DO YOU CRAVE SUGAR?
THIS IS… “NATIONAL DIABETES MONTH”
Can this be possible?.. Recent statistics have shown that 2/3rds of Americans are overweight or obese and that 30% of American children are obese. In addition, millions of us are in a state of insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, that could progress into diabetes. According to the latest research out of the University of Missouri, one in four Americans are struggling with diabetes with the majority of them as type 2.
Haven’t you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Now imagine how you feel when you skip breakfast. Your body begins to run low on energy, and your fuel supply, like the engine in your car, begins to slow down thereby causing you to run on fumes. So, by mid morning, you grab a high-calorie food item like a muffin or donut to relieve your hunger.
What happens next?
This high calorie, sugary snack causes insulin to be released out of the pancreas into the bloodstream, while the body is trying to adapt to the surge in blood glucose from the snack just eaten.
When this pattern is repeated throughout the day, blood sugar levels show sharp spikes-both highs and lows. Over time, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas wear out leading to high levels of blood glucose which is called diabetes. Normal fasting blood sugar should be less than 100mg/dl.
Diabetes can cause many serious health issues and is associated with obesity, heart disease, and increased mortality. It is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States. A preventative approach would be to make sure that blood glucose levels are stable throughout the day. Our brain needs a continuous level of blood sugar to avoid anxiety caused by blood sugar fluctuations.
ARE YOU AT RISK FOR DIABETES?
- Do you have a family history of diabetes?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Are your cholesterol levels abnormal?
- Are you over 45?
- Do you have a history of gestational diabetes?
A new meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials involved more than 33,000 people showed that drug treatment of type 2 diabetes is not only ineffective, it’s dangerous as well. These medications poison the enzymes in our body and disrupt the normal biochemical pathways. In general, a drug therapy protocol should treat the underlying cause of the illness that the drug is being prescribed for. Treatment with glucose-lowering drugs actually showed the potential to increase your risk of death from heart-related and all other causes. These medications should be used as a last resort, after diet and lifestyle modifications have been explored.
Keep in mind that the medical community that runs the major research and treatment protocols for diabetes does not look favorably on chiropractic and nutritional supplementation. The American Diabetes Association does NOT recommend vitamin or mineral supplementation-in fact they recommend against it. However, it’s okay to have a daily alcoholic beverage. Therefore, be aware that you may need help to better discern the advice you are receiving from the many sources.
SO, WHAT ARE THE KEYS IN DIABETES PREVENTION?
There are real action steps every American can do to support their health and well-being focusing on lifestyle choices daily that include diet and exercise.
- First line treatments in blood sugar balance include lifestyle modifications with weight loss as one of the primary goals. Dietary modifications are paramount, as it has been suggested that a person 30% or more overweight for over 30 years will develop diabetes.
- Increasing fiber, (guar, pectin, oats, psyllium, bran, fruits, vegetables and beans) and watching the glycemic index of foods (foods which don’t create a quick glucose-insulin response) is essential in managing blood sugar levels.
- A regimen high in whole grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and whole fruits (whole fruits are much lower on the glycemic index than juices) will keep the blood sugar even without fluctuation.
- Avoid refined, processed foods, as they have “hidden” sources of fructose in them. Fructose should be eliminated from your diet with a total daily intake of below 25 grams.
- 5. Increase complex carbohydrates and fiber, and balance with enough high protein foods. Most refined foods contain high levels of high fructose corn syrup, which lack vital nutrients and cause wide blood sugar fluctuations.
- Two servings of beans per day may help control blood sugar levels (soak beans in several drops of iodine) to alleviate gas-producing effects.
- Moderate amounts of lean meat, fish and unsaturated fats are helpful.
- Small, frequent meals eaten throughout the course of the day will alleviate adrenal and pancreas stress by maintaining blood glucose levels.
- A vegetarian diet may be helpful. Onions and garlic have blood-sugar lowering effects.(Murray, M., N.D. Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs, William Morrow and company, Inc NY, 1994, p.179).
- Follow an elimination/rotation diet to detect food allergies or sensitivities.
- Diets eliminating an entire food category, like “Atkins”, will likely be ineffective in the long term.
- Diets that severely restrict calories provide too little nutrition and are not metabolically healthy. (below 1200 calories)
- Being around overweight people regularly makes it more difficult to lose weight. (ie. Similar to a smoker trying to quit smoking and being with smokers socially)
VITAMIN/SUPPLEMENATION MAY INCLUDE:
Vitamin D, Cinnamon, Fish Oil, Co-Q-10, Chromium, Biotin, Magnesium Citrate (commonly deficient in diabetes), Iodine (commonly deficient in diabetes), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin E, C, B’s, Phosphatidylcholine, Bromelain, Quercetin, Zinc, Adrenal and pancreas support, HCL and pancreatic enzymes, Calcium and Magnesium,Vanadium, Folic Acid and Cinnamon Bark.
HERBAL PRODUCTS MAY INCLUDE:
Fenugreek, Guar gum, Milk Thistle, Gymnema, Bitter Melon, Apple pectin, Beet powder and Oat Fiber.
Studies have shown that exercise (with a goal of at least 150 min/week) resulting in weight loss reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. Moderate exercise is suggested to increase cell sensitivity to insulin. The same studies found lifestyle changes to be superior to Metformin. Regular exercise can result in a loss of fat from the abdominal section of your body and reduce the inflammatory cells that cause insulin resistance and diabetes.
Be mindful of your exercise routine and don’t overdo it when you are a beginner. Some important keys to consider with exercise include: Frequency, Intensity and Length of time. A comprehensive workout plan should include cardio-vascular training, core exercises, strength training and flexibility/ stretching.
STRESS, HORMONES AND SUGAR?
Decreasing stress, thereby lessening strain on the adrenal glands will result in better overall health and contribute to keeping the body’s insulin levels in check. DHEA is one of our adrenal hormones which help to regulate our blood sugar and an effective weight management tool. Type 2 Diabetes may also occur from a faulty leptin signaling and insulin resistance. Leptin is produced in your fat cells and is a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight. It signals our brain regarding when to start and stop eating and how much to eat. It’s greatly responsible for whether or not one becomes insulin resistant. Therefore, it is vital to have one’s hormones evaluated by an integrative medical professional.
OTHER LIFESTYLE/DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS:
You can eat sweets occasionally, as a treat, without feeling guilty, however, moderation is the key. Consider swapping a high carbohydrate-containing food in your meal for something with fewer carbohydrates and eat the remaining carbohydrates as a sweet. For example, if you were going to include a potato, rice or pasta with your meal and a slice of bread, consider not eating that and instead enjoy a cupcake, or the like.
Be aware that many products made with artificial sweeteners, as baked goods and artificially sweetened puddings, etc still contain calories and carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar level. Sugar alcohols still contain calories, so check product labels for words as: “isomalt,” “mannitol,” “sorbitol,” and “xylitol.” In general, eating foods that are chemically created may not be the best choice. Items containing saccharin, aspartame and sucralose (splenda) have been shown to cause various adverse reactions.
Two natural sweeteners, Stevia (Truvia, Pure Via) which is a plant found in South America and agave nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners, Madhava) offer other options for sweetening your food. However, you will need to experiment with the sugar-to-sweetener ratio, which is different for each product, until you like the taste. Since agave nectar isn’t calorie or carbohydrate-free, it shouldn’t be considered for weight management, however, it does have a lower glycemic index than does sugar, so it won’t affect your glucose level as much.
Eating healthfully and regular exercise are vital parts of the solution to control obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The results have a magical effect on resetting one’s metabolic clock thereby shifting the pattern of storing fat to a pattern of burning fat.
Stopping smoking, moderating alcohol intake and proper sleeping habits will help to alleviate blood chemistry surges, which in turn will promote a thriving, well-balanced body.
Therefore, by correcting the underlying causes of poor lifestyle choices which include a diet of whole, living foods, supplementation, exercise, and hormonal balance, one can effectively manage their blood sugar.
Iris Rosenfeld, DC 25255 Cabot Rd Ste 110 Laguna Hills, Ca 92653