Sugar Intolerance Explained – Causes and Symptoms
Carbohydrate intolerance, also known as sugar intolerance, means that the body does not properly tolerate carbohydrates – sugars and starches in the diet. The difficult part with sugar intolerance is finding out why you have it and to what extent is it affecting your health and lifestyle.
Left untreated, this condition can lead to many varied symptoms, including polycystic ovaries, hypertension, breast cancer, hyperinsulinemia, high blood cholesterol, obesity, Type II diabetes with adult onset, stroke and coronary disease. All these issues are related to insulin resistance, which first starts as a carbohydrate intolerance (CI).
Insulin resistance means that the body cannot properly manage sugars and starches in the diet. Upon eating a carbohydrate such as a loaf of bread or an ice cream, the body releases insulin from the pancreas in order to process that sugar. The body needs to assimilate this sugar called glucose from the blood stream into the liver and muscles, and without insulin it would not be able to do so.
In the case of insulin resistance, the body produces too much insulin for the amount of carbohydrates ingested. Many of the above listed problems are caused by this extra insulin. At first, the extra insulin generally results in processing sugars too fast, driving the blood glucose levels too low. This condition is widely known as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Adding stress to the body, low blood sugar causes the production of hormones, particularly adrenal gland hormones, in order to increase blood sugar levels.
As the sugar intolerance gets worse, increasingly more insulin is needed to process even the smallest amount of sugar. Eventually the insulin becomes incapable of driving the sugar into the cells where the nourishment is needed, as these cells become resistant to the insulin.
As the condition further develops, the added stress on the hormonal system, especially to the adrenal glands, ends up overworking these organs. Once this happens, it results in a complex range of symptoms, varying from one person to another.
Common symptoms of sugar intolerance include drowsiness, sleepiness, lack of concentration and the sensation of being bloated after eating, especially if the meal contains sweet foods or starches.
The symptoms, however, are not limited to just these listed above. Another symptom of sugar intolerance is the constant feeling of hunger, or having weak legs or knees after a meal. Again, these are only a few of the functional symptoms, but CI can cause great distress. Addressing the issue and correcting the condition can result in significant health improvements.