Consider this example: Imagine eating a healthy carb such as quinoa, lentils or a sweet potato with your lean protein and essential fats. Sounds healthy, right? But what if your body interpreted that carbohydrate as though it were a big bowl of chocolate ice cream? When we are sensitive to carbohydrates, our cells do not respond effectively to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance), which causes insulin levels to increase.

In fact, the vast majority of us have different degrees of sensitivity to carbohydrates or insulin resistance, and we don’t even realize it. If you’re wondering whether you are carb sensitive, take a good look at your waist and pinch your stomach. If you carry excess fat in this area, you very likely possess some level of insulin resistance, which also means you are likely carb sensitive. If you’re naturally lean, it’s safe to say that you can tolerate eating carbs quite readily without weight gain and excess cravings. You can also tell if you are carbohydrate sensitive by asking yourself these key questions:

  • Do you crave carbohydrates?
  • Do you have a sweet tooth?
  • Do you get sleepy or have mental fogginess after meals?
  • Do you feel bloated, especially after meals?
  • Do you experience water retention or puffiness?
  • Do you have a very large appetite or an obsession with food?
  • Do you have stubborn fat accumulation, especially around your middle?
  • Do you feel a burning or warming sensation in your feet at night?
  • Do you have difficulty losing weight despite a "healthy, balanced" diet?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your sensitivity to carbs may be negatively impacting your metabolism, hormone production and long-term health. I recommend the following as a first step towards helping you breakthrough your carb addiction, end the yo-yo dieting cycle and repair your metabolism.

Stay steady. Eat every three to four hours to maintain blood sugar levels, prevent overeating and avoid excessive cravings. Skipping meals, irregular meal times and excessive caloric restriction will only lead to increased risk of binging later in the day. Before attending your next event or party, try to have a snack such as a handful of walnuts or a few olives. The healthy fats in these foods can help to cut belly fat and reduce the tendency to overeat. Finally, travel with snacks such as a piece of string cheese, raw almonds or cashews, or a low sugar protein bar.

Add a Little Roughage. Consuming more fiber is another secret weapon in your arsenal against holiday weight gain. Fiber causes our stomach to stretch and increases the amount of time it takes for food to pass through the digestive tract. Both of these benefits lead to better appetite control and make us less likely to keep munching away. While most people take in 10.15 g of fiber per day, it is 25.35 g that is required for optimal weight management and bowel health. Like protein, fiber also slows the flow of sugar into our bloodstream, which causes less insulin release yet still provides us with a steady supply of energy. The easiest way to increase your fiber is to add ground chia or flax seeds to your meals and protein shakes.

Reduce Stress with Relora: A mixture of the herbal extracts magnolia officinalis and phellodendron amurense, Relora is medically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Itfs often the best option for patients who tend to wake up throughout the night, for highly stressed individuals and for menopausal women with hot flashes that cause sleep disruption. Relora can significantly reduce cortisol and raise the antiaging, antistress hormone DHEA within only 2 weeks of use. Take 2 capsules before bed and 1 in the morning to ease the effects of stress and in turn curb your cravings.

De-Carb Your Cupboards: Despite temptation to slash calories in order to fit into that little black dress (which often leads to hormonal havoc), the solution lies in altering the macronutrient makeup of your diet.particularly, the type and amount of carbs that you take in. A 2007 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people with high insulin in their blood lost more weight on a diet comprised of more fat and less carbohydrates. At the end of the study the group on the lower carb diet lost on average 13 pounds, whereas the group on the higher carb, low fat diet lost an average of 2 1/2 pounds.

While I have included a detailed six phase program in The Carb Sensitivity Program which cycles the carbs consumed, you can begin right away by boosting your protein and healthy fat intake, and lowering your intake of all starchy carbs including breads, pastas, rice, grains, oatmeal, potatoes, legumes (beans), carrots, squash, etc. As you make changes to your intake of carbs, feel free to take the questionnaire listed above on a weekly basis to check your progress. Keep experimenting with your type of carbs until you have identified the diet that has you feeling and looking your best, without any cravings, bloating, digestive discomfort or mood swings. For further recommendations please visit www.carbsensitivity.com.

Natasha Turner, ND

Dr. Natasha Turner is North America’s leading naturopathic doctor and founder of the Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique in Toronto, Canada. Bright, energetic and practicing what she preaches, her goal is to inspire others to make positive lifestyle choices in order to enjoy healthier lives. Her passion for promoting wellness, fitness and integrated medicine makes her a sought-after speaker for corporations, the public and the education of other medical professionals. She was recognized by the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors as being a leader in her field. Dr. Turner is also the first Canadian naturopathic doctor to be featured on The Dr. Oz Show.

Dr. Turner’s first book, The Hormone Diet, became a #1 bestseller within one week of its release in the spring of 2009. The book is based on her successful clinical approach for creating hormonal balance to gain strength, lose fat and live younger longer. Her second book, The Supercharged Hormone Diet, an accelerated 30 day plan to restore your metabolism and look younger longer, became a #1 national bestseller on its first day of release in March 2011. Her third book, The Carb Sensitivity Program: Discover Which Carbs Will Curb Your Cravings, Control Your Appetite and Banish Belly Fat made the bestseller list the first week of its release in March 2012. Her work has been endorsed by New York Times bestselling authors, Suzanne Somers, Dr. William Davis and Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Website: www.drnatashaturner.com/