Gavin Guard: Part 4: Five Unexpected Reasons You Might Have Fatigue
- Written by Gavin Guard
If you’ve missed it, be sure to check out parts 1 through 3 of this series. Let’s pick up with part 4: dietary mismatch.
Reason #4: Dietary Mismatch
Dietary mismatch includes getting too many/too little calories, not enough nutrients, and the wrong type of foods that we need to fuel our body, brains, and minds.
You probably won’t find it far-fetched to suggest that our nutrition affects ALL systems of your body- nothing is spared from its effect. Therefore, we need the right type and amount of foods for our bodies to thrive.
Here are the most common examples from my clinical experience:
Too much food
Too many calories and food can contribute to weight gain, poor blood sugar, inflammation, and hormone imbalances. All of which can contribute to fatigue.
Unfortunately, 90% of the population is characterized as overweight. Too many of us are eating too many calories but not enough nutrients to match our energy demands.
Nonetheless, saying “just eat less” is not only unhelpful, but potentially dangerous. It’s important to get a coach to help you work through single practices at a time without overly restrictive diets. That is exactly how I help patients through nutrition coaching.
Too little food
On the other end of the spectrum are those who are not getting enough food. This is less common than overeating but it still happens especially in those who are overly concerned about their food choices.
I see this trend more commonly in more active adults (e.g. construction workers who also workout 5x/week) and in younger women who are trying to get fit by overly-restricting their diets.
Eating too little food also poses a risk of getting an insufficient amount of vital nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, B12, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron.
For most individuals, you probably want to get a balance of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of veggies/fruits that work well for your digestive system. Not enough of these can certainly lead to symptoms such as low energy levels and fatigue.
Many health gurus claim that since fiber feeds your “gut bugs”, then more fiber is better. However, seemingly healthy high-fiber foods (e.g. broccoli, avocados) can be problematic for some folks, especially for those with digestive issues.
Why is this?
Fiber intolerance → poor gut health→ inflammation and immune system dysfunction→ fatigue and low energy
A dietary template that addresses fiber intolerance is called the low FODMAP diet. This includes moderating high-fiber foods such as onions, garlic, dairy, and some other vegetables and fruit. A low FODMAP diet has been shown in many studies to improve IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, pain, fibromyalgia, and overall quality of life.
Another type of dietary mismatch that can contribute to fatigue includes too much histamine ingestion. This is another example of how seemingly healthy foods can be problematic. High-histamine foods include spinach, sauerkraut, fermented foods, aged cheeses, and alcohol.
Histamine intolerance affects about 1% of the population and up to ½ of those with digestive issues.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance include:
Addressing histamine intolerance can lead to improvement of energy and symptoms such as brain fog as found in one study.
There’s less research on histamine intolerance as compared to other studies so I usually wait to use this for patients unless they have a clear need for it.
How to address dietary mismatch
With anything else, work through a stepwise approach to your nutrition. Start with the fundamentals and work through more nuanced dietary templates if you don’t get adequate response from the fundamentals.
Most importantly, work through a provider that is proficient in helping you with your nutrition and doesn’t prescribe cookie-cutter recommendations. You can learn more about my approach to nutrition by scheduling a free appointment here.
The Bottom Line
That’s it for part 4. Stay tuned for the last part of the 5-part series.
Don’t let these issues go unaddressed and unsolved. Get a comprehensive assessment and personalized medical care plan today. You can schedule a free 15-minute appointment with me today to review your health concerns and create a game plan for you moving forward.
I hope you found this information useful and helpful in your journey back to a healthier and happier life.