Is carbohydrate intolerance preventing you from losing weight? (Take a free quiz to find out!)

Read time: 2-3 minutes

If you're like me, you gain 5lbs just from looking at high-carb foods (foods high in sugars and/or starches): muffins, cookies, ice cream, bread, pasta, pizza... You know, all those foods that send lots of feel good vibes throughout your whole body.

If you're not like me (kinda jealous!), you can basically eat all the carbs you want and your waistline doesn't budge an inch. Unfortunately, I have a low carbohydrate tolerance. And a high-carb diet affects more than just my weight, it disrupts my sleep, digestion, mood and energy levels. After a short lived high, my mood goes downhill fast after just one really high-carb meal. I can blame my genes and my AMY1 count (more on that later) all day long but the only thing that ensures I feel (and look) great is if I center my diet around vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats.

I also choose to keep my home void of highly processed and refined carbohydrates because I've discovered that I have an unhealthy and addictive tendency towards over consuming high-carb foods, especially sugary ones. My husband can eat a "real" cookie (not one of my paleo creations) and that's it, he's satisfied. If I eat one, I eat five. And the mood swings and lethargy begin - so I eat some more... It's a vicious cycle, one that I don't feel in control of. So I choose to set myself up for success. If those foods are not in the house, I won't eat them! 

I've learned that many (but not all) people who have a low carbohydrate tolerance also have what can best be described as a sugar and/or starch addiction... 

Protein and Veggies - even while camping! 

Protein and Veggies - even while camping! 

Even though a lower-carbohydrate diet works for me, that doesn't mean I'm a proponent of it for everyone. But for those of you who are less tolerant to carbohydrates than others, lowering your intake of processed and refined carbs may just be the breakthrough you need for your weight loss and your overall health and wellbeing. You may be surprised by the symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance when you take the quiz (at the bottom of this page)!


If you care for a bit of science, keep on reading. If you don't, scroll down to the quiz at the bottom and find out how well you tolerate carbs and if a lower-carbohydrate diet may be the fix you need!


For the most part, carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity are synonymous.  Insulin sensitivity is a healthy hormonal state that allows your body to digest and store carbohydrates without a problem [4]. Carbohydrate tolerance is how well our body utilizes carbohydrates for energy. Same, same. So, low-carbohydrate tolerance or carbohydrate intolerance is the body's inability to completely process carbohydrates into a source of usable energy for the body.

[2]

[2]

A+ carbohydrate tolerance looks like this: When you eat carbs your digestive system breaks them down into glucose. Your blood sugar temporarily rises when the glucose enters your bloodstream and insulin is then produced to take the glucose out of the bloodstream and store it somewhere else for future use. When you're needing some energy later in the day, the stored glucose is ready to roll! 

F- carbohydrate tolerance (insulin resistance) looks like this: When insulin tries to store the glucose the rest of your body resists the insulin signal, preventing the glucose from being taken out of the bloodstream. And when glucose hangs out in the bloodstream, it gets stored as fat... Uh oh. That's not what we want to happen every time we consume a high-carb meal! 

What causes carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance? That's a loaded question... Carbohydrate intolerance may very well be due to a deficiency of an enzyme needed for digestion [1]. Recently, researchers have found a correlation between obesity and a person's ability to make amylase, an enzyme that helps to break starch down in your mouth [2]. Check out Precision Nutrition's explanation on amylase and how they affect carb-digestion in the image to the right!

So, how many AMY1 genes do you have? Oh, you don't know? That's okay! There are quite a few symptoms for low carbohydrate tolerance that will give you a great idea of whether or not lowering your consumption of processed and refined carbohydrates will benefit your health and wellbeing. Take the quiz below to find out for yourself where your carbohydrate tolerance stands! 

 

If you scored higher than 9/54, head on over here to find out how you can improve your carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity!

 

If you find out that it is quite likely that have a low carbohydrate tolerance, you want to lose weight and feel better than ever before, and you also want to do it in the healthiest way possible to ensure long term results, check out my nutrition coaching packages and online assessments here

References:

1. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/carbohydrate+intolerance
2. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/carbohydrate-tolerance-genes
3. https://chriskresser.com/carbohydrates-why-quality-trumps-quantity/
4. https://paleoleap.com/practical-guide-carb-tolerance-insulin-sensitivity/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25248582