Is losing weight extra hard for you?
You may suffer from carb sensitivity.

This guide includes 5 strategies to help you lose more fat
...even if you have carb sensitivity.

We’ve all experienced feeling a bit...fat before. I personally was teased a lot growing up, but as a kid, I was told to shrug them off. And somehow, that worked.

Even though I still feel fat at times, I’ve learned to embrace a healthier lifestyle and whatever fat I have or weight I accumulate no longer bothers me as much as it did before. We eventually learn more about our body and just wing it for the rest of our lives.

That’s not the case for other people, though, especially those who have specific food sensitivities.

Before we continue, let’s first do a simple test. Put a hand on your tummy and grab a flab (don’t be shy).

Can you feel it? Were you able to grab a lot? A bit? Or just loose skin? I definitely grabbed some, so that makes two of us.

If you were able to pinch a thick amount of skin (or fat) from your belly and waist area, there’s a good chance that thing around your body isn’t just the cause of too much pizza on Friday Madness. Some people have it worse. Way, way worse. You may have heard of it and chances are, Googling it brought you here.

That’s right: Carb sensitivity is a real thing, and it might just be the reason why so many people have trouble losing weight no matter what they do. Think that’s you? Read on.

What is carb sensitivity?

Carb sensitivity is a condition where your body has a high resistance to — and likely higher levels of — insulin.

Insulin is the hormone responsible for controlling your blood sugar levels. A high level of insulin resistance means that your blood sugar levels are likely to spike. This, in turn, makes you more susceptible to diabetes and other dangerous diseases.

When you’re carb-sensitive, eating carb-rich foods won’t satisfy your hunger. Quite the opposite, in fact; you’re likely to find yourself wanting to grab another serving or two of carbs, regardless of what kind they are.

Carb sensitivity is also one of the major factors that make weight loss quite challenging. When you’re carb-sensitive, the act of consuming carb-rich foods has a greater impact on your overall well-being that reducing your caloric intake!

This is because insulin is also responsible for telling your body to stockpile your fat. It messes up your body’s fat-burning process. If you have more of it, well… you do the math.

Okay, you’re carb-sensitive… now what?

Take note that it’s not enough to pinch your belly to determine whether you’re carb-sensitive or not. If it were that simple, doctors would be jobless.

Speaking of doctors, you’ll need one to check on your food sensitivities. To do this, they use different procedures, such as the oral glucose tolerance test, a fasting blood glucose test, the fasting blood insulin test, and the two-hour postprandial insulin test. Don’t worry, though — these tests are safe, and can help your doctor determine the kind of treatment you actually need.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to establish what you can and should do to manage your insulin levels. A good way to start is by figuring out exactly what made you insulin-resistant in the first place.

What causes insulin resistance?

Admit it: You’re probably tempted to just blame it all on carbs. (After all, it IS called “carb sensitivity.”)

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. Eliminating carbs from your diet would lessen the severity of your problem, but it won’t get rid of it.

Let the science do that talking:

  • An oversupply of both fat and sugar. You can remove carbs from your daily intake completely and still develop insulin resistance, especially if you’re eating unhealthily. Studies have shown a strong link between an unhealthy diet and elevated levels of insulin. [1]
  • Accumulated visceral fat. Visceral fat is the rather dangerous type of fat; it builds up around the organs and in your abdominal area. Visceral fat is hard, unlike the soft, squishy substance you probably picture whenever you hear the word “fat.” There’s a good chance that visceral fat heightens your insulin resistance, no matter how it managed to build up inside your system. [2]
  • Inflammation, especially if it happens from time to time. This may be caused by stress or an overabundance of Omega-6. Either way, inflammation can severely affect your level of insulin resistance. [3]
  • Sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that there is a relationship between not getting enough sleep and developing type 1 diabetes. [4]
  • Stress. If you’re often stressed out by work or life in general, you’re actually at higher risk of suffering from metabolic syndrome. [5]
  • The modern diet. Today’s diets aren’t just high in refined carbs — they’re also abundant in calories, sugar, and all the other stuff that lead to the other factors on this list. Grabbing healthy food isn’t always an option, especially when you’re outside and you need to get a quick bite before you go back to work.

So, what are my options?

You can start by managing your carb intake, of course. Cutting back on the carbs you consume will have a beneficial impact that, while not immediately obvious, will be observable over time.

However, doing this is not the be-all, end-all solution to your carb sensitivity. As mentioned, there are numerous other factors that affect your body when you suffer from this condition.

Nevertheless, reducing your overall carb intake is definitely recommended. It's just not the only thing you should do.

That said, there are other ways of safeguarding yourself from carb sensitivity. Here are a few of the most effective ones.

Tip #1...
Consume foods that can help you manage and minimize your inflammation

One of the most significant factors affecting your insulin resistance is inflammation. Fortunately, there are a number of ways through which you can reduce inflammation, including eliminating certain types of food (such as vegetable oil or soy) and consuming more fish, seafood, and other Omega-3-rich foods.

Pair your anti-inflammatory diet with sufficient exercise (more on that in a bit), and you should be well on your way towards keeping your insulin levels within the desirable range.

Tip #2...

Make sure that you get the recommended number of hours of sleep per day

Getting enough sleep is a crucial element in maintaining good health. Naturally, it follows that a lack of sleep is detrimental to your well-being. In fact, studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can make you even more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, infectious diseases, and other illnesses [6], as well as reduce your insulin sensitivity. [7]

While some studies say it's not possible to completely make up for lost sleep, other research has shown that compensating for lost sleeping hours can actually help in remedying the damage that poor sleeping habits have done on your body, particularly in terms of insulin resistance. [8]

Tip #3...

Incorporate regular exercise into your everyday activities

Did you know that working out is one of the most effective ways of reducing your body's insulin resistance?

Exercising can actually give your insulin sensitivity an instant boost. This temporary increase can last anywhere between two hours to two entire days. The length of time your insulin sensitivity is boosted depends on the kind of exercise you did. Intense cardio, such as cycling or running, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity the most. Make no mistake, though -- lifting weights also benefits you in terms of insulin sensitivity, though not as much as cardio does.

It isn't surprising that you'll get the best results when you incorporate both resistance training and intense cardio into your overall exercise regimen. The effect of exercise on insulin resistance has also been observed in both men and women, regardless of whether or not they suffer from diabetes. Interestingly, research shows that exercise-induced weight loss had a more significant effect on increasing your insulin sensitivity than merely cutting back on calories. [9]

As mentioned earlier, exercise is also tremendously useful in reducing and preventing inflammation. This benefit results not just from the exercise itself, but also from the fact that it helps you lose weight. As you consume energy and use up the glucose supply in your muscles, your insulin sensitivity gets a much-needed boost.

Tip #4...

Don't let your stress get the better of you

Stress doesn't just make you feel bad and render you ineffective -- it also has a very real and tangible impact on your body, particularly in its capacity for blood sugar regulation.

When you are stressed, your body becomes more likely to enter survival (or "fight or flight") mode. Stress hormones such as glucagon and cortisol transform the glycogen that your body stores into glucose, which ultimately increases your blood sugar levels. In other words, the longer you remain stressed, the more you'll produce these hormones -- and the more your body will release glucose into your bloodstream.

As if that weren't bad enough, you also become more insulin-resistant when your stress hormones are abundant. As your body keeps producing said hormones, the nutrients that should have been stored in your body keep getting pushed out, thereby decreasing your insulin sensitivity. [10]

If you feel that you're always getting stressed, a good course of action would be to engage in yoga, meditation, and other relaxing activities to increase your insulin sensitivity. Alternatively, you could just pour all that negative energy into your workout -- or better yet, just sleep over it (and believe it or not, this actually works).

Tip #5...

Make soluble fiber a more significant part of your diet

There are two different types of fiber. One type of fiber, soluble fiber, can be digested by your body. The other, insoluble fiber, serves a different function in your body.

For now, let's focus on soluble fiber. (If it helps, you can just think of insoluble fiber as a helpful agent in ensuring smoother digestion and excretory processes.)

Soluble fiber is well-known for its many benefits, including curbing your appetite and lowering your cholesterol levels. [11] Research also suggests that an increased intake of soluble fiber actually has a positive correlation with increased insulin sensitivity, and even feeds the "good bacteria" in your intestines that enhance your insulin sensitivity even further. [12]

Make sure that there’s an abundance of the following foods in your diet:

  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Barley
  • Black beans
  • Lima beans
  • Broccoli
  • Pears
  • Kidney beans
  • Apricots
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Guavas
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Carrots

As an added benefit, colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that fight against inflammation-causing molecules, known as free radicals. [13] In general, however, plant-based foods have been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity. [14]

Pro tip: When you add fruit to your diet, don’t go beyond 2 slices per sitting, across five servings daily. This way, you can take advantage of their soluble fiber content without taking in too much sugar.

The supplement(ary) question

And of course, you may also choose to take supplements.
Back then, people who suffered from high levels of insulin didn't have the option to buy supplements. With advancements in medical research, though, supplements for increasing insulin sensitivity have started to hit the market.

As with all supplements, you should always be careful in selecting which ones to purchase, especially if there is a lack of scientific evidence to back up whatever medical claims are printed on their labels.

Out of all the available supplements on shelves, though, there are four types that are strongly backed by scientific evidence: berberine, chromium, magnesium, and resveratrol.
Berberine is derived from a number of herbs, and while its precise impact on insulin has yet to be accurately defined or quantified, a relationship has been established between its consumption and heightened insulin sensitivity. As such, it has also been demonstrated to be a factor in lowering blood sugar.

The minerals chromium and magnesium, meanwhile, have both been observed to affect blood sugar levels. Chromium affects fat metabolism and has been shown to enhance insulin's capacity to reduce blood sugar levels at certain amounts. Magnesium, on the other hand, has been linked to heightened insulin sensitivity, thereby improving their ability to store blood sugar.

Last but not least is resveratrol, which has been observed to increase insulin sensitivity, particularly in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this compound, which is derived from the skins of different types of berries, requires further study in order to determine its exact effects on the body.

It goes without saying that before you even so much as start looking for these on the shelves, you should first clarify this with your physician.

A final reminder

Cutting back on your carbs isn't the only solution to your carb sensitivity and raised insulin levels. Similarly, the complete elimination of carbs from your diet is not the answer. Reducing your carb intake is more of a remedial measure than anything else.

Instead, focus on following the recommended courses of action we listed. Adhering to these practices with consistency is the key to making sure that you won't have to live out the rest of your days avoiding carbs like the plague. When you reach -- and maintain -- a healthy level of insulin, you won't have to think twice about grabbing that yummy slice of cake for dessert.


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  2. Hardy OT, Czech MP, Corvera S. What causes the insulin resistance underlying obesity?. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2012;19(2):81-7.

  3. Park M.H., Kim D.H., Lee E.K., Kim N.D., Im D.S., Lee J., Yu B.P., Chung H.Y. Age-related inflammation and insulin resistance: A review of their intricate interdependency. Arch. Pharm. Res. 2014;37:1507–1514. doi: 10.1007/s12272-014-0474-6.

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  5. Solas M, Aisa B, Tordera RM, Mugueta MC, Ramírez MJ. Stress contributes to the development of central insulin resistance during aging: implications for Alzheimer’s disease. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1832;2013:2332–2339. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.09.013.

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  9. Murphy JC, McDaniel JL, Mora K, Villareal DT, Fontana L, Weiss EP. Preferential reductions in intermuscular and visceral adipose tissue with exercise-induced weight loss compared with calorie restriction. J Appl Physiol. 2012;112:79–85. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00355.2011

  10. Adam TC, Hasson RE, Ventura EE, et al. Cortisol is negatively associated with insulin sensitivity in overweight Latino youth. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95(10):4729-35.

  11. Lattimer JM, Haub MD. Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1266-89.

  12. Caricilli AM, Saad MJ. The role of gut microbiota on insulin resistance. Nutrients. 2013;5(3):829-51. Published 2013 Mar 12. doi:10.3390/nu5030829

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