Primarily Paleo

A path to wellbeing

What is your carbohydrate tolerance?


I’ve been pretty adamant that being on a Paleo type diet does not necessarily mean it is a low carb diet; although it is inherently lower carb than most people are typically eating. For most people, making a switch to a Paleo lifestyle is often initially too overwhelming to worry about “counting” carbs and many health benefits are quickly seen by reducing carbohydrates from sugar, grains and processed foods.

I have been personally paying more attention to my daily carbohydrate count since reading The Art and Science of Low Carb Living by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney. In his blog, Dr. Michael Eades calls The Art and Science of Low Carb Living the best low carb book he’s ever read and the one he wish he’d written.

The authors are both scientists who focus on researching low carb diets, and the book is filled with much data regarding the health benefits found among those who follow a low carb diet, including endurance athletes. One important distinction made in the book is defining what level of carbohydrate is low carb. This is especially important as each of us has our own individual carbohydrate tolerance. That means 100 grams of carbs per day for one person might be too much and just right for another. The standard American often eats over 100 grams of carbs at one meal, and we’ve seen the effects of this in the growing national obesity rates.

If you aren’t reaching your body weight composition goals, a good place to start is by looking at your daily carb intake. As I mentioned in a previous post, minor tweaks in your diet, such as adding fat & protein, thus lowering carb intake can help make the desired shift in body composition. Pay attention to how many carbs you are eating and how you feel when this number is lower or higher. You too, might be surprised that lowering your carbs might just be the trick to improving your health.


  1. Funny, I was just thinking about asking you this. I noticed about 2 months ago that I was super tired and dragging – when I upped my carbs to at least 60/day I suddenly felt spry and started cleaning things again.

    Now I’m watching T (11 yrs) who seems exhausted all.the.time. Being a vegetable-averse boy, his carb count has been really low. I’ve been tracking and trying to keep him at 80-90 this week just to see what happens.

    So, how do I know what is *too* low carb for my kids?

    • Hi Sara, I’d be curious to hear how T. does with his carbs being higher. Assuming he is not hungry, as being fatigued can be a sign of not enough fat or not enough food in general, I’d add more unrefined sea salt to his diet. Being lower carb, our bodies are more efficient at eliminating excess sodium and therefore more needs to be consumed. Having the right sodium balance in relation to carb intake is important. If you find his energy is still low after adding more salt, I’d look to add additional carbs into his diet and see how that goes- even up towards 120 grams per day.

  2. Thanks. Adding in more fruit has helped. I wish he’d eat a wider range of veggies, we’re working on it. I think adding in even more fat is another good next step. Good thing we’re not fat phobic around here……

    I’ll look at the sea salt. We eat quite a bit, but I’ll see where I can add more it.

    I’m also wondering about b vitamins and fat absorption, his gut is obviously an ongoing issue. We’re adding in lots of bone broth and cultured foods, I just wish there were some fairy dust I could use.

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