One of my key health objectives at the moment is to balance my blood sugar and keep the insulin level from spiking. I have measured my blood sugar with a basic blood sugar device and haven't got any abnormal readings. Then I recently spoke to someone with diabetes who explained that many of the home-measuring devices were not very accurate. I have also checked with a doctor for diabetes and he confirmed I was healthy. So why should worrying about blood sugar be one of my number one health goals?
It is a mystery to me but, regardless of the good blood sugar readings, I clearly have problems closely related to blood sugar swings and excess insulin: Sugary foods and sometimes even sugary fruits and juices make me first feel quite good (high blood sugar) but after two hours of so I feel very fatigued and quite often weak and achy as well.
The mineral analysis I did revealed an extreme sugar intolerance and the Chinese Doctor also make a link between my anxiety symptoms and sugar consumption.
I also did some sugar free diet experiments and straight away felt more energy, more confident and lost weight quickly as well. Another sign of problems with blood sugar balance is that I feel addicted to processed carbohydrates and sugar as well. Tendency to crave alcohol is typically linked to the same problem of a need for 'sugar-high' stimulation.
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are the typical stimulants people in my office, for example, use to get stay focused and awake through the day, and to be able to do their jobs sitting at the computer all day. But this stimulant-problem is another story - in this article I concentrate on why and how to balance blood sugar. It is good to keep in mind that the main reason many of us eat sugary foods is fatigue and/or boredom and the need for stimulation. The same goes for processed carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and also starchy foods such as potatoes and white rice, as they act the same way as sugar in our bodies.
As mentioned above, I am severely sugar intolerant, possibly partly due to detoxifying copper (which in turn in due to recovering adrenal glands but that is again another story). Sugar intolerance is always partly due to past lifestyle as well. I spend many of my teenage years and 20s drinking regularly, and a lot, and my vegetarian diet made it easy to become addicted to pastas, bread and potatoes. In addition, processed sugar and flour in large quantities is not good for anyone, even if you are in perfect health. You might not feel the effects straight away but these are not health foods. Majority of people living in industrialized countries, I would say, have blood sugar problems manifesting as fatigue, sugar and carbohydrate cravings, alcohol cravings, irritability and being overweight.
I have recently started regular weight-bearing exercises and as soon as I started, I noticed that I can tolerate carbs and sugar better. I bought a book that works different parts of the body on different days and the program includes push-ups, jumps, the plank, kicks, etc. It is quite a tough program and seems to have a better effect on me than running - and it still gets me out of breath and sweating. Exercise burns the excess insulin off your blood so for a quick fix against a sugar-low, do some exercise. The long-term blood-sugar-regulating effect is of course much increased. My programme is 20-25 minutes of fairly hard work and it seems to be enough. (12 exercises with 12-24 reps each, three first exercises repeated x3).
Eating fibre and protein both slow down digestion and the release of sugar in the blood. This prevents high blood sugar spikes, which in turn prevents excess insulin from being released to combat high blood sugar. Pancreas can get fatigued from constant insulin creation. If blood sugar is very high, too much insulin gets released in the blood and now blood sugar, as a result, drops too low. Symptoms of tiredness, irritability and sugar cravings ensue. Now the adrenal glands step in to bring the blood sugar up again.
Once this rollercoaster continues for many years - as it does with your typical office worker - the cells in the body become insulin resistant, which means in practice that they are not only resistant to insulin but also resistant to sugar - which is the primary fuel for the cells. The cells have no energy to function in this situation and to make it worse, the adrenal glands become overworked as well and can't lift the blood sugar properly anymore - and in addition cause other problems. This is another reason why blood sugar then stays chronically low and stimulants can be used for a while to 'whip' the adrenals into action. This, of course, makes the situation even worse.
But when we eat natural wholefoods full of fibre and ensure that we get enough protein as well, the blood sugar highs don't take place and everything in the body keeps rolling smoothly, with gentle support from the pancreas and the adrenals. Avoiding sugar-highs is crucial for anyone's health and can be done by avoiding sugars, syrups, refined foods, processed carbohydrates and all stimulants.
Whenever I quit sugary foods the cravings are usually very bad for 2-3 days but afterwards it becomes a lot easier. The key to any diet, however, is to keep your belly full of good foods because hunger creates junk-food cravings.
Personally I still drink alcohol but I choose a shot of spirit, such as tequila or rum, with many lemons squeezed in. This results in a sour drink very similar to a Margarita cocktail and avoids the liquid carbohydrates of beer and the sugar and chemicals of wine, while the lemon helps to support your liver. I find that this has much less negative health effects than other drinks. Ideally, of course, you would stay away from alcohol altogether.
If you suspect that your adrenal glands and pancreas are fatigued already, as mine were, read up on the internet about how to heal your adrenal glands. Dr. James Wilson's book 'Adrenal Fatigue' is especially helpful in this regard. His website is www.adrenalgatigue.org and there is quite a bit of free information there you can read before deciding whether to buy the book. Read also my account on: adrenal insufficiency.
In the above article I have listed the main ways - very effective ones - to keep blood sugar balanced. The benefits include happier moods, less mood swings, less arguments, less fatigue, better ability to handle stress, less anxiety and also fast weight loss. For more information on how this relates to belly fat specifically, read: How to Lose Belly Fat.
Balancing my blood sugar is number one on my list of health goals right now. I will write about the second step, How to Beat Tiredness, tomorrow.
Magnesium can be a very important mineral to ensure that blood sugar stays stable. Read more here: Magnesium Benefits.
Nutritional View of Sugar Addiction and Carbohydrate Intolerance.
Anxiety Diet Conclusions
The Bigger Picture of Sugar Addiction: brain chemicals, emotions, underlying stresses and traumas, nutritional deficiencies and not enjoying ones life enough.
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.