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The Sugar Roller-Coaster

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The Sugar Roller-Coaster

Hypoglycemia is a controversial and often ignored conditio.

Hypoglycemia is a controversial and often ignored condition.

The good news is that most symptoms of hypoglycemia can be eliminated or better controlled by learning and implementing smart eating and healthy lifestyle habits. The bad news is that it frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Many individuals suffer needlessly with distressing symptoms year after year. Their glucose laboratory test results are deemed normal according to strict pre-determined criteria, or their medical professional refuses to acknowledge that such a condition exists. Physicians may misinterpret the results or fail to ask their patients about important reactions during the glucose test.

Treating the lab test results instead of the individual is a common phenomenon that leaves sufferers bewildered and sick. Symptoms are often blamed on other medical or psychological causes and treated incorrectly.

Proper nutrition is an extremely important factor in maintaining an overall sense of well being–diet determines our personal health. Unfortunately, it is an under-emphasized part of the medical school curriculum. Rich and poor alike tend to fill their plates with processed food overloaded with hydrogenated fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates and salt, which are all lacking in nutritional value.

Our bodies have been genetically designed to process whole, natural foods to sustain health and prevent disease. The body operates much like a finely tuned machine. It needs regular care and proper nutrition to perform its regulatory functions at an optimum level. Our continual consumption of excess proteins, fat, and huge amounts of refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour) has jeopardized our well being and created metabolic overload.

The Sugar Roller-Coaster

Hypo (low), glycemia (blood sugar) occurs when the body is not able to adequately regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Excessive insulin production by the pancreas burns up too much sugar in the blood and leaves the individual with a malfunction of sugar metabolism and an array of unpleasant symptoms.

There are some people that can have low blood sugar without hypoglycemic symptoms and others that can have hypoglycemic symptoms with blood sugar in the so-called normal range.

Common symptoms of hypoglycemia may include hunger, tremors, weakness and the inability to make up one’s mind. Other possible symptoms are irritability, anxiety, nervousness, headache, fatigue, cold sweats, heart palpitations, insomnia, digestive disturbances, lack of sex drive, dry mouth, itchy sensations on the skin, blurred vision and lack of concentration. Most people will experience some of these symptoms at one time or another for a short duration, but if the symptoms persist it is wise to seek out professional advice.

Even though hypoglycemia can be caused by pathological conditions such as pancreatic tumors, diabetes, a diseased liver, adrenal malfunction or an over active thyroid, the overwhelming majority of sufferers are known to have a diet lacking in the proper nutrients.

A diet too high in refined starches and refined sugar contains simple sugars that are too quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Blood sugar levels rise sharply; to compensate, the pancreas releases insulin that causes the blood sugar levels to fall too quickly and too low a level. Heart and muscle action is weakened and energy and endurance levels compromised. Emotional stability and control are lost, leaving the hypoglycemic individual looking for a quick "pick-me-up" such as coffee, sweets or soft drinks.

These artificial stimulants cause a sharp rise in blood sugar and, once again, the pancreas releases insulin to counteract. A vicious "high/low" cycle continues leaving the hypoglycemic happy and energetic for a short time and then flat and totally exhausted a few hours later.

As Simple as 1-2-3

Consuming a diet of proteins and vegetables as well as frequent similar snacks for a couple of weeks may reduce or eliminate the symptoms of hypoglycemia and confirm your suspicions. A good thing about hypoglycemia is that once it is accurately diagnosed, treatment is simple and the results predictable.

The authors of Hypoglycemia, The Disease That Doctor’s Won’t Treat suggest that there are three dietary rules to follow: watch what you eat; how much you eat; and when you eat.

We all vary in our bio-chemical make up, and individual requirements vary when it comes to determining the consumption of proper amounts of the three food groups: fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Everyone should consume complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and avoid refined carbohydrates (processed foods.) Refined carbohydrates have been fragmented, devitalized, demineralized and completely stripped of all nutrition that was present in the original food. What remains is empty calories loaded with additives. In order to metabolize refined carbohydrates, the body must use its own supply of vitamins and minerals that may lead to deficiencies and imbalances.

A hypoglycemic should eat by the clock, not by the stomach. Frequent, small healthy snacks should be consumed throughout the day right until bedtime to minimize drops in blood sugar levels. Eating a high quality breakfast can assist in controlling blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.

Help is Available

Adding supplements of yeast-free natural B vitamins taken two or three times a day after meals helps support the chemical processes that are involved in the utilization of carbohydrates. Vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) and vitamin E (400 international units) taken twice a day after meals also promotes better general health.

The pancreas is an organ that produces enzymes. It helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable. Chromium, acting as an insulin activator, facilitates the proper use of sugar and helps regulate pancreatic function. As we grow older, our bodies have an increased need for chromium but our reserves are severely depleted. Consuming refined carbohydrates also increases the chromium drain. The pancreas releases extra insulin in hopes of compensating for the missing chromium and once again a drop in blood sugar levels occurs.

Natural food sources for chromium include brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, black pepper, calf liver, whole wheat and rye bread. Chromium is vital factor in regulating glucose absorption, but it is a heavy metal and can build up and cause problems if taken to excess.

There are certain other foods that also contribute to erratic blood sugar levels. Coffee and other caffeine-loaded drinks have a stimulating effect on the adrenal glands that in turn, encourages the liver to release more sugar into the blood. More sugar means more insulin production that leads to a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels. In turn, this produces typical hypoglycemic symptoms.

Excessive salt intake causes a loss of blood potassium that leads to a drop in blood sugar. Since the adrenal glands do need some salt for normal functioning, the hypoglycemic should use a moderate amount of salt but preferrably from natural sources such as kelp or whole sea salt.

Smoking also causes a rapid blood sugar rise with just as rapid a drop in blood sugar as soon as the cigarette is put out. Chain-smoking has been defined by some researchers as the "pick-me-up" that typifies hypoglycemia. Nicotine interferes with the body’s ability to use vitamin C, an essential vitamin that helps to control blood sugar.

Our own body is the most effective and powerful defense available. It is designed to self-clean, self-repair, and self-heal. To do its job properly, we need to take charge of the health-destroying habits that contribute to weakened resistance and systemic imbalance.

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