Here’s how it works: You eat something and the stomach and intestines break the food down into glucose. The cells need glucose for energy, but for the cells to be able to use glucose they also need insulin which the pancreas emits in the response to glucose.
The body, however, can become resistant to using the insulin if there are certain factors occurring, in particular excess fat. So the glucose stays in the blood, which makes the pancreas secrete more insulin. Eventually the pancreas gets tired, very tired and gives up. That’s when pre-diabetes becomes diabetes.
Keeping glucose sugar levels balanced also helps promote weight loss as having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) will trigger binge eating, which causes the rebound effect of high blood sugar or glucose. The body will rapidly store this high blood sugar as fat.
With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can easily control your glucose levels and avoid more serious health problems.
Here are some guidelines for turning around high blood sugar:
- Eat small, eat often. The body does much better eating smaller amounts of food, more often throughout the day. It’s easier on the intestines, the pancreas, and the digestive enzymes. Depending on your caloric intake you could eat 4-6 meals, of 400-600 calories each. Eat at least every four hours.
- Increase your water. Being chronically dehydrated is hard on the blood, the carrier of not only the blood sugar but also insulin itself.
- Get your muscles involved. If Americans are the biggest consumers in the world, muscles are the glucose consumer equivalent. Getting physically active is one of the easiest ways to use up glucose and “force” the body out of insulin resistance. Exercise vigorously for 20-30 minutes a day to get optimal benefits.
- Get rid of belly fat. Belly fat increases heart disease and insulin resistance. It is particularly hard to get rid of by women in their menopause years.Belly fat can increase dramatically under acute and chronic high stress because of the hormone release of cortisol from the adrenals. Exercise helps reduce stress levels as does massage, meditation, yoga, relaxing baths, etc.The recommended waist measurement for men is less than 40 inches and for women, less than 35 inches. Check here for more resources on losing belly fat.
- Choose the right sweets. Refined sugar and corn syrup dramatically increase your blood sugar, forcing the pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin. The insulin tells the body to remove blood sugar fast (where it is stored as fat) which then causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar. Eventually the pancreas can’t create insulin (diabetes) or the body becomes insulin resistant (like the boy who called wolf, too many times). There are sweeteners that can be used that don’t dramatically increase the blood glucose level. Some have additional health benefits as well. All can be found in health food stores. For more resources go here.
- Check your thyroid. There is a link between your thyroid and your pancreas. If your thyroid is not working properly, it can create a pancreatic imbalance which leads to insulin resistance in the body. Get it checked and get the thyroid balanced. Women, as they age, seem to lose more of their thyroid capability.
- Know the secret weapons. Eating protein with sugary carbohydates slows down the blood sugar spike that occurs. Cinnamon and salacia, an aryuvedic herb, are natural blood sugar balancers.
Originally published in 2009