19 April 2012

Carbohydrate resistance?

"Carbohydrate resistance" probably erroneously refers to insulin resistance, says DietDoc. But then there is also something such as "carbohydrate intolerance".


"Carbohydrate resistance" probably erroneously refers to insulin resistance, says DietDoc. But then there is also something such as "carbohydrate intolerance".

‘What is carbohydrate resistance?’

This was a particularly elusive concept to track down and I have only found one reference to “Carbohydrate Intolerance” (Gangemi, 2011), but not to carbohydrate resistance.

As mentioned previously in my reply on the DietDoc forum, “carbohydrate resistance” probably erroneously refers to insulin resistance. It is also important to keep in mind that certain persons are “carbohydrate or gluten intolerant”, which means that they cannot eat certain carbohydrates, such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, and titricale.  But individuals with carbohydrate or gluten intolerance can still eat other carbohydrates such as maize, rice, quinoa and sorghum.

Patients who suffer from “Insulin Resistance (IR)”, usually produce the pancreatic hormone insulin, but the insulin is not able to fulfill its task of transporting glucose across the cell wall or membrane into body cells to be used as energy or fuel for metabolism and physical exercise.

The reason why insulin is not able to perform its function, is that the body cells have become resistant and don’t “recognise” insulin when it tries to transport glucose through the cell membranes. So the cell walls refuse to allow insulin to transport glucose into the body cells, and the glucose levels in the blood get higher and higher leading to hyperglycaemia and a whole cascade of negative effects, including deposition of body fat and development of type 2 diabetes.

I suspect that the terms “Carbohydrate Intolerance” may be used to fuel fear of carbohydrates and to persuade the public to switch to very-low- or zero-carb diets, something that is highly popular at the moment, but not necessarily prudent.

(Picture: Woman holding potato chip on Shutterstock)

(Dr I.V. van Heerden, Aka DietDoc, April 2012)

Ask Dietdoc a question.

Read Tim Noakes on Carbohydrates.


Ashton D (2011). News. Dr Ashton - Sept 2011- “No” to EndoBarrier. ; Gangemi S (2011). Easy on the carbs - Get lean, Get Fast. 29 March 2011. Health Seekers (2012). ELIM- Energy level Indicator Monitor. ;Schouten R et al (2010). A multicenter, randomised efficacy study of the EndoBarrier Gastrointestinal Liner for presurgical weight loss prior to bariatric surgery. Ann Surg, 251(2):236-43;





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