Generally, all carbohydrates taste delicious. There are not many foods that can make up for the taste of a bag of chips, cereals, pizza, etc. Refined Carbohydrates are addictive by nature and as you eat them you crave more. 

However, little do you realize that eating more of these carbohydrates puts you at grave risk of developing digestive disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and even cancer.

Did you know that eating a diet consistently high in carbs can lead to carbohydrate intolerance, eventually leading to insulin resistance? In this article, let’s explore more about carbohydrate intolerance, its effects and how to know if you are carbohydrate intolerant.

What is Carbohydrate Intolerance?

Carbohydrate intolerance is the inability of your body to digest certain carbohydrates. There can be a number of reasons why this occurs. Here are few:

  • Genetic factors
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Decades of consuming processed food
  • Overeating refined carbohydrates and sugar
  • Medications that alter gut health

When your body is unable to digest carbohydrates, it leads to insulin resistance. When you eat carbs, your blood sugar levels tend to go high and to stabilize it more insulin is secreted by the pancreas.

However, when you are constantly eating a high-carb diet, that too refined carbs, and are not breaking them down properly, your cells become resistant to the effect of insulin. The body will try to release more and more insulin to stabilize your blood sugar levels that your cells stop to respond.

Symptoms of Carbohydrate Intolerance

Here are some common symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance:

  1. Weight Gain

Even though you may be eating healthy foods like sweet potatoes, whole grains and more, you may gain more weight or fail to shed that extra flab. This is because once carbohydrates are digested they all turn to sugar. Either it is broken down to be converted to energy or it gets stored as fat.

When the carbs you eat aren’t broken down and used immediately for energy, your body does whatever it takes to get rid of them to keep your blood sugar stable. This could result in storing carbs as excess fat even if the sources of those foods are often considered healthy.

  1. High Blood Sugar

The most obvious indicator of carbohydrate intolerance is elevated blood sugar levels. This is because you are not efficiently breaking down carbs, they remain in your bloodstream and send your blood sugars overboard.

  1. Bloating and Gas

If you find yourself bloated after a heavy meal, especially majorly of carbs, carbohydrate intolerance is more likely to occur. The unbroken carbs end up sitting in your stomach or colon, causing fermentation that can let off gas.

  1. Fatigue

The constant spikes and lows of blood sugar levels in your body can drain your energy levels. Studies show that glucose metabolism – in other words, our ability to process carbs and use them for energy – is associated with fatigue when not functioning properly.

  1. Constant Craving for Sweet

The excess insulin in your body can cause blood sugar levels to go down and this ultimately makes you crave for sugar more. Unfortunately, this creates a cycle of endless cravings, since you are not absorbing the very thing you are craving.

How to Know If You Are Carbohydrate Intolerant?

The best test to know if you are carbohydrate intolerant is to measure insulin resistance. To test insulin resistance, you have to measure your blood sugar levels and blood insulin levels. The key inference to derive from this test is to know how much insulin does your body secret to keep one’s blood sugar in a normal range.

If you are insulin sensitive, little insulin is needed to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized. If you are insulin resistant, fasting blood sugar tends to be normal with a high insulin level to maintain sugar levels. This means that you are carbohydrate intolerant.

Another way to check for carbohydrate intolerance is to monitor your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Twice after eating, at the one-hour and two-hour marks, you can get snapshots of how your body metabolizes starches like grains, beans, and potatoes. If there are radical ups and downs, you might have carbohydrate intolerance.

Another Option – If you’ve had blood work done recently, look at your hemoglobin A1c levels. This provides a snapshot of your average blood sugar levels over the last three months. If your diet been clear of sugary foods, yet the number is still above 5.5, then carbohydrate intolerance can be affecting it.

What To Do If You Are Carbohydrate Intolerant?

A few diet tweaks will easily help you manage intolerance and regain energy:

  • Avoid sugar and refined carbs, Increase your Intake of Leafy Vegetables
  • Decrease your consumption of Starchy vegetables, Grains and Beans
  • Limit the amount of dairy you consume as these are high in carbs
  • Eat low-sugar fruits like berries, lemon, orange, green apples
  • Add high-quality healthy fats like coconut, olive oil, ghee, nuts, and seed. Remember that Fat is not the Villain
  • Include Probiotics in your diet to strengthen your gut
  • Your tolerance can rise and fall depending on how much you exercised, how well you slept and how stressed you are. So also watch out for those

Try tweaking your diet for a period of 15 days to a month to see its effects on your body. And, then slowly include back complex carbs in your diet and keep your carb consumption under 100 grams per day.

The Bottom Line

Carbohydrate Intolerance is no issue to be overlooked and easily managed with lifestyle changes. When carbohydrate intolerance is at play, your body is telling you to beware of your intake. Listen to your body, acknowledge its symptoms and be ready to make a few changes. Once you are aware of what to do