Are You Carb Sensitive?

I love corn chips, pizza, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and garlic bread…but they don’t love me back.  Why?  I am carb sensitive.  I had always suspected this, but I found the following quiz in a book (and another version in Health magazine last year) and wasn’t surprised by the results at all.  Answer yes or no to the questions below:

1.  I crave carbohydrates and sugary foods much of the time.

2.  I have been overweight for much of my life and have struggled to lose weight.

3.  I am a woman and over forty.

4.  I suffer from chronic bouts of depression and then overeat to compensate.

5.  I am sometimes nervous, panicky, or irritable.

6.  When I eat sugar, I get tired and sleepy and can’t think clearly.

7.  I’d rather have carbohydrates than protein most or all of the time.

8.  My diet consists of a lot of processed foods like white rice, bread, pastas, sweets, or sugary cereals.

9.  I don’t exercise very much or at all.

10.  I suffer from chronic stress.

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these statements, you may be carbohydrate sensitive.  (Don’t feel bad if they all apply to you — I answered “yes” to all of them!)

If you’re a woman, knowing that you’re carb sensitive is extremely important.  While men tend to burn carbohydrates for energy, women (more often than not) store carbohydrates as fat.  The fact that our bodies contain estrogen blocks our ability to burn carbohydrates efficiently.  In fact, girls are born with MORE fat cells than boys.  (To which I say, bully on female biology!)

Of course, to be on a healthy eating plan, we must include protein, fiber, fats, and carbohydrates.  A healthy eating plan includes carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  When you overload your body with the wrong kinds of carbs, it can no longer efficiently burn fat and fat that is not burned is stored.

Carb sensitivity increases with age and can lead to insulin resistance.  If your cells don’t recognize glucose anymore, they keep glucose from entering for energy.  This causes your blood sugar to rise, you get tired more easily, and you gain weight — mostly around your mid-section.

To lose weight, you must deplete your fat cells of glucose.  When your cells run out of glucose, the body gets the signal to start burning fat that is stored in the cells.  And even though you can lose some weight without exercising, the reason we seem to lose more weight when we exercise is because the body releases an enzyme when we exercise that tells the body to burn fat stored in the cells.  That’s why a healthy eating plan in conjunction with exercise works so well.

What has really worked for me is this:  instead of reaching for a carb-loaded foods, I have protein with a little fat instead.  Two of my new favorite foods are the Planter’s NUT-rition peanut butters:  cinnamon granola mix and chocolate cherry.  It’s something a little different from regular peanut butter and they both have less fat and sugar than traditional peanut butter.  Two tablespoons of either of these spread on apple slices or celery sticks is a treat that feels naughty but is actually good for you.  When you combine protein with a little fat as a snack, it helps you feel satiated longer.

What is your favorite low-cal, low-carb snack?


Sources of Information:

Choose More, Lose More for Life by Chris Powell

The 17-Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno

The Flat-Belly Diet by Prevention Magazine

The 100 by Jorge Cruise


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