Keeping Your Blood Sugar Level Low And Your Energy High
If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you’ll want to read this. But even if you don’t . . . if you’re struggling with feeling tired frequently . . . you also should read this. Because fat, energy and blood sugar control are integrally linked.
The root cause of these three health problems – diabetes, obesity and fatigue – is locked in our evolutionary past, encoded in our genes.
And it all comes down to your body losing the ability to manage energy.
Diabetes and obesity–and the accompanying fatigue–may be caused by your body being unable to use, store and disperse energy effectively.
It’s about creating a lifestyle that supports your body’s innate tools for managing energy.
Doing this isn’t too complicated. Our bodies are built to do this.
But it’s not easy either. It takes some willpower and deliberateness. Because our ancient genes and physique don’t work so well with our modern conveniences and access to bountiful food.
We have to make the shift consciously.
Let me explain this alternative way of understanding diabetes, obesity and energy, and how you can use this understanding to regain your health. Perhaps you’ll find the inspiration you need to take the necessary actions.
Too Much Energy... Not Enough Energy Use
You know that diabetes is about having high blood sugar levels.A great way to catch your reader's attention is to tell a story.
But let’s dig deeper. What does high blood sugar levels really mean?
It means that your body–for a combination of reasons–isn’t using your body’s supply of energy or glucose.
See glucose (or sugar) is what your body burns for energy. The carbohydrates and sugars we eat are all broken down by our digestive system into glucose, which is then used as fuel. And calories? Well, calories are really only a unit for measuring that energy. How many calories you eat translates into how many energy units you’re taking in.
The extra glucose or calories that we don’t burn as fuel, we store as fat. Fat is our energy reserves.
You develop diabetes when your body either has too much energy for its energy needs, or, it can’t use the energy supplies it has. Perhaps it’s a little of both. 1
First, your body stores this excess energy/sugar as fat. But the overwhelming supply of energy is simply too much for your body. Your cells stop taking it in. They stop listening to the hormone insulin that signals energy uptake. And eventually your body even stops making insulin, too.
This development is terrible for your health. But under slightly different circumstances, things might not turn out this way. Here’s why...
How A Genetic Advantage Has Turned Bothersome
See, some of us are particularly at risk for becoming overweight and developing diabetes because of our genes.
We have a genetic tendency to be particularly miserly when it comes to energy use. Our cells don’t use blood sugar that easily. And we quickly turn excess sugar into fat rather than burning it for energy.
Basically, our bodies are energy conservationists!
Now get this . . . A few generations ago, this was an advantage. It meant that we had extra reserves when lean times hit. It meant that we didn’t blow all the calories from a great harvest of fruit in a single day’s activity. Instead, our bodies were able to parse the calories out over time so we could stretch the energy in our food to the max.
In today’s world, as you well know, this is a disadvantage. It means we may gain and hold onto weight easily, much to our dismay. It may be why some of us have such a hard time getting rid of our bellies and love handles.
Our taste buds and hunger hormones conspire with this trait to betray us even further. Our ancestors craved sweets and rich foods because they gave you so much nutritional bang in a world where starvation lingered around every corner. If our ancestors found some sweet honey . . . some very well-marbled wild boar . . . they were lucky indeed.
But today, this genetic love of fats and sweets isn’t so helpful. If we don’t watch it, the abundance in our supermarkets and kitchens can quickly turn deadly. Turning our evolutionary advantage into a booby trap.
Because we don’t have to run, dig, climb or search for food, we expend very little calories feeding ourselves. (Pushing the shopping cart in a store doesn’t count for much.)
Our genetic programming that worked when we used energy in order to fill our bellies is no longer relevant.
And as our bodies take in more calories or energy than we need (because we’re not running, climbing, digging and searching for food all day), our energy management system goes on the fritz.
Fatigue: The Overlooked Consequence Of Diabetes
Ironically, energy has overwhelmed your system and zapped it. Like a burnt out circuit board, your body’s energy management system and left you unable to process energy in a natural process...
And when you cannot use energy effectively, it’s harder to work.
Instead of getting up each day, ready for action. And this lethargy just magnifies the problem. The less energy you have, the less you feel like exercising. And the less you exercise, as I’ll explain in more detail in a moment, the more your body’s energy system breaks down.
While few health experts focus on this, clinical studies confirm that fatigue is a huge part of what happens to you when you develop diabetes. In fact, overwhelming tiredness is one of the warning signs that you may be developing this disease. 2
The destruction wreaked by too much sugar in your blood–combined with the stress of managing this disease–wears your body out. 3
There are no quick fixes or pills that can get you out of this pit of exhaustion. You have to use some determination to reset your body on a course towards wellness and restoring the natural use of energy in your body.
But once you do this, you may find yourself feeling better, more energized and ready to break out of this cycle even more aggressively.
Help With Exercise And Diet
It’s not exciting. It takes some effort. And there’s nothing magical about it. But as Daniel Lieberman, chairman of Harvard University’s Human Evolutionary Biology Department, has pointed out, “There’s no medicine that’s more important than exercise.” 4
As Lieberman has shown through his research, our ancestors walked between 5-9 miles per day. Compare that to your life. The difference is huge.
While few of us want to go back to a lifestyle that is that tough, getting closer to it can make all the difference. Several studies have shown that exercise combined with a healthy, low-carb diet can allow our body to manage energy like it was evolved to do.
Essentially, by moving our bodies and cutting down on what we eat, our bodies start to WANT energy again. Instead of being overwhelmed, your body NEEDS the calories that you feed it. Subsequently, it jumpstarts your old energy management systems.
One study showed that simply by losing 5-10% of your body weight you can reduce your risk for developing diabetes by 85% . . . for the next 3 years!5
The Joslin Center For Diabetes Why WAIT program for people with diabetes emphasizes diet and exercise. With this comprehensive program, participants are able to cut their medications by half on average after 12 weeks. And a full 20% of the participants go completely no longer need their medications at all. 6, 7
In a 2012 study, with the help of intensive counseling, diet and exercise, 11.5% of participants with diabetes were able to get their blood sugar down to prediabetic levels without medication. 8
And even more exciting...
In 2016, when 30 people with diabetes went on an 8-week diet of nutritional shakes and vegetables, half of them were able to reverse the disease until they had prediabetic blood sugar levels. Better yet, 6 months after doing this dramatic reversal – even though they had returned to a normal (but healthier) way of eating–they still didn’t need medications. 9
The participants in this study had been dealing with diabetes from anywhere between 4-8 years.
Roy Taylor, a professor at Newcastle University in England and this last study’s senior author has pointed out, “This is a radical change in our understanding of Type 2 diabetes . . . If we can get across the message that ‘yes, this is a reversible disease — that you will have no more diabetes medications, no more sitting in doctors’ rooms, no more excess health charges’ — that is enormously motivating.” 10
As Taylor underscores, most doctors and health experts can’t imagine reversing diabetes, let alone doing it naturally by changing your lifestyle. Then again, most of modern medicine is built around the presumption that people are incapable of doing much for their own health. Instead conventional medicine pushes the concept that only intervention with medicine or surgery can make a difference.
But while it may seem hard–even impossible, at first–you now know better. You may regain control and bring your body back from diabetes.
If you can just move a bit more and eat more mindfully, you may change the direction your health is going in. Get over that initial hump, your body will actually start reinvigorating your whole energy management system and you’ll feel better.
How You May Engineer This Reversal
The most important ingredient for reversing diabetes is deciding to do something. Once you’ve made that commitment, you can rally the will power to shift your life to support this change.
In addition, there are a few specific tactics that help make the difference:
1. Exercise strategically and regularly
Exercise increases your body’s use of blood sugar, even independently of insulin production! 11 And it can change your body’s response to blood sugar at the genetic level. 12
And here’s the funny thing. Exercise actually makes you feel more energized. It shifts your body’s energy use to make more energy available to your cells so your whole body works better! 13
But certain forms of exercise seem to be more effective. By doing short spurts of high intensity intervals – for as little as 18 minutes a day - you can do much more for your metabolism than by taking a long walk. 14
In one study, when participants used intense interval training they saw glucose uptake in their thigh muscles return to normal in only two weeks!15 Insulin sensitivity improved as well. Participants who did only moderate intensity training saw only half the improvement.
If you’re not used to doing exercise, make sure you find a personal trainer or program to help you do this safely and effectively.
2. Reduce sugars and carbohydrates in your diet
As explained earlier, part of the problem is your body getting flooded with calories/energy it can’t use. By reducing the carbohydrates in your diet, you can reduce the flood to a trickle.
Says Barbara Gower, professor and vice chair for research in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, "Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. Reducing carbohydrates is the obvious treatment. It was the standard approach before insulin was discovered and is, in fact, practiced with good results in many institutions. The resistance of government and private health agencies is very hard to understand."
Dr. Gower goes on to point out that, "For many people with Type 2 diabetes, low-carbohydrate diets are a real cure. They no longer need drugs. They no longer have symptoms. Their blood glucose is normal, and they generally lose weight."
Drawing from years of research, she and 25 scientists published an article urging health experts to stop pushing low-fat diets that have had no impact on diabetes or obesity and shift to recommending low-carb diets instead.16
3. Eat more fiber-rich foods
People who eat the most fiber have the lowest risk of developing diabetes, according to researchers from the Imperial College of London. By increasing your fiber intake, you can slow down how your body breaks down carbohydrates and sugars during digestion and consequently make a dent in how much glucose enters the bloodstream. Fiber also seems to impact hormones positively. And when you eat a lot of fiber, you feel full, leaving less room to stir cravings for sweets and carbs. 17
4. Use chlorella and eleuthero to support your efforts
Neither chlorella nor eleuthero can reverse diabetes. But both of them can be effective tools in this battle. Both chlorella and eleuthero have been clinically shown to support healthy blood sugar metabolism.18, 19 What’s more, by increasing your energy, supporting joint health, and speeding up cellular rejuvenation, they can help you implement the changes in diet and activity that can put you on the road to being free of diabetes.
7 Tricks For Reducing Sugar In Your Diet
Sugar is sneaky.
It’s potentially deadly. It’s addictive. And it’s everywhere. Everywhere you turn there are starches and sugars singing their siren call.
It’s not easy to reduce sugar in your diet.
But by minimizing the sugar out of your diet, you may help your body maintain a healthy energy metabolism (see accompanying article), lose weight, feel more energized, support digestive health, save your teeth and keep your immune system going strong.
And to make it easier, here are several tricks for reducing the sugar in your diet . . . and how it impacts your health:
1. Take a taste break
This is perhaps one of the biggest things you can do to help cut down on sugar – shift your taste buds. Part of the reason we take in so much sweet stuff is that our taste buds are tuned to having lots of sweet stuff. The more you eat sugar, the more sugar you need to taste sweetness.
But your taste buds can adjust. In fact, in as little as two weeks, your taste buds can be overhauled.20 If you can cut down sweet foods and drinks for two weeks - or even cut them down altogether – you’ll have a whole other taste threshold for sweetness. After making this shift, what normally would barely register as sweet might even taste too sweet!
2. Get your sleep
One of the triggers for craving sweetness is fatigue. When you’re tired, you want to eat sugars or starches.21 And ironically, the more sweet you eat, the more you end up crashing later on and feeling even more tired. In order to stop this cycle, focus on how you can get the rest you need so you don’t feel so exhausted each day.
Exercise also can wake you up again and give you more energy.22 If you find yourself hankering for a candy bar in the afternoon because you just can’t keep your eyes open, consider doing a quick workout instead. Do ten jumping jacks and a few pushups. Or take a brisk walk. You’ll be surprised how you no longer feel tired and that desperate need for a chocolate hit disappears.
4. Eat protein
Often when we’re hungry and needing something to wake us up, we really just need some protein. Protein not only can give you sustained energy, it can also give you a sustained feeling of fullness.23Going a step further, it may even cut down on your cravings. When you focus your meals around more protein and less carbs, you’ll find you are less hungry and more energized.
5. Eat fiber-rich fruit
You can reduce the sugar in your life and still enjoy sweetness. Fruit is an excellent way to do this. Yes, it has sugar and you have to be careful you don’t go overboard with fruit. But it also has fiber. And when you eat the sweet with the fiber, the fiber slows down your body’s digestion of the sugar in fruit. This then decreases sugar’s impact on your metabolism.24
6. Eat less processed and more home-made
Sugar is one of the ingredients almost every manufacturer and restaurant uses to make food taste good. You’d be surprised how many places it sneaks into your food.25 Look at the labels of food you’re buying to see how many grams of sugar the food has. Seemingly innocent foods like tomato sauce and peanut butter can have sugar added in. By cooking at home, you can have more control over how your food is prepared. And you can keep the sugar out.
7. Watch the salt!
Often we use sweetness to balance out saltiness (and visa versa).26 So if you’re yearning for something sweet, check your salt intake. That bag of salty popcorn at the movies, for instance, is the perfect setup for “needing” a big soda. Reduce how much salt you cook with and you’ll find you won’t need the sweet addition as much.
Recipe: Spicy Peanut Chlorella Udon Noodles
Our new chlorella udon noodles open up a world of possibilities for the creative and health-conscious chef. Try this nourishing dish that combines the creaminess of peanut butter, a bit of spiciness and the udon’s satisfying chewiness.
1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Be sure and rinse with cold water after cooking to tighten noodles.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together:
2 Tbsp Roasted sesame oil
½ Cup Peanut butter (you can substitute sesame tahini)
1 Tbsp Maple syrup
2.5 Tbsp Soy sauce
3 Tbsp Rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Chili-garlic sauce Black pepper
3. Add noodles to sauce along with:
½ Cup shredded carrots
1 chopped scallion – including green stems
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Any additional toppings of your choice: tofu cubes, chopped peppers, steamed broccoli, whole peanuts, chopped cilantro etc.
4. Toss everything together and serve cold or at room temperature.
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2 Fritschi C et al. Fatigue in Patients with Diabetes: A Review. Journal of psychosomatic research. 2010;69(1):33-41. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.01.021.
3 Fritschi C et al.
4 Powell A. Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve Been Set Up. Harvard Gazette. March 7, 2012. Viewed 12/3/17 at https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/03/the-big-setup/
5 Maruthur NM, et al. Early Response to Preventive Strategies in the Diabetes Prevention Program. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2013;28(12):1629-1636. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2548-4.
6 Joslin study shows short-term intensive weight-loss program works for four years. News Release. Joslin Diabetes Center. June 12, 2012. Viewed 12/3/17 at http://www.joslin.org/news/short-term-intensive-weight-loss-program-works-for-four-years.html.
7 Why Wait For Diabetes Control? News Release Joslin Diabetes Center. October 2, 2009. Viewed 12/3/17 at https://www.newswise.com/articles/why-wait-for-diabetes-control2.
8 Gregg, EW et al. Association of an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention With Remission of Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA. 2012;308(23):2489–2496.
9 Steven S et al. Very Low-Calorie Diet and 6 Months of Weight Stability in Type 2 Diabetes: Pathophysiological Changes in Responders and Nonresponders. Diabetes Care May 2016, 39 (5) 808-815.
10 Rabin RC. Hope for reversing type2 diabetes. New York Times. April 18, 2016.
11 Musi, N. and Goodyear, L. J. (2003), AMP-activated protein kinase and muscle glucose uptake. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 178: 337–345.
12 Axelsson, AS et al. Sox5 regulates beta-cell phenotype and is reduced in type 2 diabetes. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 15652
13 O’Neill HM. AMPK and Exercise: Glucose Uptake and Insulin Sensitivity. Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. 2013;37(1):1-21. doi:10.4093/dmj.2013.37.1.1.
14 Tanja J et al. Increased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in both leg and arm muscles after sprint interval and moderate intensity training in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2017
15 Tanja J et al.
16 University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Low-carb diet recommended for diabetics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014.
17 Mercola. More evidence that a high fiber diet may curb type 2 diabetes. June 8, 2015. Viewed 12/3/17 at https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/08/fiber-may-lower-diabetes-risk.aspx
18 Freye E at al. Siberian Ginseng Results in Beneficial Effects on Glucose Metabolism in Diabetes Type 2 Patients: A Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Study in Comparison to Panax Ginseng. International Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 11-17- 2013
19 Mizoguchi T et al. Nutrigenomic Studies of Effects of Chlorella on Subjects with High-Risk Factors for Lifestyle-Related Disease. JOURNAL OF MEDICINAL FOOD J Med Food 11 (3) 2008, 395–404A great way to catch your reader's attention is to tell a story. Everything you consider writing can be told as a story.
20 Greene A. 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Taste Buds. Woman’s Day. July 18, 2011. Viewed 12/3/17 at http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/wellness/a5789/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-your-taste-buds-11970
21 St-Onge M-P et al. Sleep restriction increases the neuronal response to unhealthy food in normal-weight individuals. International journal of obesity (2005). 2014;38(3):411-416. doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.114.
22 University of Georgia. "Regular Exercise Plays A Consistent And Significant Role In Reducing Fatigue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2006.
23 Hoertel, HA et al. A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese “breakfast skipping”, late-adolescent girls. Nutrition Journal.2014/08/06: 1475-2891
24 Weickert MO et al. Metabolic Effects of Dietary Fiber Consumption and Prevention of Diabetes. J. Nutr. March 2008. vol. 138 no. 3 439-442
25 Breslau E. 9 Hidden Sources of Sugar In Your Diet. Huffington Post. 4/11/2015. Viewed 12/3/17 at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/11/hidden-sugar-in-food-_n_7020234.html.
26 Fleming A. How To Balance The Flavours In Your Cooking. The Guardian. Nov 19, 2013. Viewed 12/3/17 at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/nov/19/balance-flavours-salt-sweet-bitter-sour-umami