Are you sensitive to carbohydrates?

Do you walk past a plate of pasta and feel like you gain 5kg? Does the small of freshly baked bread go straight to your hips? Of perhaps you are trying to make all the right choices with “healthy” carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice, wholegrain bread) but still cant seem to shift body fat?

It may indicate that you are sensitive to carbohydrates in general or to specific types of carbohydrates.

Let’s explore how to figure out if you are sensitive to carbohydrates?

Simple answer…

  • Looking back on your choices, honestly, do you experience fat loss best, when you dial back on the carbs and sugar?
  • Do you feel like you gain weight quickly when you eat carbs and sugar?
  • Do carbs make you tired?
  • Do you retain a lot of water when you eat carbs and sugar?

These are you base line questions to ask in regards to carb sensitivity. If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then its most likely you are sensitive to carbohydrates in general.

What does that mean for you? Well to feel better, to help you progress towards your body composition goals and improve your health, then yep, dialling back on the carbs is ideal. That is not saying you have to quit all carbs and sugar right this second and never eat them again. I am not suggesting that at all, but what will be an improvement for you?

Perhaps its eliminating carbs just at breakfast or ditching the juice/soft drink you have every day with lunch, or maybe its having half the amount of ice-cream or chocolate that you do after dinner. Make small improvements over time and pay attention to how it is making you feel.

More complex answer, with testing and numbers…

You will need a blood sugar monitor, you can get these from a local chemist, or online.

The approach is to test each carbohydrate in isolation so you can see how your body responds from a blood sugar perspective. This can be quite a lengthy process as you will have to fast before each test, usually 8 hours overnight is sufficient.

You want to know what your fasting blood glucose is before you eat, then 1 hour after eating, then 2 hours after eating.

You are looking for how quickly it rises and then how quickly it returns to baseline at 2 hours (if it does).

Its LESS of an issue if it rises and then returns to baseline at 2 hours.

Its MORE of an issue if it rises and stays elevated after 2 hours. This indicates sensitivity to the tested carbohydrate, and might be a consideration for you to reduce or minimise consumption if your goal is fat loss and steady energy levels.

It isn’t so much of a focus on the specific numbers or what healthy range you need to be in, its how long your blood sugar levels stay elevated for.

Let’s look at an example…

You test your fasting blood glucose at 7:45am, lets just say its 76.

At 8am you eat 50g white potato (always make sure you test the same amount of carbohydrate).

Then at 9am you test again and it has risen to 110.

At 10am you test again and it has returned to baseline at 80.

That’s a normal response; within 2 hours your body has metabolised the carbohydrate well.

On the other hand, if you test at 2 hours and your blood glucose levels have only reduced to say 98, then this indicates a sensitivity to that carbohydrate.

After 2 hours, a normal response will be that your blood glucose levels are back to baseline or very close to.

Keep in mind you may have a different response to different carbohydrates such as:

  • white rice
  • sweet potato
  • pasta
  • oats
  • brown rice
  • sourdough bread
  • banana
  • multigrain bread
  • quinoa
  • donuts etc.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email


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