Forget Ebola and climate change; the biggest threat to your health is circulating in your bloodstream right now. Do you know how much sugar is in YOUR blood?
A Sweet Nightmare
Did you know that mishandling your blood-sugar could be making you FAT? It may also make you age badly and increase your risk of depression and infertility. Why isn’t there more attention directed to this? The truth is that there are massive economic interests in the food industry, and they are making money on your declining health. Sugar is added to almost everything you might put in your mouth. It is a little known fact that sugar is one of the most addictive substances to the human brain.
It used to be America that had the highest number of obese people, but the Arab world is now taking the lead. A study published in 2014, in Lancet, showed that that the Middle East and North Africa have the highest rates of obesity in the entire world; among adults, 58 percent of men, and 65 percent of women are overweight or obese! Obesity and type 2 diabetes are closely linked and the number of people suffering from type 2 diabetes in Qatar has skyrocketed; in 2014, the number was 16.3 percent and it keeps rising.
So what is the link between a diet rich in sugar, obesity and diabetes? It all starts with a complicated concept called insulin resistance and the way to get there is a premium membership on the sugar run-away train.
The Sugar Run-Away Train
Carbohydrates from vegetables, whole-wheat bread and brown rice are broken down in the intestines. They are then absorbed slowly into the bloodstream, keeping your blood-sugar steady, at an optimal level. Vegetables should be a part of your everyday diet, as the slow absorbing carbohydrates from vegetables keep your sugar levels steady, your energy levels up and keep you satisfied for longer.
However, soda, cakes, pasta, crisps and French fries — all the stuff that you are bombarded with in advertising and TV-commercials — make your body react VERY differently. They make your blood-sugar peak, giving you a high resembling that of narcotics. The blood sugar levels then drops fast, making your energy levels crash. You feel weak and hungry, and the craving for more sugary food is almost impossible to withstand. Recognize the feeling?
The Dark Tunnel
Before the introduction of highly processed food in our everyday diet, type 2 diabetes was a disease of the elderly. The disease is caused by the wearing out of the pancreatic functions and laziness in the body’s response to insulin by the body’s cells. When your diet is full of processed food and sugar, the body is overwhelmed, and the blood-sugar levels quickly rise. The changes that take place in type 2 diabetes are a result of the body’s systems being on high alert all the time.
So how does insulin resistance come into the picture? Insulin resistance is a pre-stage of type 2 diabetes in which the pancreas is exhausted from producing large amounts of insulin and is not able to fully control the blood-sugar levels. It is a strong warning sign that your body is not coping well with your life-style.
The high blood-sugar levels resulting from a diet combined with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes leads to sugar molecules attaching to — and damaging — different structures in the body. The damage caused by sugar-molecules to nerves and blood vessels causes numbness of the feet and damage to the inner part of the eye. It also speeds up the aging process in the skin. The risk of heart attack and stroke increases and women with insulin resistance may have difficulty getting pregnant.
Giving up Your Membership
Knowing that fast carbs, sodas and candy are bad for you are not enough. Sugar is addictive and giving it up is a tough business. The blood-sugar peaks give your brain instant satisfaction and the fast lows leave you craving more.
The key lies in understanding how the sugar run-away train is tricking your brain and to be proactive when it comes to your food-choices.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your blood sugar stable:
- Never eat carbs alone and never on an empty stomach. Choose slow absorbing carbs and combine them with healthy fats and proteins that make you more satisfied and slow down the absorption of sugar from the intestines.
- Don’t fill your plate with carbohydrates, rather restrict them to a quarter of the plate. Another quarter should be reserved for good protein, and the remaining half of the plate should be filled with vegetables.
- Eat your vegetables raw. Boiling or frying vegetables converts the complex carbohydrates of vegetables to fast-absorbing sugars. Cooking vegetables also destroys some of the vitamins and minerals that are so good for you.
- Boiled potatoes are a better option than mashed or fried potatoes, especially if you keep the skin on.
- Avoid crash diets. They lower the blood-sugar and deplete the body’s carbohydrate-stores; the craving for a quick fix in the form of something sweet will be almost impossible to withstand. Moreover, crash-diets will usually leave you even heavier than before the diet.
- To be sure to avoid those blood-sugar lows. Don’t let too much time pass between meals. You should never skip breakfast, and always plan for a healthy snack between lunch and dinner.
- Have an emergency snack in your bag for when the sugar-craving hits you. Natural nuts and a fruit are a good choice.
- Care for your muscles; they utilize sugar from the blood and help keep blood-sugar levels stable. Spreading exercise over the day is an option for busy people. Morning gymnastics, taking the stairs and playing with the children goes a long way. An old Chinese saying claims that walking 100 steps after every meal will make you live to see your 99th birthday.
- Eat vegetables before a meal rich in carbs. It has been shown in studies to keep the blood-sugar stable.
- Another tip is eating fresh lemons or drinking water with a teaspoon of vinegar before a meal. It makes the absorption of carbs from the intestines slower and your blood-sugar levels more stable.
On Unsteady Legs to a New Way of Living
Giving up on bad sugar is not easy. But, like any addiction, the first days and weeks are the hardest. Keeping your blood-sugar stable is the only way to combat your sugar addiction. Start today, and instead of living in fear of what your next health exam might reveal, you will soon be counting down pants sizes!References