As you are probably aware (or if not, you should be), one of the biggest, deadliest and most common risk factors for COVID complications as well as increasing your risk of heart disease, heart attack, kidney disease and even blindness is: Diabetes.
And when it comes to diabetes, our numbers are downright frightening.
According to the CDC, currently about 133 million Americans (that’s an unprecedented 40 percent of us!) have diabetes or pre-diabetes (elevated blood glucose). Between 1990 and 2013, US diabetes rates skyrocketed by an incredible 71 percent.
What in the WORLD is going on?!
Why do four out of ten of us have varying levels of too much glucose in our bloodstreams and what can we do about it?
Here are the answers you need:
It starts with insulin resistance
Our average diets are heavy on sugars and starchy carbs which cause a surge of glucose into your bloodstream upon digestion. Glucose is a very inflammatory substance, and high levels of it in your blood can be dangerous or even deadly.
Now, your pancreas knows this, so when it detects too much glucose in your blood, it releases the hormone insulin which tells your cells to absorb the glucose, thereby quickly restoring a proper blood sugar level.
If this happened only now and then, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But growing numbers of people are taking in excessive amounts of carbs, causing the pancreas to repeatedly secrete insulin.
Eventually your cells start to resemble a sopped sponge—they can’t absorb any more glucose, so they turn off their receptors for insulin—known as insulin resistance.
How will I know?
If you’re wondering whether your cells may be harboring some insulin resistance, your doctor can do a blood test to find out. A fasting blood sugar level greater than 95mg/dL (5.4mmol/L) indicates insulin resistance.
In addition, although many doctors (amazingly) don’t order it, there is also a fasting insulin test. Normal fasting insulin is between 2.6 - 24.9 mcIU/mL, so elevations suggest insulin resistance.
But you can also start by looking at your diet. If your 4 food groups are pasta, bread, chips and cookies, and you never drink anything that isn’t sweetened, chances are good you have insulin resistance in the making.
Here are some other signs and symptoms of insulin resistance—as you would expect, the more you check off on this list, the greater the likelihood of insulin resistance:
- Fatty liver
- Acne and large pores on the face
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Gout attacks
- High blood pressure
- Swollen ankles
- Sleepiness, particularly after meals
- Addiction/intense cravings for carbohydrates
- Lack of concentration or inability to focus
- Increased hunger
- Nausea, headache, and/or anxiety that disappear after eating a meal (particularly a carb meal)
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above
- A waistline of 53 inches or more
- Continuous weight gain even when dieting/inability to lose weight
- Skin tags, particularly on your breast, neck, chest, groin, or underarms
- Irregular menstrual cycle, specifically skipping months
- Excessive sweating
- Low HDL cholesterol below 35mg/dl
- High LDL cholesterol above 130 mg/dl
- Elevated triglyceride levels
Stress plays a part too!
Stress triggers the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn signal your liver to release glucose into your bloodstream, preparing you for the “fight or flight” response.
Now, if our typical stresses were only temporary or short-lived, this would not be an issue. But the problem is many of us have chronic ongoing stress, which leads to repeated influxes of glucose into your bloodstream, and the same scenario with the pancreas and insulin secretions I described above.
Being a couch potato doesn’t help
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, only one out of three of us gets the recommended amount of physical activity each week, and that (sadly) includes children.
Exercise increases the ratio of muscle to fat in your body. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, which helps you burn up more glucose.
Plus the more muscle you have, the more responsive your body is to the effects of insulin!
Since two out of three of us apparently have an affinity for the couch (or at least a loathing for exercise), it’s no wonder that our blood glucose levels continue to rise.
Take control now!
The good news here is that insulin resistance is very PREVENTABLE, and even if it is affecting you, there is a LOT you can do to take control and turn it around!
1- Try a keto-type diet
The idea behind the keto diet is to severely restrict your body’s consumption of carbohydrates, typically to 20-50 grams a day, so that it is forced to burn fat for fuel.
Under normal circumstances, your body converts the carbs you eat into glucose and uses that as its front line source of energy. But in the absence of any significant intake of carbs, your liver instead has to convert fat—from your foods and ultimately your love handles—into fatty acids and small fuel molecules called ketones.
The ketones then replace glucose as your body’s primary energy source, and this is known as the metabolic state of ketosis. And as you would expect, it also reduces your blood glucose level.
Now it’s important to note that while your brain needs glucose to function, it can also use ketones as an effective energy source, so its vital needs are taken care of even in the absence of large amounts of glucose in your bloodstream.
Since your intake of carbs will be greatly reduced, the other half of the equation is that you will be concentrating much more on good fats and, to a lesser extent, proteins.
And by the way, the keto way of eating is also complementary to my Great Taste No Pain principles, so you will also be paving the way for better digestion too!
In addition, good foods to incorporate into your diet to help combat elevated blood sugar levels include:
- Salmon and cod
- Leafy greens
- Extra virgin olive oil
2- Supplement with Turmeric
A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism has shown that curcumin (the compound in turmeric that gives it the classic golden color) can reduce blood glucose levels by reducing the liver’s glucose production!
It also helps reduce inflammation from high blood sugar levels, stimulates pancreatic function, and reduces insulin resistance!
Turmeric is a spice used in Indian cooking, but unfortunately the amount you’d get from food is only a fraction of what you need.
To take advantage of this gem of Nature, check out our Optimal Turmeric Blend!
Optimal Turmeric Blend provides a soothing 750 mg. of pure organic turmeric, plus black pepper extract to help increase absorbability.
3- Get regular exercise
Yup, Sherry the broken record is at it again.
Blood sugar control is yet another of the L – O – N – G list of reasons why you should get regular exercise.
Pick an activity you like—even brisk walking is helpful—get your doctor’s OK and do it for at least 30 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week.
Trust me, your body will thank you in ways you can’t even imagine.
To your health,