Okay, so now that the holidays are all finished up, all the crazy amounts of food have been eaten, and you have eaten up enough comfort food leftovers to stuff your guilt in some new creases, let's talk about getting blood sugars under control. Your first question might be, "Why?" Blood sugar, also called glucose, is an essential substance for life. It is used to create energy in every cell in the body. If you ate absolutely no sugar or carbohydrates of any kind, the redundant biochemical systems in the body have made alternatives available for converting fat and protein to glucose. Glucose is that important. However, it is almost equally essential for glucose concentration in the blood to be kept in a fairly narrow range. Too much glucose damages tissues, feeds cancer cells, and leads to high cholesterol and obesity - all fatal outcomes. Too little glucose and one gets shaky and faint, one's brain shuts down, a person can fall into a coma, and even die.
So here are five suggestions to help you stay within a healthy blood sugar range.
1. Eliminate sugars from your diet. It doesn't matter whether the sugar is called sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, or corn syrup they all lead to increased glucose levels in the blood stream. Eliminating sugar will not lower your glucose too much as the body will manufacture glucose if needed from fats and protein.
2. Exercise. Exercise requires more cellular energy so it increases cellular demand for glucose. The best glucose in the body is that being utilized in cells for making energy, not just circulating around with nowhere to go. There are also good indications that exercise pushes the innate blood sugar regulation systems within the body to function more efficiently.
3. Eat Protein. Eating smaller meals more frequently with a source of protein at each will help stabilize glucose. As mentioned above, protein can be converted to glucose; this process takes time. Protein acts as a sustained release glucose and minimizes blood sugar spikes from too much glucose entering the blood stream all at once. (Note: if you have any kind of impaired kidney function see your doctor before doing any kind of high protein diet.)
4. Supplements that stabilize blood sugar include: chromium, magnesium, vanadium, alpha lipoic acid, gemnema sylvestre, and bitter melon,
5. Increase fiber intake. Fiber reduces the speed with which glucose gets absorbed. 20-30 gm a day is a healthy amount; take it with meals so that glucose absorption is slowed.