Amber Lee

Unexpected, Severe Side Effects of Eliminating Soda

18 posts in this topic

TL:DR Day 4 saw me getting IV fluids to rehydrate and add back electrolytes after quitting soda (sodium) and switching to water. Magnesium and Potassium levels also dropped giving me heart palpitations. 

I knew going into this (Whole30) that I have a serious sugar addiction and most of my sugar comes from soda. I drank at least two 12oz cans a day but most days it was 4-6 cans and I never drank diet. As I'm not a dietician or even a healthy eater I never even thought about sodium levels and not getting enough. I figured it was the opposite and I should avoid sodium if anything.

So there I was, 3 days after quitting soda cold turkey. I couldn't stand up without having blackness close in on me and nearly passing out, tachycardia, severe headache where I could feel my heart beating in my skull, peeing every five minutes and heart palpitations. I was drinking plenty of water plus the Whole30 book specifically said I would feel like I had a horrible hangover. Feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest when I was just laying in bed freaked me out enough to call my doctor.

The drastic depletion of large amounts of sodium (Cokes) plus all the water I was drinking eliminated some essential, life sustaining minerals. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium I believe are the ones my doctor told me were dangerously low and helped me replace. As a side note, I normally take Epsom salt baths for Magnesium but the ES baths also dehydrate which was a big part of my problem in addition to the missing minerals.

The doc told me all of those are important for muscle function, including the heart, so if I hadn't gone in I could have done serious damage to my heart. Throw in the fact that I was dehydrated, which made my blood thicker, I was asking my heart to work harder without the things it needs to do its job.

I'm not sure I quite understand how it all works even now. I've been googling Whole30 with my symptoms and only found a few partial matches so I wanted to share my story in case someone else goes down the same path. 

If anyone has more insight for me on the mechanics of how and why this happened I would appreciate it. It was scary to be told I was hurting myself when I thought they were just the normal detox symptoms. It's 12:30 am so I'm officially on day 7 and I feel so much better. The last two days I haven't even craved my morning Dr. Pepper. That kinda makes me sad because I love soda so much but I have two small kids who I plan to be around for for a very long time.

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I've read  your posts and medical conditions. Your Dr.'s orders trump Whole 30 and that includes Dr. Pepper, too.  What does your doctor say about drinking soda going forward?

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Doctor said soda will kill me and this is the best decision I could have made. I just need to make sure I'm getting sodium from the healthy foods. If I'm being honest I was hoping the doctor would tell me to quit Whole30 but no such luck. Besides giving up soda she said this will probably help me with most of my health issues as well. 

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50 minutes ago, MeadowLily said:

 Your Dr.'s orders trump Whole 30 and that includes Dr. Pepper, too. 

Bahaha! :-) I see what you did there. 

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@Amber Lee I'm sorry you've had a rough time.

We do regularly tell people to drink lots of water (at least 1/2 oz per pound of body weight, so if you weigh 120 lbs, at least 60 oz) and to salt their food to taste. Obviously if your doctor has given you other instructions, follow those. 

Basically though, the human body needs some salt. Chronically having too much can be bad, but not having enough is also bad. Chris Kresser has several articles on salt that might be helpful -- this is the last one in the series, but it contains links to the others in the series:  https://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-healthy-salt-recommendations/

 

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The articles were great, thank you!

I don't completely understand the whole situation so it's possible I misquoted my doctor or got some words mixed up. I'm pretty sure the main reason for my symptoms was low sodium/potassium from cutting out soda and junk food. It never occurred to me I had to monitor my salt intake.

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9 hours ago, MeadowLily said:

I've read  your posts and medical conditions. Your Dr.'s orders trump Whole 30 and that includes Dr. Pepper, too.  What does your doctor say about drinking soda going forward?

No, it absolutely does not include drinking soda.  Come on!  There are ways to get sodium that don't involve Dr. Pepper... I"ve read further in the thread and note that the poster's doctor frowns on soda but please don't say things like this, it's confusing for people... there is nothing in the world that would make a doctor prescribe soda and if they did, they should have their licence revoked.

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2 minutes ago, Amber Lee said:

The articles were great, thank you!

I don't completely understand the whole situation so it's possible I misquoted my doctor or got some words mixed up. I'm pretty sure the main reason for my symptoms was low sodium/potassium from cutting out soda and junk food. It never occurred to me I had to monitor my salt intake.

My guess is that you likely had a deficiency that the soda was helping to mask and removing it exacerbated the issue.  It would be very uncommon, even in the amounts you were drinking for stopping to cause this if there wasn't something else going on... not that it matters, it happened, so it happened, but you may want to consider getting your levels checked a bit more frequently until you have things under control because I'm sure that was very scary!

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It's so scary to think I've been keeping myself alive artificially, basically, by drinking soda. 

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4 hours ago, ShannonM816 said:

@Amber Lee I'm sorry you've had a rough time.

We do regularly tell people to drink lots of water (at least 1/2 oz per pound of body weight, so if you weigh 120 lbs, at least 60 oz) and to salt their food to taste. Obviously if your doctor has given you other instructions, follow those. 

Basically though, the human body needs some salt. Chronically having too much can be bad, but not having enough is also bad. Chris Kresser has several articles on salt that might be helpful -- this is the last one in the series, but it contains links to the others in the series:  https://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-healthy-salt-recommendations/

 

60 oz isn't a lot. I'm so thirsty I could drink that before lunch. However, I have heard it's possible to drink too much water. What am I supposed to do? @ShannonM816

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11 hours ago, Amber Lee said:

Your Dr.'s orders trump Whole 30 and that includes Dr. Pepper, too. 

Bahaha! :-) I see what you did there. 

I hope you knew what I meant... that your Dr.'s orders trump your desire to keep drinking Dr. Pepper.  :rolleyes:

 

 

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@MeadowLily Yes, I knew exactly what you meant. I think everyone is on the same page as far as drinking Dr. Pepper and how it affects my health. Don't because it's not healthy. It's one of those truths I've always known but have found a way to justify or ignore it. Lately though everyone is posting those videos and memes showing exactly how much sugar is in different types of drinks, including "healthy" drinks like Powerade and Vitamin Water.

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13 minutes ago, Amber Lee said:

@MeadowLily Yes, I knew exactly what you meant.

I knew you had a good grasp on everything and  I know your Dr. wasn't telling you to carry on with Dr. Pepper.

Every desire we have to find our pathway to healing or for something that is really worthwhile comes with a sacrifice. We give up something to get something more important to us. These are the unconscious blocks in our mind and bodies that have kept us stuck. 

When we draw our line in the sand and it only takes one determined decision.... Once we make that effort to eliminate them, we run into fewer things "we don't want to do" to reach our desire or pathway to healing.

Every positive action you take every day, eliminating Dr. Pepper, that internal debate becomes quieter and eventually, you'll look it square in the eye and no longer want it ever again.

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If you're thirsty, drink water. Be sure you salt your food. Usually, the problem with too much water is people who drink a huge amount in a short time or who drink a lot of water and limit their salt intake at the same time. If you're just drinking water because you're thirsty, and you're salting your food enough that it tastes good to you, you're probably going to be fine. If you're worried about it, talk to your doctor and find out if they'd recommend a certain amount per day, or a limit per day. 

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Thank you @ShannonM816. I'm not sure why or if it's normal for Whole30 but I am really thirsty all the time. I get cotton mouth just sitting at my desk working. Today is day 8 and I still haven't had a soda, just water and tea, so I'm not sure what's making me so thirsty. 

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I add salt to my water and it is so yummy.  Although when I'm doing outdoor activities with friends and share my water bottle, they think I'm weird.

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On August 7, 2017 at 11:36 AM, kirkor said:

I add salt to my water and it is so yummy.  Although when I'm doing outdoor activities with friends and share my water bottle, they think I'm weird.

Hey buddy!  We have a question about your salt water intake.  How much salt do you put in the water? It's nothing like seawater right?  @Babsie95 was wondering about it on a different thread :)

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