GF + Exercise = Ketosis?

I suffered for years with IBS, but was finally put on a gluten-free and lactose-free diet to see if it would help. I'd started losing weight, my symptoms were so severe, dropping one and a half stones (21 lbs) or so in about a month. (I was 10st9 - 149 lbs - and 6'3, so a little worrying)

It sort of helped, but then I started Couch 2 5K, since I'd heard that getting into shape could help with IBS symptoms. The only problem is that I started getting new symptoms.

Tiredness, headaches, thirst, dizziness, nausea, cramps, insomnia and generally feeling worse than before I started jogging. These are apparently 'warning' signs of ketosis, something normal for people on low-carb diets, but I wasn't aware that I was...

I eat more rice these days, to take the place of bread and pastry, but I also have gluten-free bread rolls for lunch. I thought I should be fine.

I have an appointment with the doctor (a week tomorrow) and I'll bring up my symptoms with her then, but I was wondering if I should be more immediately worried about it. Are gluten-free diets at risk of becoming low-carb diets? I still have a dose of carbs with dinner and lunch, even if it is usually rice or potato, but should I be eating something else to 'top up' my carbs?

Oddly, I seem to have put the weight I lost back on, but my waist has stayed at the lower size it fell to when I went to see the doctor originally. Building muscle must have an effect, but could that be what is causing so much trouble?

5 Replies

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  • Carbs are where you get energy from so for a balanced diet you will need to get a goos source of carbohydrates from one of the other non-gluten containing staples. Low carb diets are generally not recommended longer term as it can and will lead to blood sugar issues. General advice is that carbs should make up about a third of what you eat.

    Sources of carbs which you can use as a replacement include potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava.

    These foods also are responsible for a good percentage of the fibre that we consume. Eating fruit and veg will provide some fibre, but this is soluble fibre and it is helpful to include insoluble fibre, such as in brown rice.

    Breads (even gluten free breads) also contain other essential vitamins and minerals required for good health.

    My advice would be to ask your GP for a referral to a dietician who can analyse your diet and give recommendations for any gaps in your intake so as to give you a balanced diet.

  • Hi Prince of Cats, What sorts of things are you eating? You mention about being lactose free - are you still consuming lactose free dairy products or have you mainly side-lined milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, etc? The reason I ask this is that dairy foods are quite high in carbohydrates - they tend to plump out the body. Bananas eaten with breakfast rather than on their own also tends to increase weight - you do have to be careful with eating more than three or four if you are inclined to suffer with low blood pressure because they can reduce it significantly. If you wish to increase weight then normally it is advisable to have carbohydrate and fat at the same mealtime. So if you like baked potato then add either lactose free butter or nut oil and mash it into the potato. If you can use nut oil in preference to other vegetable oils because it is better balanced in omega 3 rather than toploaded with omega 6. Flaxseed oil is another good addition. You can drizzle the oil on warm bread for added nutrition. Are you a meat eater? Pork is quite good as it helps to restore the frame of the body and is fairly easy to digest - perhaps start with pork mince as it cooks easily and digests well. If you're a fish person then salmon is a good body building food as are a daily dose of almonds and Brazil nuts. Besides the rice there are some lovely gluten free pastas available that can be used both for savory dishes as well as sweet.

    I'm not sure what others on this forum may think but I would suggest that if you have dropped such a large amount of weight in four weeks and you are eating fairly normally albeit gluten free, it would really be sensible to try and bring your appointment with your doctor forward especially have you have mentioned developing other conditions.

  • I have already seen a dietician, who put me on a gluten-free, lactose-free diet and told me to keep it up until I see her next. She also told me to cut back my fruit intake to two items (glass of squash and an apple, for instance) a day and no bananas. That was in June and I still haven't heard back about the next appointment...

    I do eat pork, but can't eat much because fatty meats make my gut act up. I eat more chicken than pork, to be fair. As to dairy... I tend to have mayonnaise (since it's lactose I'm not allowed) and rice milk which seems to have added vitamins and minerals.

    The nausea is the worst part, since I rely on domperidone just to be able to eat some days...

  • I should go back to your doctor asap and make a list of everything that you are eating and what you have been advised to avoid. Also, as sometimes it is easy to forget things in an appointment - it is advisable to list every ailment you are suffering so that you have a comprehensive list available to hand.

    Good luck.

  • Watch the rice milk - I used to drink it prior to my coeliac diagnosis as I have avoided lactose for years, but after diagnosis I thought I would check it was ok as my fave rice dream didn't say it was gluten free on the label, which I thought odd as it is made from rice. It would seem that in the production of it is fermented by a syrup (or something like that) made from wheat. I also discounted the provamel one because I have tried it in the past and didn't like the taste and I think it has dubious additives (if I remember rightly.

    I have yet to try the coconut based dairy free milk to see how I get on with that.

    I hope you manage to sort out your problems soon.

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