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An Update On ‘Tingling’ Tongue Problem While On A Low-Carb Diet

Posted Mar 29 2010 1:57pm 2 Comments

I receive quite a bit of e-mail from people on a daily basis who have all sorts of questions about livin’ la vida low-carb. And it quite literally runs the gamut from how do you start on a low-carb diet to why have I “only” lost 10 pounds after two weeks to some really serious health concerns that people are worried their low-carb diet is either causing or exacerbating. I’ve seen it all and I happily answer every single one of these e-mails by responding myself or copying in any number of the low-carb expert friends I have had the privilege of interviewing on my podcast show. It’s a privilege to be able to serve my readers who have honest questions that they feel need to be addressed.

But I do happen to think it’s funny how whenever someone on a low-carb diet gets something odd going on with their body, the first thing many of them tend to blame is the diet itself. I addressed this subject in a blog post a few years back because I was seeing it time and time again from well-meaning people who wanted to know why low-carb was doing this or that to them. I never understood that because you don’t hear people walking around with various aches and pains stating, “Darn that low-fat, high-carb diet!” It just doesn’t happen unless you are on low-carb. Human nature can be a strange lot.

I wanted to provide an update on an e-mail that I blogged about in 2005 from a reader at the time who was experiencing a “tingling” sensation in her tongue claiming that it only happened when she was on the low-carb lifestyle. Honestly, I was perplexed at this one and could explain what was physically happening to her. What I did know at the time was that it didn’t seem plausible that eating a carbohydrate-restricted diet could lead to this kind of funky symptom, but I was still new to low-carb living myself at the time and didn’t know much else to tell her other than to throw it out to my readers to try to help her.

Some of the comments from people noted she may need to get more of certain kinds of vitamins in her body from specific foods to help with it. Others say the aspartame that is so prevalent in diet soda may be the culprit in the “tingling” feeling she’s feeling with her tongue. For much of the past five years, I always wondered what happened with this condition and whether or not it improved at all.

So imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from the lady who originally wrote to me five years ago wanting to update me on her condition. I was so happy to hear from her! She asked me if I remembered her asking the question and of course I did. I blogged about it because it was so unique and I felt it was something worth people knowing about in case others had similar issues. The reader said that despite all the tips people provided her as to why she was having this happen to her, “no one could give me an answer that fit my problem.” But now she’s figured it out and you’re never gonna believe what it was!

I’m proud to report that I have FINALLY found out what caused [the tingling in my tongue] to occur and have found ways to keep it from forcing me to abandon the low-carb lifestyle. Are you ready? I was SO excited to find out it was not something that low-carb did to my body (which was what I had thought all these years) but rather a reaction that is not so uncommon for low-carbers. It was “dry mouth”! Can you believe it?

So the “tingling” was nothing more than dry mouth. WOW! Drinking plenty of water, brushing your teeth and tongue, or even chewing on some sugar-free gum could have solved this issue a long time ago and prevented this dear reader from thinking her cherished low-carb way of life was problematic. I hate that she had to suffer for so long with the frustration of not knowing what was behind this, but I’m so glad she found what was going on.

Something so simple sounding that caused me to abandon the low-carb life I had found so successful (shame on me for abandoning it in the first place) and ultimately gaining all the weight I had lost back. Grrrr! So, I am proud to report that today marks one week back on low-carb–with NO tingling/burning of my tongue/mouth–and I’ve lost 5.8 pounds! WOO HOO!!!

YOU GO GIRL!!! She now uses a specialized toothpaste and mouthwash called Biotene designed specifically for people with dry mouth. She notes that it has been “unbelievably helpful in keeping the dry mouth symptoms under control.” Her weight loss goal 60 pounds and I wish her nothing but great success and a non-”tingling” experience except for the euphoric feeling of stepping on that scale and reaching her goal! I’m so proud of her for continuing to search out answers until she found them and realized that is wasn’t livin’ la vida low-carb that was causing this to happen. How many people just give up on finding the real cause and needlessly give up on their low-carb program? Probably a lot more than we even know.

I always love hearing from my readers like this one who have questions and concerns about being on a low-carb diet. Send your e-mails to and I’ll do my best to answer them or find the answer for you. Beginning my low-carb lifestyle in 2004 was the best thing I’ve ever done for my health and I STILL reap the amazing benefits of it to this very day. Nothing will ever deter me from doing what’s right for me and that will forever be a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carb nutritional approach!

Comments (2)
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Same symptoms and picture of the tongue is identical for me as well. I have it for about last 3 months. Tried some oral jell for mouth but did not help. If anybody have any suggestion I would appreciate it. My email
The picture of the tongue that you are showing is exactly what I've been experiencing for a few months now. It first appeared after the whole family was sick with the swine flu in November.  I've been thinking that it is caffeine, sugar, or gluten related, I've cut down coffee and tea a lot but still no great results. If anybody can direct me to more reading re this "fissured" tongue condition, I'd appreciate it:
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