Carbohydrate Sensitivity: Why It's Important


Low Carb doesn't mean Low Carb! Finding the right balance is key!

“Carbohydrate Sensitivity”...you’ve probably heard it, but you may be wondering, “What is it?” or “Do I have it?”. At MRC, we believe asking questions is a GOOD thing, and we’re here to help inform the answers for you! The truth is:

  • Some individuals are carbohydrate-intolerant (i.e., their bodies are unable to digest and utilize carbs resulting in severe gastrointestinal distress)

  • Some individuals are insulin-sensitive (i.e., their insulin levels are severely aggravated by carbohydrate consumption resulting in rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar, and oftentimes gastrointestinal discomfort)

Now for the ugly truth: you don’t have to be carbohydrate-intolerant or insulin-sensitive to be negatively affected by carbohydrates in your diet. Many individuals, after consuming carbohydrates, report experiencing symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, malaise, brain fog, irritability, inability to focus...and the list goes on. If any of these sound like you, carbohydrates may be affecting you negatively.

Now for the good news: there are easy ways to minimize and even eliminate the negative side effects of carbohydrate consumption. Even if you don’t suffer from carbohydrate sensitivity, a low-carb diet has many benefits to all! We want to stress that to do this healthily  it is not sufficient to just decrease carbohydrates. It is important to maintain optimal calorie levels by increasing protein and healthy fats.  The good news is that this usually means “more food” :)

To illustrate what we mean, here are two examples below of a High Carb diet and a Moderate Carb Diet:

High Carb/Low Protein Diet

Breakfast: 1 Cup Cereal, 1 Small Banana, 8 oz Skim Milk

Snack: 1 Apple

Lunch: Sandwich with Chips

Snack: 1 Serving Crackers

Dinner: Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Garlic Bread

 

Healthy Fat & Protein/Moderate Carb Diet

Breakfast: 2 Eggs, ½ Cup Veggies, ½ Avocado

Snack: 2 oz Tuna + 1 Cup Celery Sticks

Lunch: 3 oz Grilled Chicken Breast, 2 Cups Salad

Snack: 1 oz Nuts, ¾ Cup Berries

Dinner: 3 oz Steak Stir Fry with Veggies and ¼ Cup Rice

 

As you can see, a “lower carbohydrate diet” means INCREASED protein and fat.  Also, note that “low carb” does not mean “NO carb”. To ensure that carbohydrates aren’t too low, focus on berries, vegetables, and minimal whole grains.  The benefits of maintaining a lower carbohydrate diet are extensive for anyone! Your blood sugar will be stable, you will experience less cravings, fatigue and brain fog will decrease, weight loss will be easier, bloat and other gastrointestinal problems may subside, and energy levels can increase.

For some great ideas of lower carbohydrate meals, check out these MRC originals:

For more ideas, tips, and tricks to incorporate a lower carbohydrate diet into your lifestyle, contact your nearest MRC Center. We’re here to help, and your body will thank you!

Melissa Stoner R.D., R.D.N., C.P.T.

 

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