I’ve had an uneasy relationship with the 8 week Blood Sugar Diet and it’s left a bad taste in my mouth, no pun intended. I started it in January 2019 and lost 10.5 kgs in the first 8 weeks, after a slow start. That was the good part. The bad part was that this diet messed with my whole system and made me sick.
Not long after I started it I developed post nasal drip which got progressively worse the longer I was on the diet, to the point where it got debilitating. When I googled it I would find references to it saying it was “keto flu” and it would pass after a few days or the similarly unhelpful “you’ve got a cold, get over it”. I was also experiencing increasingly severe anxiety and other symptoms. My doctor was unable to suggest what the problem might be or how to fix it, apart from prescribing a $60 nasal spray which made no difference.
In about week 9, in desperation for an answer, I googled something different – “side effects of low carb diets” and bingo – the answers, at last. I have developed a histamine intolerance, a problem I’ve never experienced before in my 53 years. It would appear that by cutting most carbs and most fruit and vegetables out of my diet, the foods that I was left with and was eating all the time on this diet were either high in histamines or triggered the release of histamines already in my body. These foods include eggs, cheese, smoked fish, canned fish, smoked meats like bacon and prosciutto, yoghurt and soured dairy products, tomatoes, avocado, canned vegetables such as tomatoes and kidney beans, and black and green tea. The list goes on. I ate all these foods before going on the BSD but as part of a mostly balanced diet (I ate way too many of even the good carbs, and too many sweet things but did not have diabetes, just a weight problem) and they’ve never caused me a problem before.
Not being able to see any other way around it I decided to go off the diet, even though I only had another 7kgs to lose. I returned to my previous way of eating in the hope that once my body was used to eating a full range of healthy foods that the histamine intolerance would subside. It hasn’t. I’ve been off it for about 4 weeks now, have put on 4.5kgs and am still having significant problems, despite trying to limit my exposure to or completely avoid the above mentioned healthy and nutritious foods. The most annoying part is that even a simple cup of tea, one of life’s pleasures, brings on a big histamine rush and the symptoms again. My whole digestive and allergic system has been wrecked by this diet and I don’t know how to fix it.
I’m not writing this to discourage other people from going on this diet. I’m writing it so that other people who experience these symptoms have an answer for why it’s happening and maybe they can go off the diet sooner before it damages them. There is a lot of information on the internet about histamine intolerance but there’s no quick or simple cure. I just hope I find my cure soon because I’m over it.
We have not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you are have any health related symptoms or concerns, you should contact your doctor who will be able to give you advice specific to your situation.
Sorry to hear of your struggles, – I know from other research that Omega 3 plays an important role in switching off a response to histamine. You could either take supplements or increase linseed or other sources in your diet.
I’m really sorry to hear about the side effects you’ve had on this way of eating and your on-going problems. While I’ve never experienced anything similar on BSD, it’s always valuable to read what other’s experiences have been – both positive and negative – so thanks for posting. I can only hope someone on here has had experience of histamine intolerance and will be able to suggest some things to help.
Best wishes for the future
Edited: cross-posted with JGwen
kimochka, I’m really sorry to hear what your coping with at the moment. I think it’s great that you’ve posted your experiences as kknowledge is power. As with everything else in life one way of doing something doesn’t suit everyone. I hope that you find a solution soon
Also thank you Kimochka, we are all different and can respond very differently to any kind of diet change so it’s important that we all share our personal experiences for others to learn from, good or bad. I think this is really valuable feedback so thank you for posting and I really hope you do feel better and find a way that works for you soon 💚
Kimocha this happened to my friend. It turned out she was allergic to most artificial smells in her home. So the plug in scent slays / those glass perfume reed dispensers. All candles, room sprays, her own perfume. Those types of things. She wasn’t on a diet . She just developed it. And hayfever. Good luck x x
Thank you all for your support and suggestions. It made me feel better just reading your replies.
JGwen thank you for the suggestion about omega 3 and linseeds. I will look into it as the avoidance path hasn’t worked yet and the expensive histamine blockers I bought help a bit but aren’t a long term solution.
Happyhel35 it’s a food intolerance rather than fragrance and I don’t have any of those smelly things in my home as they pollute the internal and external environment. It’s possible that I may have had the histamine intolerance to some extent prior to starting this diet but it wasn’t evident when I ate the way I did before, with carbs and lots of fruit and vegetables. I believe it was the types of foods on this diet, as listed in my original post and added to below, that brought it front and centre as they are all foods either high in histamines or that trigger the release of histamines.
Other things I forgot to mention as high in histamines or triggering the release of histamines are vinegar, lemons, nuts, berries – again, all items that are in frequent use in the blood sugar diet recipe book.
Update on the effects the Blood Sugar Diet has had on my body. Three months after going off the diet in an attempt to restore my health and internal balance by returning to the way I ate before going on the BSD I have now regained the 10+ kgs that I lost but the histamine response has not gone away. So returning to my former way of eating, and the passage of time have not helped. I have also tried the suggested fish oil supplements and the very expensive histamine blockers also without success. My histamine response has reduced slightly and the worst of the anxiety has gone. Having done a lot of research on the subject the only way forward appears to be an extreme elimination diet. So now I have my weight problem back and the prospect of another extreme diet in front of me. I wish I’d never heard of Michael Mosley and the Blood Sugar Diet. I’ve stopped watching all his programs on television.
You might like to look at Vitamin C which can be used as an Antihistamine. I am using it very successfully at the moment. I use it to bowel.tolerance – which is higher than is usually suggested on the instructions it is safe and relatively cheap. I do apologise – I meant to post this on April:-
ANTIHISTAMINE VITAMIN C
Vitamin C has long been in the treatment arsenal of specialist doctors who deal with a histamine related condition called mast cell activation. Just a few days of vitamin C deficiency can drive histamine levels up.
Histamine finds its way into our inflammation/histamine bucket by us eating foods rich in it, or when white blood cells in our body release it. This is supposed to happen when we’re injured, sick, or in need of healing.A steady supply of histamine is needed by the brain to regulate our sleep cycle, by the stomach to get digestion going, and for many other key bodily processes. But sometimes too much histamine ie released just by getting stressed out, or eating the wrong foods.
While Vitamin C has not been shown to prevent mast cells from releasing histamine, it has proven beneficial effects on systemic mast cell inflammation. An example of this is how vitamin C decreases bronchiole hypersensitivity caused by the cold virus, which is a process that involves mast cells.
VITAMIN C BOOSTS DAO
Optimal function of the histamine degrading diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme relies on a number of nutrients: copper, vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium and others. But Vitamin C in particular gives DAO a significant boost, which is another mechanism by which vitamin C lowers histamine inflammation.
VITAMIN C FIGHTS HISTAMINE INDUCED SEA SICKNESS
One of my most annoying symptoms over the years has been inconsistent motion sickness which came and went seemingly with no pattern. Till I linked it to my high histamine days, a link corroborated by the medical literature I later found.
USING VITAMIN C
Medical studies on vitamin C use in mast cell activation, sea sickness, and just generally used to study its effect on inflammation, have found one to three grams of vitamin C to be optimal.
Please note however that vitamin C in large doses has been found to cause mast cell mediated stomach issues like loose stools, so it’s important not to use too high a dose.
Vitamin C is flushed out of the body quite quickly, so I tend to take it a few times a day when using it. Please consult your doctor for the optimal dose and frequency.
You may want to look into the levels of Omega 3 and supplementing it. Research shows that Omega 3 is essential for switching off our bodies reaction to histamine.
Without sufficient supplies of Omega 3 your body continues to react to the histamine. You can either increase the amount of oily fish in your diet, or linseed, or take it as a supplement.
Hi JGwen, thank you for your suggestion. Someone suggested this before (possibly you) and I’ve been taking omega 3 supplements for a couple of months but they haven’t helped.
I also get a really bad response after brushing my teeth so toothpaste is another bad trigger. I’ve tried different toothpastes without success. Rinsing and rinsing doesn’t help either.
Thank you for your suggestion. As a result I bought some Vitamin C tabs and have been taking them twice daily for the last 4 days but even the fillers in many tablets are either rich in histamines or trigger a histamine release. I’m hoping these ones are different. No improvement yet but I keep hoping. Citrus fruits themselves are high in histamines so eating them always gives a big response. I’ve tried an expensive DAO supplement but that didn’t work.
Fingers crossed the vitamin c tabs will. 🤞
Hi Kimochka — I’ve been immersed in the book “Chasing the Sun” by Linda Geddes, which explores the new research (it is footnoted) on how sunlight shapes our bodies/health.
I had read your thread earlier so it jumped out at me while reading that sun exposure can dampen histamine responses.
Can you add in daily sunbathing? It might help turn off the excessive response. Certainly worth a try! It’s free, gives you Vitamin D and it’s a great reason to be out in the sunshine.
Thank you for the suggestion. It’s the middle of winter here so I won’t be sunbathing 🥶. I do get sun exposure but after your suggestion I’ll try to be more conscious of it and see whether there is any difference to the days I don’t get sun. I won’t wear my hat while walking or gardening for a while and see if that helps. It’s certainly worth a try. But I won’t get the chance to test it for a while as they’re forecasting rain for the next 4 days. Just my luck 😉
Thanks for taking the time to write to me after you read about it in your book.
Hi Kim . . . Saddens me to hear you have such complex issues to deal with – and saddened even more so that Dr MM is soured in your view 🙁 May I suggest a referral to an Endocinologist – and/or Immunologist – (the latter seems more positive for the issue) – as it sounds way more serious than to address with a string of internet or medico’s “possibilities” and/or “maybe’s”. Being back to square one does prove one thing. Dr. MM’s low carb “diet” – (it is designed as a long term “better” way of eating . . . not a diet as we tend to consider a short term fad change !!!) – ACTUALLY WORKS . . . did what you chose it for . . . and asked it to do . . . for you . . . The “side effects” which seem to have developed/coincided with the new regime may not in fact be even connected. In any case I wish only the best for sorting out the (what must be) frustrating issue 🙂 and sooner rather than later! And please be glad of the rain . . . its been months without good soaking and dam filling falls . . . the land needs a good wash down and clean!! Maybe THAT will help in more ways than one!!! Quack! Quack!
Hi Kim, I don’t know if you will see this reply but I just wanted to say that I had the same histamine problem. For me it wasn’t caused by the BSD, I had terrible hay fever one summer and it depleted my system. I had awful itchy hives all over me every time I ate any food with much histamine in it. I took cheap otc antihistamines for a couple of years (2 tablets of the 1 a day type) and then got pregnant – getting pregnant pretty much cured me. I think the placenta makes DAO. Not sure if that helps you at all!?! Good luck with it, I know how awful it can be.
I’ve just seen you’re 53 so getting pregnant is obviously not a solution for you…😳