It is so common to hear about the growing population of diabetes and its dangers to long term health.
The key to its prevention is recognizing it at its earliest stage.
So how do you know if you already have early signs of diabetes or a blood sugar problem at all?And how do you know if the fatigue you have after meals or the constant feeling of fatigue has anything to do with having a blood sugar problem?
Most doctors don’t look for the more subtle signs of blood sugar problems. And only until there are advanced symptoms it is recognized as a problem at all which usually is once diabetes already exists.
Some of the more common questions to ask are:
• What are the symptoms of a blood sugar problem?
• What is the best diet to control blood sugar and prevent diabetes?
• Are there tests that can detect early changes related to blood sugar balance?
• Does a family health history of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or mood swings have anything to do with a blood sugar problem?
• Is gaining weight around the middle a sign of early diabetes even while eating a “good” diet?
One of the first physical signs of a growing blood sugar problem is having “extra weight around the middle”. Some of those who exercise, eat right, and follow a healthy lifestyle may still notice a growing middle section. This is especially common after the age of 45 because this is when the blood sugar control hormones may begin to weaken.The once tolerated extra sweets and carbs begin to accumulate extra weight which is harder to take off.
If fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with blood sugar problems than how do you know if it is the cause of your own fatigue?
Fatigue after meals is a common sign of a blood sugar problem. This often occurs because the amount of carbohydrates eaten in the meal is not being supported by its partner “insulin”, to control the normal gradual increase then decline of sugar in the blood. If it rises too rapidly then falls quickly it will feel more like a roller coaster ride of energy rather than a constant source of fuel.
Usually if this is the case, there is a persistent feeling of hunger especially for more carbs and not necessarily only after increased exercise. As more carbohydrates deliver sugar into the blood stream it can cause an over saturation contributing to inflammation and disease and not necessarily to improved energy levels.
Persistent fluctuating levels of blood sugar contributes to chronic muscle and joint pain, insomnia, mood swings, weight gain, hypertension, and chronic disease.
Food As Medicine
Hippocrates, one of our ancient forefathers of medicine said: “Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”
So what is the best diet to control blood sugar? If there was only one known good diet for everyone, there would be the greater population eating it. Although a healthy diet is more individualized there are patterns of eating that have been shown to support and sustain blood sugar regulation over a longer period of time.
Take a look at the number of carbohydrates you are eating each day. That includes all breads, pastas, grains, sugary drinks and snacks, chips and desserts, fruit, starchy and non- starchy vegetables. In the American diabetic diet 60 -75 gms of carbohydrates are allowed in each meal. Although this is less than the typical high carbohydrate American diet, this is still too many and allows the blood sugar to roller coaster throughout the day.
In an opposite extreme, only 50 gms of carbohydrates per day is allowed on a more restricted carbohydrate diet like the Paleo diet. Some of the best diets are balanced with the amount of carbohydrates somewhere in between.
Everyone’s carbohydrate needs are unique depending on their own circumstances and health risk factors.
Instead of counting carbs it may be easier to look at the percentage of carbohydrates in the daily diet. If both protein and fat are equally consumed as 25- 30% of the diet then about 40- 50% is left for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are further divided into non starchy foods like vegetables including greens, salads, and non-tuberous vegetables. And then the starchy carbs like grains, beans and tuberous vegetables including potatoes, yams, and squashes. The higher carbohydrate ones should account for less than half of the carbohydrates eaten for the day.
For the best regulated blood sugar control, each meal should contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This way all of the food nutrients can work together to regulate smooth fluctuations of blood sugar and prevent the storage of fat.
Its been found that the best way to burn fat is to eat fat. The fastest burning vegetable source of fat is food containing medium chain triglycerides (MCT). The most common sources are coconut oil and red palm kernel oil. In Dr. David Perlmutter’s bestselling book “Grain Brain”, he reports on research which shows that the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease is linked to what he calls Type 3 Diabetes. This is mostly caused by having too many carbohydrates especially gluten and not enough good fats in the diet. The brain especially needs fats as well as the rest of the body to maintain balanced nutrition and weight control.
How to shift from blood sugar blues to blood sugar control
There are several things that you can do to ensure good blood sugar control.
• Diet – Reduce carbohydrates and increase protein and fat
• Exercise 3 times weekly plus short intense intervals
• Stress Reduction – add yoga, deep breathing, Qi Gong, dancing or singing to your everyday routine
• Test don’t guess: Ask your doctor to test for early markers of blood sugar regulation including glucose, insulin, fructosamine and Hemoglobin A1c plus C-peptide levels and leptin.
• Consider a short term cleansing diet or intermittent fasting
• Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals
Although diet is a key link to preventing blood sugar blues, nutritional supplements, herbs, acupuncture and herbs plus correcting underlying hormonal problems are closely related to creating blood sugar stability that ultimately supports long term health and happiness.