We have all known for a while that overeating carbs is largely responsible for unhealthy weight gain. But why one person can heavily indulge carbson carbs without putting on an ounce of fat versus another who can’t be in the same room as a piece of toast without putting on inches has long been somewhat of a mystery. Instead of investing money into expensive genetic testing, there is a quick at-home test that you can take for yourself to find out your ideal carbohydrate intake.

What this discrepancy really comes down to are the genes that have been passed down to you by your parents. Interestingly, we are not exact 50:50 genetic replicas of our parents. Depending on who you are, you may inherit more copies of genetic material from one parent over the other. This variation in the number of genes that have been passed down from parent to child, plays a major role in health and metabolism.

It also delivers various advantages and disadvantages when it comes to what our bodies metabolize, which is why it is important to know what diet your body is designed to eat. Most people have the enzyme, amylase, in their saliva that helps breakdown large, bulky starch molecules into simple sugars readily available for the body’s use. But the amount of amylase in saliva can vary greatly between individuals. Saliva can be packed with amylase or it can lack the enzyme entirely. Those who lack amylase do not break down carbohydrates effectively, leading to weight gain.

The starchier the diet of your ancestors, the more copies of the AMY1 genes that are responsible for amylase production have been passed down to you. So, if your ancestors were farmers who primarily ate cereal grains, the more AMY1 genes you have. However, if your ancestors ate more meat, then the fewer AMY1 genes you have.

If you’ve ever been a person that has struggled with long-term weight loss, take the self-test to individualize and alter your carbohydrate intake level. By doing so, you can see which category of carbohydrate consumption you fall into, be it full, moderate, or restricted. There is no reason to eat genetically blind again!

To take the test, you’ll need one unsalted cracker or, if you eat gluten-free, a small piece of raw peeled potato will do, and a time and pen. The objective of this test is to record the amount of time it takes you to chew until the cracker or potato changes in taste from bland to sweet.

You will need to run this experiment three times to take the average of the times and collect enough saliva in your mouth to take the test.

First, place the cracker in your mouth, start the time, and begin chewing. Make sure that while chewing, you are incorporating saliva in with the cracker to aid in the breakdown of the carbohydrates. As soon as you notice a change in taste, or if you have reached 30 seconds, stop chewing, swallow, and record the time. Take the test two more times, add up the times, and then divide by three.

If it took from 0-14 seconds for the cracker to change taste, your Carb Consumption Category is full, meaning that you have 250g of carbs a day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. This amount is roughly the same as eating four slices of bread and it also means that roughly 50 percent of your calories can come from carbs, 20 percent from protein, and 30 percent from protein fats.

If it took 15-30 seconds for you to notice change, then your Carb Consumption Category is moderate. By falling into this category, you can have 175g of carbs, which is roughly equivalent to three-and-a-half slices of bread. This means that 35 percent of your calories can come from carbs, 30 percent from protein, and 35 percent from protein fats.

Your Carb Consumption Category is restricted if it took 30 seconds or more to notice the change. If you fall into this category, then you can have 125g of carbs a day, which amounts to roughly three slices of bread. Twenty-five percent of your diet can come from carbs, 35 percent from protein and 40 percent from protein fat.

By following these rough dietary guidelines, you can avoid overeating in certain food categories. The biggest challenge people find themselves battling while trying to lose weight is unconsciously eating out of sync with their recommended diet. Knowing how much amylase your body produces is a valuable tool in controlling your carb intake and ultimately your weight.

Remember that regardless of what category that you fall in, your carb intake should never exceed 40 percent of your caloric intake from fats. If you follow this diet for a month, you should see the pounds start falling off and at the least see a spike in energy and health!