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Carbohydrate Intolerance - Its Implications in Health and Fitness

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  • Carbohydrate Intolerance - Its Implications in Health and Fitness

    Perhaps the most common cause of low quality of life, accelerated aging and chronic disease is the trio of increased body fat, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. This white paper discusses the practical rationale for referring to the related dysfunctions associated with poor carbohydrate metabolism under the umbrella term Carbohydrate Intolerance.

    Dr. Philip Maffetone

    December 8, 2016


    Many diseases begin to develop early in life. This happens long before most people, including healthcare professionals, would even consider the progressive nature of poor health in apparently young and healthy bodies.

    In the 1920s, endocrinologist Hans Selye (who coined the term ?stress?) observed that the body has a progressive response to physical, biochemical and mental-emotional stress.1 He called this the general adaptation syndrome, which from today?s clinical perspective can be presented in three stages:
    • Functional (relatively minor but important) signs and symptoms.
    • Increasingly measurable dysfunction with elevated disease risk factors.
    • Chronic diseases.
    Also during the early 1920s, it was discovered that a series of ailments and risk factors clustered together: hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By the 1980s, other related conditions, including increased abdominal fat, obesity and high blood triglycerides, had been tied together in the same common thread by a condition called insulin resistance.2 Recognition that insulin resistance is a spectrum disorder was first proposed in 1979.3 This is a serious problem seen as the earliest manifestation of what became known in the 1990s as metabolic syndrome,4 and which today incorporates all the above conditions.

    These conditions, along with numerous others described here, follow a progression very similar to Selye?s model of stress. The beginning of the process appears to be some combination of the trio of insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and increased body fat. In fact, stress (in all its physical, biochemical and mental forms), can further worsen, and even trigger, this trio.

    Since around 1980, the author has referred to this complex array of dysfunctions and illnesses ? the full spectrum of associated conditions ? under the umbrella term Carbohydrate Intolerance (CI). This term emerged from the acknowledgment that the most common ailment shared by people suffering from these conditions is an inability to properly metabolize carbohydrates.5

    While these problems tend to occur in people who are overweight or obese (referred to as overfat), up to 40 percent of normal-weight people have metabolic dysfunction like that of an overfat person.6 Most of these individuals are also considered to be carbohydrate-intolerant.
    As a chronic condition, CI continues to worsen worldwide: of all age groups, obesity is growing most rapidly in children. They are also developing conditions that at one time were only seen in adults: hypertension, high blood fats and other components of the metabolic syndrome.4

    Unfortunately, the early signs and symptoms of CI, while well-recognized by some researchers and clinicians, are ignored by too many health practitioners, patients and other individuals. Traditional medicine considers these as separate, isolated conditions, rather than part of a spectrum of metabolic impairment. It is therefore typical to find that CI is not treated until it has progressed to later stages, when risk factors such as hypertension or disease states like Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed (and even then is treated symptomatically rather than by addressing the cause).

    .................................................. .................................................. .

    The Full Spectrum of CI

    Some signs and symptoms are associated with the three stages of CI. Many can continue or worsen beyond the stage in which they initially appeared. For example, Stage 1 symptoms such as fatigue, hormone imbalance, and sleep problems continue to be common complaints in all Stage 3 diseases. Accelerating aging may be common to all stages.

    Stage 1
    • Birth weight < 51/2 lbs or > 9 lbs
    • Children taller than average for their age
    • Sleepiness after meals
    • Loss of focus after meals
    • Intestinal bloating after meals
    • Increased abdominal fat/waist size
    • Overfat Fatigue Hormone imbalance
    • Family history of CI conditions
    • Excess hunger
    • Increased craving for sweets Oxidative stress/poor immunity (associated with aging)
    • Hormone imbalance
    • Impaired glucose regulation
    • Sleep problems
    • Brain dysfunction
      • Poor learning
      • Attention disorders
      • Hyperactivity
      • Aggression, anger
      • Depression
    Stage 2
    • Chronic pain
    • High LDL cholesterol
    • Low HDL cholesterol
    • High triglycerides
    • Liver dysfunction
    • Arthritis
    • Pre-hypertension/hypertension
    • Gout
    • Sleep apnea/disorders
    • Kidney stones
    • Gall stones
    • Obesity
    • Pre-diabetes
    • Aerobic deficiency
    • Osteoporosis
    • Hormone imbalance
      • Menstrual irregularities
      • Polycystic ovaries
      • Infertility
      • Neurodegeneration
      • Poor memory, cognition
      • Depression
      • Anxiety
      • Poor learning

    Stage 3
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Alzheimer’s/dementia
    • Cancer


    Last edited by Gert van der Hoek; January 4, 2017, 04:08 PM.
    ?Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights ? that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ ~~~