Share your ethnicity & carb tolerance

by (5002) Updated May 15, 2014 at 9:23 PM Created August 02, 2011 at 11:34 PM

I've always wondered if the different levels in carb tolerance that we often see has anything to do with genetic differences that related to ethnicity.

I, for example, am half Italian (mother born there) and half Jewish-Russian (perhaps Belarus; immigrated many generations ago), and I am fairly sensitive to carbs: I can't lose weight without going LC.

What about you, fellow Paleohackers?

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84 Replies

2733 · August 03, 2011 at 1:21 AM

Scotch/Irish and Seminole/Cherokee... very sensitive to carbs. I get fat easily if I eat too many, my blood sugar gets too high. Even when it comes to alcohol, I simply cannot tolerate it. 2 drinks and I'm done.

But on the reservation, the Indian's (we don't say Native American here) inability to process carbs is well known. My theory is because of less time for natural selection to "weed out" those who couldn't adapt easily and pass on that DNA to adapt to a high carb diet to their offspring. Modern medicine stops natural selection in this case. 12000 - 17000 years of adaptation vs only a few hundred since being "adapted" over the barrel of a gun... guess who's not adapted to the neolithic way of eating? Guess where EVERYONE is a diabeitc? Guess where EVERYONE has renal failure. Guess where EVERYONE ends on dialysis and gets DM related amputations?

Oh yeah, guess who CURED his MS and his IDDM with a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet? Yep...me. :)

So my Scotch/Irish blood made me good looking (the only blonde haired blue eyed guy HERE had to say that)....it didn't give me any carb tolerance. :(

12048 · August 03, 2011 at 12:12 AM

i'm american black with good amount of native american thrown in. let's see... i had zero tolerance for carbs when i started over a year ago. after doing some under the hood fixing to regain leptin/insulin sensitivity(low carb for awhile, then started cycling carbs) now i can pretty much eat all the paleo carbs i want. for instance, i have been eating copious amounts of fruit(strawberries and peaches mostly but others also)all summer and potatoes without limiting myself- i'd estimate i'm averaging 150 carbs a day and maybe twice that on days i choose to workout. i got on the scale for the first time in a month last week and was surprised to see i'd lost another 5 lbs without even trying. i love this paleo thing :)

3916 · August 03, 2011 at 6:35 AM

From what I can see it's not any particular race or ethnicity. It's the human race who is not designed to handle high levels of carbohydrate. Being able to handle them, IMHO, is simply a matter of how far gone you are in destroying your metabolism. When I was younger I ate whatever I wanted, but eventually I destroyed my metabolism and could no longer tolerate them. I think that will eventually happen to all who eat eat a SAD diet full of heavily processed carbs, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

77338 · August 03, 2011 at 12:21 AM

French ancestry. Good on high carbs. Bad on low carbs. I do well on all carbs (even simple sugars), but not so well on gluten.

961 · August 04, 2011 at 12:54 AM

1/4 Swedish, 1/4 English,1/4 German, 1/4 Irish/Romanian.. I cannot lose weight unless I eat ZERO carbs. I gain weight if I eat over 20 carbs a day.

I m Age 56. (Pre Paleo/ Very low carb)... Chronic candida, Chronic sinus infections, sleep apnea, High blood pressure, Asthma, Hives, Migraine headaches from allergies to food color..I also HAD an Auto Immune Disease,,,....Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Doctors at University of Chicago Hospital said there is NO CURE! Every night at 3am I awoke with horrific headaches. I was taking a cabinet full of meds.

3 Months ago I began to eat a Paleo diet. I went very low carb 2 months ago, but still Paleo. I am now taking NO meds. Blood pressure is 116/68. I am 20 pounds down. My RSD is GONE!!!! I have no symptoms.

I have no idea if I will be able to add some carbs back when I have gotten rid of the next 40 pounds. My last goal is to lose the CPAP I use for apnea...if possible.

3681 · August 03, 2011 at 11:10 AM

European descent on my mother's side and Okinawan on my father's. I'm high carbohydrate for sure. I eat anywhere from 8-12 potatoes a day plus beef, eggs, and butter, cream, coconut oil, gelatin and fruit. I was high-fat for a long time but after a while I needed the carbohydrates to maintain my endurance activities. As long as I don't eat vegetation I'm fine. When I start eating vegetables my metabolism stops almost immediately and I gain weight. If I get my fat too high I get sluggish. Potatoes are definitely the center piece in my diet and well being. No grains.

876 · August 03, 2011 at 6:58 AM

I'm South Indian. We traditionally eat a lot of rice and lentils. Indians, Hindus in particular, consume huge amounts of diary products.

Even though we've been eating rice for centuries, I don't think Indians are well adapted to it. At least from what I've seen in my family. Most of us are overweight and/or have diabetes. Even though our family does eat meat and animal products, rice/grains are more available and cheaper in India. Meat eating takes place occasionally during the week, but mostly on special occasions and festivals.

I think non-Indian Asians might have a different carb-sensitivity, even though they eat probably the same amount of rice that we do. Maybe its because its not Basmati Rice? Very intriguing indeed.

5477 · August 03, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Scandinavian/Celt. Low carb tolerance, also am now sure I am celiac after stubbornly reintroducing very occasional wheat and soy (mostly in the form of pancake/baking mixes) in 06 and again in 09. Both times led to return of baaaaaad multiple system symptoms. I will never know now as I will never eat grains again, and thus cannot be tested.

Have no idea re: parent/grandparent tolerance as I am an adoptee. However, info I have been able to get included a statement by my birthmother @ age 24yyears that paternal grandparents had both suffered from cancer, but otherwise, esepcially her family was "disgustingly healthy."

I don't have to eat zc or vlc on a daily basis, but did have to go what I know was quite low to lose the 90+lbs originally. I have never counted anything, so can only estimate. The other night I estimated carbs for the first time. I took in about 70 that day I think. I do well doing "change-it-up." This means I change my eating cyclically like crazy - very high fat today, much lower tomorrow. ZC x3 days, then very heavy on the veggies and lesser meat/fish/fowl...if I want to do a carb spike day, it is through nuts, primarily. I am suspicious also that too starchy carb is implicated in some of my autoimmune stuff, whihc I want to deep GONE!

Sugar is NOT my friend. Period. Fruit consumption is permanetly limited to only low gly/low load berries etc and they are infrequent. Do very well with PILES of non starcy carb vegetables. My plate often looks vegetarian - just all low carb veggies + the protein/fat.

405 · August 03, 2011 at 1:45 AM

Mexican, I can consume close to 600 grams of carbohydrates with no problems, but I can't seem to digest large amounts of fat.

993 · August 03, 2011 at 1:07 AM

Scottish, English, Welsh with a bit of Irish and German. Gain weight if carbs get above 20 grams/day. Allergic reaction from most grains, ie. burning welts on the roof of my mouth. Worse with wheat. I am age 60 but have had weight issues since I was 15.

15120 · August 03, 2011 at 12:24 AM

im armenian and assyrian with a bit of northern briton tossed in. i do not feel well on ZC, but can only ever seem to lose weight on VLC or LC. if at all. i have great blood glucose numbers though.

my whole family is overweight on my fathers side (my father is the assyrian, and is not overweight himself as a yoga instructor) and all the women on that side have been diagnosed with wither type II DM, or with insulin resistance. on my mothers side, they are all quite thin and small, but both my mother and my grandfather have been diagnosed as type II DM despite being of normal weight. no one on either side of the family, despite all the metabolic issues, would eat what i would ever refer to as an unhealthy diet. they arent paleo, but they are eating very high quality food with lots of fresh fruits and veggies and high quality meats. a lot of traditional food on my fathers side.

i just dont get it......

7571 · August 02, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Ashkenazi Jewish and I have no problems with carbs at all and feel bad on low carb. Like an above poster, I'm still in my teens so that's probably part of it.

11071 · August 03, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Ashkenazi Jew....I tolerate low sugar veggies, any more than that, and bad things start to happen! I absolutely can't handle any alcohol, which is both a blessing and a curse.

1392 · August 03, 2011 at 12:20 AM

I'm German, Brazilian, English, and Ukrainian and have zero tolerance-- I just look at carbs and put on weight!

699 · August 03, 2011 at 12:18 AM

1/2 Italian

1/4 Swedish

1/4 English

Pretty good tolerance for carbs, but didn't have real problems when I tried low-carb either.

329 · August 02, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Mostly Native American, I am okay with carbs, but still can't really go above 150-ish.

2630 · August 02, 2011 at 11:49 PM

Ashkenazi (Romanian, Polish, and Russian) heritage - highly sensitive to carbs, can't lose weight without going VLC/ZC

7300 · August 02, 2011 at 11:48 PM

In order I'm Irish, Polish, German, Welsh, English, and Scottish. I tolerate carbs well, but I'm also an active teenager so perhaps that confounds things.

826 · August 02, 2011 at 11:47 PM

African American--Zero tolerance

DH is Hispanic--Zero Tolerance

810 · August 02, 2011 at 11:42 PM

German/Irish - I am sensitive to carbs.

255 · January 02, 2012 at 6:38 AM

I'm Chinese, and I had a problem with my weight ever since childhood (I was obese until recently, when I lost around 80lbs through diet and exercise). I'm hesitant to make generalisations, because I know many Chinese people who seem to stay slim eating rice with every meal, but for me I find that low-carb (under 100g) is optimal for weight loss and maintenance.

I lost most of my weight the "conventional" way: heaps of low-fat processed foods, raw vegetable and fruit overdose, minimal meat consumption (and therefore low-protein). Basically, it was a high-carb, low-fat and low-protein diet, and carefully calorie-controlled. This was coupled with Chronic Cardio (I would run about 8km almost every day). This helped me to lose weight, but it was so hard to maintain and I was hungry all the time. I also regained really quickly when I skipped cardio and decided to eat whatever I wanted for a few days (because I was just so mentally exhausted by being so strict).

(Sound familiar? :D)

Since going Paleo/Primal, and keeping my carbs around 50-70g/day (mainly from vegetables), I've been able to maintain my weight with minimal stress. I'm comfortably full when I go to bed at night, I no longer put undue stress on my joints with intense exercise, and my concentration's improved remarkably. I still count calories (habit's hard to break), but it's now more of a curiosity thing rather than 'this is my set limit'. I eat until I'm full, calories be darned! ;D

7741 · August 03, 2011 at 2:25 AM

I'm a WASP, and inherited ADD, low body weight and fat, and blood sugar issues from my dad (my mom, 100% British extraction, has battled her weight since she had me at 26, but only got really fat starting in her mid-40s. My dad is still pretty much a stick. Both love carbs and my dad eats a LOT). I've worried about gaining weight, not losing it. My two sisters are also very slim (5'10" 125 lbs and 5'3" 105 lbs), but their body fat isn't quite as low as mine. Paleo has helped me put on a couple pounds.

I need adequate carbs to feel my best, but too many affect my energy and sleep negatively, in a big way. Wheat is the worst. Balance is key.

24412 · August 03, 2011 at 1:25 AM

Scottish/English/Danish/Jewish(of unknown geographic origin, but guessing somewhere with sun judging from photos...long story).

My carb tolerance seems quite low, but I am also one of those "metabolically deranged" folks, and I wonder if my tolerance will change in the future. I don't have any negative responses to ketosis induction. I've never gone more than a few weeks ZC but feel almost superhuman when I do. I feel dizzy if I eat sweets by themselves.

6849 · August 03, 2011 at 1:10 AM

Polish, Irish, German/Austrian (border area). Very low tolerance for carbs. Zero tolerance for gluten. I do best on LC/VLC.

Dairy and I are also not really friends, but I hear that could be because I was destroying my intestines with gluten. I'm actually wondering if I'll be able to eat it again once my intestines heal now that I'm fully gluten free again. So, well, that's up in the air.

18437 · August 03, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Italian, Irish, Native American...maybe one or two others in small quantity. I'm good with either low or higher carb depending more on my activity level (have increased workouts and carbs lately still from good sources like fruit and sweet potato). Guess I should say I rarely have than one piece of fruit and one sweet potato in a day and that is a workout day. Have not been tracking my ratios on anything....just feeling my way through. And I feel better eliminating dairy, although I allow for small amounts of cheese. Also I've increased my fat intake and feel better with that too instead of sticking to leaner meats.

60 · August 03, 2011 at 12:40 AM

What do you mean by sensitive? I am 1/2 Hispanic 1/2 caucasian. I have no ill side affects from high carb or gluten or grains or beans. I do not feel well if I don't get enough protien, similar to low blood sugar. But I wouldn't say I have a low carb tolerance at all. I guess that is part of my struggle w paleo, I feel a little better, but it's not been a "life changer" for me :-/ Eta. My weight and muscle tone have not changed since paleo.

1195 · August 03, 2011 at 12:25 AM

Part Irish, part French, part Maori - the jury's still out on my carb sensitivity because I haven't managed to figure it out yet. Too busy focusing on IBS issues still.

11113 · August 03, 2011 at 12:16 AM

White European, of English and German descent, high tolerance for carbs: fruits, starches & sugars. Feel absoulutely awful going low carb and do not need to restrict them in order to lose weight. Dropping dairy and processed foods did the trick.

Mom and most of her sisters run on the very lean side, and my dad and one of his sisters does as well. I have a few pudgy aunts and uncles, but none are morbidly obese. They got the way they are now due to beer and pizza, not genetics, lol.

11957 · August 03, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Spanish/Puerto Rican, Cornish, Slovenian, Hungarian. Zero tolerance for carbs, and no induction flu going into ZC or VLC.

10 · January 02, 2012 at 12:07 PM

indian (i.e south asian) - pretty good carb tolerance. I can eat loads and not gain much weight.

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3023 · January 01, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Has anyone else noticed how cool it is that almost all of us are a wonderful genetic mixture of everything and the kitchen sink?

I'm Ashkenazi Jewish from Romania and Ukraine.

No problem with carbs. Went low carb on GAPS and it didn't do me any good.

77338 · January 01, 2012 at 11:49 AM

1/2 Scottish, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 English.

Throughout my early to mid 40's (I'm 51 tomorrow) I was going from one health problem to another. I was having a hard think about it one day and realized that the thing that most of these problems had in common was that the "cures" had been to eliminate certain foods and that all of those foods happened to be high in carbs. I ended up on a diet (that I thought was of my own design) that was high in fat and protein and very low in processed food and carbs. I later found out that other people were eating the same way as me and that these other people called this diet "Paleo". Up until then I thought I was the only person eating in this "weird" way. LOL.
I don't seem to need carbs at all but I do eat them in very limited amounts. Carrots are about the most "carby" thing I eat and I don't even eat one per day.
I never eat starches now. I experimented with various starches until my mid 40's but none were ok with me. I experimented with quinoa for a few weeks about 2-3 years ago. I was not feeling too good after meals and my lower back started to stiffen up and then I hurt my back (something that used to happen often, before going paleo).
I very rarely eat fruit and even then it is only very small portions. I can't actually remember the last time I ate fruit.
When I was a kid I hardly ever ate fruit even though my mum always made sure there was fruit available. I didn't start eat fruit regularly until I was about 40 and this coincided with the acceleration of my carb related health problems (I knew nothing about carbs, candida etc at that time).

3841 · December 31, 2011 at 4:56 PM

German/Irish/Slavic - Was horribly carbohydrate intolerant/metabolically broken. If I wanted to lose weight I needed to stay below 20 grams of carbs a day. I had horrible blood sugar swings and gained weight at the drop of a hat (5 lb from one higher carb meal was not uncommon). Since giving up gluten entirely (3 months) I have noticed a higher carb tolerance and no blood sugar swings if I stick with paleo-friendly carbs. I've also noticed that I don't gain weight as easily from carb consumption. I still keep fructose and rice to treat status. It's new and I'm still tweaking it, but right now I'm still keeping my protein and fat as my primary food have maybe 75 grams of carbs a few times a week. I may still have to go lower if I want to lose the weight, but it's nice to not have the crashing/shaking/craving/hungover feeling all the time.

4039 · December 31, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Latvian, Roma, Portuguese. Sensitive to carbs, family history of carb intolerance.

5888 · December 31, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Biological mother: Haplogroup H, supposedly English and German ancestry

Biological father: Haplogroup G2c, Ashkenazi Jew

Lifelong problems with carb metabolism, starch being especially problematic

178 · December 31, 2011 at 6:40 AM

spanish and native american.

i can handle carbs. just not gluten. causes acne and makes my heart race.

2923 · September 28, 2011 at 8:13 PM

By the way, would all you Native Americans please read this:


Well, no, everybody should read it.

It's not the carbs per se, it's the high-yield, high-glycemic modern hybrids that get us in trouble. They push us over the edge.

The old-time Native Americans were the world's greatest horticulturalists, and if we moderns didn't go screwing things up, we'd all still be healthy.

1281 · August 03, 2011 at 12:28 PM


I do really well on VLC but since I'm very active, I eat quite a few carbs (especially PWO and evening). Preferably, I eat cooked chestnuts when I need lots of carbs in little time --> PWO

The only fruits I eat are berries when they're in season. Not good with fructose...

Cannot tolerate grains at all! My mother(swedish) is celiac (Sweden is known for its significant number of gluten-intolerant people), so I kind of grew up with no grains. Just a buckwheat cookie every once in a while.

8848 · August 03, 2011 at 1:52 AM

1/2 Norwegian 1/2 Welch. Can't handle carbs at all.

1371 · August 03, 2011 at 12:49 AM

native american czechoslovokian austrian/german

410 · August 03, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Caucasian (Scottish, Spanish, French, Russian Decendency). Less than 150 can survive well off less than 100 with starch root veggies and greens.

0 · May 15, 2014 at 9:23 PM

I am Native American from the Yakama Nation, and half Mexican. I typically eat nothing but carbs which; surprisingly I am not obese! I am 5'8" and wiegh 170 pounds. So I am guessing that either I'm not very sensitive to carbs... or there is something seriously wrong with my body! My weekly diet usually consists of stuff like spanish rice, top ramen noodles, spagetti, macoroni and pizza. Although I do eat meats like pork, chicken, beef, deer meat, salmon, and shrimp on a semi regular basis; not daily but at least three times a week or so. plus, I mainly drink water obstaining from soda, juice, caffiene and things of that nature. Also, I do have about anywhere from 6 to 12 hours of activity each week.

276 · March 19, 2013 at 4:06 PM

half Indian/ half English (British to you yanks)

Bad on low carb, get very hungry on high carb (worst with high sugars), moderate carb suits me best

Most of my Indian relatives are overweight (the older ones), my very old relatives who have been eating a traditional Indian diet the majority of their life (high carb, low animals) are doing bad health wise.

It is well known in the UK (probably elsewhere as well) that Indian/ Pakistani people who come over and start eating a western diet (high in sugar) get fat and dietetic (sorry for the lack of PC langauge)

18794 · March 17, 2013 at 3:16 PM

100%, thoroughbred Italian. My parents came over to the States in the 50s/60s, so I'm first generation.

Definitely gluten intolerant, but not celiac - we would have found that out early, since bread was daily and pasta at least weekly.

My best place to be is high activity + high/moderate carb. Actually, high protein and high fat, too. High all around! In a paleo diet context, my "high carb" is 250g a day, with my average being 100-250g. I eat roots, tubers, and squashes like they are going out of style.

High activity and low carb causes me burnout within a few weeks. I still think it's effective for weight loss, but I probably wouldn't to it longer than 2 weeks, if ever again.

159 · March 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

caucasion, very low carb tolerance. at 27, the older i get the worse it is

0 · March 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Finn, English, Native Hawaiian Islander and tiny bits of Chinese and Portugese.

High activity + Low carb = Look skeletal, feel like dying. Low activity + Low carb = Terrible digestion, unstable mood. On low carb I experienced no hormone function, infertility and amenorrhea.

High activity + High carb = Curves, average size and joyful moods. Low activity + High carb = A little "fluffy," joyful moods. Regular hormone function.

I truly believe a healthy diet for MOST people is minimally processed, whole foods based approach with thoughtfully sourced meats and no added sugars.

0 · December 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I am mostly Northern European (German, Irish, Swedish, Scottish, French, etc) with very faint (long ago) Native/First Nations and other additions. I am tall for a woman 5'11", and naturally more slender framed. I have gained weight only two points in my life where I have been overweight (but more than 40lbs over)- and ironically following more general advice didnt help, it made it worse. When I was healthy, naturally slender frame I ate high-carb, moderate protein diets. Cutting the carbs out, attempting to eat heavy from vegetable only and lean meats made things worse- I didnt lose any weight until I returned to my old high-carb eating habits. I also eat heavily from cheese/dairy category. This is why I believe that each person's diet is adapted to their ethnicity, DNA, cultural traditions, and should be taken into account. My sister is same build and cannot cut carbs or she remains overweight as well. Once carbs, dairy and fat are added back into our diets, we succeed in dropping pounds easily and quickly. I struggled on the low-carb, high veggie, less meat diet- plateaued at 35 lbs overweight despite exercise. Once I returned to more dairy, carb and meat mixed back in, I returned to a healthier weight. I think people shouldnt ignore their traditional foods at all, because eating things you arent adapted to very well can cause problems. I think its ok to try all kinds of foods, and its important to add variety in, but dont necessarily assume a diet like Mediterranean or Paleo will work for your body. Sometimes the way you have been eating isnt the problem, it can be mostly exercise and stress leading to your issues. My advise from my experience is, dont assume one culture's diet is "bad" and another's is "good". They're all just adaptations and have supported healthy people in those regions for a long time. Eat what seems to work for you, and think about your culture and which foods make sense for you. Dont try to hard to conform to a different body type's diet or different culture's foods, try those things in moderate or spare amounts.

0 · October 27, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I am Cree with some Scottish, possible English thrown in the mix. I am from Northern Ontario. I am on my third day of eliminating all wheat from my diet. I just want to start from there and see how I feel. I carry the majority of my excess weight in my belly area. I had my daughter over a year ago and in fact I had gained weight after her birth, even while breastfeeding. So after some thought I decided to give up all wheat. I figure the Cree did not eat any wheat up until a couple of hundred years ago. There is rampant diabetes, cancer and heart disease in my family. Bannock is a mainstay in "traditional" Cree diet. In my family bannock is consumed every few days. Bannock was inherited from the fur traders who were in the area at the time. Anyway, I will continue to see how I feel and hopefully I will lose my wheat belly!

0 · October 27, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I'm Iranian. I can tolerate a lot of "safe carbs" (no gluten, lecitins, or any of that junk) Before, carbs used to be a bottomless pit of hunger, and I was nearly obese. Very recently, after going paleo, I had two weeks of a starchy diet and for some reason I lost a good deal of weight. I think my metabolism changed

0 · October 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

I'm Russian. Very sensitive to carbs, had a hard time loosing weight before going VLC to ZC . I'm feel amazing living without carbs, don't have any cravings. Eat mainly meat , veggies, eggs, some raw cream and local nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts).BTW I had no carb flu while switching to Paleo

10 · October 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM

100% eastern Chinese, female

Did VLC at the beginning of around 30g carbs/day via Bulletproof Coffee protocol and gained a bit, but I'm not sure if that had to do with metabolic restoration/overall healing. Also made my lifting heavy days crappy as hell.

Right now I am operating a lot happier on 100g carbs/day on average. Recently, I've found my sweet spot for fewer cravings seem to be at around 150g, so I get that through mainly starches of rice and sweet potatoes (sometimes potatoes too). Fruits make me binge on more fruits and starches.

1185 · October 26, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Half Mexican, Half German descent. Can't handle carbs at all.

110 · October 26, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Scottish/Irish/English/German - Diagnosed Insulin Resistant,PCOS and ADD (no hyperactivity here). Carbs are absolutely an issue for me, and I feel best when I keep it around 30-40g per day. No fruits, no starchy veggies in my diet - I stick with greens, cruciferous veggies, meat, eggs and healthy fats. Little to no dairy.

425 · October 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Anglo-saxon. I can't tolerate carbs at all at the moment - give me terrible bloating and diarrhoea. The more I eat the thinner I become - it's scary.

It's probably more to do with the state of my gut flora than my ethnicity though.

145 · October 26, 2012 at 11:16 AM

1/4 Finnish, 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 French-English, 1/4 English

I don't tolerate carbs well at all - I get a near-hypoglycemic response to eating processed sugar and baked goods. In fact, besides vegetable oils, those are the only things I immediately know I've eaten if they somehow sneak in. They also encourage weight gain, even clean carbs do to an extent. I maintain a slight set of love handles with even moderate carb, but low carb paleo let my abs come through for the first time ever at age 46, and I'm not what most people consider fat.

One would expect my heritage to make me lactose tolerant, which I am, but dairy can kick off my allergies and bloating (and gas) at the wrong time too. There's more than lactose tolerance to eating dairy, at least for me.

165 · October 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Caucasian British with some Jewish back a few generations.

I am diagnosed gluten intolerant but never even imagined I might have secondary grain intolerances until I went paleo, cut them all out and felt a bazillion times better.

I'm horrifically sensitive to sugar, and crave it at certain times of the month (ahem).

I'd say I average around 70-100g carbs per day, or at least I was before I started drinking water kefir daily--I'm suspicious of the overall sugars content in that, TBH.

That said, I don't do very well on a low carb diet at ALL. I need to make sure I eat plenty of vegetables every single day and some fruit most days, or I'd be screwed.

40 · October 24, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Parents came over. Mother German/Polish father German/Czech. Father could processes carbs better than mother. Mother sister eating disordered and all three alcoholics. I'm down to 1/4 of previous consumption with paleo diet and lost 55 pounds feel great. Mothers family farmers close to polish border maybe potato carb allergy there?

2036 · October 24, 2012 at 8:28 AM

I've got quite a bit of solid Cherokee, but I'm overwhelmingly English (going back to the Normans/Danes) on every single line we've been able to trace.

I tolerate carbs in moderate amounts paired well with sufficient protein+fat. Don't do well on less than 100g/day. I do starches/root veggies better than sugary fruit. Roasted meats + potatoes are my frands.

Carbs don't keep me from losing weight if I need to, though, unless my consumption in seriously excessive (300+). And I don't lose muscle easily either. I'm a meso-endomorph. I regulate my carb consumption to manage my mild PCOS and functionally low blood sugar.

0 · October 06, 2012 at 6:17 AM

I don't think this is a very good question to ask, as this community does not reflect the human population as a whole. I'm guesssing most people here that visit this website are doing low-carb diets because they have low-tolerance for carbohydrates and need to eat low amounts to lose weight. We don't know the average person's carb tolerance, and we probably won't ever.

Then again, for millions of years, humans have been sticking to high fat and high protein diets(from animals) and carbs were mainly limited to wild fruits and vegetables. But ever since we came up with agriculture, our diet has shifted and its made us fatter for sure...

4176 · June 23, 2012 at 3:32 PM

I'm half English, half Welsh, I have slightly darker skin I think because there is some Romantic blood in wales apparently. I thrive much, much better on carbs than not but I have some anxiety issues

205 · June 23, 2012 at 2:30 PM

African American - can handle approximately 40 grams for weight loss, up to 75g to maintain.

1612 · June 23, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Costa-rican and German! I can consume A fairly large amount of carbs. I do good on moderate protein, moderate carb, higher fat.

78 · June 23, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Irish, Mohawk, French/Scottish and English in about equal parts. Carbs? HELLS NO.

I come from a long line of bloated bellies, allergies, asthma, anxiety and heart issues.

0 · June 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Half Nicaraguan, half Portuguese.

I feel like a wreck when I don't eat enough carbs. Mentally fuzzy, lack of sex drive, lack of energy. Carbs have to be whole grain, ancient grain, sweet potatoes, steel-cut oats etc. never any white carbs. I also never drink any fruit juices, and I rarely eat fruit, only berries and sometimes apples.

I'm 5' 8', my body is more mesomorphic with wider shoulders and smaller waist and I gain muscle easily. I find that now that I have more muscle on my frame, I also need more carbs. So many, that it's hard to get them in my system sometimes.

2487 · January 02, 2012 at 7:18 AM

American mutt, 75%+ Norweigan...gained waist/belly fat on VLC. Need carbs- 50g-150g depending on my activity level. Best options: sweet potato, purple potato, dairy, white potato. Middle options: tapioca, buckwheat. Workable but less-ideal: rice, quinoa. Problems with significant fruit of any stripe.

1090 · January 02, 2012 at 1:41 AM

I don't believe most ppl are "intolerant" of carbs. I feel this question comes down to, if you're indulging in processed carbs which are hyperpalatable, how much can you indulge in before you start to gain weight. The people who swear by a certain amount of carbs before they add the lbs are also ppl who are still kind of fat, and would do well to reduce the palatability of their low-carb foods i.e. cutting out bacon/sausage and fancy recipes. Learn to eat simple homecooked whole foods that aren't complex.

10 · January 01, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Romanian/German/Macedonian - Born in Australia

I seem to do much better low carb and I find that when i'm low carb It keeps my overeating-emotional eating in check too.

A few weeks ago I cheated by eating a scone and my blood sugar dropped and lost all energy and was shaking, slept like a baby!

61 · January 01, 2012 at 1:07 PM

im german, european,indo germanic slavik nordic, jiddish jewish, probably caucasian, french, swiss, irish, viking, scnadinavian, mongolian, turk, finnouiguric, asian,...african, and some precent a monkey and gorillas, than a bit indonesian, and from larador island. How do you know do you make DNA marker test. anthing ales is just not real accurate.

We have so much contact i our modern global world. Ever have contact and sex with any one. How you know that you stay that pure your label ourself. I thik we cant do. Mutation was always a part of human evolution and it will be.

ITs nice if some one can summ up this Hack and write and article to clear this stuff up. Thank you for your posts,

40 · November 26, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I am 1/2 German and 1/2 Northern English/Scottish.
My blood sugar would swing all over the place before I started trying to follow a more paleo way of eating. I feel better on a moderately higher fat diet, and also eat yogurt, cream, and cheese in small servings nearly daily. I also found it interesting that I never had a problem with "carb flu".

2923 · September 28, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Big dumb Swede full-blood with no carb tolerance whatsoever. At least not anymore. Feel much better without.

My entire adult life, I've had a spare tire around my middle and unrecognized problems with insulin spikes. Now I finally know better, after a severe brush with heart disease.

I was a pot-belly even in kindergarten, come to think of it. Dang, I had eyeglasses since fourth grade, now my eyesight is finally getting better. Stuff like that. Makes my wanna giggle & cry.

214 · September 28, 2011 at 3:30 PM


Can handle anything less than 150g a day without getting pudgy, although I feel great at around 50g. Usually stick with high fat, LC and it keeps my energy constant through the day.

254 · August 04, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Caucasian of Irish & Polish ancestry. Photographic evidence shows me that females on the Polish side of the family were all on the zaftig side in adulthood; I definitely followed the family pattern. Not sure about the Irish side. Still in the midst of re-balancing, but VLC seems to be the way to go for me right now.

13928 · August 03, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Mostly British heritage. Possibly a little irish.

I do better on moderate to low carb. I do horribly on zero or high carb.

3319 · August 03, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Mostly Portuguese. Like with pain, I have a high threshold for carbs. I can pack 'em.

11555 · August 03, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Irish, Scots, English, French, probably quite a bit of Norse far back (family physical characteristics lead me to believe this). Insulin resistant. Low carb tolerance. I feel much better physically and mentally if I keep it in the LC range.

0 · August 03, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Irish, Polish and German,

Super sensitive to ALL carbs. As soon as I eat them I crave more. I also feel awful. Diagnosed Celiac in 2002. Not sure if I can do dairy. I am having a hard time cutting it out and morn for it frequently. Probably should loose it. :(

My family is almost all celiac/gluten sensitive (even though they tent to deny it until health fails, autoimmune style). They have the typical build of those who were once very thin but piled on the middle. Most are overweight except the boys. 12 of us total so I have a pretty decent study population. :)

933 · August 03, 2011 at 4:57 PM

In order: Welsh, English, German, Scottish, Irish, German-Jewish, and French as best as I can ascertain (dad's family has been here for ~400 years, but good records kept - mother's family mostly immigrants, records sketchy).

Moderate starchy carb and fruit tolerance.
Good dairy tolerance.
Poor gluten and sugar tolerance.

Even when I ate higher carb, protein and fat were essential for me to feel full.

145 · August 03, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Mainly Ojibwe (American Indian), French and German. Life tends to suck when I'm eating carbs. I realize now that this has been the case ever since I was a little girl. I remember the blood sugar swings during childhood, as well as the acute stomach aches, probably from wheat intolerance.

209 · August 03, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Indian and I'm not too bad high carb for a week or so, but after that, one day I really get drained of energy and feel terrible.

12804 · August 03, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I'm a typical blue eye blonde hair north European-er(mostly norwegian and danish ancestery) and I can tolerate carbs very well. I've tried lower carb and it never works out.

Medium avatar
3244 · August 03, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Caucasian of Dutch, German, Scottish lineage. Have become extremely carb sensitive and can gain 5 pounds in a weekend if I don't watch it. Also feel great and lose quickly on VLC.

77338 · August 03, 2011 at 11:22 AM

im german. and i think somehow french and influenced by alot of ethnicity. im not sure.pprobably from france and from the north and from wherever. i like this ethnicity and diet. maybe there are other questions like this. maybe on fat digestion. on diary, on gluten, on fruits, on cooked or raw food, on suburn,....better like ethnicity is also bioregion. which mahor bioregion your lived in and grown up. from desrt to tundra to rainforest to forest to grassland, to swamps, to wetmoisture climate, to cold dry climate, to icing climate, to dry hot climate, to moisturehot climate.

What ieat carbs for. i eat nuts. i eat fruits bannanas dates. i think datex make me osmehow problems. and i have also sometimes not good feeling with bannanas. still i more like it than eating fats high leve.i feel well with eating less fat. osmehow. maybe also ethnicity thing?!

153 · August 03, 2011 at 11:20 AM

African American, Jew, Chinese, native American, Indian(hindu)..can't tolerate too much n a day or my stomach feels weird and I feel like I have to throw up.

962 · August 03, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Equal parts Manx, Irish, French, and English.

Weight-wise I'm very sensitive to carbs on the margin. If I eat a lot of potatoes, my abs are much less well-defined. I have no idea whether this necessarily indicates that I'm less healthy overall with carbs.

As a vegan I ate a carb-heavy low-fat diet of chickpeas, tahini, oatmeal, peanut butter, bananas, hemp protein, potatoes, rice bubbles, cheeseless pizza, fruit, bread, pasta, rice, etc... I felt fine but didn't have well-defined abs even as an intensely-training college athlete.

Switching to Taubesian fat-heavy LC (eggs, meat, milk, canola oil, peanut butter, one slice of bread per day, diet soda, etc.) I lost the visceral fat in a few weeks while doing no deliberate exercise.

I don't believe I had a particularly "deranged metabolism" as I've never been significantly overweight, never had any significant health problems, had always had good medical markers. So my anecdotal experience fits exactly with the most simplified Taubes explanation.

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