The Bitter Truth About Blood Sugar
Halloween has just passed and it seems to be the catalyst for the start of the holiday season tradition of overindulging with copious amounts of sugar. While we do not promote a purist diet at MBM, we believe it is important to enjoy your life with fun food and treats in moderation. Splurging for a couple months on a daily basis can have effects that last beyond the standard New Year’s Day resolution kick off. Let’s take a closer look at blood sugar…
What is Blood Sugar and Why Is It So Important?
The medical term for sugar in the blood is glucose. Our pancreas helps regulate blood sugar levels by producing insulin, which carries glucose to wherever it is needed in the body to be used as energy. When glucose is not being used, it is stored in the liver as glycogen to be utilized while we are sleeping/”fasting” or stored in our fat cells. If your body is struggling to produce enough insulin, or overcompensating by producing too much insulin, you can start to become symptomatic. Common symptoms for unstable blood sugar levels are fatigue, irritability, cravings for sweets, afternoon headaches, trouble concentrating, weight gain around the stomach, and becoming lightheaded/shaky of you miss a meal. It is important that your blood sugar levels stay in a specific range, otherwise over time you can have some more serious issues arise, such as type-2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Serious Consequences of Long-term Irregular Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes and insulin resistance are becoming part of our culture, especially in the Silicon Valley and other fast-paced social regions. We are looking to fast food places and overly processed packaged food as sources for quick energy, which over time throws our biorhythms out of sequence and can lead to metabolic dysfunctions. Metabolic syndrome- the combination of central obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and/or abnormal cholesterol levels- is on the rise. 80 million Americans have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and the diagnosis is associated with a significant increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. These serious health concerns don’t happen overnight, but are an accumulation of factors and strain on our body over time. Since your pancreas is reactive and simply producing insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in a specific range, on a daily basis if each meal is littered with sugar and simple carbohydrates your body is having to compensate for the flood of glucose every time a meal or snack is eaten. If your day is a roller coaster of spikes and crashes, relying on late morning or early afternoon caffeine intake to help get you through to your next meal, your body is already heading down a path of blood sugar instability.
Ways to Help Support Healthy Blood Sugar Balance
When it comes to supporting healthy blood sugar levels, diet is one of the most direct ways to keep your levels in a healthy range. Eating generous amounts of fiber and phytonutrient rich foods is important on a daily basis. But before you turn primarily to fruit to up your fiber quota, keep in mind that along with that dose of fiber, your body will also need to process fructose. Another important factor is making sure to consume healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates since eating these types of food does not trigger your pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin. If a person is really fatigued, on certain medications, or dealing with greater health issues, we can use supplements to help support you through and accelerate the process to achieving better stability. However supplements alone won’t be enough to help; it must be complimented with good food. Other important factors are gut bacteria, adequate hydration, exercise and sleep quality. Even external factors such as stress and schedule changes connect to your adrenal response, “fight or flight,” and can heavily influence how you handle and process food. A lifestyle change as simple as taking time to chew and enjoy your meals can help with how you digest, process your food, and improve portion control. Try to aim for 3-4 hours between meals, with a maximum of 5 hours. Considering lifestyle and habits are crucial to support eating quality food and ultimately help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Achieving Results with MBM
When pairing dietary changes with lifestyle changes, you can start seeing results within the first phase of your care at MBM. Especially on minor blood sugar level fluctuations and symptoms. But sustainable and substantial improvements are most commonly seen once you reach the third phase of care. Everyone is unique and we are equipped to support you through whatever challenges you may be facing. Making significant lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, and when there isn’t a quick fix to the issues you are dealing with, it can be challenging to stay motivated. At MBM, we meet you wherever you are in your health journey and present a clear path to help you reach your goals. It is never too late to start improving your health!
Interested in more information about blood sugar? Contact us the office today! (408) 778-5577