After the Two-Week Test: The Post-Test

This article describes the guidelines for how to re-incorporate foods eliminated during the Two-Week Test.
  •      To read more about Carbohydrate Intolerance and Two-Week Test, click here.
  •      To find out if you are Carbohydrate Intolerant, go to the Carbohydrate Intolerance survey.
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.

Next Steps

When you’ve completed the Post-Test, it’s time to move on to our Basic Eating Guidelines article. It summarizes which foods are good to eat (and which aren’t), and includes link to a variety of other articles on the topics of food and healthy eating, including MAF-approved recipes. Click the button below to continue:

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • 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?

  • 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).

  • 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.

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