Why are you feeling sick when you are eating healthy foods?

You have cut out all sugars and are eating all healthy food, so why do you feel so lousy?

It is not uncommon for people to feel lousy when they give up their fast food lunch and 64 oz soda and start eating veggies, fruits and lean meats and drinking non caffeinated herbal tea. Why?

Its true that sometimes, with drastic dietary changes, you may experience headaches, flu type symptoms, GI bloating and a short fuse!

Rather, if you’re feeling unwell in your quest to eat better, dopamine, microbes and ketones may be the source of your discontent.

Your brain is craving dopamine

Foods that are loaded with salt, sugar and fat trigger the release of “feel-good” neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine, which activate the brain’s reward center. This explains why it’s so enjoyable to eat highly processed fatty, salty and sugary foods, and why we tend to crave them.

It’s not unusual then to experience withdrawal-like symptoms, such as feeling moody, blue or antsy, when you go cold turkey after you’ve grown accustomed to eating highly processed foods. To adjust to a less processed diet, eat a high-fiber breakfast with a source of protein, have strategic snacks and replace processed food with a fruit bowl. Fast food snacks can include grapes with cheese or eat an apple or banana with peanut butter.

Your gut needs time to adjust

“If you have a very high-processed diet, and you decide to really boost up your fiber intake with whole foods, too much fiber can be quite overwhelming for your body.

Beware of digestion troubles, from constipation to overactive bowels. Your best bet is to steadily increase the amount of fiber you eat, while making sure you are consuming plenty of water.

Changes to diet can affect your gut flora. High-sugar foods, for instance, allow certain kinds of intestinal bacteria to flourish, while fruits and vegetables feed other types of bacteria. So when you suddenly start eating a whole lot of beans and lentils tend to experience bloating and gas. However, if you eat a small amount and gradually increase their intake, giving the bacterial colonies in their intestines a chance to change, you don’t experience the same discomfort.

Your body is dropping blood sugar rapidly

If you are prediabetic with an A1C that is higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetic, the quick drop in blood sugar can leave you with all the symptoms of low blood sugar such as blurry vision, rapid heart rate, mood swings, nervousness, fatigue, headache, hunger, shaking, sweating, difficulty sleeping, skin tingling, and trouble thinking clearly.

If you have had trouble switching to healthier eating, our doctors can help you navigate the process for success!

Sometimes we have to investigate why you aren’t able to consume healthy foods well. This might involve food sensitivity testing or ordering a gut health panel from which we can remove certain foods (even if they are theoretically healthy ones), evaluate if you are maldigesting fats, proteins or carbs, and establish how to increase the diversity and robustness of your microbiome in a way that is tailored to your specific needs.

If you would like to start the process of eating a healthier diet, digesting better and feeling better give us a call for a free 15 minute consultation or call or schedule an appointment online with Dr Crosby.