Taming the Sugar Monster
I am frequently asked, ” what is the one thing I can do to become more healthy?” My answer: control your blood sugar by controlling what you eat.
In an article written in 2009 by researchers at the University of Chicago, it was estimated that the total number of Americans with diabetes will double in the next 25 years from the current 23.7 million in 2009, to 44.1 million in 2034. The annual costs for treating those individuals will rise from the 2009 cost of $113 billion. That’s right BILLION to some $336 BILLION, just for diabetes and it’s related problems (OMG!). In a Health and Human Services study, it was estimated that about 40% of U.S. adults ages 40-74, which is 41 million people, currently have prediabetes and the numbers are getting worse.
Dr. Frank Vinicor of the CDC diabetes prevention division, stated in the year 2000, “without intervention, one in three children born this year will develop diabetes in their lifetime”. Many people are not educated about how serious diabetes can be. Here are some disturbing facts. The major long term complications of diabetes are as follows:
- Heart Disease– 80% of diabetics die from heart disease
- Kidney disease/failure–dialysis costs $21,000 per month and a kidney transplant is $150,000+
- Nerve damage–Neuropathy–can affect parts of the nervous system that control blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and sexual function.
It should also be noted that diabetes damages the small blood vessels which is the reason for the complications of the list above. Uncontrolled diabetes can
complicate pregnancy and birth defects and are more common in babies born to a woman with diabetes. So, what exactly is diabetes? It is a disorder of the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates (sugar), which then disrupts all aspects of human physiology. It leads to increased states of oxidation (free radicals) and decreased energy production which promotes dysfunction in all systems of the body. After digestion of carbohydrates the glucose (sugar), gets into our bloodstream where it is available for energy and growth. The glucose enters the cells by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced in
the pancreas acts like a key that opens the cell to allow glucose to enter. Once the glucose enters the cell, it is used as fuel to run the many processes inside that cell. Imbalances of insulin, too much or too little, are responsible for the metabolic disorders of diabetes and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Insulin resistance is a state in which the body does not respond to the actions of insulin, although enough of the hormone may be produced, this is classified as type 2 diabetes. When glucose (sugar) can’t get into the cells, it becomes oxidized and produces free radicals; at that point it can destroy tissues in the eyes, nerves, kidneys,arteries, etc. It can be the reason for high blood pressure, Polycyctic Ovarian Disease (PCOS), and Alzheimer’s Disease to name a few. Let’s look at the typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
- increased hunger
- increased urination
- fatigue after meals
- crave sweets during the day
- difficulty losing weight
These are just a few of the symptoms encountered. Other typical symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar or too much insulin) include:
- feeling shaky/jittery/tremors
- forgetful/poor memory
- eating relieves fatigue
- light headed if meals are missed
- sugar cravings…these can be intense
- frequent sweating without intense exercise
- agitated, easily upset
- nervous and irritable if meals are missed
Note: If you choose to utilize a pharmaceutical approach, there will be complications with the drugs and the physiological problem goes unaddressed. If however, you choose to utilize a more natural approach, you will return to a more balanced physiology and state of health. It may take more participation on your part, but the long term health benefits will outweigh any effort you put into it. By incorporating a plant based diet, eliminating flour in all forms, utilize supplements, increase water, some detoxification program, exercise and some form of lifestyle modification are ways to aid in this transformation (to briefly touch upon the subject).
Remember, the holiday season means a barrage of sugar events: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Is it any wonder why the flu season comes at the beginning of January after the stress of the Holidays? On top of the extreme sugar intake and lack of sleep,you now have the perfect scenario for an immune dysfunction, the FLU. To get a jump start on eating right, balance your blood sugar and strengthen your immune system, explore Fresh and Natural’s wide variety of foods and nutritional supplements that will keep you healthy in the months ahead. Let us know how we can help!
Yours in Health,
Paul A. Westby DC,DACBN