After the Two-Week Test: The Post-Test

By January 24, 2016 September 21st, 2017 Exercise
This article describes the guidelines for how to re-incorporate foods eliminated during the Two-Week Test.
What is the Post-Test?

The Post-Test is meant to determine if any of the carbohydrates you eliminated cause the return of any of the original signs or symptoms, including weight gain. At this stage, having just completed the test, your body and brain will be more sensitive to the slightest amounts of carbohydrates. Basically, you’ll become more intuitive to how your body responds to food.

Step 1: Re-evaluation of symptoms.

Re-evaluate your original list of complaints after the Two-Week Test:

  •      Is your energy better?
  •      Are you sleeping better?
  •      Are you feeling less depressed?
  •      Have you lost inches around your waist?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions or you lost body fat, you probably have CI to some extent. People who have a high degree of CI may feel dramatically better than they did before the test, especially if there was a large weight loss.

Any fat loss during the test is not due to reduced calories, but rather to the increased fat-burning resulting from reduced insulin (many people eat more calories than usual during this two-week period). Although some of the change in weight may be due to water loss, a significant amount will be due to fat loss.

If you are on medication for high blood pressure, ask your health-care professional to check it several times during the test — and especially right after. Sometimes, blood pressure drops significantly and your medication may need to be adjusted or eliminated — something that  should only be done by your health-care professional. As insulin levels fall to normal, high blood pressure typically falls as well.

If nothing improved during the Two-Week test (and it was done exactly as described above), then you may not be carbohydrate intolerant. But if the test cleared up your signs and symptoms, the next step is to determine how many carbohydrates your body can tolerate without a relapse. This is done by adding a little bit of carbohydrates to your diet.

Step 2: Re-incorporating foods into the diet.

The best way to add foods is in the following order. Each day, add one serving of one food to your midday meal, starting with No. 1 and working your way down the list. You want to try only one of these foods per day, meaning that on day two, you do not include servings of food No. 1.

  1. Legumes
  2. Low-glycemic fruits (berries, grapefruit, prunes)
  3. Medium-glycemic fruits (apple, orange, pear, strawberries)
  4. Gluten-free grains (whole oats, brown rice)
  5. Grains with gluten, if not intolerant
  6. 1 teaspoon of organic honey with coffee or tea (excluding agave, or any other kind of sugary substance)

If you start seeing old signs and symptoms arise again, you know that the type of food or the quantity isn’t good for you.

Since insulin production is partly influenced by your previous meal, don’t add carbohydrates in back-to-back meals or snacks. During this period, make a note of any symptoms you had previously that were eliminated by the test. In particular, look for symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness or feelings of depression.

If any signs or symptoms that disappeared during or following the Two-Week Test have now returned, you’ve probably exceeded your carbohydrate limit. For example:

  •      You’re getting cravings again.
  •      You are gaining weight again.
  •      Your blood pressure rises significantly after it was reduced.

If any of these situations occur, reduce the carbohydrates by half. You can also experiment to see which particular foods cause symptoms and which don’t. Some people return to the Two Week Test and begin the process again.

A note on bread

Most bread, crackers, cereals and other grains are processed and should be completely avoided. Even those labeled “whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” are typically processed in some fashion. Read ingredient lists carefully. Use real-food whole grain products, if you can find them. These include sprouted breads, whole oats (which take 30 to 45 minutes to cook), and other dense products made with just ground wheat, rye, or other grains. If in doubt, avoid them.

Some people can tolerate simple carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits, plain yogurt and honey, but not complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, whole grains, beans or other starches. (Some people with CI have difficulty digesting starches.) During the post-test period, it’s easy to determine whether an individual can’t tolerate any wheat products due to a sensitivity or even allergy or other response to gluten.

From time to time, you may feel the need to go through a Two-Week Test period again to check yourself, or to quickly get back on track after careless eating such as during the holidays, vacations or periods of stress.

Many people find the loss of grains in the diet leaves the digestive tract sluggish and a little constipated. After years of eating lots of carbohydrates, your intestine gets used to that type of bulk. If you become constipated during the Two-Week Test, or afterwards when a lower amount of carbohydrate in the diet is maintained, it could be due to a number of reasons:

  • Lack of Fiber. If you require a fiber supplement, be sure to use the ones that do not contain sugar, so read the labels. Psyllium is a high-fiber herb that is an effective promoter of intestinal function. Adding plain unsweetened psyllium to a glass of water, tomato juice, or healthy smoothie can keep your system running smoothly. Add one teaspoon a day for a few days to make sure it’s tolerated, then move towards one tablespoon a day.
  • Dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water, you could be predisposed to constipation. During the Two-Week Test, you’ll need more water — up to two to three quarts or more per day — which is a normal amount for a person of average weight.
  • Other Nutrients. Adequate intake of natural fats can also be helpful in preventing constipation. Vegetables, legumes such as lentils, and fruits are also great sources of fiber. So if you become constipated, it may simply be that you need to eat more vegetables and fruits.

Occasionally, some people get tired during or after the Two-Week Test. Most commonly it’s from not eating enough food, or not eating often enough. The most common problem is not eating breakfast. Most people should not go more than three to four hours without eating something healthy.

Maintaining Your Food Balance

Once you successfully finish the Two-Week Test, and add back the right amount of tolerable carbohydrate foods, you should have an excellent idea of your carbohydrate limits.

Now, you’re on your way to balancing your whole diet. During this process, take the time to learn which of the choices available in supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and elsewhere are truly healthy, and which should be avoided. While there’s nothing radical about the notion that refined carbohydrates are unhealthy, many radical diet plans make it seem like all carbohydrates are deadly. They’re not. It’s a lot more important to find your level of tolerance. Once you know it, eat only healthy carbohydrates — lentils, fresh fruit, unrefined grains (if tolerated), and organic honey as a sweetener.


  • Dianna says:

    I’m just coming out of the two week test…I test my resting heart rate and HRV every morning and have seen a significant increase in HR and decrease in HRV over the last two weeks…I’m 31, 5’4” 131 lbs. resting heart rate was 64 and now 76. Is this reason for concern?

    • Hi Dianna,

      It’s typical that any change (even a positive one) constitutes a small stressor, so it’s not uncommon to see this kind of thing.

    • dean wewetzer says:

      not hydrated enough can cause a change or elevated HR…for me.

      • For everyone!

        Blood thickens so the heart has to pump faster and harder for less oxygen. Big snowball problem. Also consider that the body uses water as a glue to actually hold glycogen in storage in the muscles. So when you are getting markedly thirsty throughout a run it’s because you had been staying hydrated by virtue of the release of water that comes along with burning glycogen—and once that glycogen is gone you aren’t able to keep as hydrated anymore…so you get the double-whammy of being out of cheap fuel and dehydrated!

        Just to clarify, some people are extremely well adapted, and they can stay functionally hydrated by dumping water out of the soft tissue into the blood (whereas the less-adapted of us are pretty bad at that). So while they may be getting dehydrated in the strict sense of the word, their body has a healthy workaround that delays both the negative symptoms and the negative effects of dehydration. So these people are effectively “still hydrated enough.”

  • Judy says:

    Hi there.
    I’m entering week two. I lost a pound the first day, then gained three pounds the next. I presume it was water gain. It’s taken me all week to lose those three pounds. My body is not an efficient fat burner and retains water. During the two-week test, I drink Phil’s coffee, breakfast on two eggs and spinach; salad and protein for lunch (I’m trying to add fat like pumpkin seeds, olives or a salad dressing); snack on cheese or nuts with raw veggies; dinner is protein and veggies (I try to remember to add some fat). I’ve been doing cardio five days a week plus one day of resistance work on bands and another day of weight training. Other than sleeping better, I haven’t noticed any big changes.

    I’m concerned about how to find the right balance of carbs and fats once I start slowly adding a few carbs back in. Typically, if I eat as much fat as I am above with carbs, I’ll gain weight. Any suggestions about balancing fats and carbs for weight loss? I’d like to lose about 20 lbs. I’ve had better luck losing weight by eliminating all fats, eating lots of protein, and eating about one cup of carb a day (e.g., 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup acorn squash) and maybe one piece of fruit if I feel hungry. Is it bad for me to eliminate fats?

  • Jesse says:

    My wife and I are nearing the end of our two week test. I have 3 issues…

    1- I’ve felt mentally sluggish and at times sleepy for much of the test. Mornings are good after breakfast, but in the afternoons I never feel completely awake. I try to eat as often as possible during the day but never feel like I get enough (I have a cheetah metabolism).

    2- I’m off to the Middle East for a 3 week film shoot in a few days, and this constantly low energy isn’t going to fly on a fast paced production trip with limited food options.

    3- I have always slept like crap, and it hasn’t been much different on this Carb cleanse. Worse at times.

    Any insights or guidance much appreciated!

  • Missy says:

    This reintroduction regime is silly. Just get a glucomoter and be done with it. You will get much better info than this subjective symptomology. And for the love of Pete! Legumes first? Good way to send the carb sensitive into a tailspin.

    • Hello Missy –

      A glucometer will not tell you about other kinds of symptoms that are not explicitly related to the glucose content of foods. I can see various scenarios where a glucometer approves a certain food but someone is stil displaying negative signs and symptoms.

  • David says:

    Hi Ivan
    Cheese and crackers is my downfall!
    Phil has previously included a recipe for flaxseed crackers which I make regularly and enjoy with y cheese. But I note they are not mentioned anywhere on the website.
    I assume they are still OK – both on the TWT and afterwards?

  • chantal says:

    I have RA and AS, and have been on a Keto diet for a while, fell off the train and getting back on it. Week one of the two plan is done 🙂 And I’lll do well as well for week 2. It gets more complicated when I try to reintroduce food, and I’m wondering why legumes are first on the list of instruction food. What about yogurt? By the way I think I have a very low tolerance to carbs, as as soon I eat blueberries, I end up eating more, and then adding other low GI food, but then can’t stop myself. i’m surprise that nuts are still allowed in the two week plan. I can fall off the train by eating too much nuts as well.
    But it’s difficult to keep off all those food as well.
    I was advised by my osteopath to try whey protein, or pure collagen , which I’m going to do. I am slow and steady when hiking running, or biking but living in the hills and haven’t managed to get to your advice heart rate training plan.

  • Benoît says:

    “During this period, make a note of any symptoms you had previously that were eliminated by the test. In particular, look for symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness or feelings of depression.”

    Is there any relation between the rapidity of symptoms appearance and the CI ?

    • Benoit:

      Yes-t means that you are quite intolerant to carbohydrates. For example, you can generally expect a highly fat-adapted, insulin-sensitive individual to be able to tolerate a larger carbohydrate load without symptoms appearing. While this is not *always* true, it is a good rule of thumb.

  • Mike says:

    My wife and I are about to finish up the two week test and so far I have lost 20 pounds and feel great! So much energy and I feel so much more healthy. I am wondering about dairy products post two week test? We have kept it to the heavy cream and cheeses as described but now I would love to add whole milk back into my diet it’s something I grew up on and enjoy very much. What are the guidelines for dairy after the TWT?

  • John says:

    I have wrapped up my two week test and was curious if there were ratios of which food groups to eat? I haven’t lost inches but feel amazing and afraid of going on eating to much protein. Love this change and appreciate the insight.

  • John redding says:

    I finished up my TWT a few days ago and am a convert. I have more energy without tons of caffeine and “energy drink”. I haven’t lost weight but was curious if there were ratios of food groups to watch?

    • John:

      In a general sense yes, but you shouldn’t go around weighing your food or counting calories.

      Most people don’t need more than 10% complete protein in their diet (more if they are a power athlete) and the rest is fat/carb distribution that is best figured out in response to the two-week test or post-test. It’s rare to find an individual that works well with over 50% carbs in their diet.

  • Jim V says:

    I’m about a week post TWT, and the sweet cravings have not abated or changed one bit for me. I was very strict on the TWT, and only am now starting to try out lentils and fruit, one at a time. Watching my family continue to eat sweets for dessert, and coworkers eat ‘normally’ is just really difficult. While a fairly disciplined eater before, I still would have a small chocolate square after lunch and dinner, and a beer every night. Now, every meal is like this big emotional let down. Even with my taste buds completely re-calibrated, where I can taste so much more in foods, I’ve still got that treat craving going nearly non-stop. Does this eventually go away, or is this just a by-product of being around folks who are not eating what I’m eating?

  • Stephi says:

    Hello Ivan,

    My family and I have always eaten clean and organic (more on the vegetarian side) whole foods. Six months ago, we took the two-week test and afterwards stayed on a “diet” close to the two-week test until a few weeks ago (low-carb and high fat/protein, all organic and zero junk).

    We started to integrate whole grains, natural carbs and other whole foods (according to your guidelines and not mixed and overload at once) again but have experienced issues to say the least. It seems as if our systems are wired in a different way now.

    The slightest natural sugar like a bit of honey or fruit creates aggression. Any food besides eggs, meats, veggies, salad and nuts creates some sort of reaction. Legumes or quinoa gives us headaches. Is it possible that our systems have altered so much that the slightest trigger creates such turmoil? We all experience the same symptoms, such as headaches, bloating, gas or fatigue/irritability.

    No external reasons can be found, other than adding carbs into our daily routine again. Before we took the test and changed our eating routines, we were all fine and definitely ate more natural carbs, less meat/eggs than now. We never consume sweets, refined or other junk.

    It is frustrating, seeing that after summer our children start school and we would not want their lunch to be hard-boiled eggs and chicken only everyday of the week.

    Thanks for trying to explain and offer advice.


  • fjm-NYC says:

    I guess my questions should have gone to general eating guidelines area.

  • fjm-NYC says:

    Thanks Ivan. It’s plain, coarse tapioca flour (which, as I understand, is mandioca, or yuca, manioc), which is heated into a kind of tortilla. I put cheese or cheese and turkey in it. So no sugar, but I guess gluten-free starch. Not the pudding we grew up with in the US.

    • fjm-NYC:

      No worries—it’s just fine here. Tapioca flour is still very starchy, meaning that it’s too high glycemic for most people to genuinely have no signs and symptoms of poor health. But the real arbiter of whether it works or doesn’t isn’t me, but rather whether your body exhibits no signs and symptoms of carb intolerance while eating it (bloating, sleepiness after meals, etc.). If you don’t exhibit signs and symptoms with a tapioca tortilla (which admittedly, is not very likely) then that’s by definition a food that your body can eat.

      Does this make sense?

  • fjm-NYC says:

    And I eat a little chocolate from time to time. And a little beer sometimes.

  • fjm-NYC says:

    I’m now nearly three months post TWT. I do eat lentils and beans 2-3 times a week, and occasionally rice, oatmeal, quinoa. Every once in a while, I eat small amounts of bread if the occasion demands it, but rarely. Likewise potatoes–only rarely. Plenty of fruit. None of these seems to cause me much trouble, although beans bloat me as before. I make sure I get my Fat burning coffee in. I essentially eat no sugar although I allowed myself some almond and coconut flour birthday cake with coconut flower sweetener in the icing. And I run a lot. I’ve seen a transformation in my physique and far fewer incidences of stomach discomfort. I was abroad recently and Tapioca was all the rage there; like crepes made from tapioca flower. I saw tapioca was a NO for TWT, but what about post-test? Also, that coconut flower sweetener is supposed to be low glycemic, but it’s still sweet. I’ve only rarely had it, as noted, in some baked goods. Is that stuff OK?

  • Sylvia says:

    Question about post-TWT: I just finished the TWT and I’m starting to test various foods per your list. If I want to test sweet potatoes, where would those go on the list? (I’m guessing they’re on par with rice, step 4 — would that be correct?)

    On the whole, I feel markedly better after the TWT. I’d followed a paleo diet for years, but in the past year this eroded. I started eating sugar and using artificial sweeteners again. And (again) I learned that my body and mind react badly. The TWT really helped me to see that clearly and get back on track. Thanks!

  • fjm-NYC says:

    Day 1 post-test: French lentils (the small, dark green ones) at lunch. I did feel a little funny for about 15-20 min after eating them; a little carb buzz, I guess. But after that, no real issues. While I often felt hungry for much of the TWT, that subsided in the last couple of days of it and today I feel quite satiated. Fish for dinner; will introduce berries tomorrow.

  • fjm-NYC says:

    I’ll be wrapping up TWT over the next few days. I’ve actually felt very low in energy in the 2nd week of the TWT (I’m still trianing). I’m a little unclear about what CI actually is. For example, I love lentils and beans and I’ve been taught that they’re a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins. But of course I have a bloating reaction to eating them, as most people do, especially as you age. Isn’t that just the price for eating that kind of food? I don’t intend to go on eating the amount of meat, eggs, and cheese I have been during the TWT, so I’ll need my protein. I eat fish 2-3 times a week but still…. And what about high intensity training, which I intend to keep doing? Wouldn’t pasta still be a good thing the night before? Just wondering. (I read on a glycemic index site that pasta al dente has a lower index that soft pasta).

  • Maarten says:

    “Since insulin production is partly influenced by your previous meal, don’t add carbohydrates in back-to-back meals or snacks.”

    Does this mean that i can feel bloated after dinner when i had some carbs for lunch?

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