Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An interesting discovery about Pain and Starchy Carbs

As i have mentioned in my previous posts, I've been on a new nutrition plan that is based on a 40/30/30 percent carbs/protein/fat ratio. I've also alternated that with 30/40/30 carbs/protein/fat composition as well and actually sustained that mix for about a good month, to see if i can promote better fat burning. It definitely helped...until about a week or two ago, when I started feeling more pain in my shoulders and arms when i woke up in the mornings. I certainly had the hip flexor injury, but i'm talking about the tingling/lingering pain we feel in the mornings. I hadn't had that in a while so I was a bit curious as to why that was happening again, especially when I wasn't loading up on weights as intensly as I did previously.

In the past 3 days or so, i upped my starchy carb intake just because my body was craving it a lot. I was pretty much back to the 40% level. I was doing some stretching in the evenings to alleviate the tightness everywhere as well - however i have to say i stretch often in the evenings anyway and the only real variable here is the increased intake in starchy carbs that may have contributed to the less pain i have been feeling. here's why:

i read an article about chocolate (just because) and within it i read that high carb foods enhances the level of serotonin (that's why women crave sugar like crazy during PMS) - so my guess is that while i have been working out although i have increased my intake of Omega 3 and 6 fats and protein to prevent inflammation and help muscle recovery, my low intake of carbs (cereal, oatmeal, my usual breakfast stuff) caused to lower serotonin levels and probably contributed to the heightened perception for pain. I think this makes sense.

Of course this doesn't mean that I'm going to eat carbs like there's no tomorrow - i'm just going to make sure that i eat at least 35% of my daily food intake that is carb-based, instead of keeping it at 30% or below. There's a balance to everything - i was focusing too much on the weight loss that I forgot to consider other important things.

when I say starchy carbs, i mean complex carbs from grains, not sugar or refined grains. sugar promotes inflammation, so we have to watch sugar intake levels - if our brain craves sugar because of low serotonin levels, it doesn't mean we should respond to it with sugar, cuz that would lead to inflammation. What we can respond with is exercise (boosts serotonin), followed by proper recovery nutrition (starchy carbs or sports drink and some protein) - so we double up on the serotonin WITHOUT exposure to possibility of inflammation.

ok, this is all my theorization based on experience and putting together facts - i'm not a nutritionist, i'm not a doctor, not a credited expert on any of this stuff. I'm just an expert on my condition and how my body responds to things. i enjoy learning about these things and applying them to my life. it has made me better. so here they are to share with you.

God bless,


Olivia said...

I am so happy for you and what you are able to accomplish and pursue your physical challenges.
Most of my life I have been very active and nutriciously concious,
with constant upkeep on my Fibro info...But over the years I have slowly lost much of what I used to be able to do because of the pain and excaustion. Working on my art to keep me happy and distract my discomfort has been my blessing.
Keep at it! Olivia
Please visit my blog at

Small Town Small Times said...

HI Minnie
I'm glad you posted this because it's something I've wondered about. When I was first diagnosed I dropped all sugar and alcohol. I didn't notice a difference is pain (i.e. it didnt' get better). Can you tell me about inflammation? I didni't think fibro was inflammatory like say arthritis or psoriasis. Is the inflammation you refer to different formt he inflammation of other disorders?

I have read that when people go on high protein diets that they can get "blue" from the decrease in seratonin that you described. So I think you are really on to something.


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