The most common problem that creates a great deal of life-long trouble for patients is blood sugar management. This can manifest as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or as insulin resistance. As soon as a problem begins, the body uses its reserves and the reserves of other hormone producing tissues in order to keep blood sugar stable. Over the long run, this compensation leads to most of the know functional illness symptoms such as: insomnia, fatigue, headaches, pain cycles, anxiety etc. There are many reason for this, which I have discussed elsewhere (see: article archive). In this article however, I want to address the practical steps to balance blood sugar through diet.
Hypoglycemia is the clinical syndrome that results from low blood sugar. The symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from person to person, as can the severity. Classically, hypoglycemia is diagnosed by a low blood sugar with symptoms that resolve when the sugar level returns to the normal range. For my patients, I recommend the diet below. However, since we are concerned with the function of the entire endocrine system, some lifestyle suggestions are also made which help to minimize the effects of adrenaline and cortisol - the two adrenal gland hormones that have a direct impact on blood sugar levels.
1. Never eat without having protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids that the body needs for growth and good health. Most protein will be converted into glucose by the body, but since this process takes some time, the glucose arrives in the bloodstream at a slower, more consistent pace.
2. Eat five or six small protein meals or snacks each day. Eating several small meals each day rather than 3 large ones helps regulate the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Avoid skipping meals.
3. Avoid concentrated sweets such as soda pop, syrup, candy, sweetened cereals, and baked goods (pies and cakes). These are digested rapidly, which spikes glucose levels in the blood resulting in a rapid response by your pancreas to generate high amounts of insulin. These are never to be eaten by themselves and for most, should be completely avoided.
4. Adrenaline will promote hypoglycemia and insomnia. Therefore avoid caffeine and intense images or sounds from movies, TV or computers, especially at night.
5. Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages.
Proteins include: all lean meats, cottage cheese, eggs, legumes (beans), nuts and seeds. Hypoglycemia snack ideas:
The following snacks combine protein and carbohydrate, which may help avoid hypoglycemia.
English muffin and peanut butter
Hard cheese (cheddar) and apple slices
Humus (garbanzo bean mixture) and wheat crackers
Tuna and pita bread
Trail mix with limited dried fruit
Nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews)
Nut butters with celery
1-2 slices of turkey, ham or cheese
Cottage cheese and baby carrots
Depending upon the length and severity of the the blood sugar imbalance, specific nutrients are required through supplementation to address the body's depleted state. The most common ones include:
Other trace minerals
According to the Center for Disease Control, one of its primary goals for improving the health of the American public is to reduce the incidence of diabetes. Diabetes is a direct result of life-long blood sugar abnormalities. It is not difficult to correct blood sugar imbalances with a protein-rich diet and proper supplementation. Most of my patients see a significant difference in only a few weeks. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that diabetes will probably not be reduced despite being aware of the the amazingly simple steps required to balance blood sugar.
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