Obesity & Carbohydrate Intolerance

Fertility statues Malta Temples 4000 BC

There was a time long ago when overweight people were nearly inexistent. The very few who were large held special status in society and were probably adored. This is probably true in southern Europe as indicated by the findings of statues found in Malta (above) Sicily and Greece excavated from temples built 3000-6000 years ago. These large people resembled health and fertility for the population of those pre-historic times. However, we do not need to go far away in time to note the vast majority of people were not overweight because looking at pictures or films from the 1970's or before people looked different. Compared to today's people in many countries they sort of looked undernourished and skinny. The fact is they were not, they were in fact healthier. Today food is so much abundantly available in the western world that it is far too easy to indulge. This availability of food in conjunction with lack of activity has caused people to pile up the kilos and pounds and this is mainly due to large amounts of carbohydrates we eat. There is no point of eating fat free food if it is rich in carbohydrates, that will turn into fat if not burnt. Carbohydrates is a source of energy and there is no way our body is going to throw it away very easily; too much of it leads may lead to obesity.


Obesity is a condition in which the natural energy reserve, stored in the fatty tissue of humans and mammals, is increased to a point where it is thought to be a risk factor for certain health conditions or increased mortality. Obesity develops from the interaction of individual biology and the environment. Excessive body weight has been shown to correlate with various diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. Obesity is both an individual clinical condition and is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem.


Studies have shown that Carbohydrate Intolerance plays part in obese people. Moreover it was also found that obese men may not process carbohydrates as efficiently as obese women, a condition that can, ultimately, lead to a decrease in fitness level and the development of metabolic disorders. A new study published in the CHEST, a journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), showed that severely obese men were more carbohydrate intolerant and had less physical endurance than severely obese women, leading researchers to believe that gender plays a strong role in physical fitness and a person's ability to metabolize carbohydrates.

“Carbohydrate intolerance, the inability to metabolize sugar found in carbohydrates, may lead to a build-up of fat deposits on muscle tissue, which can cause a person to gain weight and, eventually, impair physical endurance,” said study coauthor Emile F. L. Dubois, MD, PhD, FCCP, Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Hospital Reinier de Graaf Groep, Delft-Voorburg, Netherlands.

“It appears that carbohydrate intolerance is more common in obese men, which would cause them to be less physically fit than obese women.” Researchers also assessed patients for carbohydrate intolerance, according to American Diabetes Society Guidelines. 59 percent of men had overt diabetes or were carbohydrate intolerant, as compared to 35 percent of women. Researchers note that patients with carbohydrate intolerance usually suffer from metabolic syndrome, a group of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The Mechanism

Today, in the developed countries we have plenty of food around us. However, going back a simply one century ago food not as easily available. Now, going back further thousands of years, food was scarce hence the human body developed a digestive system to absorb any bit of food ingested and gives away the least possible. Any food not needed for the next few hours is turned into fat, which is a means of energy storage. Now, again fast forward to nowadays where food is abundant. We are eating more but the digestive system remains the same, storing all food not utilised in the form of fat. Nothing goes to waste.

Starvation mode

In people with carbohydrate intolerance things get worse because, since their digestive system is not absorbing the large sugars, such as starch (an important form of energy) the body is fooled into thinking there is no food around and enters into starvation mode. In this mode, the body would burn the least possible fat and absorb the most possible food turning it into fats depositing in the muscles. To make things more complicated for the sufferer, since the body is thinking that it is being starved, it sends signals for the body to eat more and this leads to a viscous circle resulting in the person to keep eating, the body absorbing the fats, refusing to burn it and asks for more food because no carbohydrates are entering the system. All this leads to putting on weight and if no attention is given to this problem it results in obesity and its problems.

Find out more about:

Food & Lactose Intolerance

Food intolerance is the inability to completely break down food resulting in cramps, bloating, wind, diarrhoea etc. Lactose Intolerance (milk) is the most common form and affects half the world population. Food Allergy is not Lactose Intolerance. A guide is provided.

Food & Milk Allergy

Food allergy is caused when the immune system mistakenly responds to food proteins thinking they are harmful substances. Symptoms include vomiting, itching, rash, and hives. Allergies in children are very common, but treatment with digestive enzymes may prove very helpful.

Coeliac or simply Wheat Sensitive?

In Coeliac Disease, gluten causes damage to the small intestines, however, more people are wheat sensitive. This shows negative in blood tests. Read how to diagnose and avoid false negative screening results.

Baby Colic

Baby colic is very distressing to both the baby and the parents. However, studies conclude that half the babies suffer due to lactase deficiency. This is easily treated by neutralising milk with lactase enzyme.

IBS or Simply Food Intolerance?

Medical studies confirmed 50% of patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome may in fact be Lactose Intolerant. Omitting dairy products from their diet, or treating it with enzymes has helped them start a new life. Since IBS symptoms are similar to LI, diagnosis can be confusing.

Carbohydrate Intolerance and Obesity

The inability to break down starch and other sugars leads to bloating, wind, cramps, diarrhoea, etc. Now there is evidence that obesity may be related to carbohydrate intolerance. There is some good news with the help of digestive enzymes

Food Additives & E Numbers

The Romans used them, they come in 'numbers' or in weird names. Some are healthy but others are 'bad' despite being approved for consumption and depending where you live. Watch out for the ones to avoid and the others not to worry about

Fructose Intolerance vs. Malabsorption

Fructose Intolerance is a rare genetical disorder and leads to severe symptoms and may prove dangerous.

Fructose Malabsorption has symptoms similar to Lactose Intolerance and avoidance of fruits helps.

Alcohol Allergy & Intolerance

Once ingested, alcohol is quickly broken down by enzymes produced in the liver. Otherwise it is a toxin and the body will react. Many people of oriental origin lack this enzyme and this explains why they turn red when drinking alcohol. So what is the cure?