Discussing Elevated Glucose and Insulin Resistance

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Are you noticing more stubborn belly fat? Experiencing wild sugar cravings? Constant fatigue and sudden crashes in energy? It could be because of a blood sugar imbalance!

Our dietary choices and lifestyle practices play a huge role in either maintaining balance or spiking blood sugar levels. The number of people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes is also rising rapidly in North America and it’s something I see in my practice more often than I’d like!

How Does Blood Sugar Elevate In Your Body?

Carbohydrates we eat are broken down by the body into sugar, or glucose. This sugar is then absorbed into the bloodstream (blood sugar) to be used for energy. This process is regulated by the hormone insulin, which is released by the pancreas. Any excess blood sugar unused by the body for energy is stored in your liver at the starch glycogen or in your fat cells as fat.

It’s all smoothly orchestrated so that you have energy when you need it – as long as your cells respond to insulin as they should and your insulin levels are thus properly balanced! But what if the system gets out of whack? That’s when we encounter blood sugar dysregulation and the potential to develop diabetes.

Signs Your Body is Crying for Help

A blood sugar imbalance can result in a list of symptoms that are often easy to blame on stress or aging. These include:

Excess belly fat: When your body gains weight, cells stop listening to insulin to absorb more glucose and store more fat, so the pancreas releases even higher levels of insulin.  When the cells listen, insulin causes more fat development and prevents the burning of fat.  Fat oftentimes occurs in the belly area, which, unfortunately, can create a vicious cycle: belly fat increases cellular insulin resistance, so your pancreas then responds by releasing even more insulin, which eventually causes more belly fat growth, and the cycle begins again.

Mood changes: Having your glucose sit in your serum, and not be able to enter your cells, including brain cells, can affect your mood. You can get irritable, impatient, weepy, and even easily angry. You can also get frustrated that you are hungry soon after eating since insulin resistance affects your appetite control, and you can feel hungrier more often.

Cravings: Another frustrating irony is that excess blood sugar leads to cravings for more carb-heavy and sugary foods, further adding to the cycle of insulin production.

Difficulty concentrating: Without the energy supplied by glucose, your brain cells don’t function optimally. As a result, concentration and focus suffer – but eating something that causes glucose levels to spike isn’t the solution.

Thyroid trouble: The link between insulin and thyroid health goes both ways. Excess insulin can reduce the ability of the thyroid to easily produce hormones. At the same time, a healthy thyroid helps control insulin.

Female hormone imbalance: Healthy female hormones depend upon balanced blood sugar. In short, excess insulin produces increased amounts of testosterone; this is the key imbalance in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

People with diabetes experience problems with the production of insulin and the subsequent rise in their blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition that prevents the pancreas from producing adequate amounts of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels which need to be treated with daily insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is considered to be a “lifestyle disease”. After years of weight gain, lack of exercise, nutrient deficiencies, negative microbiome changes, environmental toxins, perhaps having sleep apnea, the body becomes insulin resistant, which keeps glucose levels higher in the serum, instead of having the cells absorb it. This can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes when the glucose levels reach certain problematic numbers.

How to Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels for Optimal Health

As an expert in pre-diabetes and diabetes, I have written a highly rated book–Master Your Diabetes: A Comprehensive, Integrative Approach For Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.   It’s easily available on Amazon.  Here is a link to the book: https://tinyurl.com/9ad87ww2

As mentioned, blood sugar dysregulation and type 2 diabetes is very much a lifestyle disease and certain lifestyle factors can greatly impact how well your body manages blood sugar levels. Here are my top tips for managing blood sugar for optimal health.

In my book I use The Eight Essentials as a guideline for controlling glucose levels, preventing and treating pre-diabetes and diabetes:

  1. Healthy Diet: Generally, a low-carb diet is best for those who are insulin resistant, with extra fiber added in. Carbs to avoid are grains and potatoes. Healthy eating includes proteins (beef, poultry, lamb, pork, fish, eggs, dairy—though not regular milk—nuts and seeds, organic soy, and protein powders for smoothies. Also most vegetables, berries, good oils, unsweetened beverages, and these sweeteners: stevia, monk fruit, allulose, xylitol, erythritol, the combination produces such as Swerve, Truvia, Purevia, etc.
  2. Regular exercise: At least 30-60 minutes five times a week including aerobic, resistance, and potentially high-intensity interval training.
  3. Good sleep: ruling out obstructive sleep apnea and ensuring 6-9 hours of sleep a night.
  4. Stress management: elevated cortisol can oppose good glucose control. Learning how to manage stressful situations is vital to prevent and treat insulin resistance.
  5. Healing the gut and microbiome, since an unhealthy gut is associated with systemic insulin resistance.
  6. Environmental detoxification—environmental chemicals, heavy metals and even mold have associations with causing insulin resistance, obesity, pre diabetes and diabetes.
  7. Supplements: Many supplements are very beneficial for helping a person heal their glucose dysregulation
  8. Medications: If necessary, at times, medications may be needed to help with appetite control, weight loss, or lowering actual diabetic glucose numbers.

My book goes into enormous clear and helpful detail regarding each of the above categories!

The complications of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are serious and can include heart and nerve damage, kidney disease, and blindness. Take steps now to understand and control your blood sugar levels – your body will thank you! Contact Dr. Morstein to learn more.

 

Sources

Master Your Diabetes: A Comprehensive, Integrative Approach for Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Dr. Mona Morstein, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Stanhope KL. Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2016;53(1):52-67. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2015.1084990. Epub 2015 Sep 17. PMID: 26376619; PMCID: PMC4822166.

Adams OP. The impact of brief high-intensity exercise on blood glucose levels. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2013;6:113-122. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S29222

Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Fernhall B, et al. Exercise and type 2 diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(12):e147-e167. doi:10.2337/dc10-9990

Chen C, Zeng Y, Xu J, et al. Therapeutic effects of soluble dietary fiber consumption on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Exp Ther Med. 2016;12(2):1232-1242. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3377

Vega-López S, Venn BJ, Slavin JL. Relevance of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Body Weight, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1361. Published 2018 Sep 22. doi:10.3390/nu10101361

Bhupathiraju SN, Tobias DK, Malik VS, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from 3 large US cohorts and an updated meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(1):218-232. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.079533

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes, A meta-analysis Vasanti S. Malik, SCD,  Barry M. Popkin, PHD, George A. Bray, MD,, Jean-Pierre Després, PHD, Walter C. Willett, MD, DRPH, and Frank B. Hu, MD, PHD, Diabetes Care 2010 Nov; 33(11): 2477-2483. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc10-1079

The InterAct consortium. Consumption of sweet beverages and type 2 diabetes incidence in European adults: results from EPIC-InterAct. Diabetologia 56, 1520–1530 (2013).

Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisRobert W. Allen, Emmanuelle Schwartzman, William L. Baker, Craig I. Coleman and Olivia J. Phung, The Annals of Family Medicine September 2013, 11 (5) 452-459; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.1517

James W. Daily, Mini Yang, Da Sol Kim, Sunmin Park, Efficacy of ginger for treating Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials,

Journal of Ethnic Foods, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 36-43, ISSN 2352-6181,

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jef.2015.02.007.

 

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