Carbohydrates Deficiency Diseases: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 16/11/2023

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients essential for human health, along with proteins and fats. They serve as the primary source of energy for your body and play a crucial role in various physiological functions.

Carbohydrates are commonly found in foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. A deficiency of carbohydrates leads to a range of health issues known as carbohydrate deficiency diseases.

This blog delves into the symptoms, causes, and treatments of these diseases while exploring the role of health insurance in managing the associated healthcare costs.

What Does a Deficiency of Carbohydrates Mean?

A carbohydrate deficiency occurs when the body does not receive sufficient amounts of carbohydrates required to meet its energy requirements and other essential functions.

While carbohydrates are often criticised for their association with weight gain, it is essential to recognise that they are a vital nutrient for your health. When you do not consume enough carbohydrates, or your body cannot effectively use them, several health issues can arise.

List of Carbohydrate Deficiency Diseases

Hypoglycemia Hunter Syndrome
Hurler Syndrome Galactosemia
Pompe Disease Mucolipidosis
Mucopolysaccharidoses Ketosis

What are the Symptoms of Carbohydrate Deficiency Diseases

Carbohydrate deficiency can lead to a range of symptoms, as carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and are important for various physiological functions.

The severity and specific symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency can vary depending on the extent of the deficiency and an individual’s overall health. Here are common carbohydrate deficiency symptoms:


Persistent and unexplained fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency. Carbohydrates provide energy in the form of glucose, which is used by cells throughout the body for fuel. A lack of carbohydrates can leave you feeling tired and low on energy.


Muscle weakness and a general sense of physical weakness can result from insufficient carbohydrate intake. This can affect daily activities and overall quality of life.

Brain Fog

Carbohydrates are essential for brain function, and a lack of carbohydrates can lead to difficulties in concentration, memory problems, and mental confusion.


Many people who do not consume enough carbohydrates report experiencing frequent headaches. This is likely due to the brain’s reduced access to glucose, which it relies on for energy.


Low carbohydrate intake can contribute to mood swings and irritability. The brain’s function is closely tied to blood sugar levels, which are regulated by carbohydrate consumption.


Fibre, a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, is essential for digestive health. Inadequate fibre intake can lead to constipation and other digestive issues.

Weight Loss

While some people may aim to lose weight through reduced carbohydrate intake, excessive carbohydrate restriction can lead to unintended and unhealthy weight loss.


In some cases, the body may enter a state called ketosis when carbohydrate intake is very low. Ketosis can result in foul-smelling breath, nausea, and a significant risk of developing ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

What are the Causes of Deficiency of Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrate deficiency diseases can occur due to various reasons. These disorders arise when the body does not receive an adequate amount of carbohydrates to meet its energy requirements and other essential functions.

The causes of carbohydrate deficiency diseases can be broadly categorised into dietary, medical, and metabolic factors.

Dietary Choices

The most common cause of carbohydrate deficiency is a diet that severely restricts carbohydrate intake. Low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, can lead to carbohydrate deficiency if not managed carefully.

Inadequate Food Supply

In regions with limited access to a variety of foods, individuals may not have enough sources of carbohydrates available in their diets.

Eating Disorders

Individuals with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, may avoid carbohydrates as part of their restrictive eating habits.

Malabsorption Disorders

Specific medical conditions, such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome, can affect the body’s ability to absorb carbohydrates properly.

Metabolic Disorders

Some rare metabolic disorders, like glycogen storage diseases, can impact the body’s ability to store and use carbohydrates efficiently.

It is important to note that carbohydrate deficiency diseases can have serious health consequences, as carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and are essential for various physiological functions.

Identifying and addressing the underlying causes and ensuring an adequate intake of carbohydrates is essential for preventing and managing these disorders. If you suspect you may be at risk of carbohydrate deficiency or are experiencing related symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

Who is at Risk of Developing Carbohydrate Deficiency Diseases?

Carbohydrate-related disorders can affect people of various ages and backgrounds. But, certain factors and groups of people are at a higher risk of developing these conditions.

Individuals with gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer are more prone to suffer from carbohydrate deficiency symptoms.

Carbohydrate-related disorders can also impact anyone who does not maintain a balanced diet that includes an appropriate amount of carbohydrates. A well-rounded diet that provides the necessary macronutrients, including carbohydrates, is essential for overall health and well-being.

Treatment and Management of Diseases Caused by the Deficiency of Carbohydrates

You can treat carbohydrate deficiency diseases after addressing the underlying causes, increasing carbohydrate intake, and managing any related complications or symptoms. The treatment approach may vary depending on the severity of the deficiency and the specific circumstances of the individual.

Dietary Changes

The primary treatment for carbohydrate deficiency is adjusting the diet to include an adequate quantity of carbohydrates. It is crucial to choose complex carbohydrates from sources like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as they provide essential nutrients and fibre.

Consult a Registered Dietician

Individuals with carbohydrate-related disorders should work with a registered dietician to develop a balanced meal plan that meets their specific needs while ensuring they receive enough carbohydrates.


In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend carbohydrate supplements to address severe deficiencies. These supplements can be in the form of glucose or carbohydrate-rich snacks.

Management of Underlying Conditions

For individuals with medical conditions that cause carbohydrate malabsorption or metabolic disorders, treatment should focus on managing these underlying conditions in addition to dietary adjustments.

Education and Awareness

It is essential to educate yourself about proper nutrition and dietary choices. Understanding the importance of carbohydrates in your diet can help you make informed choices to prevent carbohydrate deficiency in the future.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance makes it easier for you to meet the healthcare expenses associated with carbohydrate deficiency diseases. When you buy a health insurance plan, you are guaranteed to enjoy the following benefits:

Coverage for Medical Consultations

Health insurance typically covers doctor’s visits and consultations, allowing individuals to easily seek professional advice and diagnosis when experiencing carbohydrate deficiency symptoms.

Access to Registered Dieticians

Many health insurance plans offer coverage for consultations with registered dieticians. This is particularly important for individuals with carbohydrate-related disorders who need personalised meal plans and dietary guidance.

Prescription Medications and Supplements

In some cases, individuals with severe carbohydrate deficiencies may require prescription medications or supplements. Health insurance can help cover the costs of these treatments, reducing the financial burden on the individual.

Hospitalisation and Emergency Care

Severe cases of carbohydrate deficiency can lead to complications that require hospitalisation or emergency care. Health insurance ensures that individuals can access these critical services without incurring exorbitant medical bills.

Diagnostic Tests

Health insurance often covers the costs of diagnostic tests such as blood work and imaging, which may be necessary to identify underlying conditions contributing to carbohydrate deficiency.

Preventive Care

Some health insurance plans offer coverage for preventive care services, including vaccinations and screenings. These can help individuals maintain their overall health and prevent carbohydrate deficiency diseases.

Wrapping up

Carbohydrate deficiency diseases can impact an individual’s health and well-being significantly. The first step in dealing with the conditions is identifying the symptoms and causes. You can manage your deficiency of carbohydrates with dietary adjustments, consultation with a healthcare professional and nutritionist, and, in some cases, supplementation.

There are many benefits of health insurance in managing the healthcare costs related to carbohydrate deficiencies. Tata AIG’s health insurance plan provides the financial support you need to avail the required medical care, specialist consultation, and prescription medication or supplements. A comprehensive medical insurance policy can ensure you manage your conditions effectively and improve your overall health and quality of life.


What does a deficiency of carbohydrates lead to?

When your body does not receive carbohydrates in adequate quantities, your blood sugar level can drop below the normal range, causing hypoglycemia. The condition can further lead to ketosis as the body begins to burn fat for energy.

What is the nutritional importance of carbohydrates?

The most common forms of carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fibres. They are an essential component of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide glucose to the body, which converts to energy to support bodily functions and physical activity.

Which foods are rich in carbohydrates?

To increase your intake of carbohydrates, you can consume foods like beans, potatoes, bread, milk, corn, spaghetti, cookies, popcorn, soft drinks, and cherry pie. The nutrient exists in a wide range of healthy and unhealthy foods.

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