Ah the dangers of high blood sugar… then the entire body response to lower toxic levels of blood sugar… and then… blood sugar goes too low…
“Crungry”—you know… cranky because you’re hungry.
Thinking it is about to starve and die, the body now creates a stress response: crankiness, cravings, anxiety, sometimes jitters and faint-headedness…
It is such a primal response: low blood sugar = drastic moods and single-focus “feed me!”
And we no longer care what. This primal single-focused subconscious drive throws out everything and goes for the fastest quick-fix money can buy at the closest convenience store:
But I made a healthy choice? I used your recipe for double chocolate cookies sweetened with maple syrup.
Sigh. Yes, this website has those sorts of substitutions. Whether or not they are “healthy” depends on you. Please remember, we are all different. One man’s food is another man’s poison. Cane sugar is a neurotoxin and sets off an immediate inflammatory response; corn sugar does all that plus bypasses normal biochemistry and directly signals packing on fat. So, yes, maple syrup and raw honey are better… than cane or corn sugar, or even agave…
But do maple sugar or raw honey or coconut sugar or date sugar or… the non-inflammatory ones… do they help you reach your health goals? That depends.
Is my crungry a sign of poor blood sugar handling?
Do any of these describe you?
- Awaken a few hours after falling asleep, hard to get back to sleep
- Crave coffee or sugar in the afternoon
- Sleepy in afternoon
- Fatigue that is relieved by eating
- Headache is meals are skipped or delayed
- Irritable before meals
- Shaky if meals delayed
- Frequent thirst or urination
Your body has to protect itself from harm, but in our modern-day world we don’t spend days or even hours tracking, finding, hunting, gathering, and then cleaning, preparing… our next meal. We grab whatever we can find in the fridge or shelf or stop by any of many conveniently-located waystops, stores, and drive-throughs.
Need a pick-me-up? There is always Starbucks, or Bubba’s or “the Flying Dog” or… and definitely give yourself kudos for preparing ahead and having healthier options at home, the question really is whether or not these options will help you achieve your health and life goals—or at least don’t hurt them too much.
What’s all the sugar handling hype?
When your blood sugar moves outside the rhythmic range of going up for a while just after a meal and then returning lower after an hour or more… when this rhythmic range falls apart, we call that “poor sugar handling”.
If the meals or snacks you choose spike your blood sugar, your body responds by making a ton of insulin to force that elevated sugar out of your blood. Some of it can go directly into the cells in your body. BUT most of it does not; not as sugar anyway.
Insulin tells your liver to convert that extra high sugar into a little bit of glycogen (the form of sugar your liver and muscles can store for a fast energy burn, as needed, and also led to the “carb-loading” myth). Only a very small amount can be stored as glycogen.
The rest of the extra sugar is converted to fat and stored: that’s most of it. Extra blood sugar from extra dietary carbs becomes an expanding waistline, poor hormone balance, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and some real problems that in fact should provoke anxiety.
Why doesn’t eating carbs worry us?
Because every Registered Dietician school, nutrition school, all personal trainers, coaches, and even most doctors tell us that sugar (glucose) is the body’s preferred source of energy. Comfort in numbers, sugar is good, right?
If that’s not bad enough, sugar from any source stimulates our reward system. This worked well for primal man as there are no sweet poisonous plants, there is reward after hours of searching for the honey pot. But the 64 grams of sugar in a Starbucks caramel frappuccino… stimulates your reward centers just as much, more—and it’s easy to go “foraging” for another after the buzz wears off and the body gets Crangry.
Maybe the Luna Bar in your purse or briefcase is the next go-to. After all, it’s a protein bar right? Is it? Let’s look:
Marketed as an organic and healthy snack food protein bar, it is truly loaded with sugar and 25 grams of simple carbohydrates; just like a candy bar.
We’re taught this. We’re taught to carry a protein bar as a healthy snack. Heck, I’ve taught you to make my “Legal Chocolate Muffins” instead of the Betty Crocker sort. I’m sorry.
Let’s break down the lies and social expectations and go from there.
How to keep the body energized? Give it its true preferred fuel: Fats.
Here’s the faulty logic:
When there is not enough insulin to get sugar from the blood for energy and into the cells, the body turns to fat for fuel. (Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics: Edition 2)
Can you see the basic assumption that sugar (glucose) is the preferred fuel of most cells? THAT FALSE ASSUMPTION LEADS TO…
So… if we don’t feed ourselves enough carbohydrate in small meals every few hours, our blood sugar will drop, we’ll go into “starvation mode.”
AND, if we have dutifully listened and eat this way, then we have optimized our gut, our enzymes, and many other systems to process carbs into sugar and move them into our bloodstream, which leads to the next points usually made:
If we go into “starvation mode” we’ll never lose weight because the body will burn fewer calories (calories in = calories out, right?) and if we’re an athlete “everyone knows” starvation mode results in cannibalizing our precious muscle tissue. Flab is not pretty; even on a thin person.
Besides… if you’ve done any research in Google University, you “know” you need to refill your glucose stores or your cortisol (stress hormone) will rise and that’s bad (whatever cortisol does).
But… because high glucose in the bloodstream is toxic, it is known to raise insulin which makes extra calories from all sources turn to fat So… we have to exercise really hard to burn that meal.
Eat less / move more—the new (old) mantra…
And… since exercise burns up our glucose fuel, if we want to be ready for any athletic anything, then we need to eat lots of complex carbohydrates in between workouts to refill our glycogen stores (by the way this was called “Carb Loading” a few decades ago before the myth was busted—so this phrase alone is a sure sign the speaker has not studied the science.)
The carb logic is sugar-coated—the carb paradigm is wrong
…the body turns to fat for fuel. (Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics: Edition 2)
Isn’t that want we want? Fat is our energy store; if we have too much fat then we have stored too much energy. Why would we ever want to have to keep adding more energy as carbs to a system that already has too many energy bricks as fat???
Only carbs and sugars elevate blood sugar in a rapid and unhealthy way that creates sugar dependency and blocks the normal use of fat as fuel.
In fact, that post-workout 48 grams of carbs/sugar Cliff Bar or “protein smoothie” (made from the sugary mixed flavored powder stuff plus concentrated juices and a banana). That post “move more” choice or even the little cookie for lunch…
The resulting spike in blood sugar will decimate your body’s ability to burn fat for about 48 hours. Please think about that the next time you tell yourself you don’t understand why you aren’t losing weight or gaining energy but “it was just one.” Please.
Start now. Re-train your brain to love fats and veggies (and a little protein).
Your muscles, heart and even your brain actually run more efficiently and effectively by burning certain types of fat for energy.
Why it’s important not to give up!
I know this isn’t easy if you’ve done a great job training your body to live on sugar. In 21 days, you can shift it back to burning fat more efficiently. The first 3 days are the hardest.
If this is your goal, you truly must reset your sugar handling and it will absolutely not work to replace cane, corn, agave or whatever with a less inflammatory sugar. While that switch is an improvement, the work you truly must do is eliminate enough sugars so that your body is retrained to burn fat for fuel.
The only way to do this is to eat huge piles of green veggies, some protein, and some good healthy snacks at least 3X every day—the only skipped meals should be desert (and all things that turn to sugar).
We know that wild blood sugar swings will damage your organs well before a blood glucose test will detect sugar handling problems. Assume this is happening.
We also know that high blood sugar will chemically bind to proteins (including on the outside of your cells) and damage them.
Here’s where the veggies come in. Most carb diets skip veggies and that results in deficiencies of key minerals and vitamins needed for organ function and especially to help repair and rebuild.
What’s Happening in the Brain?
New data from research is now also showing altered neurotransmitter function that may be part of why so many people who don’t address their blood sugar imbalances don’t store memories well and often have reduced cognitive function—especially children.
All diabetics have imbalances in important neurotransmitters like decreased acetylcholine, decreased serotonin turnover, decreased dopamine activity, and increased norepinephrine. Although this was initially thought to be limited to type III diabetes—a form of diabetes that specifically is insulin resistance in the brain—turns out this is true of all diabetes types.
In other words, by allowing blood sugar handling to continue unaddressed, the signals between many cell types in the brain don’t work very well. This is seen as learning deficits, a certain “slowness”, wooden…. And probably the most frightening is Alzheimers disease marked by an impairment in central cholinergic activity and the accumulation of glutamate—caused by high blood sugar and leads to neuronal damage.
Here is one of the reference articles: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/er.2007-0034
My 21-day Rejuveo Cleanse for a fast metabolic reset
Crowd out the sugar
Please. Don’t switch “bad” for “good.” Get rid of it. Crowd out these sugary, starchy, anti-foods with veggies fats and proteins. Spend more on real food and less on Starbucks and medical bills.
Remove inflammatory foods
And my apologies if I led you astray by having a desert section. Once you get to your ideal weight, cholesterol, and energy—then we shift to the 80/20 rule 😉
Learn to make the healthy foods that truly fuel your body.
And come back to desert after you’ve achieved your health goals, if you still want it.
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