Hop off the blood sugar roller coaster
Michael T. Murray, ND
Too much time spent sitting and eating high-sugar foods can set us up for type 2 diabetes. Did you know that a blood sugar imbalance can be a serious health threat?
It’s well known that North America is facing a type 2 diabetes epidemic. In Canada alone, more than 9 million people exhibit pre-diabetic or diabetic symptoms. With easy access to inexpensive, high-calorie, high-sugar foods and an awful lot of time spent in front of a computer, our bodies are working hard to compensate. Fortunately, this lifestyle-related condition can often be turned around using natural means.
Who’s at risk?
When a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not so high that a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is given, that person is said to have impaired glucose tolerance. It is also referred to as pre-diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition. When other health issues are present—including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides—the condition may be referred to as syndrome X or metabolic syndrome.
Whatever you call it, blood sugar imbalance can be a serious threat to your health. And if you experience mid-afternoon energy crashes, abdominal weight gain, mood swings, and intense food cravings, then you are probably at risk. Take action to level out that blood sugar roller coaster.
Prevention with diet
Simple sugars, such as those in pop, candy, and other sweets, are digested almost immediately and cause blood sugar to rise quickly. If too much sugar is absorbed and not used, it will be stored, creating body fat. To counter this, the pancreas secretes insulin to bring down blood glucose levels, but levels can drop too low a few hours later as a result. It’s these extreme ups and downs that can make blood sugar levels increasingly more difficult to control.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are digested more slowly, so glucose enters the bloodstream at a fraction of the speed. Further, soluble fibre, found in fruits, veggies, and legumes or as a supplement, slows digestion considerably, making it very helpful in blood sugar management.
The key to preventing or reversing pre-diabetic and diabetic symptoms is to improve insulin sensitivity and normalize blood glucose balance. It’s crucial that you reduce your intake of simple sugars; increase your intake of dietary fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates; and add soluble fibre to help control your weight. Derail that blood sugar roller coaster and give your body a break.
If you have diabetes, always consult a health care practitioner before changing any medication or dietary regimen. If you think diabetes may be in your future, meet with a health care practitioner to discuss natural options for preventing diabetes.