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If you find yourself feeling exhausted all the time, you may want to examine your carbohydrate intake.

In my previous newsletters, I have discussed the challenges of food addiction and how eating complex carbohydrates that release insulin into your body more slowly can reduce your hunger pangs and help you to sustain your energy.

Fat, fiber and protein all help slow down your body’s reaction to carbohydrates.

One of the top kinesiologists, Dr. Philip Maffetone, estimates that as much as one-third of the population is unable to process carbohydrates- sugars and starches – efficiently.

According to his book, In Fitness and in Health: Everyone is an Athlete (Stamford, N.Y.: David Barmore Productions, 1994), as much as 40 percent of carbohydrates eaten are converted to fat in a normal person.  Dr. Maffetone says the ability to process carbohydrates often declines with age.

Dr. Maffetone lists the following symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance:

  • fatigue
  • inability to concentrate
  • intestinal bloating
  • sleepiness
  • increased fat storage, especially a large belly in males and prominent buttocks and chipmunk cheeks in women
  • high triglycerides, even in those who are not overweight, as a result of carbohydrates from the diet being converted to insulin
  • high blood pressure
  • depression (I devoted an entire chapter to this subject in my book, Healing Depression: A Guide to Making Intelligent Choices about Treating Depression (Sante Fe, N.M.: Heartsfire Books, 1997).

Dr. Maffetone believes that carbohydrate intolerance is prevalent in persons addicted to alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and other drugs.

Many of us overlook fruits and vegetables as a healthy source of carbohydrates, especially compared with junk foods like chips, donuts, and twinkies. Dr. Abram Hoffer, who wrote the introduction to my book, recommends this simple formula for the optimum diet for most people: proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and lots of water – leaving out grains and processed foods.

If you feel you may be carbohydrate intolerant, here are a few action steps you can take:

  1. Get most of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are loaded with phytochemicals that will boost your health and energy over time.
  2. Make an appointment with me to find out how you can do a two-week test. Your body is unique. There’s a simple eating plan you can follow for two weeks to reset your blood sugar. If you lose weight, you may need to add more carbohydrates to maintain your weight. If your body weight stays stable, you will know you have to carefully monitor your carb intake in order to prevent weight gain.
  3. Do not let your carb intake fall below 150 grams a day if you are depressed. Your body requires carbs to make your serotonin – the neurotransmitter you need to feel happy. If you restrict your carb intake too sharply, you may damage your metabolism.
  4. Set up an appointment to ask me to check to see if you are experiencing food sensitivities.
  5. Keep a food diary. Record not only your food intake but also your energy levels throughout the day. Notice what meal choices give you energy and what makes you tired.