How is it that people who are doing what they are “supposed” to be doing –- eating healthy, exercising, maintaining a normal body composition -– still have blood sugar issues? The second source of fuel for the mitochondria -– glucose –- has an equally important role in the function of cells. With the epidemic of diabetes and metabolic syndrome plaguing the industrial world in recent years, blood sugar and insulin have gotten their fair share of media attention. In fact, blood sugar balance is a major tenet of virtually every diet book from The Zone to The Atkins Diet. These are health-conscious, educated individuals who do not spend their time eating Twinkies, bingeing at McDonalds and competing in the World’s Laziest Couch Potato competition. Rather, we see people who eat well, exercise regularly, have normal body composition and take supplements, but still don’t feel well. Insulin resistance, which is characterized by two things: chronically elevated blood sugar levels, and subsequent elevated insulin levels to help deal with the blood sugar.
And while each of these have their separate issues metabolically, both will cause issues with the function of mitochondria because there is not a steady stream of blood sugar available for ATP (energy) production.
When someone is insulin resistant, glucose cannot effectively enter into the cell –- chronically elevated insulin levels create dysfunctional insulin receptor sites on the cell. Because blood sugar is not adequately entering the cells, it stays in general circulation rather than being stored.
Characteristic symptoms of insulin resistance include: fatigue after meals, craving for sweets that doesn’t go away when sweets are eaten, increased thirst, and frequent urination. Individuals with this pattern and periods of low blood sugar will have surges of insulin, rather than chronically elevated levels.
Normally, the body should respond to low blood sugar by producing cortisol to increase blood sugar levels. Symptoms are usually relieved after eating because meals provide a source of glucose that their body could not create itself.
Because their bodies rely on adrenaline to elevate blood sugar, people with some degree of hypoglycemia can have insulin surges between meals, rather than following meals, or chronically, as in insulin resistance.
But here is one of the biggest points: looking healthy, having a muscular body, and exercising regularly does not mean that you have normal blood sugar management. Though there are a number of mechanisms involved in this cycle, here is a basic explanation. In other words, you could have a perfect diet and exercise program, but if you have elevated cortisol levels, you may also be increasing your blood sugar from the inside.
Two hours after a meal, it will ideally be between 85 and 100 depending on the size and quality of the meal. You could eat a meal, and then track your blood sugar at 30 minute intervals for 2 hours following a meal. A good protein-based meal with adequate levels of healthy fat and fibre should not raise your blood sugar levels too high. For most of you, the first step toward eating properly for blood sugar management is starting with the Precision Nutrition System.   Indeed, over 85% of our clients see the types of results they’re looking for by following this program. However, for the other 15% that use the program and still need to go a bit deeper, working with a coach through Precision Nutrition Coaching is the next step. Blood sugar dysregulation and elevated insulin levels have negative impacts on numerous physiological systems in the body. But on a fundamental level if adequate glucose cannot enter a cell, the mitochondria will not be able to produce optimal amounts of ATP to run the cells, organs and systems of the body, and we will not be optimally healthy, much less have the body we desire. The mitochondria use two primary sources of fuel to produce the energy required to run your body effectively: oxygen and glucose. These are basic fundamentals to health and fitness that must be addressed before deciding which supplement works better or whose workout program is the best for fat loss.
In it you’ll learn the best eating, exercise, and lifestyle strategies — unique and personal — for you.
When our circulatory and metabolic systems are working well, we have energy, stamina and health. When we consume too much sugar or too many simple carbohydrates, we overload our bodies and put ourselves at risk for lethargy and disease. Even if we just ate whole, natural foods without adding any sugar, our bodies could make all the glucose needed for optimal health and well-being. If all those sugar calories consumed in a year were turned to body weight, the average American would gain and extra 78 pounds each year.
Too much glucose in the bloodstream can compromise brain cells’ ability to communicate.
Studies show that a high-sugar diet reduces the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, which inhibits the brain’s ability to form new memories and makes it difficult to learn. Recent studies by Suzanne de la Monte, MD a neuropathologist at Brown University, show a link between insulin resistance and brain cells, which creates a condition similar to diabetes in the brain. But, sugar by any other name is still a simple carbohydrate that turns to glucose in your body. Always read the nutrition labels and remember every four grams of sugar listed equals one teaspoon.
The added sugar and the high sugar content in processed foods can start the body on a blood-sugar roller coaster ride, filled with ups and downs. Levels higher than that can cause people to develop type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other health problems, which may be difficult or impossible to reverse.
As your body quickly digests the sugar, the glucose quickly leaves your bloodstream and leaves you feeling tired and worn out. While sugar is not reported to cause diabetes, there is a strong association between sugar and diabetes that is not found with any other food type. Even though sugar itself may not cause diabetes, the empty calories most likely contribute to weight gain.
Losing weight and controlling the other factors that you have through diet, exercise and medication if necessary, are the best treatments for metabolic syndrome. This may occur because sugar dulls the brain’s receptors so it takes more sugar to satisfy the craving.
You may be able to reduce your risk by making healthy lifestyle and food choices, becoming more active and watching your weight. Real-time brain scans show that sugar is a catalyst to dopamine and opioid release in an area of the brain associated with reward. There is evidence that sugar affects dopamine (the feel good hormone) in our brains, which causes people to show dependency-like behaviors that include cravings, losing control (eating the whole bag of cookies instead of just one or two), and eat more than you planned to eat. The quick conversion of simple carbohy­drates (like pasta) to sugar can be delayed when mixed with vinegar. Combat post-workout hypoglycemia with a banana and yogurt.* The mix of carbohydrates and protein keeps blood glucose balanced.
Steeped green tea* with toast at breakfast can give you a workout boost without a blood sugar spike. If you have questions about substitutes, you can conduct your own research and note how you feel after you use a substitute. Yes, the disorder was once known as sugar diabetes because it involves high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood. Type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes occurs because the pancreas becomes unable to produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes develops because the pancreas becomes unable to produce enough insulin or because cells are resistant to the action of insulin.
Eating dessert does not cause the pancreas to malfunction, but eating too many desserts, with their empty calories, will certainly contribute to weight gain, which in turn can lead to insulin resistance. Although diabetic diets in the past were restrictive regarding sugar and concentrated sweets; that is no longer the case.


Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can and should eat regular meals with your family and friends.
Many people are familiar with the DASH diet to control hypertension (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). FACT: Carbohydrates raise blood sugar, but they are an important source of nutrients and energy.
There is no reason to restrict intake of carbohydrates, although type 1 diabetics must monitor how many carbohydrates they eat at any one meal. Blood sugar control requires a delicate balance among carbohydrate intake, insulin injections and physical activity. Particularly for children, special occasions like birthdays or Halloween may mean extra sweet treats. Nutritionists point to an important distinction between simple carbohydrates such as those in candy, fruit and milk and complex carbohydrates such as beans, chick peas, cereal and starchy vegetables such as potatoes.
FACT: Protein and fat take longer to be converted into glucose and have a less powerful effect. Although this is true, people with diabetes do need to remember that most foods that are high in protein are laden with saturated fat and cholesterol. The concept of a heart-healthy diet has changed somewhat over the past two decades, but the low-fat diet plan recommended first by Nathan Pritikin and then by Dean Ornish still has considerable support from medical experts. Although the Ornish diet is not strictly vegetarian, it is strongly oriented toward fruits, vegetables and whole grains with very little meat, butter or other fat.
Some experts today, on the other hand, believe that even the 25 percent goal is too strict and fails to take into account the health benefits of some fats.
Observational studies have shown that people who eat fish, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, have a lower risk of heart attacks. Another heart-healthy plan that focuses on the pleasure of eating rather than deprivation is the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet.
Your body’s preferred source of energy is carbs (sugar is the simplest form of carbs) so when carbs are available the body uses those first for energy, and the extra are stored as fat. Now that I have given a short rundown on blood glucose, I want to mention that having consistently high blood sugar (usually as a result of eating too much sugar or simple carbs like white flour) can lead to type 2 diabetes. Believe me, I am one of the biggest sugar lovers, and I know it can sound daunting to even think about reducing or eliminating sugar from your life. There are a lot of other significant effects sugar has on your body and it’s functions beyond blood sugar. The pancreas has many islets that contain insulin-producing beta cells and glucagon-producing alpha cells.
Since diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to use glucose, let's start by looking at what glucose is and how your body controls it. When you eat food, glucose gets absorbed from your intestines and distributed by the bloodstream to all of the cells in your body. To maintain a constant blood-glucose level, your body relies on two hormones produced in the pancreas that have opposite actions: insulin and glucagon.
Insulin is made and secreted by the beta cells of the pancreatic islets, small islands of endocrine cells in the pancreas.
As such, insulin stores nutrients right after a meal by reducing the concentrations of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in the bloodstream. Diabetes can affect the retina in the back of the eye, resulting in loss of vision or blindness if not treated early. Are anemia and low oxygen delivery to blame?) I focused on oxygen, one of the two fuel sources for what is arguably one of the most important components of your cell, the mitochondria. And with good reason: imbalanced blood sugar levels are at the crux of many health issues, including being overweight. As a result, the body must produce higher levels of insulin to remove glucose from the blood stream, which causes even greater metabolic dysfunction. People with hypoglycemia can experience symptoms such as lightheadedness, irritability, shakiness and fatigue between meals, which is often relieved after eating. However, in this case, periodically hypoglycemic people usually have low adrenal function and rely on adrenaline to elevate blood sugar between meals, which causes the shakiness and and lightheadedness between meals.
In fact, researchers have started using new terms like “non-obese insulin resistance” and “atypical metabolic syndrome” because normal-looking people are having blood sugar management issues.
A good blood chemistry screen will contain enough markers to adequately identify patterns of blood sugar mismanagement.
They usually cost around $50 and give you the ability to look at your blood sugar throughout the day.
If it does, either the macronutrient ratio was off, the meal was too large, or in some cases, you might have a sensitivity to the food that causes a stress response and elevates blood sugar. Clinically, these are “high priority” situations because if either one of these processes are not working correctly, nothing will.
The glucose enters our bloodstream and is delivered to each of our bodies’ cells by insulin. Diabetics and pre-diabetics have lower amounts of BDNF, these levels correspond with their decreased ability to metabolize sugar. Sugar contributes to aging by producing radicals that attach to proteins to form advanced glycation-end products or AGEs, which damage collagen and elastin. Sugar has a major impact on your overall oral health, but consuming sugar laden drinks like soda or juices, allows it to get into every nook and cranny of your teeth. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that normal weight and healthy people who ate the highest levels of added sugars recorded the highest increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Sugar damages the endothelium, a sheath of cells that coats in the inside of your veins and arteries.
Your muscles get their fuel from carbohydrates, which is why bikers and runners often will carb-load the night before a big race.
Most of us realize that eating too much sugar, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup, will make us gain weight, but we may not realize that those sweet treats may also cause us to eat too much. You may not see sugar itself listed; it might be disguised as nectar, syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose, sucrose, fructose, barley malt, sorghum, maltose or molasses. Look at the nutrition label to make sure that the first ingredient is actually a whole grain. Blood sugar, glucose, or A1C (hba1c) levels ranging from 4.5 to 6 percent are considered normal and can provide the energy that our bodies need. At this level, it exceeds the capacity of the kidneys to re-absorb the glucose and we begin to spill glucose into the urine.
A PLoS One study authored by Sanjay Basu et al, found that for every extra 150 calories (9 teaspoons) from sugar available per person each day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1 percent. There is no doubt that people who are overweight or obese are at risk for metabolic syndrome, which also increases the risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes.
According to WebMD, metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but a set of risk factors including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and abdominal fat. People who consume large amounts of sugar may show dependency-like behaviors that include cravings and overeating. A 2012 Pennsylvania State University study found that Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea lowers blood-sugar spikes caused by starchy foods by up to 50 percent.
Recover faster with whole grain cereal and milk, which increases muscle glycogen stores and protein synthesis and helps regulate blood sugar. Some report that they are unhealthy, while others report that they actually cause you to eat more.
But this happens not because a person eats too much sugar but rather because the body becomes unable to process carbohydrates. Glucose in the blood triggers the release of insulin by the pancreas to allow this glucose to be taken into cells to be used for energy or stored as fat.


Without insulin, cells fail to get the energy they need and glucose accumulates in the blood, causing damage to blood vessels and nerves in the heart, eyes, kidneys and virtually every part of the body. As a result, glucose tends to accumulate in the blood unless action is taken to control it.
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can and do eat desserts in moderation as part of a healthy meal plan.
It is a healthy eating plan that includes five servings of fruits and five servings of vegetables every day plus whole grains and low-fat dairy products, and is a suitable plan for people with diabetes. If you’re on a fixed dose of insulin, the number of carbohydrates you consume at each meal and snack should be consistent as well. That’s okay as long as there is a comparable adjustment in the number of carbohydrate grams from other sources (potatoes, rice, pasta) consumed during the rest of the day.
Most of the latter are high in fiber, and studies have found that eating a high-fiber diet can improve blood sugar control and cholesterol. For any extended period of time, a diet that allows only 10 to 15 percent of calories to come from fat becomes extremely Spartan.
People parsimoniously measuring fat grams are likely to ignore fish, nuts, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids -- all now considered beneficial to heart health. To get adequate quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, the American Heart Association recommends that you eat fish at least twice a week. Losing or maintaining weight is a crucial part of any heart healthy lifestyle, and low carbohydrate diets have been found effective at trimming excess pounds, even when such diets involve relatively high amounts of fat and protein.
Eating anything, actually, raises your blood sugar, but as sugar is much easier for your body to convert into glucose (the form that is used as fuel for all of your cells), it has a much more immediate and spiking effect.
Again, because sugar is a “simple carb” it can be easily broken down to glucose therefore causing a quicker spike in your blood sugar after consumption, meaning the insulin is working hard to get rid of it (usually storing it as fat). Type 2 diabetes seems so common these days that I think people don’t take it seriously enough. And I am not necessarily suggesting you do that right this second, but I think being aware of how foods like sugar can effect not only your weight but also your overall well-being is really important. Don’t despair; I will be addressing the sugar issue again next week and certainly much more in the future. Your body tries to keep a constant supply of glucose for your cells by maintaining a constant glucose concentration in your blood -- otherwise, your cells would have more than enough glucose right after a meal and starve in between meals and overnight. Name Email WebsiteSubmit Comment Recent Posts One Size May Not Fit All on GI Foods Low GI Foods May Help You Sleep What Exactly Is the Glycemic Index Diet?
Without oxygen, it is impossible for your cells to work at their full capacity or for you to be healthy. Excess sugar or carbohydrates, excessively large meals or glycemically imbalanced meals can excessively elevate blood sugar levels, causing this cycle to begin. For example, if you eat celery and almond butter, or a salad with grilled chicken, your blood sugar should not go above 120 at any point after the meal.
As a matter of fact, our brain cells require two times the glucose needed by the other cells in our body. Her work points to a theory that Alzheimer’s may be a metabolic disease, though more research is needed.
AGEs, aptly named, also deactivate the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes which interferes with the cells ability to repair themselves. The longer sugar remains in your mouth, the easier it is for bacteria to grow and cause cavities. It makes your blood vessels less sensitive and more prone to an increase in plaque deposits as the finger-like extensions inside the vessel stick together. Simple sugars, especially fructose, are not metabolized by the muscles, but are metabolized in the liver. Fructose interferes with the production of leptin, a hormone that tells the brain we have eaten enough. Your body reacts to sugar in the same way whether it’s refined white sugar or a natural sugar like honey and maple syrup. If sugar or one of its other names appear in the first five ingredients, you should put the package back on the shelf and look for a healthier alternative. These factors double your risk of cardiovascular disease and increase your risk of diabetes five-fold. Individuals with a pre-diabetes diagnosis may also be at risk for eye problems, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.
This may occur because sugar dulls the brain’s receptors so it take more sugar to satisfy the craving. While evidence is inconclusive that sugar is the cause, studies show similarities in the brain images of obese people and people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
For a healthy alternative, enjoy pasta (whole wheat, of course) with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. As a result, a good diabetic diet is heart healthy — low in saturated and trans fats but with adequate quantities of omega-3 fatty acids (from fish) and monounsaturated fats (from nuts and olive oil). In practice, many nutritionists consider 25 percent fat to be a more reasonable low-fat goal. Whereas the Ornish plan recommends avoiding or severely limiting all meat, the TLC diet allows five or less ounces a day of lean cuts of meat.
When your blood sugar is raised, your pancreas excretes insulin (which is a hormone in case you were wondering). The backup fuel in the body is fat so when you do not consume an excess of carbohydrates, your body uses stored fat or the fat you consume for fuel. The cells take in glucose from the blood and break it down for energy (some cells, like brain cells and red blood cells, rely solely on glucose for fuel). So, when you have an oversupply of glucose, your body stores the excess in the liver and muscles by making glycogen, long chains of glucose. Insulin is required by almost all of the body's cells, but its major targets are liver cells, fat cells and muscle cells. Without this critical communication component working properly, we will have a tendency to eat not only the first portion, but a second and maybe even a third helping before we feel satiated.
Over the long term, though, there are questions about the safety of such a diet for a person with diabetes.
Ornish’s recent article in the New York Times takes an aggressive stance against such diets, and most medical experts agree although research so far has not reached definitive conclusions.
In short, eating a lot of sugar can lead your body to store more fat and hinder it from burning fat. If your body isn’t able to regulate it anymore (which is what happens with type 2 diabetes) it can lead to some really serious health problems, so your best option is eating healthy to avoid the whole mess altogether.
When this happens in your skin, dry brittle protein fibers will cause wrinkles that make you look older.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating more than 1,000 calories of sugar a day increased the body weight of 16 subjects by just 2 percent, but increased liver fat 27 percent in just three weeks.
At the same time, the high-sugar food prompts the brain to release serotonin, your feel good hormone. The insulin acts as sort of a housekeeper by taking the glucose and delivering it to the cells that need it to function and storing the rest as fat.



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