown fructose - but not when it is presented in fructose form up front (in the context of lacking other sugars like glucose or sucrose)

It seems when a food has mostly fructose as its sugar - I get hypoglycemia. Honey kills me for example - it's majority sugar is fructose (actually 38% fructose - though I guess it depends). Maple syrup is fine - that is mostly sucrose (89%).

Soda on the other hand has 45% glucose in its high fructose corn syrup - and doesn't bother me. My understanding is that high fructose corn syrup is an artficial creation and maybe it behaves differently anyway in terms of the fructose in it.
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replied April 22nd, 2007
What's funny is that with regards to IBS symptoms and fructose malabsorption (not hereditary fructose intolerance), there is a lot of talk about how a food with a high percentage of fructose causes a lot of problems for these people but when combined with other sugars like glucose, the effect is much less or hardly at all.

Its like I have the same thing but the illness isnt irritable bowel syndrome - but hypoglycemia.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_mala bsorption

I doubt I have hereditary fructose intolerance (which can cause hypoglycemia)- because I would react to all fructose and I would have organ damage (I don't).

With regards to trying pure fructose out of as box (i've had diabeteic fructose cookies and these killed me) - I think i may have tried that in the past but I'd be afraid to try that now for fear of a really bad hypogycemic episode. I have no doubt it would effect me as honey, dates and carrots do - but probably worse.
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replied April 23rd, 2007
Anyway, my plan is to off the coffee starting now, avoid all sweets especially most fruits and sweet vegetables and start with a high protein breakfast while avoiding dairy and take it from there. If I can't get this to work then I'll see a nutritionist.
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replied April 23rd, 2007
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Let me know what that does for you.
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replied April 23rd, 2007
I definitely will Stan. Thanks guys!
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replied April 27th, 2007
Ok. It seems I have a few food sensitivities in addition to dairy (actually, it seems I can have small amounts of non-fermented dairy once or twice a week with no issue). Eggs, pork, tomato and sulphur veggies, especially broccoli, seem to not agree with me. Feel lousy after eating these foods. I am also finding that the less protein I eat, especially animal protein, the better I feel and the better everything works. Maybe my problem is an acid/sulphur overload issue (maybe making colonic flora bad in terms of encouraging the growth of sulphur eating bacteria?) causing the whole system to have problems down the line. I guess it could be amines too or just individual food sensitvities.

I'm going to try a lower protein diet or at least a low animal protein diet (keeping it to like 30 grams a day) and see how that effects things. I did it for one day and I have to say I feel better.
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replied April 27th, 2007
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Be very careful. If this is indeed hypoglycemia, you will often feel worse upon eating right and won't feel good again for sometimes up to a month, and even then it may only be a little bit. It's best to stick with things for at least two weeks, because by that time you normally find a little difference. Only in extreme cases will you see no result for awhile. Have you tried eating organic? Pork should probably be avoided, but the eggs may simply not be good enough. Though more expensive, you may find great benefit trying out organic, free range eggs with added omega 3.
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replied April 28th, 2007
ok, I'll heed your advice though I'm eliminating eggs (was using free range omega 3 enriched) - they give me fatigue and a kind of edemic swelling - feel much better without them
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replied May 19th, 2007
Oatmeal Effect
regarding oatmeal, they say traditional porridge has medium GI value, whereas instant oatmeal raises d blood glucose level to high ( 66 GI ) yikes! i also feel dizzy and tingly after oatmeal and bananas, carrots, etc sigh and its so hard to recover. i know i'm not crazy and i hate people who dont understand telling me it's all in the mind... neway, i read dat cooking the oatmeal with 2x d amount of water drains d starch, haven't tried it yet. tell me if it works! Smile
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