2

votes

Is there any literature on carbohydrate intolerance?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 10, 2010 at 5:40 PM

I have celiac disease and soy allergies. I am also unable to tolerate certain carbs in certain quantities--anything from tomato paste to mashed sweet potato to coconut flour to white rice turns my digestion to sludge. The results are replicable and quantifiable. I can induce bad digestion by eating a threshold quantity of these substances (anything over about 10 grams). I have eliminated these items from my diet but occasionally give in during social events. Interestingly, raw tomatoes or boiled sweet potatoes do not induce the same response. Can you help me explain this? Are there any references out there that speak to this? (A search of PubMed on "carbohydrate intolerance" reveals much about lactose, but little else of value.)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

You know, I keep meaning to look into this. Glad I stopped by this thread; I'm looking at the low FODMAP list now, and it's extremely interesting.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Corinne, I'm in exactly the same place as you and wjones. Meat mutants unite!

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on December 11, 2010
at 01:23 AM

Exactly. If you had to completely, 100% avoid starch for this to work, you'd be screwed. Even meat contains glycogen (a starch). So the trick is minimization, which in practice looks like an attempt to eliminate, even if that attempt is futile. And I strongly suspect that after some period of time healing, you're probably safe to eat a more varied diet. I'll test that in a year or two maybe :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 10:32 PM

"Bacteria may be able to eat pure glucose, but the manner in which they do doesn't cause the auto-immune response, so it doesn't matter." Exactly, OK. Also, on dose response: if you go to chowstat.com for example, you'll see that even something like cheese contains trace amounts of sucrose [sic].

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 10:29 PM

I don't think you have anything to worry about with respect to your blog, just my incompetence with the internet. I wouldn't have even tried to post a comment because of that "profile" requirement, but I just started a wordpress blog and thought I could use my wordpress username, but that didn't work for some reason.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on December 10, 2010
at 08:38 PM

Not sure why you couldn't comment, my test went through. Weird. I should probably do an update post over the holiday, but short summary: Lactaid is my carb source. The key to the hypothesis is that starch digestion was the problem; sure, bacteria may be able to eat pure glucose, but the manner in which they do doesn't cause the auto-immune response, so it doesn't matter. There's also dose-response to remember. Since I appear to be fine despite chugging milk, it seems that whatever lactose remains in Lactaid isn't enough of a dose to cause issues.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:16 PM

Interesting. Good to know I'm not a complete mutant!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:05 PM

There was some disagreement on that thread about honey, but in essence it was about monosaccharides in general -- compare Melissa, say, to Paleo Seb. If Seb is right then it would seem you're screwed. If you don't want to digest any polysaccharides because of the KP and if Seb is right when he says "I think that the simpler the sugar you eat, the easiest it can be digested by the bacteria in your small intestine, and when this bacteria is mostly bad, it's a bad idea" then what to do?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Pfw, I tried to leave a comment at your blog but without success. What did you ever do about your glucose needs? (http://paleohacks.com/questions/8007/how-to-get-carbs-without-starch) I just looked at the comments to your "Concluding Thoughts" post and you said you're drinking Lactaid (I assume because you don't want any lactose, a disaccharide). Did you try glucose tabs? Also, what was the final verdict on honey? [Continued.]

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 10, 2010
at 06:08 PM

Your "immune response to bacterial digestion by products" is and has been my working hypothesis. I actually did the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and achieved good results. The thing is that the SCD restricts many things that I don't have a problem with. To further confound things, cruciferous vegetables give me the same problem (I'd like to be able to eat broccoli and cabbage, but over the "10 gram threshold" I simply cannot).

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3 Answers

6
030e4c293151bf6c70550dcfcfde0f67

(1537)

on December 10, 2010
at 06:11 PM

If I eat any carbs beyond the tiny amounts in meat and fats - doesn't matter the source - I suffer. I wish this weren't the case. If I eat leafy greens, I am in digestive pain and I spin into an out-of-control situation where I am stuck in the universe of insatiable hunger. From greens! It's hell. Or it's heaven, take your pick. All I can eat, safely, and keep my appetite in control as well as my tummy happy, is meat and fat and a bit of cream and butter. That's it. That's all I eat, and all I have eaten for nearly a year. I look great, I feel great, so it's okay. But some days I wish I could eat an apple, for crying out loud, or some salsa. But I can't. Will my system ever "heal" or is this the way I was born? I have no idea.

I eat about three pounds of meat and fat a day, to keep my weight up and to keep my energy and mood up. I feel fantastic.

I think that there are others like this, too, who have a very small margin of error with their diet. We are all different to a degree.

Good luck figuring out where your margin of error lies, and don't be too discouraged if it is like mine. Meat is super yummy!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:16 PM

Interesting. Good to know I'm not a complete mutant!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Corinne, I'm in exactly the same place as you and wjones. Meat mutants unite!

3
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on December 10, 2010
at 05:49 PM

It sounds more like you have some sort of starch intolerance, probably confounded by other factors which make figuring out the actual problem more difficult. In this case, "intolerance" is akin to lactose intolerance; some amount of undigested starch passes to your gut where it is fermented by bacteria. You sound very strongly like someone who has an undiagnosed bowel disorder (Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, etc) and the byproducts of starch digestion may very well be your trigger.

Here's a blog post I wrote up explaining my understanding of the theory/mechanism involved: http://crohnscarnivore.blogspot.com/2010/06/hypothesis.html

Your ability to eat raw tomatoes and boiled sweet potatoes does confound things. If you are so sensitive that 10g of white rice will set you off, boiled sweet potatoes probably should as well.

For what it's worth, there's no real concept of "carbohydrate" intolerance since it's too vague. If you were really intolerant to an entire macronutrient, your body would be in dire straits. What's more likely is that you are sensitive to some particular thing which might be two steps removed from the food itself (like an immune response to bacterial digestion by products).

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Pfw, I tried to leave a comment at your blog but without success. What did you ever do about your glucose needs? (http://paleohacks.com/questions/8007/how-to-get-carbs-without-starch) I just looked at the comments to your "Concluding Thoughts" post and you said you're drinking Lactaid (I assume because you don't want any lactose, a disaccharide). Did you try glucose tabs? Also, what was the final verdict on honey? [Continued.]

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 10:32 PM

"Bacteria may be able to eat pure glucose, but the manner in which they do doesn't cause the auto-immune response, so it doesn't matter." Exactly, OK. Also, on dose response: if you go to chowstat.com for example, you'll see that even something like cheese contains trace amounts of sucrose [sic].

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 10, 2010
at 06:08 PM

Your "immune response to bacterial digestion by products" is and has been my working hypothesis. I actually did the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and achieved good results. The thing is that the SCD restricts many things that I don't have a problem with. To further confound things, cruciferous vegetables give me the same problem (I'd like to be able to eat broccoli and cabbage, but over the "10 gram threshold" I simply cannot).

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on December 10, 2010
at 08:38 PM

Not sure why you couldn't comment, my test went through. Weird. I should probably do an update post over the holiday, but short summary: Lactaid is my carb source. The key to the hypothesis is that starch digestion was the problem; sure, bacteria may be able to eat pure glucose, but the manner in which they do doesn't cause the auto-immune response, so it doesn't matter. There's also dose-response to remember. Since I appear to be fine despite chugging milk, it seems that whatever lactose remains in Lactaid isn't enough of a dose to cause issues.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 10:29 PM

I don't think you have anything to worry about with respect to your blog, just my incompetence with the internet. I wouldn't have even tried to post a comment because of that "profile" requirement, but I just started a wordpress blog and thought I could use my wordpress username, but that didn't work for some reason.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on December 10, 2010
at 07:05 PM

There was some disagreement on that thread about honey, but in essence it was about monosaccharides in general -- compare Melissa, say, to Paleo Seb. If Seb is right then it would seem you're screwed. If you don't want to digest any polysaccharides because of the KP and if Seb is right when he says "I think that the simpler the sugar you eat, the easiest it can be digested by the bacteria in your small intestine, and when this bacteria is mostly bad, it's a bad idea" then what to do?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on December 11, 2010
at 01:23 AM

Exactly. If you had to completely, 100% avoid starch for this to work, you'd be screwed. Even meat contains glycogen (a starch). So the trick is minimization, which in practice looks like an attempt to eliminate, even if that attempt is futile. And I strongly suspect that after some period of time healing, you're probably safe to eat a more varied diet. I'll test that in a year or two maybe :)

2
33ab3c085652a0cfbd7ab15c049afd1f

on December 10, 2010
at 08:24 PM

Look into FODMAPS - just google it. It's something I'm experimenting with great results!

Basically these are types of carbs, sugars, etc that can cause intolerance in some folks.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

You know, I keep meaning to look into this. Glad I stopped by this thread; I'm looking at the low FODMAP list now, and it's extremely interesting.

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