Nyquil and Ketosis Don’t Mix

NyquilA few weeks ago I was feeling pretty under the weather.  I had a headache, fatigue, cough, and nasal congestion.  I felt bad enough to be uncomfortable, but not bad enough to call in sick to work.

The only issue is that my shift is an overnight shift for multiple consecutive days, and while I’m on these shifts, my sleep is pretty disrupted.  I average about 5:30 – 6:30 hours of sleep… the only thing is, I know my body needs AT LEAST 7:30 to feel optimal.

I tried for a few days to sleep it off, but my sleep schedule was just too screwed up and some nights I found myself only getting 4:00-4:30 hours of sleep.  As a last resort I turned to Nyquil to help with some symptomatic relief and as a sleep aid.

I have to admit that those few nights I took Nyqil, I had the best sleeps of my life.  I know that using sleep aids like this supposedly disrupts your normal sleep cycle and isn’t as restorative as normal sleep, but in my situation, my sleep cycle was already screwed up, so things could only get better.

The one thing I noticed was that it was lot harder for me to get into ketosis that week (yes… my Carb Nite Solution experiment was still going on at this time).  I thought It may have had something to do with the amount of stress my body was under and didn’t quite put two and two together until one night I started looking at the ingredient list:

Inactive Ingredients

Original: Acesulfame Potassium, Alcohol, Citric Acid, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 6, Flavor, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Purified Water, Saccharin Sodium, Sodium Citrate

Cherry: Acesulfame Potassium, Alcohol, Citric Acid, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, Flavor, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Purified Water, Saccharin Sodium, Sodium Citrate

While I knew in the back of my mind that it contained alcohol (I had heard some stories of kids using Nyquil to get drunk), I never put much thought into what made it so sweet: High Fructose Corn Syrup… one of the least paleo things out there!

I started looking around for the nutrition info in Nyquil, and while they don’t have it listed on the Vick’s Website, there are a few online sources (sparkpeople and livestrong) that provide this information.

It turns out that each serving of Nyquil contains 93 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrate.  

No wonder it was so hard for me to get into ketosis that week… I was dosing my body with 19 grams of carbs before I went to bed!

I’ve attached the data from my experiment along with when I took the bed time Nyquil:

Nyquil 2

It’s pretty clear what effect taking Nyquil had on me.  On both occcasions, the following AM Ketones demonstrated a drop first from 0.4 to 0.2 mmol and then from 0.9 to 0.3 mmol.  This was accompanied with a bump in my blood glucose, from 92 to 99 and from 89 to 92.

My diet hadn’t changed… I was still taking in 30 gm or less of carbs as per the Carb Nite Solution but taking that Nyquil really derailed my efforts to get into or stay in ketosis.

I hope you guys learn fro my mistake.  Nyquil and ketosis definitely don’t mix.  In the future I’ll probably just take the component ingredients separately (Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, and Doxylamine succinate) in pill form.

6 Responses to Nyquil and Ketosis Don’t Mix

  1. […] realize that Nyquil contains a good amount of carbs! You can read more of my experience here: Nyquil and Ketosis Don't Mix – The BJJ Caveman The bottom line is… if you're trying to stay in ketosis… avoid Nyquil! bjjcaveman.com […]

  2. Dale Seng says:

    I wonder what just taking an equal amount of alcohol would do to your ketotis. Versus an equal amount of HFCS. In other words, split the two possible causes of the lower ketone production. But you might just try benadryl next time. I doubt that would have any effect on ketotis.

  3. rooth says:

    I knew about the alcohol part (because they ID you when you buy it) but did not know about the calories. What about the liquid capsule form?

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Haven’t been able to find anything out there about how many carbs / calories are in the Nyquil capsules… but presumably it shouldn’t have any since there’s no reason to make it sweeter and more palatable.

  4. […] I can then do my second Carb Nite.  When I do happen to eat carbs, whether accidentally (as with Nyquil) or on purpose (Thanksgiving), I can see my ketone levels drop way down, out of the ketogenic […]

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