A carb intolerance may be the reason weight loss is difficult


If you’re determined to lose weight in a healthy way, it’s important to make sure you are in tune with your body and how it works. We all have different metabolisms and food tolerance levels, so there is no “one size fits all” exercise and nutrition plan.

One thing to consider if you’ve been trying to lose weight but feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle is how well your body tolerates carbohydrates. Most of us have heard of people being lactose- or gluten-intolerant, but your body can have trouble tolerating other carbs as well. In some people, eating even small amounts of certain carbs can cause bloating, fatigue, abdominal cramps, poor digestion and heartburn.

What exactly is carbohydrate intolerance? Simply put, it's your body’s inability to metabolize carbohydrate normally. When someone consumes more carbohydrate than their body can tolerate, two things happen. The pancreas secretes an overabundance of insulin, which makes your body very efficient at storing fat. Then, the liver takes in all the extra carbohydrate your bloodstream cannot utilize and turns it into fat stores. 

If you often feel bloated, distended, chronically fatigued, or find it nearly impossible to lose weight, these tips can help pinpoint the potential of carb intolerance:

Keep a food and workout journal. 

Be aware of what you are eating by writing it down and analyzing the ingredients. If a food you’re eating has you feeling bloated or tired, start to recognize it and find a more compatible substitute. The journal will also allow you to track if you are getting enough exercise to balance your food intake. 

Eat fewer carbs, but don’t ban them completely. 

An initial approach might be to make sure your portions of carb foods, including milk and yogurt, fruit, starchy vegetables, and whole grains, are reasonable. Each person has a different metabolism, and low-carbohydrate diets work very well for some people.  It’s important to note, however, that a carb-controlled diet doesn’t mean eating a diet made up of only protein. Eating healthy fats and remembering to include a lot of non-starchy vegetables is important for getting adequate antioxidant rich nutrients and fiber. 

Be less refined. 

Avoid refined and processed sugars that are added to things like sodas, fruit drinks and desserts, and learn to decipher food labels. Foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose and even raw sugar should be eaten sparingly. Instead, stick to foods with more complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Let nutrient-dense foods rule.  

Eat more often, not less. 

Many of us think the key to losing weight is to significantly cut down on the amount of food and frequency of eating, but some people respond well to eating smaller quantities more often. Some clients respond well to eating four to six small meals a day to regulate their blood sugar and keep their appetite under control. Help curb sugar cravings by including protein and healthy fat, in addition to a nutrient dense complex carbohydrate with each meal. 

Make an appointment with a dietitian. 

Together, the two of you can get a better handle on how YOUR body handles and digests carbohydrate foods. Registered dietitians can be a great teammate to help create a diet plan that works for you over the long haul. 

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