Are You Carbohydrate-Sensitive? Take the Quiz!

foods to avoid if you are carbohydrate-sensitiveLife is not fair.  Some people can get away with eating anything they want without gaining an ounce while the rest of us just look at a pint of ice cream, and begin to expand ’round the middle. All bodies are not created equal, and anyone who tells you otherwise belongs to that lucky first group of people. They don’t understand, because they live a different reality. It’s not their fault. But here’s the good news. It’s also not your fault.

What is the difference between the lucky svelte people and the unlucky doughy people? There may be many factors, of course, but the one that stands head and shoulders above all the others can essentially be boiled down to carbohydrate sensitivity. How your body processes sugars and starches is what determines whether you build fat easily or burn fat easily. Carbohydrate-sensitive people have exaggerated responses to sugars and starches that set the stage for increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and very efficient fat storage.

The role of insulin

These reactions are orchestrated by insulin. When you eat carbohydrates, especially refined/high glycemic index carbohydrates, such as sugar, flour, fruit juice, or white potatoes, your blood sugar begins to rise. Then insulin rushes into your bloodstream to bring it back down again. How does it bring it down?  Where does all that extra sugar go?  First it sends it off to any cells that might need it. Then, insulin tells your body to stop burning fat, and start burning sugar. So, even if you have plenty of extra body fat that you could be burning for energy, sweets and starches get first priority and they will be burned instead. There is no question that blood sugar spikes leading to insulin spikes are the pathway to obesity.  It is impossible to burn body fat if your insulin levels are running too high.

Considering the long-term

Carbohydrate sensitivity tends to worsen over the years, as the body’s system for handling sweets and starches gradually wears out. Type 2 diabetes is essentially the final stage of this process—it is your body’s way of telling you that it simply cannot process carbohydrate anymore. If you already have diabetes, the fat lady has sung. But never fear. There are simple things you can do to stop and even reverse this downward spiral of metabolic madness.

First of all, it would be helpful to know whether or not you are on this path already—how do you know if you are at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and all of the other chronic health problems that come along with carbohydrate sensitivity?

Take the quiz to see where you are on the spectrum of carbohydrate sensitivity, and then follow the links for advice about how you can change your diet to change the course of your future.

Sign up to be notified of my latest posts!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I will never give away, trade or sell your name or email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Please note that after 30 days, Dr. Ede may not personally respond to comments, however comments shall remain open to encourage community discussion.






  • bodybuilder

     “It is impossible to burn body fat if you are eating too much carbohydrate”

    That is the statement that made me stop reading as it is simply idiotic and not based on science. You will burn body fat as long as you are in a caloric deficit, regardless of carbohydrate intake.

    Please stop spreading this idiotic information.

    • Also a bodybuilder

      I disagree.. I body build but am carb senstive. I see fellow body builders of mine enjoying “healthy” carbs, whereas I can not as long as I have them on my menu. My body absolutely does not dig into the fat. As soon as I restrict my carb intake, but maintain the same level of calories as with carbs my body begins to burn fat again.

      • Also a bodybuilder

        In fact, I can eat more calories and get leaner when I eliminate the carbs. As soon as I eat them on a regular basis again, I swell up like the Michelin man.

        • Sean1978

          I guess everyone is different? I added in a few sweet potatoes a day and was able to finally gain some weight back but I could swear it’s the added calories and not the carbs that helped with that? I know some high carb foods are also very high in calories so wouldn’t that make you put on the weight as say opposed to high carb fruits which are lower in calories?

    • Sean1978

      I have been lead to believe what you said is true as well, not the carbs but calorie intake is what can help you either gain body weight or lose it. You can be high carb and still be thin, just as you can be high protein and be thin as well. Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day and if it is deficient then you will not gain a pound, living proof I am. IMO you need a balance of Carbs along with the fat and proteins, if not over time things start to go wrong and anyone long term low carb who has felt it knows what I mean, you start to lose energy and your mood gets very low etc. I tried low carb for a while, felt good at first but later on crashed 6 months or so down the road and lost too much weight, depression etc.

    • Dear bodybuilder,

      I completely agree that you can burn fat if you are in caloric deficit. My choice of words was poor and misleading. I didn’t mean to imply that everyone has to stop eating carbohydrate to lose weight. Metabolism and carbohydrate tolerance vary greatly, so how much carbohydrate is “too much” varies from person to person. Most of us can eat a low-calorie diet that contains plenty of carbohydrate and lose weight because calories do matter, but some of us tolerate that kind of a diet better than others, and some of us have to lower our calories to unsustainable depths if we include carbohydrate. On a low-calorie diet that contains carbohydrate, many of us get hungry (making it hard to sustain caloric deficit long-term) and will burn muscle for sugar along with fat, losing lean body mass.

      It is easier for most of us to lose weight if we lower carbohydrate intake, because lowering carbohydrate lowers insulin levels. There is a scientific consensus finally building about this as more and more studies come out showing that low-carb diets are more effective than low-calorie diets for most. A helpful review article by Hite AH et al, Nutrition in Clinical Practice
      Volume 26 Number 3
      June 2011 300-308

      If you have excellent insulin sensitivity your body will manage whole food sources of carbohydrate easily. However, if you eat a significant amount of refined carbohydrate and/or if you have any degree of insulin insensitivity (which a great many of us do), insulin levels will rise, turning off fat burning.

  • Jasey Magno

    I completely disagree wtih bodybuilder. I experimented with eating low calorie meals that included complex carbs like brown rice, steel cut oats, etc. and lost very little weight. As soon as I reduced the carbs and kept the calorie count the same (eating more protein and vegetables) the weight easily came off – and quickly. Before you accuse someone of being “idiotic” and spreading misinformation, maybe you should read more science and less FLEX magazine.

  • Dan

    all vegan foods are a sugar diet might as well pour a half bowl of sugar over roughage like wheat nutritionally useless

    • Hi Dan

      Yes, I agree that vegan diets are tough on the body ( ) and that fiber is nutritionally useless. Many people think of fiber as healthy for the digestive system, but this is often not the case. Fiber can worsen issues like constipation and IBS in many cases:

    • Maggie468

      Is English your second language, or do you just not care how difficult it is to make sense of sentences that don’t have one crumb of grammar? I think what you meant to say was, “All Vegan foods are a sugar diet. You might as well pour a half bowl of sugar over your roughage. Wheat is nutritionally useless.” However, the last few words were so poorly strung together, I’m not sure I’m interpreting correctly. It was nice of Dr. Ede to give you the respect of an articulate answer.

      • Dan

        yes mother was Professor of language arts, had me tested and my brain is simply not wired that way for language arts the Phd Professor said bet his math is off the charts , obviously writing a book will be difficult without help but considering I have been in research since 1978 guess you’ll have to read as best you can to understand the point as far as now goes