How to improve your carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity to lose weight and feel great!

Have you already taken the Carbohydrate Tolerance Quiz? If you haven't and you'd like to know a bit more about carbohydrate tolerance, read this first and take the quiz! 


If your results are higher than 9/54 and you have any of the physical and lifestyle factors mentioned below then it is definitely time to make some changes. That is, only if you want to feel better than ever before and look healthy as well!

Here is a list of some factors that may influence insulin resistance:

  • Visceral fat accumulation: Insulin resistance can cause fat gain, but fat can also contribute to insulin resistance, especially visceral fat. Visceral fat is fat around the organs. It's hard fat, not jiggly or squishy fat... 

  • Chronic inflammation: Chronic, low-level inflammation is a major driver of insulin resistance. Habitual or environmental factors for chronic inflammation include excess weight, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution, and excessive alcohol consumption. 

  • Diets high in fat and sugar: The SAD (Standard American Diet) is loaded with both fat and sugar. It's a diet that sees junk food make an appearance on a regular basis. Plenty of studies have shown that this kind of diet will induce insulin resistance. 

  • Sleep deprivation and chronic stress: "Sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in both healthy subjects and patients with type 1 diabetes. [1]” Stress also contributes to insulin resistance. In this study, for example, greater job stress was associated with much higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

So, what can you do to improve your carbohydrate tolerance/insulin sensitivity based on those factors? 

Pre/post workout is the only time I can eat a carb dense meal like oatmeal and be guaranteed steady energy levels afterwards... I also add protein powder and healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and almond butter to it to slow down digestion. 

Pre/post workout is the only time I can eat a carb dense meal like oatmeal and be guaranteed steady energy levels afterwards... I also add protein powder and healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, and almond butter to it to slow down digestion. 

  • Lose fat, specifically visceral fat!

  • Eliminate or decrease sources of chronic inflammation by:

    • Losing weight

    • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet - High in healthy fats, low in added sugars

    • Exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week

    • Decreasing stress

    • Quitting smoking

    • Limiting consumption of alcohol

  • Prioritize a good nights sleep

  • Talk to your doctor about taking 500mg of Berberine* three times a day: Berberine is one of the most impressive natural supplements that aids in weight loss by improving the function of fat-regulating hormones, such as insulin, adiponectin and leptin [3]. (Also, preliminary studies show that berberine may have benefits against depression, cancer, infections, fatty liver and heart failure. It also has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. [3])

  • Eat the bulk of your carbohydrates first thing in the morning and pre/post workout: this is when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest, so take advantage of it! Then make sure the rest of your meals are made up of protein, healthy fats, and veggies.

One more thing: All carbohydrates are not created equal. And I'm definitely not encouraging you to decrease the amount of carbs you consume from vegetables and fruit. Quality trumps quantity, all day every day: Cellular plant foods have a low carbohydrate density compared to processed carbohydrates. Root vegetables, fruits, leaves, and stems store their carbohydrates as part of fiber-walled living cells. And these cells are thought to remain largely intact during cooking. The fact that carbohydrates are stored within cells means that the maximum carbohydrate density they can have is around 23%. In contrast, flour, sugar, and grains are among the most commonly consumed foods now a days and are considered "acellular" carbohydrates. This means that they lack intact cells. Processed foods can have a very high carbohydrate density - as high as 75%. [4

So what should you do? Focus on fresh, whole foods that are minimally processed and have their carbohydrates encased in cellular compartments [4] . These foods will not only have a lower carbohydrate density but they will be dense in micronutrients!

*Berberine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults for short-term use when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.


1. Https://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pubmed/25248582
2. Https://Paleoleap.Com/Practical-Guide-Carb-Tolerance-Insulin-Sensitivity/
4. Https://Chriskresser.Com/Carbohydrates-Why-Quality-Trumps-Quantity/

Laurel KellsComment