Being cold as consequence of fasting


(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #1

Folks, I need some ideas.

I’ve been on low carb and later keto for almost 2 years now. Started at 5 foot 10ish, 240 pounds. Lost the first 30 pounds easily enough in a year, but then hit a long plateau where I stayed at my weight for over half a year. Recently I’ve started to fast a bit more, went to more time restricted eating (typically in a 4-6 hour window, OMAD at times). I throw in the occasional 48h or 72h fast, once or twice a month. Limited dairy (mostly heavy cream for my bp coffee, some natural yoghurt/cheese at times). No processed food at all. I always eat to satiety of course, and I stay satiated for 6-8 hours after a meal. Typical regimen is smaller meal around noon (like a bulletproof coffee or a small salad), then a full meal between 4pm and 6pm.

Fasting did jumpstart the weight loss (10 more pounds in the last 3-4 months). However, there are is one issue: I get cold. Very, very cold. As in freezing, even though the room temperature is at levels where I never was cold in my life. This goes away if I eat enough, especially saturated fat (butter or cocoa butter). But this means I have to eat even though I don’t feel really hungry. And it seems that if I eat enough to be warm, I don’t lose weight.

So I guess my base metabolic rate went down due to the fasting, even though this shouldn’t happen on keto. Now, I could just eat more and stay at my weight (which isn’t too bad now, around BMI 28). However, there we come to problems #2 and #3:

  • I suffer from ME/CFS, which partly explains why some things may be very different for me. (We do have trouble in energy production, with impaired ATP generation.) The working theory is that my lipid cells contain toxins that at least contribute to my condition. So it would be a very good idea to lose another 40 pounds, to get rid of all the stored crap.
    An unfortunate consequence is that I feel terrible if I lose weight too fast, causing the toxins to be released. That’s the reason why I don’t fast longer than 72h: If I fast longer then I get so weak that I can’t even manage to climb the stairs to my flat. So I can’t simply fast more often until I get to the target weight, because I need enough strength to work for a living.
  • Also a consequence of ME/CFS is that I can’t do any exercise at all, to avoid crashes. Best I can do is to take moderately long walks, which I do on a regular basis to keep my strength up.

I could try to eat more for a while, quit fasting, and hope that my metabolic rate recovers. Which probably means another weight stall for a long time. Or I could suffer through being cold until I have achieved my weight loss gain. Which isn’t a very enticing thought, and I’m afraid that my bmr might go down even further.

Any ideas how to get my metabolic rate back up? Any literature how food affects the metabolic rate, besides the fact that ketogenic diet helps? I’m already aiming for high saturated fat, high stearic acid. Helps a bit, but doesn’t solve the problem. Perhaps cold exposure, try to build up brown fat?

(Laurie) #2

Have you considered, or tried, going full carnivore? They do things a bit differently (I don’t know the science), and one difference is they tend not to fast.

I’m so sorry about your frustration, and I hope you find a good solution. Congratulations on your accomplishments so far!

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #3

Feeling cold is often a sign of a lack of protein. Be sure you get enough protein when you do eat, and see if that helps. Unfortunately, the body cannot store amino acids, the way it can store fatty acids and glucose, so you can’t really protein-load, but just be sure to get plenty of protein when you do eat. If that doesn’t work, perhaps fasting is no longer something your body is comfortable with?

(Bob M) #4

I also was getting so cold that I had to take time off of fasting. What I do now is eat a lot (“feast”) during my non-fasting periods. I try to eat more protein and also (like you) higher saturated fat (as in cacao butter + chocolate). I heard Dr. Fung say that if you’re getting cold, you haven’t feasted enough.

When I “feast”, I tend to do this with more meat, typically higher protein meat. But I’m also doing a lot of body weight training.

I try to feast on mainly beef or other ruminants, and less on chicken or pork (other than lean pork), in an effort to get less PUFAs. I still have to eat chicken and pork, though, as this is what my wife makes a lot. Had chicken for dinner last night, for instance. Tried to counterbalance that with cacao butter and dark chocolate.

It might take a while to convert PUFAs in cells. Supposedly, years. (Ugh!)

Also, look at Fire in a Bottle’s latest posts. I’ve been taking berberine to see if this helps. There MIGHT be an effect – as always, it’s tough to tell. I’ve also ordered his nut fat, and I’ll give that a try.

Cold exposure could work, too. Sauna could help.

Going carnivore is certainly an option.

(Polly) #5

Have you tried going out for a good long walk. Even if fasting I find that walking warms me up.

(UsedToBeT2D) #6

Keep calm, keto on, as we say. Don’t fixate on rapid weight loss with the fasting. The weight loss slowed with me too, after the initial rapid loss in the beginning. Maintaining weight lost is good, and creeping down is now my/our objective.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #7

I tried higher protein for about 2 months, and went nearly carnivore in this time. The result was fairly disastrous though. I experienced the first “cold spell” back then, I was often hungry, even “hangry” at times. I figured that my prediabetic liver probably converts a lot of this protein into glucose, as some of my symptoms were pretty much consistent with a high carb diet.

I might go full carnivore again for a time, with higher fat this time. Not sure if it will make much of a difference, as I’m pretty low in plant foods already. Today was pretty typical, had a bp coffee and some cheese for lunch, and a tortilla for dinner (just a bit of vegetables with a lot of eggs, cheese, bacon fried in lard). But then, you never know until you try…

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #8

We need enough protein and also enough food. Remember Prof. Bikman’s mantra: “Control carbohydrate, prioritise protein, and fill in with fat.”

(Allie) #9

I got rid of the cold feeling by eating more at other times.

(Bob M) #10

Try beef suet, very high in saturated fat. And check this out:

A note about beef suet: I personally find it hard to eat. Even cooked at low temperature (170F or so) for a while (2 hours), then chilled, I find it chewy. But if I could eat it warm, say gently reheated or right after cooking, it could be better. I happen to be taking it to work, and eating chilled though.

(Butter Withaspoon) #11

Making feeling good a priority over BMI or weight loss seems a good idea for you - maybe? Embracing the quality fatty meats seems a good idea too. If you have mitochondrial damage it’s hard to feel good. Keep with the unprocessed keto foods, the walking that you are doing, and hope that you grow some new mitochondria.

When you’re not well, everything seems hard. Go easy on yourself and eat plenty when you eat. Sending warming vibes!

(Sama Hoole) #12

When I was dieting down and hitting regular 22 hour fasts during the summer, I’d get really cold towards the end of the fast. I can only imagine my body wasn’t freeing up fuel fast enough.

Or maybe I’d just pushed the fasting lever too many times, I’ve backed off it since then.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #13

IDK. If I get long-term improvement from weight loss, then weight loss has the highest priority. I was close to becoming a nursing case at the tender age of 48, I’d do anything to avoid that…

I wondered if it might be something different. I ate vegetable oils and margarine all my life, and I figure that a high percentage of my lipid stores is omega-6. I’ve read somewhere that the body doesn’t burn omega-6 as readily as other fats. Maybe my lipid cells are releasing fat (omega-6), but my mitochondria have trouble converting it to energy?

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #14

One study I read a while ago used radioactive compounds in foods to show that it is the carbohydrate we eat that gets stored in the fat cells, not the fat we eat. Ω-6 fatty acids are more likely to end up used in cell structures (all cell walls are made from fats and cholesterol, for example). I would say that your chances of healing may be better than you think.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #15

This Guyenet study shows that a fairly high percentage of stored lipid is Omega-6.
Of course carbs are converted to triglycerides, but it appears that the body prioritizes storage over burning for omega-6. This may or may not contribute to the fact that we get a lot fatter since we went to seed oils: If most of the oil we eat is stored and not burned, then we need to eat more to meet our energy demands. I do believe that the worse our health is, the more omega-6 is probably stored.

(KCKO, KCFO) #16

Good to know stuff. I’d ask for a link but I understand how hard it might be to back track. Thanks for the summary.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #17

Growing new mitochondria isn’t enough, unfortunately. I just read about some new research: There is something in our blood that causes mitochondrial fragmentation. Bhupesh Prustys does ongoing research where he is able to “infect” healthy blood with serum from ME/CFS patients, which causes mitochondrial fragmentation (to the previously healthy mitochondria). OTOH if the mitochondria are removed from the “contaminated” serum they regenerate. So there is something in our blood that blocks mitochondria from working properly. Prusty thinks he can develop a blood test that can be used to diagnose ME/CFS.

So much for ME/CFS being a psychosomatic issue… But this gives a biological explaination why things may be very different for us.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #18

Don’t the exogenous mitochondria fight to the death with the endogenous mitochondria? Brian Sykes, in one of his books on genetics, says that this is the reason that we only get our mitochondria in the ovum from our mother, and why spermatozoa contain no mitochondria at all.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #19

I don’t know details, as the research is not yet published. It builds on his HHV research ( ). Apparently adding our blood serum has a similar effect as adding HHV virus. There is a video where he talks about it, but I haven’t had the time to watch it yet.

But we do know that a blood transfusion doesn’t kill us, so there is a safe way to mix blood serum :slight_smile:

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #20

That’s because red blood corpuscles don’t have any mitochondria. (They are one of the types of cells in the human body that must have glucose in order to live.)