In Part I of Balancing Blood Sugar we discussed mostly the history and problems with having blood sugar problems such as diabetes and hypoglycemia. Here we will discuss some suggestions to help.
Blood sugar that swings from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), over time can result in diabetes. Hypoglycemia almost always precedes diabetes. Not all people with hypoglycemia will become diabetic in their lifetime, but avoiding it will certainly contribute to better health.
Slowing the rate that sugar enters the bloodstream is key. If you eat a candy bar, your blood sugar will spike, sending a surge of insulin and cortisol to deal with it. They increase inflammation in your body, suppress immune function, tell the body to store more fat, interfere with healthy sleep cycles and reduce balanced energy in the body. Not what we want. So how do we slow the rate?
Three main nutrients slow the rate sugar enters the blood — protein, fiber and fat. The more of those that are in each meal, the better for balancing blood sugar. Having said that, fat needs to be qualified. Trans fats such as those in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils get into the cell membrane, interfere with the insulin receptors and could develop into insulin resistance. Avoiding Trans Fats and vegetable oils is an important step in helping blood sugar issues. Better fats are butter, coconut oil and olive oil.
Many people are aware that eating sugar causes blood sugar swings, but many don’t realize how caffeine can cause severe sugar swings: Dr. Jeremy E. Kaslow, M.D., Board Certified Internist says: “Caffeine forces the liver to release glycogen into the bloodstream. The pancreas responds to the sudden rise in blood sugar by releasing insulin, the hormone which causes excess carbohydrates to be stored as fat. Within the span of an hour or two, the result is a sharp blood sugar drop resulting in a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). That’s when you think it’s time for another cup of coffee and the whole cycle starts up again.”
He summarizes Dr. Barry Sears from his book The Zone: “achieving a hormonal balance and blood sugar stability allows you to maintain your natural weight and optimal energy level. He counsels that the breakdown of caffeine causes the pancreas to release too much insulin, thus creating a climate in which excess carbohydrates are stored as fat and are unavailable for use as energy by your brain. Although caffeine is a metabolic stimulant, the ultimate effect is to increase your appetite and contribute to weight gain and thus caffeine should be avoided by anyone working to reduce body fat.”
The body needs several vitamins and nutrients such as Folic Acid, B6, B12, niacin, inositol, chromium (GTF chromium only), magnesium, Vanadium (micro-nutrient), Vitamin E, fat, fiber and protein to keep sugars under control and to heal the ill effects of excess sugar in the diet.
Controlling sugar cravings is a difficult task. That warrants an article in of itself. Suffice it to say here, that the better balance in blood sugar, the more energy you will have, and the least likely you will suffer from the worldwide malady: diabetes.
Learn more by attending our upcoming health class, How to Balance Blood Sugar Naturally, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: (208) 765-1994.
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.